By Seta A. Buchter
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The women of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston will host the Women’s Guild Central Council’s Saintly Women’s Day celebration on Saturday, April 16, for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island parishes of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). This year’s Saintly Women’s Day will honor Saint Mary.
The day’s program, which will take place in the church sanctuary and church complex of Holy Trinity Armenian Church at 145 Brattle Street, Cambridge, will begin at 10:15 a.m., with Coffee and the welcome (in Johnson Hall), followed by a Church Service at 11 a.m. (in the sanctuary), and the Luncheon and Program at 12:00 noon (in the Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall). The guest speaker will be Sister Bridget Haase, OSU.
The Saintly Woman honoree, Saint Mary, is venerated by the church as the Holy Mother of God (Asdvadzadzin), and is the highest ranking saint. Together with her saintly and noble parents, Joachim and Anna, and her husband, Joseph, Saint Mary belongs to the small group of the immediate forerunners of Jesus Christ. Her picture with the Christ child in her arms adorns the main Altar of all Armenian churches. The Armenian Church celebrates five major feasts of Saint Mary: Conception of the Virgin Mary (December 9), Nativity of the Virgin Mary (September 8), Presentation of Saint Mary at the Temple (November 21), the Annunciation (April 7), and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (nearest Sunday to August 15).
Sister Bridget Haase, a member of the international Ursuline Order, founded in 1535 by St. Angela Merici in Brescia, Italy, is an educator, author, speaker and storyteller. Her religious vocation was sealed at a high school senior retreat at the Cenacle Retreat House in New Orleans. As an educator, Sister Bridget has taught students who embodied the marvels of southern hospitality in Louisiana, the cliffs and rivers of Missouri, the cornfields of Illinois, and the wide Texas sky. She felt at home for many years with the mountain folks in the hollows of Appalachia and the villagers in the hills of Mexico.
During the famine of the late 1980s, she ministered in the desert of Sudan, East Africa, feeding starving children. She lived in Senegal in an international Ursuline community with sisters from seven different countries of origin.
She was an infant and toddler early educator in an HIV/AIDS daycare center in Mattapan, in Boston, and witnessed firsthand the ravages of this disease.
In Massachusetts, she serves on the spirituality team of The Boston Home, a long-term care facility for 96 residents living with multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases. She co-hosted, from 2010 to 2015, “Spirit and Life,” a weekly radio show on the Relevant Radio Network. As a speaker, Sister Bridget gives days of reflection, individual talks and parish missions across the United States. As an author, she is a regular contributor to Living Faith: Daily Catholic Devotions, and is always thinking about new approaches to the spiritual life. As a storyteller, Sister Bridget is known as “Sister Storyteller,” for local schoolchildren ages 3-4. Sister Bridget has received numerous Awards and recognitions for her work.
“We look forward to celebrating Saintly Women’s Day with our sister parishes as we look to the faith of Saint Mary, the Mother of God, through the eyes of modern women,” states Fr. Vasken A. Kouzouian, Pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Church. “Our luncheon speaker is a woman of faith who has changed the lives of people living both in the poorest of countries, as well as in the wealthiest. Sister Bridget’s talk will be about living our faith wherever life takes us.”
The luncheon is by reservation only. Donation is $35 per person; with a RSVP deadline of Monday, April 11. Reservations should be made through each parish’s Women’s Guild or church group. For further information or to make Individual reservations, contact Cathy Minassian at firstname.lastname@example.org. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) and The Vanadzor Old Age Home in Armenia.