Sanctity in America: Ven. Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory, O. Carm.

Ven. Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory was born Brigid Teresa McCrory on January 21, 1893 in Mountjoy, Country Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom.  When she was nine years old, her family moved to Scotland, and at the age of 19, Mary Brigid joined the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Congregation of women religious dedicated to serving the destitute elderly.  She made her novitiate in La Tour, France, where she was given her religious name.  After profession, she was sent to work in the United States.

Sister Angeline was named Superior of the home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Bronx, NY.  During their annual retreat in 1927, she felt the call to do even more for the elderly she served.  She also became convinced that the European methods of caring for the elderly were not a good fit for America.  As well, knowing that old age strikes everyone of every class, she desires to expand her ministry to all elderly, and not only the elderly poor.

Sister Angeline sought the council of Patrick Cardinal Hayes, archbishop of New York.  Eventually, with the Cardinal’s encouragement and with the support of the Carmelite friars in New York, Sister Angeline and six other Sisters withdrew from the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor and were given permission by Rome to begin their own community along the ideals of service developed by Sister Angeline.  In 1931, the community became formally affiliated with the Order of Carmel and took the name Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.  Mother Angeline told her Daughters, “If you have to fail, let it be on the side of kindness.  Be kinder than kindness itself to the old people.”

Mother Angeline was recognized by many for her tireless and compassionate work for the elderly.  During her life, she received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award from the Vatican, the National Award of Honor from the American Association Homes for Aging, Honorary Degrees in Humane Letters from Siena College and Manhattan College, and the Papal Benemerenti Award.  At the time of her death, the Carmelite Sisters for the Infirm and Aged ran 59 foundations.

Mother Angeline died on January 21, 1984, her 91st birthday.  She is buried at the Congregation’s cemetery at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, NY.  On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the Decree of Heroic Virtues, testifying that Mother Angeline had lived a life of heroic virtue and bestowing upon her the title “Venerable.”

Be Christ for all.  Bring Christ to all.  See Christ in all.

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