Sodality of the Immaculate Conception

On December 8, 1937, the following entry was made in the daily annals of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph:

The earth is partly mantled in snow for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  The Sodality procession was held before mass.  They entered singing, and wearing white uniforms-a beautiful sight, indeed!  Solemn Reception of the 30 candidates into the Sodality, 7-8 o’clock.  The Sodalists placed their Acts of Consecration before Our Lady’s altar, after they were pronounced.  Each Sodalist wrote her own Act of Consecration; a novena of Good Works was also made.

The Sodality has a prominent place in the history of Mount Saint Joseph Academy. Students began to conduct an organization dedicated to the honor of the Immaculate Conception in 1883, but three years later it received formal recognition from Rome. In the first book of membership, it gives the following introduction:

Children of Mary
This Sodality was established at Mt. St. Joseph’s Academy, in the year 1886, and affiliated to the Prima Primaria in Rome, under the title of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and the patronage of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Its chief aim is to enkindle and foster in the souls of its members a tender love and special devotion towards the spotless Mother of God, the great model of Christian maidenhood.

The Sodality’s first spiritual director was the Reverend W.P. McCarthy. The first officers were:

Mary Rapier, who later became Sister Mary Aloysius, a Sister of Charity.

Mary Rapier, Prefect
Annie Price, Assistant
Minnie Clements, Secretary
Susie Thompson, Sacristan
Mary Clark, Reader
Mollie Gannon, Organist

Meetings would consist of prayer, hymns and a reading or teaching on the life of the Blessed Mother or a particular saint. Chapters of the Sodality gradually grew in surrounding parishes and often they with the Academy chapter would have joint events, including rosary processions. In 1934, Revered Whelan gave this exhortation, “Although social activity is combined with its work, and its members are in the world, yet they are not of the world. Each sodalist has within herself an influence beyond that of which she is aware; there is about her a seriousness which springs from within her soul and life, and makes her a power for good wherever she may be.”

The Catholic Student Mission Crusade (CSMC, and itself deserving a separate blog post) and the Sodality merged on December 6, 1970 and became known as SOUL (Students of United Love Christian Life Society). The reason given was a lack of personnel and change of culture seemed to indicate that a more contemporary society, tailored to individual needs instead of nation needs was required.

December 1937 Sodality article in The Mount.
Click for a larger image.