As we conclude the 75th anniversary year of the three U.S. provinces, the chronicle gives us a few last glimpses of the holidays at the new motherhouses.
At Marycrest, the first two postulants arrived on September 10 and were joined on the Feast of Christ the King by a third young woman. “Each of the special feasts so dear to the heart of Mother Magdalen’s daughters brought its particular joy, both spiritual and temporal—that of our Holy Father St. Francis, good St. Nicholas, Christmas and Holy Innocents. These were revelations to the postulants, and they entered into the spirit of all with a childlike simplicity.”
At Mt. Alverno, meanwhile, four young women had entered in September. They, too, were all unknowing, and on the afternoon of December 5 were introduced to the wonders of St. Nicholas. As they accompanied the professed sisters to the refectory they were greeted by “a glimpse into fairyland.” Gifts had been supplied by Mothers Clement, Cherubim, Marita, and Tarcissia.
At each place stood a jolly little washcloth man holding a toothbrush under one arm and shoelaces under the other. A gingerbread man smiled . . . from his place on a plate of homemade cookies and candy. A large peppermint stick and a lollypop stuck in a ball of popcorn gave a festive look to the table. At each place was an envelope . . .holy pictures, Sacred Heart badge, medals, etc. There were useful gifts too, of soap, pencils, and wearing apparel at each place.
Only a short time remained to Christmas, the first one for the Motherhouse at Mount Alverno (and at Marycrest). The entire community worked at preparing the spiritual crib. Surely the Infant Jesus would shower many graces on the convent, and on this their first Christmas.
St. Nicholas visited Stella Niagara as well, of course. There the sisters in the large refectory “were delighted to find new chairs instead of the benches used formerly.” Christmas, itself, was somewhat different in that there were no visitors at the Midnight Mass. It seems that in previous years a number of local pastors had objected to their parishioners going elsewhere for Mass. That, combined with the fact that the crowd in the chapel continued to increase, led to the decision to discontinue welcoming guests for the midnight mass. “Our friends were greatly disappointed, especially those who have been coming for many years.” The chronicler, however, tried to put a good “spin” on things as she wrote, “For us the quiet was most welcome; the sisters appreciated to be able to assist at the Holy Sacrifice without distraction.”