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.

Celebrating Religious 75, 70, 60 50 Years of Jubilees

On June 5, 2021, Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse at Avila-on-Hudson celebrated with our Carmelite Sisters who commemorated their respective 75, 70, 60 and 50 years of religious jubilees.

The principal celebrant was Monsignor Drake Shafer from the Diocese of Davenport. Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm. was the Master of Ceremonies, assisted by the Carmelite Brothers of the Saint Elias Province in Middletown, New York.

The Jubilarians are Sr. M. Xavier Frances Marchiony, O.Carm. (75 years), Sr. M. Robert of the Infant Jesus Romano O.Carm. (70 years), Sr. M. Lois Joseph Baniewicz, O.Carm., Sr. M. Titus Joseph Ramsbottom, O.Carm., Sr. M. Jacqueline Joseph Wagner, O.Carm. Sr. Barbara Francis Higgins, O.Carm. (60 years), Sr. Marie Richard Carmel Brusca, O.Carm. and Sr. Diane Marie Mack, O.Carm. (50 years).

On this day, our Jubilarians renewed their religious vows first made many years ago, in the presence of their families, invited guests and fellow Sisters. It was a beautiful and inspiring testament of mutual love and fidelity – God’s and his chosen soul.

We offer our gratitude to all the Jubilarians who have given so many years and so much of themselves to the service of God, the Church and our Community. May God bless each of them abundantly and may Our Lady of Mount Carmel enfold each in her mantle and draw them ever closer to her Son.

Below: Jubilarians; 75th Jubilarian: Sr. M. Xavier Marchiony; 70th Jubilarian: Sr. M. Robert of the Infant Jesus Romano; 60th Jubilarians (L-R): Sr. M. Lois Joseph, Sr. M. Titus Joseph, Sr. M. Jacqueline Joseph; 50th Jubilarians (L-R): Sr. Diane Marie Mack. O.Carm., Sr. Marie Richard Carmel Brusca, O.Carm. Monsignor Drake Shafer,
principal celebrant

EWTN Filming

The Carmelite Sisters were invited to participate in a project to be aired on EWTN as part of a series called “They Might Be Saints”. From January 18-21, Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse was bustling with activity as interviews were conducted and scenes from Mother Angeline’s early life were filmed. Despite a major snowstorm that meant moving schedules around, with God’s help everything was accomplished. The Producer, Michael O’Neill, was open to Mother’s family portraying her in the scenes, so Karen, Angeline, Katie and Michael McCrory depicted Mother and her family during Mother’s teenage years in Scotland. Some of the filming was done in St. Sylvia’s Church and Rectory in Tivoli, NY. The McCrory family welcomed two Little Sisters into the house (Sr. Veronica and Sr. Mary of Jesus), and Angeline portrayed Mother arranging flowers in the local parish and taking a book from Dean Cronin’s library the evening before her entrance into the convent. Later, Brigid McCrory Amundson played Mother as a Little Sister of the Poor receiving blessed roses from Fr. Flanagan (Fr. Jim Hess) and meeting with Cardinal Hayes (an actor) accompanied as far as the door by Sr. Julie. There is no dialogue in the scenes, but a voice-over narration will be used.

The episode will be aired later in the year on EWTN.  Stay tuned for details.

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From the Pen of Brother Bob

In a world that moves as quickly as ours does, it is comforting to know there will always be a certain stability to the Catholic Church. It is no great secret that the Catholic Church changes slowly, very slowly. She does so because she wants to be confi€dent that, after much prayer and reƒflection, any developments will bring about a more authentic and Gospel oriented Church, and not one that is merely giving into contemporary ideas and values. The Church recognizes it has a great responsibility for the spiritual lives of its members and for their eternal destinies. Therefore, any modi€cations in Church teaching, practice, or worship must be done carefully and judiciously. is, of course, frustrates those
who think “Why can’t the Church get with the times and change their teaching on x, y,
and z ?!” , but the Church has never felt the need to be “trendy”. In recent times, at least from the perspective of the long history of the Church, one place that has experienced a great deal of change is religious life. For centuries, priests, nuns and brothers maintained a lifestyle that was fairly regimented and uniform. And while these consecrated men and women served the church and the world selflƒessly, Vatican II encouraged religious congregations to look back to the reason why their communities were founded in the fi€rst place, and recapture the initial enthusiasm and spirit their founders had. The world in which many religious congregations began was a much di’fferent one than of today. Some communities were founded with a very specifi€c mission, e.g. to teach poor girls how to do domestic work, or to ransom Christians taken by non-Christians, or to minister to a particular immigrant group.

When the need for these apostolates disappeared, the congregations founded for these particular works were then left asking, “what is our role in the world to be ?” So, they examined the situation around them, discovered what the current needs are, and adapted their charism so that they would continue to live out their religious vocation in a modern context. This was not an easy process as it meant modifying traditions and customs that may have existed for centuries; it meant years of careful discernment and
study, and it meant experiments that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. Always attentive to the Church’s directives, Mother Angeline embraced the Vatican Council’s call for revitalizing religious life. She sent Pope Paul VI’s Exhortation on the Renewal of Religious Life (1971) to all of her Sisters, and had the Sisters read and reflƒect on this important document. She believed wholeheartedly that religious life was not some static, never changing reality, but a way of living that is open to adaptation: “since we were established in 1929 we have not allowed ourselves to stand still”. And while Mother certainly believed the homes her community administered should be up to date with the
latest advances in geriatric care, she told her Sisters, “we must never allow ourselves to forget our original purpose, and our growth spiritually must never suff’er as a result of professional training.”

Mother Angeline was not afraid of change. In fact, she was courageous enough to leave her former religious community when she discerned that the Holy Spirit was leading
her in a di’fferent direction. But Mother, by temperament, was not in any way reckless
or impulsive. When she did decide to leave her community, she only did so after a long
period of prayer and in consultation with people whose judgement she could trust.
In the same way with the new community she founded, she made sure that she and her
Sisters understood what was being asked of them in terms of religious renewal. Any changes would have to be carefully studied; the consequences would have to be prayerfully considered. She wrote, “We have endeavored to keep our Congregation in step with the times, holding on, however, to the basic principles of religious life, and remaining faithful to Rome.” Ultimately, Mother Angeline reminds us that, regardless of our state in life, our lives must be oriented towards the Divine. How we do this may change over the years, but the goal always remains the same: faithful service to God and to our brothers and sisters.

Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, Pope Francis and A Little Girl

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Several of our Sisters were privileged to see Pope Francis when he visited the United States. One of these visits took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and resulted in a beautiful friendship between the Carmelite Sisters and the Braga family. Marcia and Pietra Braga were in the Cathedral hoping to “catch a glance” of the Holy Father. Our Sisters were instrumental in getting them close enough to make that happen. Not only did they see him but he stopped to give Pietra a special blessing. Pietra is 9 years old and was being treated for Cancer at Sloan Kettering Hospital. The family had moved into the Ronald McDonald house from Brazil so they could be together during Pietra’s treatments. That evening we gave them a blessed badge of Mother Angeline and told them we would be praying for healing through Mother’s intercession.

Marcia, Marcos, Pietra and her twin brother Tales, made two trips to visit us at Avila, where they had a tour of the Heritage Center and prayed at Mother’s grave. Since that time, Pietra’s condition has improved and the family will be moving back home to Brazil in August. Please join us as we continue to ask Mother Angeline to intercede on Pietra’s behalf.

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