Celebrating 25, 50, 60 and 70 years of Religious Jubilees

On June 4, 2022, eight Carmelite Sisters celebrated their 25th, 50th, 60th and 70th religious jubilees. A Jubilee Eucharistic Celebration was held at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse with Reverend Monsignor Joseph Hendricks of the Diocese of Columbus as the Principal Celebrant and Homilist. Present as Con-Celebrants were Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O.Carm. as Master of Ceremonies, Right Reverend Austin Murphy, OSB, Reverend Paul Denault, O.Carm., Reverend James Donlon, Reverend Peter West, Reverend James Hess, O.Carm., and Brother Gregg Durham, O.Carm. who assisted in the liturgy.

The Jubilarians celebrated with loving remembrance and gratitude the many special persons who helped them come to this time of joyous celebration. All their many years of service to God and His elderly, of those present and those who were unable to attend, you were deeply acknowledged and appreciated! Congratulations dear Sisters!

Poignant excerpts from the Homily of Monsignor Joseph Hendricks:

“…as the Sisters who are present today and to celebrate Jubilees, they know, and have been serving, knowing, that the Lord has never abandoned them even in the midst of their struggle—even in the midst of their joys. They find a home in His heart and have taken themselves to His heart… I continue each day to be amazed by your courage, your mission-driven service that you have given in my home diocese of Columbus, Ohio at the Villas of St. Therese… and Mother Angeline McCrory Manor…

…As I reflect on your work and the women who do it, I find that each one brings to the Church so many precious and caring gifts. You have become the hands and feet and the touch and voice of Jesus Himself when you go out on your daily work, often unnoticed, but always deeply appreciated. I see it in the eyes and hearts of those you touch each day… You do unique, marvelous and genuine work in proclaiming the gospel of Christ by your service… This is indeed a day of joy for you…”

From the Pen of Brother Robert Chiulli, O.Carm.

Bother Bob Chiulli, O.Carm.

On May 15, 2022, Carmelites around the world rejoiced as one of our own, Fr. Titus Brandsma, O.Carm., was canonized by Pope Francis in Rome. For those who may not have ever heard of St. Titus Brandsma, he was a Dutch Carmelite who used his position as a prominent journalist and scholar to denounce Nazi ideology in Catholic publications, and demand that Catholic newspapers refuse to publish their hateful propaganda. Because of his outspokenness, he was eventually arrested in 1942 by the Gestapo and sent to a state prison. While detained, Fr. Titus still held fast to his belief that National Socialism was based on dangerous pagan philosophy and completely contrary to Christian values. His persistence in his convictions kept him from being released, and he was eventually sent to the notorious Nazi work camp, Dachau. Though St. Titus was only in Dachau for five weeks, he quickly gained a reputation among the other prisoners for being a generous, hope-filled man who, despite being in poor health, was more concerned for others than himself. He ultimately met his end when he was given an injection of carbolic acid by a camp nurse as part of the Nazi’s “experiments” on prisoners.  As a testament to God’s grace, the nurse who gave Fr. Titus the lethal injection – and eventually converted to Catholicism- testified as to his holiness at his beatification ceremony.

Fr. Titus’s powerful witness was rooted in his deep prayer life and his embodiment of the Carmelite mystical tradition. He believed that one did not have to escape the world to find God. Rather God was found by looking deeply, from the heart, at life all around us, and he once wrote, “Prayer is not an oasis in the desert of life; it is the whole of life.” Prayer allows us to see as God’s sees, in all the varied circumstances that come our way, and be open to the subtle, but powerful way, that grace operates in our lives. While Fr. Titus did not seek out suffering, he knew that suffering was part of every person’s journey in life, and when joined to the suffering of Christ on the cross, it could be a profound way of experiencing God’s love for us. So even in the horrors of the Dachau death camp, St. Titus radiated peace since he knew that God was with him amid the beatings, daily deprivations and humiliations.

Mother Angeline, almost a contemporary of Fr. Titus as she was born 12 years after him, also knew the transformative power of suffering.  She once wrote to her sisters, “Let us cheerfully, generously, and wholeheartedly take up the cross given to us and, with it, let us purchase Heaven and an eternity of bliss. Is any price to high to pay for the eternal possession of Him for whom we have given up so much?” She wanted her sisters to know that in their work with the elderly and in the daily struggles that they will face, they should pattern their lives on their Master, who was not afraid to embrace his Passion and death. And like Jesus, they should avoid the temptation to bitterness, resentment, and despair and always remain hopeful and faithful.

 Fr. Titus paid the ultimate price with the willing surrender of his own life, and thankfully most of us will be spared this kind of martyrdom. But none of us can escape the trials and difficulties that are a part of any life. But what our Christian faith tells us is that suffering is not the end of the story, and that it is Easter Sunday, not Good Friday, where our destiny lies. While there is no crown of glory without the cross, we can trust, as Fr. Titus did, when he said while in prison, “We are in God’s hands. We are in good hands.”

The Resident’s Corner: Mount Carmel Care Center

Residents at Mass
Sisters give entertainment to residents
Sr. Sean Damien Flynn, O.Carm. with a resident

Mount Carmel Care Center, a 69-bed home in Lenox, Massachusetts, became a Carmelite sponsored facility in October of 2013. Previously named Providence Care Center, the home was under the sponsorship of the Sisters of Providence. The Carmelite Sisters became aware of their decision to sell the facility, and they were impressed with the caring and mission-oriented spirit of the staff. The home was then acquired and renamed. The transition took place at a lovely para-liturgical ceremony seamlessly between the sponsors. The legacy of mission-driven Catholic healthcare was able to continue in the lovely Berkshires of Western Massachusetts near The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, and the Boston Symphony’s summer home at Tanglewood.

Still today, that initial impression of the staff as mission-oriented has been borne out through the last eight years and this is what attracts potential residents, guests and their families. There are newer facilities close by with modern amenities but time after time Mount Carmel is the choice for our area. We have many, many short-term guests who return when they need rehabilitation and say they would not go anywhere else. At Mount Carmel, there is a true sense of home and family. All who work here have embraced all things Carmelite from our Mission Statement and Core Values to all our special Carmelite Feast Days. Our core values were unknown to the Mount Carmel staff back in 2013, but compassion, hospitality, shared commitment and respect for the sanctity of life were present and continue to be embraced by the staff. Mount Carmel Care Center is a small but mighty home.

Commemorating the 38th Anniversary of Birth & Death of Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory, O.Carm.

On January 21st 2022, the 38th anniversary of Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa’s passing to eternal life, the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm held a Eucharistic celebration at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, New York. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa: A Companion in Care.’  The Most Reverend Gerardo J. Colacicco of the Archdiocese of New York served as the principal celebrant. Also present were the Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Carmelite Friars of the Saint Elias Province in Middletown, NY, Rev. James Hess, O.Carm., and the Professed Brothers of the St. Eliseus Priory in Harrison, NJ. The Mass was live-streamed to the public via the Carmelite Sisters website, and was attended by the Avila Sisters.

Bishop Colacicco’s homily reflected on this quote about Mother Angeline: “She lived her baptismal and religious consecrations brightly and intensely right up to the day God called her back to himself.”

These are highlighted excerpts from Bishop Colacicco’s homily:

…That light of Christ that she first received at her baptism… that call for everyone baptized Christian to be light to this world – she took very seriously. When challenges of life… tried to dim that light… that light burned brightly and intensely and it enabled those around her to live their consecrations as well.

At funerals, (there is a reading) from the Book of Wisdom… ‘The souls of the just are in the hand of God… In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and they shall dart about like sparks through stubble’. We know the power of the spark. It can ignite. The spark of Mother‘s life in cooperation with God’s grace and cooperation with divine providence continues to ignite.… her light enabled her to see clearly the path that God had chosen for her life, the purpose of her life… It was in that light that enabled her to see clearly… the aged and infirm and embrace them with love and compassion.

Mother’s life and example still shines brightly to remind us to be something different; to allow the spark of His light to shine forth from us so that no one remains in darkness; so that no one is in the shadow – that we are able to see clearly those whom Christ hides in. So that when we touch their life, we touch Him.

…Holy Communion is the fuel that keeps the flame of faith burning brightly and intensely in our lives, just as it did in Mother’s life… so Christ might be seen, reverenced, and loved in all we say and do. Mother believed this. She lived it and she has passed this legacy on to each and every one of us. Let us live out our baptismal and religious consecrations brightly and intensely for however long God’s providence allows.

Greetings from Father Mario

Dear Members of  Mother Angeline Society,

I am happy to greet you in this New Year of 2022. I pray you are well, and that you enjoyed Christmas and New Year’s very much. As members of the Mother Angeline Society, you are important to us. Your prayerful and financial support of the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, O.Carm. is invaluable in making Mother Angeline known and appreciated. You and your intentions are remembered in two Masses each month and in the daily prayers of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Life has been challenging for everyone and only with God’s help can we find the strength and positive spirit that we need.

This year, we are honoring Mother Angeline Teresa as a Companion in Care, which served as the theme of our annual celebration of her birth and death on January 21st. Throughout the pandemic, in an even more intense way, the Carmelite Sisters and those who minister with them in the service of the aged and infirm have faced, and continue to face, enormous challenges because of Covid-19 and all the issues related to it in the world of health care. The staff in our Carmelite homes have been heroic in their service of the elderly entrusted to their care, and the Sisters have been there with them step by step. And Mother Angeline – her spirit and dedication – remains present in the love, compassion and spirit of sacrifice they have demonstrated in the ministry. Venerable Mother Angeline is always their companion, unseen, but felt. As they care for the elderly in her spirit and according to her core values, she is a partner in the work, as her spirit animates each aspect of life in the various nursing homes. In the communion of saints, she is with us in God’s family, as an inspiration and guide. We say that in a Carmelite Home, though the care of the elderly may be similar to what is provided in other places, with us “the difference is love” and this motivates and shapes every aspect of the services provided. Mother Angeline taught her Carmelite daughters this value, to take the extra step, so that the residents always get the top priority, treated as family in a home-like setting with gentleness and reverence as
Christ wills it.

Thank you for your ongoing financial and spiritual support of the mission of the Mother Angeline Society that seeks to make the Venerable better known, and to advance her Cause in the Church. Her spirit of compassion and generosity in the care for and protection of the elderly are needed now more than ever before. We seek the support of her prayers, and her companionship in this mission. God bless you and may Our Lady watch over you always.

In Christ,

 

Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O.Carm.

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