From the Pen of Brother Bob

No one would doubt that Pope Francis is a man who has many responsibilities. He is the spiritual head of over 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide and oversees the administration of a vast and complex Vatican bureaucracy. But one of the more important tasks the Pope has, and something that is often overlooked in all his meetings with foreign dignitaries and global travels, is to teach. As the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis regularly takes time to instruct the faithful on various aspects of the Catholic faith. One way he carries this out is by offering a series of catecheses on particular topics during his weekly general audiences. He has previously addressed themes related to hope, faith, discernment, and St. Joseph. Just last year, he gave a series of 18 short talks about the meaning and value of old age.

As an admittedly not young man himself, the topic was particularly personal to him, and he noted that we are living in an age when there has never been as many elderly as there are now. He went on to state that even though there are so many elderly people among us, they are not as valued and appreciated as they should be since they are not considered “productive” by societal standards. He asks “But is it true that youth contain the full meaning of life, while old age simply represents its emptying and loss? Is that true? Only youth has the full meaning of life, and old age is the emptying of life, the loss of life?” The wisdom and experience of the elderly is often overlooked and unacknowledged; their opinions are resented by those who feel that they “have had their time already and now need to step out of the way.” This fragmentation between the young and old, Pope Francis says, is contrary to God’s plan for humanity, and does both old and young a grave disservice. Both groups have something important to offer the other: the elderly have wisdom and experience, and the young have enthusiasm and hope.

Pope Francis expresses this imaginatively as he says “the elderly are like the roots of a tree; they have the history there, and the young are like the flowers and the fruit.“ Both are necessary for the tree not to just survive, but to thrive. And for the tree of humanity to thrive, there must be a conversation between the young and old, an ongoing and deep relationship where both are given the time and space to share. If the old stay mired in their ruminations about their idealized past, then the young will simply spend more time looking down at their phones. But when the old and young are brought together, and allow the other to speak from their experience, the separation between the generations can be overcome. The young can reverence the experience of the old, and the old can support the young in their dreams for the future.

Mother Angeline points to her own relationship with her grandfather as the initial inspiration for her vocation to serve the elderly. As a young girl, she was able to recognize and appreciate the great gift that the elderly are to us. Rather than being “throwaway
material”, Mother Angeline wholeheartedly believed “that old people whether they are 65 or 85 or 100, have a great need for individual care.” It is Mother’s guiding philosophy that
the elderly are entitled to spend their final years in a loving, home-like setting that still provides the foundation for the homes that Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm, and their lay associates administer. May we, as Pope Francis asks us, be able to see the beauty and importance of being old, and follow Mother Angeline’s example seeing the person of Christ in each and every old person.

Commemorating 39th Anniversary

Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa
Rev. James Donlon

On January 21, 2023, the 39th 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: Exemplar of Hope.’ The Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Carmelite Friars of the Saint Elias Province in Middletown, NY served as the principal celebrant. Concelebrating with Father Mario were Rev. James Donlon and Rev. Timothy Ennis, O.Carm. The event was attended by invited members of
the clergy, members of the McCrory family, friends of the Congregation, and The Carmelite Novices and Friars of the Brandsma Priory Novitiate in Middletown, NY. The Mass was live streamed to the public via the Carmelite Sisters website.

Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O.Carm.

Excerpts from Fr. Mario’s homily: working on Mother’s Cause for so many years, and looking at her in the context of today, our Commission could not fail to notice that Mother Angeline, though certainly possessing the virtues of faith, and charity and compassion to an heroic degree, also excelled in the virtue of hope....A person of hope believes that God’s plan as revealed in Christ will not fail, and a hopefilled person relies on God’s grace to step by step reveal that plan, God’s will, and give the strength to carry it out....From those who knew her, it was clear that her most obvious and foundational virtue was faith – faith in God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, faith and trust in the action of the Holy Spirit and Mary. She also had faith in the Church and its leaders, bishops, and priests....And what was next? Hope. ...Mother Angeline looked at Mary, Our Lady of Hope, as a model for herself and her Sisters....This hope is part of the charism and spirit of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and their ministry. Even when times are challenging, we have a grace-filled hope that God is with us, will direct us, and help us as he did Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa. The cross is a symbol of faith and the heart a symbol of charity. The precious symbol of hope is the anchor, which I didn’t always understand. When the anchor is sent off the ship, it must and does find a secure place on which to rest. The anchor holds the ship in place, giving stability and grounding....My sisters and brothers – Mother Angeline was grounded in the anchor of hope, Christ our Lord – his promises, his presence, his grace to help in all things. Hope must grow in us as well. Where are we anchored? I would guess in moments of anxiety and fear, the anchor may not be in the right place. Mother Angeline can remind us to be sure we are anchored in the right and secure place, our dear Lord, whose promises are always trustworthy. As the Letter to the Hebrews announced: ‘Let us rouse one another to love and good works” always anchored in Christ.

The Saints of St. Bede Catholic Church and Mother Angeline

The panels of the perimeter of the church and panel 8 depicting Mother Angeline

A massive art project commissioned by St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA, The Saints of St. Bede, includes 34 panels totaling approximately 1,360 square feet of handcrafted mosaic art. The mosaic panels will grace the perimeter of the church and depict 162 saints, including those who are venerated as venerable and blessed by the Roman Catholic Church. Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory, O.Carm. is portrayed in this series of very large mosaics. The Saints of St. Bede illustrate all the saints of the Americas as well as other men and women who lived heroically virtuous lives worthy of imitation or who were martyred for the Faith. Of the 162 who are depicted, 120 of those are people who lived and worked in the Americas since about 1530. The other 42 are saints whose lives span over 2000 years of Christian history and have a particular connection to the parish of St. Bede, the Diocese of Richmond, or a special devotion expressed by a parishioner.

Mother’s biography is also posted on St. Bede’s bulletin website for anyone in the world to read. The biographies of the individuals in the mosaic project can be found on this webpage: Mother Angeline shares
the panel with two other venerables: Venerable Henriette DeLille, S.S.F. and Venerable Alphonse Gallegos, O.A.R. Mother Angeline can be found on Panel 8. All of the figures depicted are based on live models. First, the image is painted, and then it is enlarged to a cartoon as a reverse image measuring 5’ x 8’ and is sent to the mosaicists. Venetian glass tiles are adhered to the drawing, and then the panel is mortared into a brass frame that has a substrate underneath it. The panel, weighing 260 pounds, has a beveled edge, and is held in place with a French cleat system. The best way to ensure the quality, safety and completion of the panels was to have the artisans on site: Angel Ramiro Sanchez, the principal artist and designer of the project; Emanuel Barsanti of Barsanti Bronze Marble Mosaic, the “general artistic contractor” for the project; and Manrico Bertellotti, the principal mosaicist. The project began in 2016 with a planned completion date of 4-5 years
and an estimated cost of $1 million. The funds were procured through private gifts and generous parishioners. To paraphrase the words of the Director of Development of St. Bede Catholic Church, Mr. Harold Samorian, Jr.,‘It is our job to propagate the faith to do this for generations to come, to help them learn about the Faith… One of the hopes is that each of us see ourselves in someone depicted… Some may have a connection with one of those marked by the sign of Faith.’ The Carmelite Sisters, their families, the residents of the Homes, and members of the Mother Angeline Society surely do! The Saints of the Americas around the Altar – mosaic program video can be found on online on the St. Bede Catholic Church YouTube channel.

Ministry Corner: Recreation

Photos taken before COVID-19- mandated PPE and social distancing guidelines are followed. Top Photo: Sr. Michelle Moore, O.Carm. with residents and volunteers. Bottom Photo: Residents Art Show

by Sr. Michelle Moore, O.Carm.

The basic goal of an Activities Program in a Carmelite Home for the Aged is to help Residents reach their fullest physical and mental potential. Activities provide for
social interactions, creative and self-expression, memory sharing and the stimulation of interests and hobbies. Activities help restore self-confidence, gives Residents a sense of security and most especially gives them reason to live as they look forward to participating. Activities also helps Residents to increase their ability to create, like leading a song or a poem or creating color and design. How thrilled a Resident is when their artwork is posted on the bulletin board! They usually say, “That’s my work, isn’t it nice?” Some Residents come to Arts and Crafts for the first time and say, “I can’t do anything.” With assistance and encouragement, suddenly they say, “I did that!” A Resident was heard saying, “I learn something new everyday.” It is also wonderful to see a Resident helping another with their art project. Participating in a group brings Residents much joy and helps them make friends. Bowling, sing-alongs, exercise, memory sharing and group activities also gives our Residents something to look forward to. It is wonderful to observe residents interacting with each other during a social or group activity. Music brings back so many memories, and music is included during a craft class or another activity, especially exercise. When I began the Activities Program, I had to learn some of the old favorite songs like Daisy, You Are My Sunshine, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, and If You’re Happy and You know it. Listening to the residents sing taught me the lyrics. Social activities including birthday parties, a weekly movie, and bingo bring laughter and joy to the Residents. Schools also provide entertainment with singing and band performances. Having activities twice a day lead to the need to create an activities calendar! The importance of activities can be summed up in three words – encouragement, motivation, and participation.


Handcrafted under the supervision of the Carmelite Friars in Vietnam, hand knotted – measures 5” when stretched out flat. Ideal to carry in your pocket, purse, car, or backpack.
Pocket Prayer Card for a Special Intention included – measures 2.5” x 3.5”

$11.50 each including shipping.

Click here to visit our Gift Shop

%d bloggers like this: