Dear Members of The Mother Angeline Society,
Greetings and blessings to you in this New Year. We entrust the next twelve months into the hands of our Good Lord. This past January 21st, we marked the 30th Anniversary of the passing to eternal life of Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, O.Carm, and there were Masses and commemorations celebrated at the Motherhouse and in all the homes of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.
Our theme this year is Mother Angeline as a “Disciple of the Gospel” for she surely lived the gospel message and ordered all of her life according to the truth and teaching of Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh and Good News of our salvation. For sure, Mother’s life reflected the gospel message of charity, compassion and service that is our Christian inheritance. This year’s theme gives us an opportunity to mine the depths of her spirit and charism and renew our own commitment to these timeless values.
One of my favorite sayings of Mother Angeline that she would write to her Carmelite Sisters was, “I know you can do it.” This was said after Mother had issued some challenge, or maybe some correction, or perhaps some change that would involve re-thinking on the part of the Sisters in their life or work. Mother Angeline was always direct and said what she meant, but never lost her sense of courtesy and respect. She absolutely valued each of her Sisters as religious, as women and as co-workers in the ministry. As a woman of faith as well, she believed in God and she believed in people. While the latter were a cause of disappointment and suffering at times, the Venerable never lost her basic stance of believing that her Sisters, priests, bishops and the lay people in her circle could and would do what was right – for the sake of the old people, the ministry, and the Lord.
What does this saying convey? It conveys encouragement. It conveys positivity, hope, trust and a sense of value. Encouragement, in turn, draws people out of themselves and their fears, makes them want to grow, and change and do the right thing, and empowers them to believe that they can rise to the occasion and to the task. Children raised with encouragement, truth and love, blossom. Employees who feel valued, important, and respected work hard, join in the spirit of the enterprise, and make things great. Among religious, words of encouragement lighten sometimes heavy loads, and spur each one on to be of service, to be compassionate and to cooperate. All of this from the simple phrase, “I know you can do it.”
Mother Angeline knew that in the body of Christ, every member has their gift. She knew that Jesus became a man and founded a Church to continue to spread the Good News and bring God’s mercy to others. Flesh and blood individuals with all their gifts and weaknesses are chosen by God Himself to bring about His kingdom of justice, love and peace. People need encouragement because, with God’s grace, “They can do it.” Mother Angeline knew this.
God bless you and Mary keep you always.
Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm.