The Sisters of Saint Birgitta honor their second foundress, “Bridget the Second,” the woman who restored the Order of the Most Holy Savior, Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad. Her liturgical feast celebrated today.
Blessed Mary Elizabeth immigrated to the USA and converted to Catholicism through a Jesuit at Georgetown University. In time she felt called to refound the ancient order first founded by the Swedish saint Bridget, the Order of the Most Holy Saviour in the mid-14th century. The order is a semi-contemplative order of nuns officially approved by the Holy See on 7 July 1940, though it came together in 1911. The nuns run retreat houses and have some ecumenical work with the Protestant communities.
The Order of the Most Holy Saviour is a fascinating part of our Catholic ecclesial history in that the order of nuns and priests were part of a double monastery dedicated to the Lord’s passion. The chaplains were under the rule of the abbess. The nuns have foundations in different parts of the world while there is one priory of monks in Oregon and they don’t actively collaborate with the nuns.
Mother Mary Elizabeth taught, “We must nourish a great love for God and our neighbors; a strong love, an ardent love, a love that burns away imperfections, a love that gently bears an act of impatience, or a bitter word, a love that lets an inadvertence or act of neglect pass without comment, a love that lends itself readily to an act of charity.”
Video part II
In addition to Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, the Church raised up and bestowed the title of blessed on Mother Mary Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough, Mother Mary Catherine Flannagan and Sister Mary Magdalen Moccia on 21 October 2011.
Blessed Mary Elizabeth, pray for us.