Sister Mary of St. Joseph, Good Friend of Sister Stanislaus

“Sister Mary of St. Joseph, O.C.D.” (Mary Joseph Daly) was from the Gesu Parish, as was Sister Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament, O.C.D. (Helen Kelly).  They were very close, and died on the same day five years apart.  When Sister Stanislaus died, Sister Mary took up the work for St Therese.

Sister Mary of St. Joseph and and Sister Stanislaus were schoolmates at Notre Dame de Namur.  They were both assigned later as Portress.

3 Carmelite Nuns From Philadelphia Started The Spread Of St. Therese’s Spirituality In The U.S.

Sr. Stanislaus Kelly

photo of Sister Stanislaus Kelly
Sister Stanislaus Kelly, the first connection from the United States to Lisieux

Sr. Stanislaus was the young sister who first read the French copy of Saint Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul and was really the key in the contact with Lisieux Carmel and all that flowed from that before the Beatification.

Sr. Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament (Helen Kelly), 1879-1911.  A native of Philadelphia, she entered the Carmel of Boston in 1896, at the age of seventeen, and was chosen to be one of the foundresses of the Carmel of Philadelphia in 1902, at the age of twenty-three.  During the early years of her religious life, she read one of the first editions (in French) of the Story of a Soul, and became an ardent disciple of Sr. Thérèse.  She began communication with the Carmel of Lisieux and God used this contact as a means of spreading devotion to the “Little Flower” in the United States.

Sr. Teresita

photo of Sister Teresita, extern nun, Philadelphia Carmel
Sister Teresita, extern nun

She was an Extern sister; she lived outside the enclosure and served the community by assisting the visitors and delivery men. She is the sister who gave the Story of a Soul to then Archbishop Doughtery.  He read it promptly, became infatuated with the Little Way and then became an important promoter of St. Therese’s cause.

Sister Mary Daly

photo of Sr. Mary Daly
Sr. Mary Daly

After the death of Sr. Stanislaus (1911), Sister Mary of St. Joseph (Daly) continued the work of promoting the devotion to St. Therese.

Philadelphia Carmel’s Relationship With Lisieux

“Philadelphia was the first city in the United States to recognize the sanctity of Little Theresa many years before she was canonized by the Church in 1925.

photo of Sister Stanislaus Kelly
Sister Stanislaus Kelly, the first connection from the United States to Lisieux

Sister Stanislaus, of the discalced Carmelites of Philadelphia, introduced the life of the Little Flower to me about twenty-three years ago. It was written in French. Afterwards she showed me a record of some of her miracles. Then I began to preach about her twenty-one years ago, off and on, and for the last fifteen years every Sunday afternoon. The preaching made a demand for more knowledge of her; and our Carmel distributed thousands upon thousands of pictures, pamphlets and relics. There followed a call for these from all over the country and our Carmel supplied this new demand for every State in the Union.

Philadelphia’s Carmel stood alone in this work of spreading devotion to Little Theresa, all over the United States; and Philadelphia was the first city to recognize with our Carmel the glorious virtues and power of the Little Flower.

I am therefore only too glad to write an introduction for the first book on Little Theresa that has been written in Philadelphia, the birthplace of devotion to the Little Flower in this country, now aglow with love for this Little Saint.

My friend, Father Stepanian, has asked me if I think he has caught the spirit of St. Theresa as expressed in the extracts from her life and letters, that he has put into his little book.

I can truly say that I think he has caught her spirit. He has done what he set out to accomplish, to impart her spirit in a reading of an hour to those who have neither time nor inclination to study the complete Autobiography.

The beauty of this book is that it recounts the inner life of Little Theresa in her own words and in a simple order that can be quickly seen and relished.

Here we have religion in action taken from a life in our own times; here in this book is love at its highest and best, Little Theresa’s love for God and souls.”

 

REV. JOHN J. MOORE,
Chaplain of Mt. Carmel Convent, Phila., Pa.
Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16, 1927.

A_Bouquet_Of_Roses_BookThe Introduction from
A Bouquet of Roses
by Rev. Stephen Stepanian
Published by Rev. Stephen Stepanian
140 North Robinson Street, PhIladelphia, Pa.
(copyright 1927)

 (Fr. Moore was the first Chaplain of the Carmel of Philadelphia at the time of its foundation in 1902 and remained in that capacity until his death in 1928, the year after writing the above Introduction.)

Sr. Anne of Jesus to Sr. Ignatius July 7 1925

                                  J. M. J. T.

                                                                                                                  Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                                                                  July 7, 1925

 

My dear Sister Ignatius,

  First I must apologize for my long delay in thanking you for your kind letter and enclosure.  I need not explain to you the reason of my delay, for you know it well.  It is not assuredly forgetfulness for I think of you very often.  Yes, I often think of my dear sisters of Philadelphia, those on earth and those in Heaven.  On the day of the canonization I congratulated dear Sisters Stanislaus & Mary, for both must have felt a special joy on this day of triumph which by their prayers & labour they helped so much to hasten.

  I always feel moved when I think of them, and how often do I say to our little saint that if we gave to her English speaking clients – so many books & pictures to make them good, she owes it to Rev. Mother Beatrice who gave leave to her daughters to work, and to Srs. Stanislaus & Mary who encouraged me so much to make the editions and helped so wonderfully to dispose of them.  Then Sister Francis & your dear self succeeded to your little saints and thus Saint little Thérèse owes quite a lot to your dear Carmel, and we too.

  We try to repay you in praying for you all and doubtless our little saint will do so in granting you the roses you all desire:  that of an ever increasing love for Our Lord.

  Many thanks for the details of the celebrations of May 17 in Phila.  I hope you will be able to obtain the account of the blind child cured.

  I hope you received the Journal des Pélerins [Journal of Pilgrims]; as our Rev. Mother said in her circular, a benefactress has paid the subscription for one year to all the Carmels; so as you paid for one, you will in future receive two copies of the ed. de luxe; you might like to give the second copy to some friends.  As for the pictures, I sent your order to the Office Central but they could not supply the 4 pp.rotogravure leaflets as they are not yet ready.  There are no coloured pict. with English text.

  I will send you 500 new novenas.  I hope you are all keeping well.  We are just having a seven day feast after the consecration of our chapel.  Tomorrow there will be six bishops & one Cardinal.  It is quite glorious and we trust that the shower of roses falls abundantly on all.  Our greatest seven day feast in honour of our little saint will take place Sept. 24 to 30th.  I commend to your prayers my eldest brother who died a very holy death on April 22nd.  R.I.P.  All the community unites in sending to Rev. Mother Seraphim, Mother Beatrice and all the sisters, warmest greetings.  Assuring you, dear Sister of my sisterly affection, I remain, your loving sister in Our Lord.

  [no signature – indeed there was no room on page for her signature]

Sr. Anne of Jesus to Sr. Ignatius March 13 1921

                                                  J. M. J. T.

                                                                                                                                  Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                                                                                  13-3-21

 

My dear Sister Ignatius,

It was a real feast to hear from you.  It was such a long time we had had news of our dear Sisters of Philadelphia!

Please thank your Reverend Mother for the donation she has kindly sent towards the Basilica.  Like all God’s works, it meets with many obstacles but we feel sure that in God’s time all will be well.  We would like our saint to renew the miracle she wrought for you when she sent you the money needed for your chapel.  Please ask her to do so.  In return we will ask her to help you get the property adjoining your monastery.

I was indeed very interested to hear about your dear Sister Teresita.  I thought she was a Sister like those we have at the turn here.  But lately a priest from America who came to the parlour, asked me who were these Sisters at the interior of the enclosure?  So, I told him; but he said that in the U.S. there were no such sisters.

I am very glad that Sister Teresita is now one of the Community.  Is it not the reward of her long years of untiring devotedness?  Do you let your tourières (portresses) enter in the Monastery?  Here they do not.  It is the first Portress who has charge of them, but they do not enter.

I have not forgotten dear Sisters Mary and Stanislaus on the anniversary of their departure for Heaven.  I often pray to them, for I am sure that they are very powerful with the heart of Jesus.

Many thanks for the letter enclosed in yours.  Though we receive many accounts of favors received, we will receive with pleasure those you receive yourself even if there is no medical certificate, provided there are enough details to make a complete account.

I will begin my private retreat on the 27th inst. (instant of the current month).  Please pray for me and I will do the same for you during these precious days.  When you write please give me news of your Reverend Mother Beatrice.  Give her my respect and to all the sisters especially to your dear self, my sister, affection and the assurance of our ever fervent union of prayers.

Fr. Thomas to Philadelphia March 17,1913

 

 

J.M.J.Thérèse

+

St. Peter’s College

New Kilpatrick

Glasgow

March 17,1913

 

 

Dear Mother Prioress1,

 

I am so pleased to hear again from the Carmel of “Philadelphia’s Little Flower2”, that I am answering you before a hundred others.  It is almost impossible now to overtake my correspondence and other work.  Pray that I may always do my duty here faithfully3.

 

“The charm of the original4” – I cannot quite admit that phrase, but judging by the kind reception it has everywhere met with, Soeur Thérèse – for it is indeed her work – has given it something of the aroma of her own sweet words.  I know it is winning hearts that were repelled by the first translation.  D.G5.  They scarcely understand as yet at Lisieux the delay over it- a good translation of such a book is unspeakably difficult.  I nearly lost a friend over the letters – he had begged to be allowed to do them.  They were unsatisfactory and I practically rewrote them.  “Roses”6 also should be carefully chosen and well – though simply – described.  I hope the “Rose Shower”7 will please you.

 

 

Dear Sr. Stanislaus’ death is to me one of the sweetest of the favors in the large life1.  It may help those who have most claim to her “roses”, namely the daughters of Carmel.  Your own name occurred in Mother Gertrude=s sweet letter but I knew you would not have liked to see it there in print, so it was suppressed.  I did not know then that you would be one day writing to the Seminary here.  I was particularly anxious Mother Gertrude should see the book before she died.  The first issue was only of 200 copies and I insisted that one should go straight to Philadelphia (over 4,000, out of 9,000, are now disposed of)2.  I hope its appearance gave her some little pleasure.

 

I am deeply grieved to hear about dear Miss Emery3 and will write to her at once.  And how is my correspondent-in-ordinary4 at the Carmel?  Well, I hope, though I fear she would like to be gathered young – as we gather “flowers”.  I have a very important scheme on hand in which you may be able to assist me.  A something of Our Holy Father I wish to put in the hands of every English-speaking priest.  For this – and for the “Life” – His Holiness had sent me a special blessing.  I intend inserting also a picture of Thérèse in the booklet for the priests5.

 

There has been a lovely “rose” in Donegal, when lately our “Flower6” came down to a child of four, playing in the garden, and gave her six snowdrops to take to her dying mother.  The snowdrops emitted a heavenly perfume.  The mother was cured, though a few hours previously three doctors pronounced her to be actually dying.  (It was a) Bad case of puerperal fever.

 

In January a Little Sister of the Poor – ill for years and several times anointed – was told to get up by the “Flower”.  She did so and went straight to the chapel.  Next morning she arose at 4:30 and went down with the Community as usual.  In January also she1 brought back the father of a friend of mine, for fifty years away from his duties. She is wonderful, wonderful – and sweet.  God bless her and glorify her soon, very soon.  Please ask her to get me the grace of prayer, and ability to cope with my work.

 

Yours in Jesus, Mary,

TNT2

 



1 Mother Beatrix of the Holy Spirit (1846-1939), had been called from Boston Carmel to be appointed as Prioress of the Carmel of Philadelphia in October, 1912, due to the failing health of the Foundress, Mother Gertrude, who passed away on February 7, 1913.

2 Fr.  Taylor is referring to Sr. Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament.

3 In his position as a Seminary Professor in Glasgow, Fr.  Taylor zealously fostered devotion to Sr. Thérèse.    This remained his favorite apostolate throughout life.

4 This is perhaps a quote from Mother Beatrix=s previous letter, written in praise of the 1912 English translation of the Story of a Soul, edited by Fr.  Taylor.

5 Deo gratias.

6 Accounts of favors received through the intercession of Sr. Thérèse.

7 The section of the above-mentioned book, dealing with favors attributed to Sr. Thérèse.

1 The account of the death of Sr. Stanislaus, written by Mother Gertrude, was published in the 1912 edition  mentioned above (page 399-401).

2 Mother Gertrude did in fact see the book shortly before she died.

3 Susan Emery, who was translating the poetry of Sr. Thérèse into English.

4 This was Sr. Mary of St. Joseph (Mary Daily), 1877-1916, one of the Foundresses of the Carmel of Philadelphia, who succeeded Sr. Stanislaus in the offices of Sub-prioress and Turn-Sister.  She also fostered devotion to Sr. Thérèse.  A childhood friend of Sr. Stanislaus, she would die five years (to the day) after her.

5 This is the “scheme” of which Fr.  Taylor speaks above.

6 Sr. Thérèse.

1 Sr. Thérèse.

2 Fr.  Taylor (Thomas N.)  signs with his initials, in the form of an “N” with a crossbar on its top.

Mother Gertrude of the Heart of Jesus About the Death of Sister Stanislaus

 

 

 

Letter of Reverend Mother Gertrude

of the Heart of Jesus1

to Fr Thomas N. Taylor

(published in the 1912 English translation of the Story of a Soul)

 

 

Carmel, Philadelphia

March, 1911

 

Reverend and dear Father,

 

I feel that I have neglected a sacred duty by delaying so long in sending you word of the death of our angelic Sister Stanislaus, Philadelphia’s “little flower of Jesus.”

 

Although full of energy and courage, she had never been very strong, and she died a most holy death on the 10th of this month.  This dear Sister was one of those privileged souls who was guarded from sin from her earliest childhood.  Born of holy parents2, she, the thirteenth child, seemed specially blessed by God.  She entered the Carmel of Boston in April, 1896, and was then in her eighteenth year.

 

In July, 1902, she was sent to Philadelphia as one of the Foundresses of this Carmel, having left behind her in Boston the perfume of her innocence and virtue.  She spent herself for our little Community, and when her brother, Father (Joseph) Kelly, asked her during her last illness if she wished to die, she answered, that if it were equally pleasing to God she would rather live to work for the Community until we were out of debt, but that she left all to God, and only desired His Glory and the accomplishment of His Holy Will.

 

 

She was in the Infirmary, and confined to bed from the beginning of December.  On Christmas night she was carried to Midnight Mass, for she was unable to walk.  We had just finished a novena to the “Little Flower,” and we thought she would obtain our dear Sister=s cure from the Infant Jesus.  This, however, was not to be, and she grew steadily weaker.  Her illness -pernicious anemia – affected the spine, causing most intense pain throughout the whole body.  She had offered herself as a little Victim of Love, and had desired to die a martyr’s death – a desire which was indeed well fulfilled.  She received the Last Sacraments on January 26, to the edification of the whole Community and the priest who attended her.  All those present felt she was more angelic than human, and could not ask God to spare her precious life.  She continued to lose strength gradually, and her powers of digestion were also slowly failing.

 

On Shrove Tuesday she was seized with a violent spell of nausea and vomiting; the doctor ordered that all food should be stopped, likewise all medicines, excepting by hypodermic injections.  Up to this our dear Sister had received Holy Viaticum daily.  Our ordinary confessor came on Ash Wednesday, and gave her a tiny particle of the Host, which she retained without difficulty.

 

From this day, until that of her death included, the Blessed Sacrament was the only food which crossed her lips.  On one of those days she told me that she had said to Our Lord that she hoped the day would come when she could live on the Blessed Sacrament alone.  So this desire was also granted to her, and she – by name, Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament – became, literally, Our Lord=s Tabernacle.

 

On Friday, the 10th (of March), at half-past nine in the morning, Sister’s brother, Father Kelly, brought her Holy Viaticum.  This time she swallowed the small particle with difficulty, for her throat was closing and her breathing had become very labored.  He and the Community prayed beside her for three hours, expecting every moment to see her draw her last breath.  Each time, Father said “My Jesus, I love You,” she answered quite audibly: “Yes.”

 

At half-past twelve, Father left the enclosure, and Sister slept for a while.  On waking, she said to the Sister who was nearest to her: “Sister, love Him for me.”  Shortly afterwards she seemed to lose consciousness, but appeared as though asleep.  We remained praying by her side, and whispered an act of love in her ear.  Death came as a thief, and all was over at 5 P.M.

 

In life Sister was very beautiful, but even after those large blue eyes – which revealed something of the beauty of her soul – were closed in death, she seemed yet more beautiful.

 

Calla lilies, her favorite flower, were sent in abundance by those who knew and loved her, and she, of all those lilies, was the fairest – white as wax, and with an angelic smile, which seemed even more lovely on the fourth day, when she was buried.  All who saw her were uplifted, and many rosaries and other objects of devotion were sent to touch her hands1.

She had been Portress, or, as we say, Turn-Sister1, and in this way she, the most humble and retiring Carmelite, was known and revered as a saint2.

 

Pardon me, dear Father, the liberty I have taken in writing to you, but I know our dear child and Sister was dear to you.  I esteem it a great privilege to have been her Mother Prioress during the last years of her precious life, though it was our Mother Prioress(Beatrix of the Holy Spirit)3 of Boston who received her vows.

 

I beg you to pray for the repose of her dear soul, which we ourselves have done faithfully, even though we feel that Our Lord has granted her that further favor – to have had all her Purgatory here.

 

 

The Mother Prioress

(Mother Gertrude of the Heart of Jesus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Prioress (1902-1912) of the Carmel of Philadelphia.

2 A native of Philadelphia, born in 1879, Sr. Stanislaus was Baptized Helen Genevieve Kelly, and was the youngest in her family.

1 It is customary to place the body of a deceased Sister near the Choir grate for viewing by the public.  It would have been then that the people passed objects through to touch Sr. Stanislaus.

1 In addition to being Infirmarian and First Council Sister.

2 It is certain that Sr. Stanislaus had wonderful influence on the persons who would come to the Turn asking for prayers.  It was in this capacity that she tried to spread the devotion to St. Thérèse.

3Mother Gertrude wrote the full name of Mother Beatrix in her letter, but Fr. Taylor, knowing the mind of Mother Beatrix, suppressed it in the printing of this letter (see letter of March 17, 1913, from Fr. Taylor to Mother Beatrix,  below).

Sr. Agnes of Jesus to Philadelphia February 5, 1911

+

Jesus                                           February 5, 1911

 

My little Stanislaus,

 

How can you be ill without having asked permission of your little mother of lisieux!  It is very bad.  It is necessary to take care of you; it is necessary to heal you in order for you to be able to work on earth for the glory of the good Lord.  But at this time it is necessary to profit from the illness to advance in the little path of Thérèse – a path of love and of peace, a sure path, as she as made clear to the Bishop in Gallipoli.

 

This holy Bishop had wished to put our heavenly sister to the test.  He has now gone to Gallipoli1.  He entered our monastery, and placed in the famous chest a sealed envelope.  On a paper enclosed in this sealed envelope were written the words: “My path is sure.”  He asked Thérèse that if she truly wished him to speak of her childlike and spiritual path, to place 300 francs in the envelope when he would open it.  And he really found 300 francs there!

 

It is not marvelous?  The Vice-Postulator2 is busy with this affair.  The Bishop wishes to speak of it to the Holy Father.

 

Let us run together, my little child, in this child’s path, in confidence and abandonment.  I know that you no longer have good legs but the wings of your soul must be substituted3.

 

 

Your little mother,

Sr. Agnes of Jesus, r.c.i.

 



1We could not document this story of a miracle more fully.  “Gallipoli” is a Titular See – we do not have the name of the Bishop on record.  Nor can we identify the “famous chest” – perhaps in the cell of Thérèse?

2 The Vice-Postulator of the Cause was Msgr.  R.  de Teil.  He made a visit to the Carmel of Philadelphia in November, 1914.

3 Sr. Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament died on March 10, 1911.