May 1930: Sisters Celebrate Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians

Updated: May 26

By Katie Mahon, Communications Manager


Mother Suso Marshall
Mother Suso Marshall

1930 was a difficult time for the United States as it marked the beginning of the Great Depression, which would lead to an unemployment rate of over 24.5%.


Even with the turmoil during that time, the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, managed to reach a milestone.


In May 1930, the Sisters celebrated the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians and participated in a two-day celebration for the fiftieth anniversary of the Dominican religious life of Reverend Mother Suso and Sister Cornelia Marshall.


Something to note about this time was that the present Motherhouse had not been built yet. The little chapel and children’s chapel had to accommodate all of the attendees of this celebration.


According to the official Congregation Annals Vol I, “The celebration opened with Holy Mass on Sunday morning, May 25. All the Sisters who could came from the Missions to the Motherhouse on that day. In the afternoon, St. Anselm’s Alumni gave beautiful entertainment. The children at St. Dominic’s, as well as the Sisters, were present. After the entertainment, refreshments were served.”


Sister Cornelia Marshall
Sister Cornelia Marshall

It was also mentioned in the Annals that, “The next day, the convent was very happy to welcome the Most Reverend John J. Dunn, D.D., who came to celebrate the Solemn Mass. Bishop Dunn was a lifelong friend of the Jubilarians. His Excellency was escorted to the convent by St. Dominic’s fife and drum corps and greeted by five hundred children who, accompanied by their cottage mothers, were orderly arranged on the front lawn. They remained there until the procession of priests from the convent entered the children’s chapel. The Sisters’ choir sang the Mass. Right Reverend Monsignor Michael J. Lavelle preached the sermon. A unique feature of Monsignor’s sermon was his explanation of the word “Jubilee.” Monsignor said that many thought it came from the Latin “Jubilo,” meaning to shout, but the word is found in the Old Testament, before the Latin language; that it most probably came from the Hebrew “Jubel,” which meant a ram’s horn; and that this horn was used whenever they wanted to make a loud demonstration of great joy.”