Mother’s Cause Crosses Into Canada

Father Jay Comerford, O.Carm. Retreat Director of Mount Carmel Monastery
Father Jay Comerford, O.Carm. Retreat Director of Mount Carmel Monastery

For more than a century the Mount Carmel Monastery in Ontario Canada, overlooking Niagara Falls, has been home to the Carmelites. It opened as a monastery and hospice June 10, 1899. It became a seminary in 1920 and in 1979 it adopted its current role as a Spiritual Center. On March 13th a presentation on Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, O. Carm., as part of the monthly Carmelite Spirituality Series, was given by Father Jay Comerford, O. Carm. a Retreat Director there.

Father Jay’s presentations on Mother Angeline include listing some of the innovations Mother introduced into the care of the elderly–most of which are now enshrined in law in most homes for the aged. Fr. Jay noted, “She was truly revolutionary.  Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she too received a “call within the call” to do something a bit different from the way she had first set out.”

Mother Angeline isn’t a stranger to Father Jay. During a preached retreat last summer on 20th Century Carmelite Saints or Saints-to-be, Mother Angeline was the final person he talked about. Father Jay recalls: “of the people I spoke about, Mother Angeline was the only one I had met…Six weeks before I was ordained a priest, I was at Carroll Manor in Maryland where I taught American Church History to the elderly. While I was sitting in the lobby waiting for the home’s administrator, suddenly a young Sister rushed in the door carrying satchels. She talked to the receptionist about room assignments. Then a tall, older Sister walked in and sat in the chair next to the front door. It was Mother Angeline.”

“I was startled to recognize her. Then my internal dialogue began – should I go over and talk to her or not? What would I say?  Knowing that I may never have another chance, I got up and walked over.  I introduced myself as a Carmelite Deacon who was about to be ordained and that I had been teaching the elderly at Carroll Manor for two years…that back in 1968 as a novice, on Saturdays I worked as an orderly at Garvey Manor in Hollidaysburg, PA.  And that I was from Joliet, Illinois where the Sisters ran St. Pat’s Residence in the converted Louis Joliet Hotel.  She thanked me for my service in her different houses. She asked the date of my ordination so she could pray for me on that day.  After this chance meeting, I rushed home for vespers and dinner.  I said to myself, ‘Well, I got to meet a saint!’’”