Project Canterbury

 Mother Eva Mary, C.T.
The Story of a Foundation

By Mrs. Harlan Cleveland

With Foreword by The Rt. Rev. Irving P. Johnson, D.D.
Bishop of Colorado, Visitor of the Community of the Transfiguration

Afterword by The Rt. Rev. Paul Matthews, D.D.
Bishop of New Jersey, Chaplain General of the Community of the Transfiguration

Milwaukee: Morehouse, 1929.


I HAVE BEEN asked by my sister to add a postscript or afterword to the foregoing account of Mother Eva's life. I feel most inadequate to the task of contributing anything worth while to a narrative written with such loving appreciation and tender sympathy. To my prejudiced eyes it is all intensely interesting, and I feel as though everyone who came into contact with Mother Eva must be touched and charmed by this chronicle, written by one who, throughout her life, has treasured such intimate memories and has rendered such a tribute of her heart's love.

In 1913, when Mother Eva was so desperately ill in Cleveland, she said to her devoted nurse, "I do wish to live! I want God to give me fifteen years more in which to do my work." That nurse is now Sister Constance Anna. So St. Paul, in prison, bound with chains to his guarding soldiers, made some of them captives to Christ! At the beginning of this year of her death she reminded Sister Beatrice that it was the fifteenth year.

And she saw her beloved "Village" finished! Back of the Convent in Glendale, where the ground lies level, six new buildings now stand complete to house her girls. One has to see the place to realize its beautiful completeness. There is an Infirmary with work rooms; a Refectory, with great open fireplace and a portrait of the Mother's serene and lovely face above it, gazing lovingly on the girls as they gather there thrice daily. There is a house for the very tiny tots; and three others, one for the small girls and one for the middle sized girls and one for the big girls; as in the immortal story of the "Three Bears." And the big girls have rooms of their own, dainty and sweet. And each "Cottage" has a comfortable, large common room with rugs and pictures and a piano or victrola. Over the Refectory are the Library and Reading Room, cheerful and full of books, and other small rooms for piano practice.

A tiny building in the midst of the Village is the Children's Store and Bank, where much important business is transacted, largely in pennies; and here the children deposit their savings, and learn some of the elementary things about a future, real bank account of their own.

And quite in the center of all is the Fountain, given to the children by the contractor who put up the buildings. It is his thank-offering; and is quite imposing, with guarding lions of cement and a figure of Cupid (or is it a water baby?) holding aloft the main jet; and ducks and fish and various amphibians of celluloid swimming in the water; and, of never failing interest and suspense, a dancing ball which the spouting water throws high in air, always to be caught again and again thrown upward! Any one can watch it!

There is the Village Street with its pavement and quaint little street lights, and the blue coated, red-hooded little girls walking or running to and fro, and in and out.

It is a sight to gladden the eye and warm the heart.

The Rev. Mother, sitting in her chair, out in the bright sunshine, on the wide Convent balcony overlooking this scene of happy, healthy child life and child culture, when she was almost too weak to speak, with the light of perfect satisfaction in her eyes, whispered to her sister: "My dear, it has all been more than fulfilled! Just as He promised! Houses--and lands--and children--and Sisters! all but the persecutions!"

I am glad that she lived to see her "Village." It seems wonderful to us; to her it must have been the fulfillment of a life-long dream and the crown of all her tears and sacrifice. The Master transformed by His Word and His touch the water of her weakness and of her tears into the Wine of His Joy and Strength; as He transfigured the water of her purification into the blood red wine of His Sanctification.

She did not see the School House finished, nor the Chapel of her dreams. But the School, thoroughly modern in equipment and ample in accommodation, will be ready for use very soon, before this book can be printed; and the Chapel is rising. Under the High Altar her body will rest; as near our Lord in His Sacramental Presence as anything of earth can be. Her burial there will make a shrine dear to the hearts of her Sisters and of all her children whose beloved Mother she was.

I never knew any soul with such an inborn capacity for joyousness, and I feel of her now that she knows, as is given few to understand, the full meaning of His promise and command, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord."

May God grant that she, with all the happy host of the redeemed, may pray for those she loved so well on earth; who still are struggling and striving with the weakness of our wills and the strength of our temptations.

It is all that makes the strife endurable, or that gives some nobility to our lives, or any gleam of a leading light to our futility, to have our hearts fastened in that Other World where faith follows and love outruns faith.

It is the vision that moulded the life of Eva Mary, and made it great. It is the miracle of the Transfiguration.

St. Bartholomew's Day, 1928.

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