In the summer of 1984, Father Clarence Kelly (now Bishop Kelly) founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Our Savior. For a Novitiate and Motherhouse, he was able to acquire 14 acres of property in the Catskill Mountains. The Novitiate was named after St. Joseph, to whom it seemed quite fitting to entrust the care of the Daughters of Mary. St. Teresa of Avila named her first foundation of the reformed Carmelites in St. Joseph’s honor, and of him she states: “It seems as if God has bestowed upon the saints in general the power of aiding us in some specified necessity; but to St. Joseph He has granted the power to help us in all our needs. Our Lord wishes us hereby to understand that as He who made Himself subject to St. Joseph on earth, so also in heaven is ready to do whatever the holy Patriarch may now ask.” With this great saint as protector and intercessor, St. Joseph’s Novitiate opened its doors in the summer of 1984. The little community began with three Novices and seven Postulants.
Throughout the years, the Congregation has grown steadily. As of 2016, there are sixty-eight members in our community. We have constructed a new Motherhouse to accommodate our growing novitiate. Although we are now living in a new building, it is already proving too small for our numbers.
Besides the Motherhouse and Novitiate, we have houses in two other cities. The convent in Long Island, New York, was established on August 16, 1987. The Sisters there teach at Saint Pius V School and assist with the needs of the parish. There are currently fifteen Sisters assigned to the convent on Long Island. (Visit the school’s website here.)
St. Joseph’s Convent in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, is our newest foundation. In August 2003, five Sisters moved into the convent attached to St. Anne’s Church and Academy. There are currently ten Sisters teaching grades one through twelve at the Academy.
From the beginning of our inception, our first work as the Daughters of Mary is reparation to the Sacred Heart. The general purpose of religious life is common to all religious congregations, and that is the glory of God and the sanctification of the individual. The special purpose is the particular work done by the congregation. For a Daughter of Mary, the special purpose is to live every day with the particular intention of returning gratitude to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sisters consecrate their lives and their work to the Sacred Heart. Every day we make a Holy Hour of reparation to the Sacred Heart in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. On Thursday nights this hour is made between eleven o’clock and midnight. The principal intention of the Holy Hour is to seek to comfort Our Lord, Who during His Agony in the Garden felt so keenly the indifference of men. No matter how pressing are the duties of the Sisters, the Holy Hour is never set aside. It is our most important work. Every work done by the Daughters of Mary is done for the purpose of comforting the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To make a return of love to Our Lord, to make reparation for the ingratitude of men is the intention behind every deed and the very meaning of the life of a Daughter of Mary.
The first step in the religious life is that of the postulancy. The word postulant comes from the Latin word postulare which means to claim or request. A postulant then is a candidate who is requesting to be received into the Novitiate. The postulancy lasts for nine months. During these nine months a postulant lives at the Novitiate house and follows the routine and schedule of the community. If after nine months a postulant requests entrance and is received into the community, she then begins her novitiate. She receives the religious habit and white veil of a novice at a special ceremony.
As a novice, the candidate becomes acquainted with the rules, constitutions, and spirit of the institute. A novice lives the life of a religious for two full years. At the end of this two-year period, if the novice wishes to stay and is accepted by the Congregation, she makes her first profession of vows.
Click on the icon for photographs and documentation on the consecration of Bishop Kelly.