Transition to Tradition (nov15ttr.htm)

Tuesday
November 15, 2005
vol 16, no. 289

Sister Mary Bernadette's mission is one soul at a timeConversions come "one soul at a time"

Angels Sing at Victory Gardens
by
Denise M. Trias

Hope springs eternal in these angelic nuns whose lives personify what Catholic religious should be in carrying out their religious vocation to minister to souls for Christ and His True Church.

      Editor's Note: The following is an account of the missionary efforts of a few dedicated nuns who have been invited into the ravaged archdiocese of Boston where churches have been sacked and sold to cover the cost of decades of sin and cover-up, resulting in so many souls being abandoned. Into this devastated vineyard, two totally Traditional nuns have come in the spirit of the missionaries of old, winning over hearts and souls by teaching the Truths and Traditions uncompromisingly. Since last spring, this breath of fresh air has manifested itself through the orthodox Catholicism of Sisters Mary Bernadette and Maria Providencia, who have edified souls, softened hearts, and invigorated many of the faithful of East Boston to realize what they have lost and seek to rekindle and rebuild. This is the story of the joy and hope they bring, especially to the elderly during a recent visit by Reverend Mother Marie de Lourdes and Sister Mary Philomena of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen.

    "As the young mother, her children and their friend slipped into the old church, a stunning sight beheld their eyes: The four sisters were there on their knees facing the statue and praying the Rosary in their flowing blue habits. The statue, encased in glass, and the four nuns before her were all bathed in the soft glow of candle light creating a centuries old mystical scene of deep devotion. Then, in the stillness the angels sang again, this time offering the traditional hymns of the Catholic Church to Our Lady. All too soon the sisters quietly gathered themselves and left. Their presence having left embedded in the memories of the young the meaning of quiet, humble prayer and song to express the honor due to God's Mother. The children were quiet, their friend in tears."


Guests at Victory Gardens    "The sisters are coming," was the buzz in East Boston around 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 6 where more than 75 people had gathered at 54 Orleans Street, better known as Victory Gardens. They were there to meet four angels in blue and experience the sounds of "And the Angels Sing" with the Sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen.

    The sisters did not disappoint, appearing as scheduled. They seemed to glide into the room, these visions of angelic reverence. The "angels" were Reverend Mother Marie de Lourdes and Sister Mary Philomena visiting from the Mother House in Spokane, Washington along with Sister Mary Bernadette and Sister Maria Providencia; the latter two being the first chosen by Reverend Mother for the East Boston mission of the CMRI Sisters.

Sister Mary Philomena and Reverend Mother Marie de Lourdes    While the lay people mingled they quietly expressed to each other the awe they felt in the presence of these holy women of the Catholic Church. You could hear the whispers of how wonderful it was to see Sisters in full habit as an expression of their love for our Lord. The sisters, in their humble manner moved about the room joyfully greeting the continuing arrivals, sharing stories about their Roman Catholic Faith and answering questions about their Sisterhood.

    The room was filled with two families with children, more then 25 adults and residents from Victory Gardens gathered around two long tables filled with Italian pastries and cookies. At another table the Sisters displayed traditional Catholic calendars, various CD's of the “Singing Nuns” for which they have become well-known, and information regarding their sponsors in Boston, the Society of Mary Immaculate Queen. SMRI, Inc. is a Society of lay Catholic men and women in Massachusetts sponsoring and supporting the Sisters' mission in Boston.

    The Sisters' Boston mission is a "one on one" mission; and as Sr. Mary Bernadette likes to say when she sets out to meet the people of Boston with rosaries and brown scapulars in hand, "It is one soul at a time." While Sister Mary Bernadette is off meeting the people in their neighborhoods, Sister Maria Providencia manages Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Bookstore in East Boston. They teach adult Catholic Doctrine classes, help establish the Block Rosary devotion in neighborhoods around Boston, and visit the sick.

Sister Mary Providencia, Reverend Mother, and Sister Mary Philomena in full tune while being directed by Sister Mary Bernadette out of the picture     In the informal setting Sister Mary Bernadette proceeded to the piano and played five songs that she knew by heart from her younger years. The music was enjoyed by half of the room and drowned out by the happy chatting of the other half of the room. No problem there though as that is what Sister Mary Bernadette announced she wanted - everyone to continue visiting. But in short order, all stopped eating and talking to listen to the four sisters in full blue habits sing a few beloved, timeless secular songs including, "Edelweiss" and "My Favorite Things" by The von Trapp Family Singers and in addition, sacred music selections of the Catholic Church.

    Millie Petroccione, a nine year resident of Victory Gardens, said that the sisters came for the first time last spring to the retirement home. Sister Mary Bernadette sang and played the piano. Since that day she comes faithfully every Wednesday at 2 pm to pray the rosary with the residents and sing. Millie said she likes seeing the CMRI sisters in their blue habits because "most nuns now dress in regular clothes."

    "What do I enjoy?" Millie asked when questioned about the sisters. "The singing," she replied.

    Achille De Lellis feels the same way. "I enjoy it so much," he said. He explained how his wife Margot was in the hospital. "I was depressed. They made me feel better. Their singing made me feel good. They hit me right in the ticker," he said, pointing to his heart.

    Following the mini concert, the sisters quietly disappeared. One young mother, her five children and their friend stopped into the nearby Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church to see the statue that had miraculously toppled and fell against the altar at the last Mass on October 10, 2004. That October the local parishioners took the toppling of the statue as a sign from Our Lady that the parish should not close, but within a few short weeks some Roman Catholics came to believe something much more profound about the miracle they witnessed. They believe that Our Lady wants the parish to return to the traditional Faith of its founders and to restore the Latin Mass.

    As the young mother, her children and their friend slipped into the old church, a stunning sight beheld their eyes: The four sisters were there on their knees facing the statue and praying the Rosary in their flowing blue habits. The statue, encased in glass, and the four nuns before her were all bathed in the soft glow of candle light creating a centuries old mystical scene of deep devotion. Then, in the stillness the angels sang again, this time offering the traditional hymns of the Catholic Church to Our Lady. All too soon the sisters quietly gathered themselves and left. Their presence having left embedded in the memories of the young the meaning of quiet, humble prayer and song to express the honor due to God's Mother. The children were quiet, their friend in tears.

    The Sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen, the Marian Sisters of CMRI, are consecrated Brides of Christ and committed Roman Catholics who assert unswerving allegiance and devotion to the Holy Catholic Church, to the primacy of the Papacy, and to the Magisterium as it has stood for nearly 2000 years. Their apostolates include Catholic publications, teaching, parish work and "The Singing Nuns."

    One may learn more about the Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen (Congregatio Mariae Reginae Immaculatae) by visiting the CMRI website For more information and to make donations to the work of the Sisters in Massachusetts, call the SMRI at 1-617-569-8430 or Mary Immaculate Queen Convent at 1-617-561-4013. When in Boston, remember the Sisters' bookstore is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am-4 pm or by appointment at 30 Geneva Street in East Boston. Just call 1-888-838-3972 or come say hello to the Sisters and be greeted by their angelic smiles.

    Our dear Savior speaks in this past Sunday's Gospel of the mustard seed being likened to the Kingdom of Heaven and that from this tiny grain a great tree grows. So also from the tiny grain of faith of these Sisters, great branches will spread out - first from East Boston and then beyond - in offering the sturdy shade of Catholic Truth and Love. As this manifests itself, and the leaven of sincerity rises ever more, the fruits will begin to multiply ever moreso, then the Angels above will truly rejoice in a heavenly Te Deum with the conversion of each soul - one at at time, thanks to these angelic sisters here on earth.



    For past articles of Transition to Tradition, see 2005ttr.htm Archives

    November 15, 2005
    vol 16, no. 289
    Transition to Tradition