If you have to fail, let it be on the side of kindness

Our Foundress

Mother Angeline Teresa

Mother Angeline's roots go back to Ireland, where she was born Bridget Teresa McCory in County Tyrone on January 21, 1893. When she was seven years old her family migrated to Scotland, and it was there that she received her call to become a Little Sister of the Poor. Mother Angeline loved the mission of the Little Sisters, who for almost a hundred years had cared for the aged poor. Mother Angeline, too, had special place in her heart to compassionately care for the elderly. Following God’s call, the young Bridget McCory said goodbye to her family as she began her life of dedication. Soon she traveled to France, where she made her Novitiate at La Tour. After her Profession she was missioned to the United States, where the Little Sisters also had homes for the elderly.

In 1926, Mother Angeline was appointed Superior/Administrator of the Little Sisters home in the Bronx, New York. It was there during an annual retreat that she felt the urge to reach out and do more for the elderly for whom she cared. She felt the European way, as well as the customs of France, did not meet the needs of the elderly living in the United States. Mother also felt that old age strikes all classes of people, not just the poor, leaving them often alone and frightened. She was torn. Mother loved her Congregation and her work with the elderly yet she felt a larger role awaiting her.

When unable to make the changes in resident care that she desired, Mother Angeline sought the advice and counsel of Patrick Cardinal Hayes of New York. He immediately encouraged her to begin a new Congregation, as he, too, thought more could be done for the aged in the New York area. With this goal in mind, and with the blessing of the Cardinal, Mother Angeline and six other Sisters she felt she needed to take some bold steps and with the blessing of the Cardinal, Mother Angeline and six other Sisters withdrew from the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Soon they were granted permission from Rome to start a new Congregation for the care of the elderly that was to follow the vision and ideals of Mother Angeline. It was on September 3, 1929 that the new order was officially founded.

From that day forward, with the grounding in religious life Mother received from the Little Sisters of the Poor, she was now able to further develop this much needed apostolate with her new methods in mind. From the very start, the Carmelite Friars in New York took a deep interest in Mother and her small but growing religious community. In 1931, the new Community became affiliated with the great Order of Carmel and became known as "Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm."

Throughout her life, Mother Angeline and her Sisters dedicated their lives to the comfort and care of the aged. She taught by example the act of being kind and felt that it was important to reach out and clasp the hand of an aged person. She believed in the importance of that human touch. In her years as a Carmelite for the Aged and Infirm she created elder care facilities across the United States and homes in Ireland and Scotland, where she spent her early life. As a Sister and a revered Foundress she labored to improve the lives of the elderly and fill the later years of their lives with an abundance of love and respect. Among the many awards she received was the Pro Ecclesiae Award, given by Pope John XXIII, and the Benemerenti Award, by Pope Paul VI.

On January 21, 1984, her 91st birthday, Mother Angeline Teresa, our great and revered Foundress, went to her eternal reward. She had the great consolation of seeing her beloved Congregation grow beyond her expectations. Many years later her daughters of Carmel remember Mother's famous words: "If you fail, let it be on the side of kindness. Be kinder than kindness itself to the old people." Mother Angeline Teresa is laid to rest in the Congregation's cemetery at St. Teresa's Motherhouse in Germantown, New York. On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the Promulgation of the Decree of Heroic Virtues, one of the important steps towards Sainthood. Today she is known as Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, O. Carm.

The Mother Angeline Society.

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