The call bespeaks of action, of moving. That is what we do when Christ leads the way. Ironically, our life of prayer calls us to be a still point in a busy world. We have been a contemplative presence in the Hudson Valley for over 55 years and will continue to be so even though we are moving. Six of us will move to Beacon and share the Carmel of the Incarnation monastery. The others are moving to Meadowview Assisted Living today.
Do we remember the call?
Our Foundress Ven. Mother Maria Celeste Cristarosa was no stranger to hearing a call and following as Christ led the way. In religious life, she first entered a Carmelite monastery, then a Visitation monastery in Scala. It was there she heard the call to “transform her being into that of the Lord himself.” She further heard the call that the whole community was to become a “Living Memory of Christ.” Two years after the institution of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer was established, Celeste was dismissed from the community and moved three more times before making a foundation in Foggia.
Remember your call?
Sr. Mary Anne heard the call at the St. Anne de Beaupre Shrine in Quebec when she heard of the French Redemptoristine Nuns praying on the hill. WWII was over, so she left the tank factory to cross the border at Detroit to enter into the new foundation of English speaking Redemptoristine Nuns in Toronto. Not many years later the monastery became too small and the growing community moved to Barrie, Ontario. In 1957 Sr. Mary Anne and five other sisters came to New York to make a new foundation at the invitation of the Baltimore Province.
Sr. Mary soon joined them. She came up from Brooklyn from teaching with the Sisters of St. Joseph when she heard the call to a deeper life of prayer. She was the first sister to enter when the sisters were still living temporarily just down the road in the historic Smith House in West Park while the big monastery was being built on the Redemptorist seminary property.
Sr. Lydia heard the same call to a life of prayer while working with the Redemptorists and left behind her family and friends in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico to enter the Redemptoristines in Esopus in the middle of winter.
Many women heard the call to follow Christ’s lead and joined them. Some stayed while others heard the call to another way of life.
After discerning the that big monastery was no longer conducive on many levels in supporting our contemplative call, the sisters moved into a new smaller monastery in 2001 also built on the grounds of Mount St Alphonsus. Then, suddenly last year we found ourselves in West Park again living temporarily at Cabrini. Our discernment has taken many twists and turns these past two and a half years until all our options were explored and we heard where the Lord was calling us.
We have been called to sacrifice and let go of all we hold dear. Our three sisters: Mary Anne, Mary and Lydia are called to make the greater sacrifice in living in new surroundings. Nevertheless, we follow as Christ leads the way and will continue to live as a contemplative presence throughout all the circles and cycles of life wherever we reside for the love of God and the love of community for all the people of God. Though separated by distance we remain united in mind and heart, spirit and charism. The beauty of our life of prayer transcends space and time. No matter in which place we find ourselves individually, we live like our Blessed Mother striving to live the love of Christ in constant communion with her Son who is the light of our faith, the strength of our charity and the source of our hope.
In Meadowview the sisters will be among the welcoming ambience already created by the Lutherans, and the Dominicans and Franciscans. Their gift will be that of the contemplative dimension which we are all called to experience at a deeper level as the circles and cycles of life roll on.
Yes, we remember the call, the vision born of love, lived in fidelity, wisdom and hope and grown into fullness of life following as Christ leads the way in the Name of Love.