Paper-wrapped boxes, tied up with ribbon and sealed with red wax stamped with an imprint that said “Curia of the Archdiocese of New York,” were stacked inside the office of Cardinal Dolan on the 20th floor of the New York Catholic Center.
Inside were 24,024 pages containing the acts of the inquiry of Servant of God Mother Mary Teresa Tallon, P.V.M.I., foundress of the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, an order of contemplative-missionaries, which was officially closed in the archdiocese last week and sent to Rome for the next step toward beatification and canonization.
Mother Tallon was named Servant of God on April 16, 2013 during the Year of Faith. It is serendipitous that her cause is now moving forward during the Year of Consecrated Life.
“It’s just so providential. We are very humbled by it,” said Mother Carole Marie Troskowski, P.V.M.I., mother superior, told CNY.
“God does things in His timing, in His way, for the sake of the Church.”
Cardinal Dolan was presented Jan. 13 with the Acts of the Diocesan Inquiry of the Causes of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Mary Teresa Tallon. Those participating in the centuries-old ceremony included Msgr. Douglas Mathers, archdiocesan vice chancellor who served as episcopal delegate; Father Richard Welch, C.Ss.R., judicial vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal who was promoter of justice; Marie Martin, notary; and Sister Maria Catherine Iannotti, P.V.M.I., vice-postulator.
“This is a great step,” said Cardinal Dolan, adding that Mother Tallon’s application for sainthood is “a most noble cause.”
The next step toward canonization would be for Mother Tallon to be named Venerable, which means her life would have to be declared “heroic in virtue.” After that, beatification by the pope requires that a miracle be attributed to her intercession. The final step to sainthood requires a second miracle be attributed to her.
Born in the upstate hamlet of Hanover in 1867, Mother Mary Teresa Tallon was determined from age 12 to join a religious order, despite discouragement at home for such a choice. At 19, she entered the Holy Cross Sisters, remaining with them for 33 years. On the feast of the Assumption in 1920, with the approval of appropriate ecclesiastical authorities, she founded the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate.
Books written by Mother Mary Teresa, both published and unpublished, are used in formation. The sisters follow the example that Mother Tallon set before them through door-to-door visiting in parishes, as their name implies; catechetical work; and evangelization.
The sisters currently serve in Monroe, the Bronx, and in Arizona, Nigeria and the Philippines.
Mother Tallon died in 1954.
As for Mother Tallon’s message for the world today, Mother Carole Marie said, “She believed we are all capable of loving God in a superior way in response to his love for us. We hope and pray this missionary outreach will be instilled more fully into the Church.”
Mother Carole Marie personally accompanied the boxes to Rome, along with Sister Maria Catherine, P.V.M.I. The postulator is Dr. Waldery Hilgeman.
Sister Maria Catherine told CNY after she swore an oath that appointed her as official carrier of the boxes, “It has been a great privilege to work on mother’s cause, to read through her writings. I know her now as my true mother.” She is tasked with personally bringing the multitudinous correspondence to the Congregation of Causes of Saints.
Sister Rita-Mairelenes, P.V.M.I., told CNY, “She believed very much in young people. She inspired them. She believed that the universal call to holiness was for everyone; you were never too young, too old, too far away from the church.
“She had great obstacles she had to overcome, especially going door-to-door at a time when sisters were in the schools. She was very devoted to her call. Everybody was valuable,” she added.
“It was something new,” she said.