Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 01 December |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Charles de Foucauld
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Meet an Irish-American nun who was an advocate for the aged in New York

SISTER MARY ANGELINE

Sr. Helena | Youtube

Philip Kosloski - published on 08/27/17

"If you have to fail, let it be on the side of kindness. Be kinder than kindness itself to the old people."

Born on January 21, 1893, in Ireland, Brigid Teresa McCrory pursued her calling to the religious life at an early age. At 19 she left home for France and joined the new religious community called the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Little Sisters of the Poor had (and still have) the particular charism of caring for the elderly whom nobody else can care for. After Brigid’s profession of vows she became known as Sister Mary Angeline.

Sister Angeline was then sent to the United States to the Little Sisters of the Poor in New York. By 1926 she was named superior of the community in the Bronx. However, as she tried to minister to the elderly in the United States, she began to desire to serve the elderly in ways she felt more suited to the area.

Mother Angeline sought the guidance of Cardinal Patrick Hayes of New York. He encouraged her, recognizing that the elderly of his flock could be better served. Mother Angeline then sought permission from Rome and with six other sisters departed from the Little Sisters of the Poor to found a new community based on her spirituality and the methods of service she wanted to use.

A local group of Carmelite friars helped Mother Angeline, and by 1931 her new community was officially known as the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.

During her life Mother Angeline was known for her extraordinary charity and hospitality. Bishop Howard Hubbard recalled how when he was a seminarian he visited the motherhouse and met Mother Angeline. He said she had a “magnetic personality,” and “treated [us] like the most important people in the world.” Bishop Hubbard added that, “I’ll always remember her for her palpable love of priests and her encouraging kindness to two lowly seminarians.”

Father Mario Esposito, the vice-postulator of her canonization cause, further comments on her hospitality, explaining how she taught her sisters, “that the elderly should be welcomed and treated as if, first, they were our own parents, and then, welcomed as if we were welcoming Christ Himself.”

One of her best-known sayings was, “If you have to fail, let it be on the side of kindness. Be kinder than kindness itself to the old people.”

Mother Angeline died on January 21, 1984, and soon after a commission formed to recognize her extraordinary holiness. Pope Benedict XVI declared her “venerable” in 2012 and prior to that in 2009 a possible miracle was sent to the Vatican in hopes that it would pave the way to her beatification.

See more in our series on the Saints of the United States.

Tags:
SaintsSaints of the United States
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.