95th Anniversary of Rosary Shrine!

Ninety-five years ago today, the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, fourteen intrepid began the journey to establish a new monastery in the hills of the city of Summit.


The Chronicles begin on 10/2/1919 (a Thursday that year, just like this year!):

Our First Days in Summit

The Feast of the Guardian Angels, the second day of the month of the Rosary, had been set as our day of departure from West Hoboken, to found a new Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. So about nine o'clock in the morning this little band of fourteen left the monastery. Those who made up this privileged group, were Reverend Mother Mary Imelda of Jesus, Foundress, Sister Mary Teresa of Jesus, Sister Mary Emily of the Infant Jesus, Sister Mary of the Passion, Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified, Sister Mary Angela Dominic, Sister Mary Veronica, Sister Mary Hyacinth of the Sacred Heart, and Sister Angeline [postulant], choir Sisters; and Sister Mary Lucy of the Rosary, Siister Mary Pius of the Rosary, Sister Mary Patricia of the Trinity, Sister Mary Rita of the Passion, and Sister Mary Alphonsus of the Rosary, lay sisters.

Two of our good benefactors Mr. Conboy and Mrs. Curly together with Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified's cousin, were kind enough, and indeed felt highly favored, to transport us in their automobiles to this our new Monastery. The weather was not fair [pouring rain all day], but we were all happy, especially since we knew that we were carrying out God's plan, we were on our way to do big things for His Honor and glory. Mrs. Curly and Mrs. Fitzgerald accompanied us.

Before leaving the Town of West Hoboken, we paid a visit to the Passionist Monastery, and Reverend Father Dominic the Rector kindly lit up the beautiful edifice, and enrolled us in the newly established Confraternity of the Passion, giving each of us a pretty scapular medal.

When we arrived here safe and sound about eleven o'clock, Mr. Ter Meer the former owner of the property welcomed us very graciously, and we found our new home a charming place.

As it was near noon, we thought it well to prepare a little lunch. We had brought ham sandwiches, pickles, and cake with us, so that it was really only a drink which had to be made. Having erected a temporary table with our large drawing boards and boxes, we sat down on boxes and other conveniences to eat our first meal in our new monastery. It was one of the bed-rooms on the second floor which served as our dining room.

After dinner we filled the mattress slips with straw and as our planks were not ready for use, we arranged sleeping quarters on the floor.

Late in the afternoon Reverend Father Murphy our chaplain paid us a visit, and blessed all the rooms.

In the evening though very tired, we recited Matins very piously in what is now our refectory, sitting choir to choir observing most of the rubrics. This must have been very pleasing to God as the office sounded so devotional, and all the Sisters appeared so fervent.

The next morning which was the First Friday of the month, we went to church about quarter past six o'clock [the parish church, as the sisters did not yet have their own chapel], recited all of the office for the day, received Holy Communion, and assisted at Holy Mass, leaving the church about half past eight o'clock. We must have looked very religious walking two by two with veils lowered covering our faces.

Having arrived home we had a nice breakfast and shortly after the man with another load of our furniture arrived from West Hoboken. We all tried to help unpack and were kept very busy.

In the afternoon Mr. Conboy one of our most generous benefactors, who had already given the chalice, twelve pairs of blankets, and paid all moving expenses, arrived with a splendid auto-truck, which he donated together with a dozen and a half new oak chairs. He had one of his men to fetch the new little altar from New York, and remained with him to help us out. Before leaving in the evening Mr. Combay inquired about the altar, and upon his hearing that it had not yet been paid for, took one hundred and twenty dollars, the cost of the altar, out of his pocket giving it to Reverend Mother Prioress as a donation in honor of his wife. He seems to be the medium through whom God is dispensing His gifts to us. May God bless him and his family.

Two of the Sisters of Charity from the neighboring school paid us a visit that same afternoon, and seemed delighted to have us in Summit. They invited us to their chapel for holy Mass, and were anxious that we recite the office there.

On Saturday morning the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, we rose early, said Matins and Lauds in what is now our chapel, observing most of our rubrics. We then went to the Sisters of Charity Chapel for Holy Mass, after which we recited much of the Divine Office, chanting the first vespers of the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

It was after breakfast that Reverend Mother Prioress announced that the novices would take their apartments. Thus was the Novitiate opened on the eve of the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, October fifth, with Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified in charge, and one white novice, Sister Mary Hyacinth, and Sister Angeline a postulant. A dispensation having been obtained from our Right Reverend Bishop for Sister Mary Dominic and Sister Mary Veronica, simple professed novices, to leaf the novitiate. Although both expected this abridgment of their term of Novitiate, yet tears were shed at its realization.[At this time simply professed sisters remained in the Novitiate until their Solemn Profession. There was no 'integration period' as we have now.]

We all worked very hard all day until late at night making preparations for our first Feast of the Rosary, and succeeded in arranging our Chapel very nicely.

Thus were our first days spent in this our new Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary. O may this little band of Mary's Guard of Honor be the nucleus of a fervent flourishing community, where God will be perpetually praised and blessed.

On October 7th, Rosary Sunday, Father Cyril Coudeyre, OP celebrated the first Mass and placed the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Matins and Lauds were recited by the sisters in the improvised choir and Hours of Guard kept all night. Within three months of the foundation, the sisters were able to pray the rosary day and night beginning New Year's Day.