It was Christmas Eve, 1973. The pioneer women
of what would become the Carmel of Port Tobacco had taken up temporary
residence in Great Mills, Maryland. They were poor. They had
not much to celebrate with. Worst of all, they had no confessor.
So the prioress placed a call to Cardinal O’Boyle, who placed a call to
a Father Bill Curlin in Washington, and ordered him to make the two-hour
drive to hear the confessions of the nuns. This was the genesis of
our life-long friendship with Bishop-Emeritus Curlin, who died on
December 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
We would have to consider the
Bishop a founding member of our monastery. His generosity in our
regard knew no bounds. On that first Christmas Eve, he drove back
to Washington, picked up presents, treats, and a Christmas tree and set
it up. He said the first Mass at this site on May 11, 1976, worked
all night to prepare for the grand opening on October 1 of that year (a
long and separate story), became our local auxiliary Bishop, and
continued his involvement after being named the third Bishop of
Bishop Curlin’s love of
Christmas merits a whole chapter. How fitting that he celebrated
it with the Lord this year! Bishop Curlin would love what our
volunteers have done with our Christmas lighting. Our heartfelt
thanks to all of them.