Remembering Our Foundress

January 21, 2013 is Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa's 29th anniversary of death.  What is it about our Foundress we admire?  Our Sisters in Formation share their thoughts on the woman they call "Mother Angeline Teresa."


   (L-R) Sr. Mary Josephine, Sr. Luke Mary, Sr. Hope Therese, Sr. Katherine Theresa,
                                                  Sr. Maureen Paul & Sr. Mary Catherine

Sr. Hope Therese, O.Carm.
 "One characteristic of Mother Angeline that I especially admire was her courage.  She left the security and happiness with the Little Sisters of the Poor because she felt called to serve the elderly in a different way.  She did not know if her new Community would succeed or not.  She had complete faith and trust in God’s Providence and wisdom.  With any vocation there are difficulties, struggles, and roadblocks.  If one gets through them, it leads to greater affirmation of God’s will.  To get through hard times and persevere in God’s plan, one needs courage.  I am amazed by Mother Angeline’s strong faith that gave her the courage to carry out a vision that was radical for its time.  God has a plan for everyone. 
Even when things are rough they will get better.  No bad time lasts forever.   The hard road is the narrow gate that will lead us to the kingdom of God.  Mother Angeline understood all of this.  She never gave up on God’s plan for her despite setbacks.  We, her daughters, need to remember this on our vocational journey.  If Mother Angeline could persevere in a changing vocation we can persevere in a steady one.  We have nothing to fear with such a courageous Foundress as our Mother, protector and guide."

 Sr. Mary Josephine Crowe, O.Carm
Temporary Vow Sister
 "Mother Angeline’s love of family draws me very much to her.  In caring for her residents, her emphasis was to provide a genuinely home-like environment.  She also encouraged family members to come into the Home often to visit and to be with and care for their father, mother, aunt, sister or brother.  She emphasized the importance of residents going out to visit their families, to go on vacation, to go to the theater with family and friends.  She saw the importance of family members joining the residents for Sunday Mass and having a cup of tea or coffee afterwards.  She saw the importance of decorating the residents’ rooms with their own belongings and memorabilia.  Mother Angeline also emphasized the importance of the Sisters’ families.   We also have our own families and I have been told that Mother used to say that you can’t care for other people’s families if you have not cared for your own.  I remember visiting one of Mother Angeline’s Homes before I entered.  The Sisters were chatting over lunch about who had joined them for the Easter celebrations and dinner afterwards.  One Sister had her mother and brother come a long distance to visit.  Another Sister had her mother who was a resident in the Home also join them. Coming through the convent the following morning, I met the one Sister who was on her day-off and was ironing her mother’s clothes.  It seemed so normal.  There was an atmosphere of family in the convent and in the Home."

Sr. Luke Mary Angeline, O.Carm
 "Mother Angeline’s faith was extraordinary. Faith is supernatural because we cannot by ourselves acquire it. It is a free gift of God. It is however, increased by prayer and continual exercise. Our faith must be firm and complete; that is, both certain and all-encompassing. Mother Angeline’s accomplishments proved that she was not only a woman of faith but also a woman of prayer. Without her faith and prayers, our Congregation, would not have been founded."

Sr. Mary Catherine, O.Carm.
 "Mother Angeline Teresa was a unique woman who followed the path, or shall we say, the road less traveled.  Her faithfulness to God the Father, following the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, led her to establish a new road in the service of her Spouse and Love, Jesus.  May I also be so faithful on the road less traveled."

Sr. Maureen Paul Angeline, O.Carm.
 "When I first began to learn about Mother Angeline’s life, I remember thinking, “Now this is a person who is authentic in her relationship with God.”  With a single-mindedness found only in saints, she joined the Little Sisters of the Poor at the tender age of 20.  She was sent away to France as a Postulant, made her First Vows at age 22, and was sent to America to begin her ministry to the Elderly.  Ten years later she made Final Vows in France and was again reassigned to America.  Only four years after that, she took a huge step in faith and left her beloved Little Sisters of the Poor, in order to fulfill her vocation to serving the elderly in America in a new and unprecedented way.  She took into consideration the American culture and traditions and to provide care for the middle class elderly in a comfortable home-like environment.    This part of her life-story shows clearly the extent to which she gave of herself, not seeking to satisfy her own wants and needs, but in trust and humility abandoned herself entirely to do God’s will.  This complete lack of duplicity, her great courage, and total trust in Divine Providence are what inspired me to leave the comfort and security of the life that I had worked so hard to build up around myself.  I often turn to her prayerfully for guidance and assistance as I am formed and transformed in my life as Novice.  Mother Angeline listened to God’s voice with her heart and yielded to His will entirely and unselfishly.  I pray for the grace to follow her example.  Mother Angeline said, “It is not a way of life for the weak or ambitious.”          



by Sr. Maureen Paul Angeline, O.Carm

 The idea that a virgin gives birth is “absurd.”  Even more absurd is the thought that a mere mortal could give birth to God. God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is, was, and ever will be, chose a specific time and place in human history to become one of his own creatures... Absurdity upon absurdity! 
These were my thought as I worked through my Advent meditations.  What do I really believe and why do I believe it?  Faith truly is a mystery and a gift.  I believe that there is a God because the world around me is too beautiful.  It is too well-ordered in all its complexities to be anything other than the creation of a great mind and power. It is far greater than that of human beings.  But what about the goodness of the God who created all of this?  What about all of the pains and sufferings of life?  What about innocent children being gunned down in their school?  What about the losses and the evil in the world?  How could God who is infinitely good allow them?  

The limits of my human mind prevent me from understanding.  And so, unable to comprehend, I turn my mind to the Incarnation:
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory; the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love.  Of his fullness we have all had a share - love following upon love."  Jn1:14 and 16 (NAB)

The ancient Israelites expected the messiah to come mounted on a steed, charging into battle, a powerful, fierce figure wielding the sword, dispensing justice, uniting the tribes of Israel, and ruling the whole world with invincible might and unending glory.  Instead he came as a little baby boy, a helpless, vulnerable, fully human baby.  The word "absurd" again came to mind. "Could it be that the infinitely good and all-powerful God, the Mastermind of all creation, knows more than I do?"  Of course He does!  My lack of understanding does not matter.  He chose to become human as a baby.  How delicately and gently He made His dwelling among us!  And He came "filled with an enduring love."  He loved completely, perfectly, steadfastly in all respects even to the point of suffering and dying for us.  The bitter sting of the finality of death was replaced by the sweetness of hope - hope in eternal life, in love and in salvation.
How absurd that I would question Him about anything, or set myself up as His judge to say whether He is good or not!  Life is a great gift and not one that is earned or merited in any way.  What great joy I then experienced as I relinquished my irrational desire to rationalize God.  Joy in His birth, joy in His life, and joy even in His death, because it was followed by His resurrection. To surrender to His will, accept life as the great gift that it is, and to love and live fully as He did, and as He created me to be- that is pure Joy.  I know from my own experience that the more I surrendered to His will in all things, from the biggest life decisions, to the smallest moment to moment choices- the fuller, richer, and more joy-filled my life is.  God is good!  I pray that you too may have a joyful spirit and may come to know "love following upon love."