On April 27, 1910, five brave Passionist Nuns first set foot in America traveling from the first monastery in Tarquinia, Italy to start the new monastery of nuns here in America. On July of that same year, three American postulants entered the order and thus, Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, in Pittsburgh, was born. The sacrifices of these first nuns were rewarded by the spread of new foundations. Saint Gabriel’s Monastery was founded here in the Scranton Diocese in 1926. First located on Monroe Avenue in Dunmore, and currently in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
According to the archives:
Towards the end of March 1910, the final word came that the nuns had to be in America by the feast of St. Paul of the Cross in April 1910.
At the evening recreation of April 12th 1910, we bade good-bye to each and all. Early in the morning the Very Rev. Counsultor celebrated Holy Mass and gave Holy Communion to the five of us. The five chosen to go were Mother M. Hyacinth of the Sacred Heart, Mother M. Catherine of the Sorrowful Mother, Mother M. Louisa of the Sorrowful, Mother M. Theresa of Jesus Crucified and Sister M. Mary of Jesus. The time was spent in making the final preparations.
June 29, 1926. Very Reverend Father General Leo of the Sacred Heart was in Pittsburgh. Mother Hyacinth asked him to change his route and go to Scranton. So we had his company on our travel. He came to say Mass and gave Benediction. After his breakfast he entered the Convent and remained around until about noon. After he left, we proceeded to dinner which was served in the Ladies refectory. So as to give us an opportunity to speak and enjoy if possible, our last meal at “Home”. After dinner all assembled under the porch, waiting for the moment to leave. At 2 P.M. the bell rang – it was the signal. The community accompanied us to the garden gate where we embraced each other. The gate opened, we stepped into the auto and from there cast a last glance on our Sisters. The gate closed – all was over. As the auto moved, we passed in front of the retreat house and Chapel. It was one last look at the Convent Home we should never see again. We knew what we had left, but did not know what we were going to face. How good God is to hide the future from us. He gives us crosses moment by moment, and the necessary grace with them.
The Passionist Nuns from Pittsburgh going to Scranton were Mother M. Louisa of the Sorrowful Mother, Mother M. Chrysostom of the Seven Dolors, Mother M. Paul of the Crucifix, Mother M. Agnes of the Mother of God, and Mother M. Gabriel of Our Mother of Mercy.
The Passionist Superiors took the nuns first to visit Katie Thompson, an invalid benefactor, and then to St. Paul’s Monastery, where they had supper. Then the priests took them to the train, where they had a sleeper compartment. Most of the nuns had a miserable night, exhausted when they arrived at Wilkes Barre in the morning. It was now June 30th. Gathered to welcome the nuns were the Rector of St. Ann’s Monastery, Fr. Benedict, and a group of well-wishers. At St. Ann’s they had breakfast, and then were taken to pay a formal visit to Bishop Hoban, who welcomed them to the Diocese of Scranton. As the day progressed, they were taken to see the house and property already purchased for them (a considerable debt) and also to some property in Clarks Summit, which they really preferred. However, they were told it was “too far out” and Providence settled them in Dunmore, on the corner of Greenridge St. and Monroe Avenue. That night they were given accommodations at Marywood by Mother Casimir, who was always most kind to them. Then, on July first, they took their last “auto” trip to their allotted home in Dunmore.
Sometime after dinner, Very Rev. Father General and Fr. Provincial, Fr. Stanislaus Grennan, C.P. came to take us to our new abode. We thanked the Sisters, the IHM Sisters at their Motherhouse in Scranton for their hospitality and took our last ride in the auto. Soon we were in Dunmore where Fr. Bonaventure and several of his relatives and friends were awaiting us. Our supper was ready and everything that was needed for Mass next morning. Monsignor Kelly, V.G., loaned the chalice and the altar stone. Mother Sacred Heart, the superioress of the Good Shepherd Convent, sent vestments, Benediction Veil, Sanctuary light, flowers, and several pieces of bedding. We went to bed, tired but happy. We were home once more.
At early morning, one heard a Church bell ringing. Not knowing the distance, she thought it to be St. Ann’s Monastery bell, so called the rest to get up. We said our Office. Father Bernadine, who accompanied us from Carrick, and was our temporary Chaplin, said Mass first, followed by another Mass celebrated by Father Bonaventure and reserved the Blessed Sacrament in a little wooden box prepared for a tabernacle. By evening an altar was erected, so Our Lord found his little home with us. Again we had Our Dear Lord with us and one more tabernacle was erected to our “Eucharistic King”. In the morning Father Adelbert C.P. gave Benediction with the Most Blessed Sacrament. This was July 2, 1926
If you or your group are interested in scheduling a retreat, or if you would like more information, please contact our Retreat Coordinator, Kathleen Porter at (570) 586-4957.
St. Gabriel's Retreat Center
631 Griffin Pond Road
Clarks Summit, PA 18411
Phone: (570) 586-4957
Because we are an older community, we are open, after a period of mutual discernment, to receiving women of mature age who are experiencing a call to contemplative community. Please contact Sister Teresita to schedule an appointment.
Phone: (570) 586-2791