It was dark, cold and silent when the women gathered in the little Chapel atop a snowy hill in Garrison, N.Y. They had come month after month for spiritual direction with Father Titus Craney, SA, Friar of the Atonement. They were following the directives given through the Archdiocese as first members and Foundresses of their new Community and were completing all the necessary requirements according to Canon Law.
Marie Rose Ferron was their Spiritual Inspiration and gave the name for the Community. She had taken her vows in 1928 with permission of Bishop Hickey of Providence R.I. However, the groundwork and organization, including writing the Constitutions, Community Rule and designing of the habit were left for those who would follow.
The day was February 22, 1959, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Two of the members had been received under private vows since 1952 but today would be special. As a group, each member would make vows following the Rule and Constitution and wearing their formal habit which they had donned on Pentecost of that year. Their leader by word and deed had finally accepted the grace of Foundress. Her associate would stand by her in support and the others followed according to God’s chosen place for each of them in Community.
The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter acknowledges the primacy of Peter as our first Pope and the authority given to each of his successors. It was a perfect feast for this solemn occasion for a group that was firmly faithful to our Roman Pontiff and our beloved Catholic Church.
The newly-appointed Foundress had always visualized Marie Rose Ferron in that role but Canon Law requires the Foundress to be the one who completes the tasks involved in the process. Rose was not physically able to accomplish this in her frail and limited lifetime. However, she provided an undaunting example in daily life which this Community would live and teach to others.
Of whom do I speak? My own Religious Community, the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus. Yes, in the simplicity of a Franciscan Chapel in the frigid cold of that February day, God placed life into an organization that would be called to light a fire within the hearts of countless souls. They would take this powerful grace and blessing of reparation to work places, schools, parishes, care centers, hospitals and public areas of life.
All who would follow must remain faithful to our beloved Church, living simply according to the Franciscan rule, and being a torch of faith and love of God wherever they are led.
Mother Mary of the Angels, S.R. February 2019
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