Celebrating 50, 60, 70 and 75 Years of Religious Jubilees

On June 3, 2023, nineteen Carmelite Sisters celebrated their, 50th, 60th, 70th, and 75th religious jubilees. A Jubilee Eucharistic Celebration was held at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse with The Most Reverend Gerardo J. Colacicco of the Archdiocese of New York who served as the principal celebrant and homilist. Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm. was the Master of Ceremonies and Reverend Michael Kissane, O.Carm., Reverend Mark Zittle, O.Carm., Rev. James Sullivan and Rev. Jim Hess, O.Carm. were con-celebrants.

The Jubilarians celebrated with loving remembrance and gratitude to 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 are deeply acknowledged and appreciated! Congratulations dear Sisters.

Highlighted excerpts from the Homily of The Most Reverend Gerardo J. Colacicco:

“… On the feast of Pentecost Jesus entered that upper room… and breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit… He gave them the power of this resurrected life which we know to be the Holy Spirit, the power to live our lives faithfully… joyfully… in truth and goodness and beauty… To those who have consecrated their lives for the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He grants a blessing in silence, in the quiet of the world, in this little corner of the world. He grants a tremendous blessing. And He says to us, “Look here. Pay attention here. Look at these my brides, look at the joy they give to my Sacred Heart. Look at the joy and hope that they give the world.  Pay attention here, for this is the most beautiful, this is the most truth, this is where I move and live and act in them, and through them, and with them to show my goodness to the world. For this, my dear Sisters, we give you thanks.”

Teaching Religious Sisters Around the World How to Age Well Together

by Shane Cooney, AIG Head of Education

Above: Sisters from around the world with AIG Director, Sr. M. Peter Lillian Di Maria, O.Carm., and AIG Faculty and Staff, Deacon Tony Silvestro, Phillip McCallion, and Shane Cooney.

Communities of religious women in many countries around the world are facing the challenge of how Sisters can provide the appropriate care and support for their aging members. Unfortunately, many Religious Congregations have neither the funds nor the support systems in place.

In 2022, the Avila Institute of Gerontology and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm discussed options to answer these needs. The Avila Institute was blessed to receive a $720k grant to develop Sisters Aging Well Together (SAWT), a Congregational eldercare enablement program offered as a pilot program to 12 Sisters from different Communities representing Mexico, India, Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. The goal of this program is to provide an opportunity for the Sisters to learn more about how to care for their aging Sisters. They will then be charged with sharing this information and teaching their own Communities and other Communities as the eldercare networks in these countries continue their development.

Beginning in March 2023, the 12 Sisters began receiving formative education on various concepts and practices in gerontology, person-centered care, and care of the aged in the Community setting, based on Mother Angeline’s philosophy of being “kinder than kindness itself” and treating each of our cherished aged and infirm as a unique human being. They attended classes with AIG faculty twice per week via video conference in the AIG Learning Center to complete 50 hours of education, assignments, and evaluations.

In July 2023, 10 of the 12 Sisters were able to come Avila for one month and had an opportunity to tour the Teresian House in Albany, New York. During this time, the Sisters were also able to attend in-person classes that allowed for additional opportunities for discussion, information sharing, and relationship building. A considerable amount of time was given to exploring care plans and being introduced to the AIG Care Transitions Tool, which is an instrument designed to help Sisters assess the readiness to care for the aged in their Communities.

At the end of their visit at Avila, the Sisters spent more time at St. Patrick’s Manor, where they were able to see how the Carmelite Sisters operate a long-term care Home. Once the Sisters return to their homes in August, AIG will continue to meet with them to assist with the implementation of the Care Transitions Tool and to provide ongoing support. In this way, AIG will continue to be with the Sisters each step of the way as they plan for their future—one in which they will age well together. 

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: http://www.bedeva.org/meet-the-saints-of-saint-bede. 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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