Thursday, October 31, 2019 - Updated: 2:18 pm
Bishop David Zubik was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass Oct. 20 marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Ladies of Bethany religious community. The Sisters of Mercy welcomed the liturgy to their convent chapel at Carlow University.
The diocesan Office for Consecrated Life hosted the jubilee celebration of thanksgiving, which was followed by a reception.
The Ladies of Bethany originated in 1919 in post-World War I Netherlands as a lay movement creating unity in society and promoting ecumenical hospitality, according to a synopsis published in the worship aid for the Mass. In 1932, they were recognized by the Catholic Church as a religious community.
The Ladies began work in Pittsburgh in 1962 when Bishop John Wright invited them to provide services to residents of Northview Heights on the city’s North Side. It was a new housing development that was part of Annunciation Parish.
Several members of the religious community from the Netherlands lived and worked at The Vineyard, a 100-year-old farmhouse that the diocese had purchased at 101 Hazlett St. The house served as a home for the Ladies of Bethany and as an activity center for the community.
Eight Ladies of Bethany worked either at The Vineyard or The Ark and The Dove retreat center in Gibsonia.
Starting in the 1970s, Ladies engaged in various local ministries. Jacinta Van Winkle taught theology at Carlow University, Monica Dietz was a chaplain at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville and Louise Giesen was a therapist at the Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute.
Michele Van Voorst served the homeless through East Liberty Family Health Center and East End Cooperative Ministries, and Eleanor Doidge was a faculty member at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
Dietz and Doidge attended the Oct. 20 Mass and received a special blessing from Bishop Zubik.