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The Congregation of the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception

By Sister Mary Theresa Tinana, DM
Posted: 5/15/2015

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Sisters celebrating their Jubilee years of consecrated life. From left: Sister Mary Philomena Tombor, DM; Sister Mary Deborah Blados, DM; Msgr. Daniel J. Plocharczyk; Mother Mary Jennifer Carroll, DM; Sister Mary Joseph Zimmerman, DM; and Sister Mary Victoria Walonoski, DM. Photo courtesy/Sister Mary Janice, DM

We are a pontifical apostolic institute of women religious founded in 1904 by the Right Reverend Monsignor Lucian Bojnowski in New Britain, Connecticut. As pastor of Sacred Heart Church, a predominantly Polish-American Catholic community, he recognized the need to provide basic social services to the growing Polish immigrant families in New Britain, especially the care of orphans. He called upon the women of the parish to help and eight women from the Society of the Children of Mary who became our founding Sisters responded to the call. Later on, a safe and secure home was established, Our Lady of Rose Hill Orphanage in New Britain, CT.

Our mission is to bring the loving and healing presence of Christ into our world with the gentle courage and faithful commitment of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We manifest our Marian spirituality by a deep love and profound trust in God in the fullness of Mary's Fiat, ''Be it done to me according to your Word,'' and express in our daily lives and ministries Mary's gospel virtues of simplicity, humility, generosity, selfless care and concern for others.

The Daughters of Mary live in small communities acclaiming with Mary as inspired by her Magnificat: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior." With joyful and grateful hearts, we minister to the young, the sick, the elderly, the poor and the needy through education, elder care and social services, health care, and pastoral care. We have apostolates in New York City, Cambridge, Boston, and New Britain, Conn. where most of the Sisters now reside and where the congregation's administrative office is located.

Through the invitation of the late Richard Cardinal Cushing, the Daughters of Mary came to Boston in 1947 to sponsor and manage a residence for women. Since then, Our Lady's Guild House located across Fenway Park at Charlesgate West has been a transitional home to many young students and working women around the Boston area. As many as 133 residents live at the Guild House, and the Sisters who were initially there provided the ladies not just a roof over their heads but cooked and served meals, and offered spiritual guidance and companionship to these young women who were away from home.

Today, although there are no longer Sisters residing in the Guild House, we continue our ministry under the proficient administration of Mrs. Connie Pagan, a lay woman who embodies the spirit and mission of the Sisters. The Guild House provides the young women who came from all over the United States and around the world a safe, comfortable, and secure Christian environment where Christ's loving and healing presence abide. Eucharistic Mass is offered on Sundays at the facility's chapel and confessions are also available as scheduled.

Similarly, The Daughters of Mary attends to the needs of the people of Boston through its health care ministry. In 1948, by the initiative and invitation of the late Cardinal Cushing as well, the renovated Charlesgate Hospital on Memorial Drive in Cambridge was turned over to the Daughters of Mary and Sancta Maria Hospital was born under their sponsorship. Offering mainly surgical services, the facility became known as the "Red Sox hospital" as injured baseball players were brought to and cared for at the place through many physician affiliations.

In 1968 the hospital building was sold to M.I.T. and with Cardinal Cushing's support, Sancta Maria Hospital relocated from Memorial Drive to the Fresh Pond area on Concord Avenue, its present location. From a 65-bed general and maternity hospital, the new six-story building housed 150 adult medical and surgical beds on a rolling, spacious campus overlooking the Fresh Pond Golf Course, and neighbor to the Temple Beth El of Belmont.

Another transformation occurred in 1989 under the keen direction of Sister Mary Mark Pizzotti, as with support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Sancta Maria became one of the first hospitals to convert from acute care hospital to a long-term care facility, the Sancta Maria Nursing Facility.

Presently, Sancta Maria is a 132-bed skilled nursing facility providing both short term rehabilitation and long term care. With the capable leadership of Mrs. Mary Jane Nottonson, it persists to offer health care services faithful to the Catholic tradition manifesting the vibrant and strong presence of the Daughters of Mary within the Archdiocese of Boston through the daily expression of their mission and ministry at Sancta Maria.

Sister Mary Theresa Tinana, DM is Vocation Director for the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception. She entered the community in 2005 and professed her perpetual vows in August 2014. She resides at Sancta Maria Convent, 799 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. For vocation inquiries, please email Sister Mary Theresa at or call 617-868-2200 x2950.