An alleged miracle has been attributed to Mother M. Angeline Teresa McCrory, foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm and several care facilities in the U.S. and Ireland. Mother Angeline Teresa is pictured in an undated painting.
An alleged miracle has been attributed to Mother M. Angeline Teresa McCrory, foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm and several care facilities in the U.S. and Ireland. Mother Angeline Teresa is pictured in an undated painting.
The Diocese of Metuchen has formally completed its investigation of an alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of Mother M. Angeline Teresa McCrory. The testimony and evidence collected are now on their way to the Vatican for further review.

Mother Angeline founded the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Today the sisters, whose motherhouse is in Germantown, N.Y., operate 17 facilities in the United States and Ireland.

The inquiry involved a child who was diagnosed with a genetic disorder prior to birth, but was born without the condition.

Metuchen Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski presided over a ceremony marking the completion of the investigation Sept. 21 in the chapel of the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center in Piscataway. He expressed joy at the opportunity for the diocese to remember the Gospel message as well as the mysterious works of God.

The bishop called Mother Angeline a much-needed role model for disciples of Jesus Christ.

Lori Albanese, diocesan chancellor and notary of the investigation, said the four-month inquiry involved gathering facts and testimony from witnesses, including those who prayed for the intercession of Mother Angeline and the original physicians who cared for the child.
Additionally, two independent medical experts were interviewed to verify the child's current state of health, she said.

Due to rules of confidentiality, Albanese said, the identity of the child could not be released, but she did say the family lived in close proximity to the Metuchen Diocese.

The collected testimony will be presented to the Congregation for Saints' Causes at the Vatican by Andrea Ambrosi, the postulator of Mother Angeline's cause.

Through a translator, Ambrosi, an Italian canon lawyer, said it would be premature to set a timetable for the cause.

"It's not going to be overnight," he said. "It's difficult to set a time because there are so many other causes" being investigated.

Mother Angeline's case includes more than 2,000 pages of documentation to be studied by the congregation, he said. The cause itself was formally opened 10 years ago.

The church's process leading to canonization involves three major steps. First is the declaration of a person's heroic virtues, after which the church gives the sainthood candidate the title of "venerable." Second is beatification, after which he or she is called "blessed." The third step is canonization, or the declaration of sainthood.

In general, two miracles must be accepted by the church as having occurred through the intercession of a prospective saint, one before beatification and the other before canonization.

Among the attendees at the ceremony were Mother Angeline's relatives, including her nephew John McCrory and his wife, Irene.

McCrory said his aunt was a warm and loving person who sought to spread her joy to those around her.

"She was always a part of our family, but the Carmelite sisters were like her first family," he said. "She had a very profound effect on just about everybody she met."

Carmelite Sister Therese Mary, who was taught by Mother Angeline, said she was a woman of kindness and compassion.

"She was very patient and motherly," she said. "There's great joy among us. I'm not surprised people would want to pray to her."

Born Bridget Teresa McCrory in Mountjoy, Ireland, in 1893, Mother Angeline joined the Little Sisters of the Poor at age 19 but in 1931 in New York she founded the first modern congregation dedicated to the care of the elderly and ill. She died Jan. 21, 1984, her 91st birthday, at the order's motherhouse in Germantown.

This is the second such investigation that has been undertaken by the Diocese of Metuchen. The first, which took place in 2005, involved an alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York.

Dr. Palma Formica, co-founder of the family practice residency program at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, served as medical expert on both miracle investigations, nominating the various medical specialists who were consulted in the case and offering her opinion as to whether it was a miraculous cure.

In an interview with The Catholic Spirit, Metuchen diocesan newspaper, Formica discussed her role in the investigation. She was unable to discuss specifics as she pledged during the formal opening of the investigation in May to keep the details secret.

Though she is a faithful Catholic, her half-century of medical experience causes her to be somewhat skeptical, she said.

"Being a physician for as long as I have and seeing unexpected outcomes, sometimes we can't explain at the time, but as time goes on we learn more. We realize that, while miracles happen, they are few and far between," she said. "What was ordinary today was miraculous 50 years ago."

Formica said she was surprised by the depth of the investigation and how much value was placed on expert testimony.

"The investigation was a lot more strenuous and detailed than I would have expected," she said. "I was glad to see that there is a place for skeptics."