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A Brief History Of The Community Of The Transfiguration

On the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1898, an unusual event took place in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. Two young women, Eva Lee Matthews and Beatrice Henderson made religious vows. The service, at St. Luke's, Cincinnati, marked the formal establishment of The Community of the Transfiguration. The two women had been living in community under a religious rule for about a year before taking formal vows. They became Mother Eva Mary and Sister Beatrice. Their life, or permanent vows were made in 1903 and 1904 respectively.

Mother Eva's vision for her Community was to pattern it after the life of Mary and Martha of Bethany. Since there was already another Community in the Episcopal Church know as the Sisters of Bethany, she chose to name her Community for the mystery of the Transfiguration.

The first home of the Community was in Cincinnati not far from St. Luke's where Mother Eva's brother was rector. They worked with mothers and children and it was from this that Bethany Home grew. In the summer of 1898 the present property was purchased in Glendale and the Sisters and children moved. In the early years the children at Bethany Home attended public schools. Later, Bethany Home became Bethany School (a boarding school) and in 1976 it became a day school.

As the Community grew, Mother Eva felt it possible for the Sisters to undertake additional work through branch houses. Throughout the years there have been branch houses with a variety of ministries. Today, the ministries that are still active include St. Monica's in Lincoln Heights (Cincinnati), the work in the Dominican Republic, the West Coast ministry based in California, The Tabor Ministry near Butler, Ohio, Bethany School and The Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale, Ohio where the Motherhouse is located.

1908 Bat Cave, NC

1911 Cleveland, Ohio, St. John's Orphanage

1914 China, school

1918 Hawaii, school

1906 Glendale, St. Edmund's School for boys.

1931 Lincoln Heights, (Cincinnati) Parish work, school, community center

1943 California, schools and parish work

1945 Puerto Rico, jail ministry, youth center

1955 Japan, Education

1957 Glendale, Ohio, St. Mary's Memorial Home (nursing home)

1967 Texas, Holy Family School and St. Philip's School

1979 Lincolnton, NC, retreat house

1980 West Coast Ministry

1983 Dominican Republic, child care, school

2010 Glendale, Transfiguration Spirituality Center, retreat center

2011 Tabor Minstry, Butler Ohio

From the beginning, there were Associates of the Community who were part of the Community by their prayer and support. In 2004 after prayer and consideration, the first Oblates were received. They are men or women who have a call to the religious life but live in the world.

The unifying theme of all the ministries is the love of Christ. The essential work of the Sisters is the work of prayer. No matter how the active works vary, the life of each Sister and of the Community as a whole is centered around the daily Eucharist, the Offices and times of private prayer, meditation and study. Mother Eva wrote, “The vision of the King in his beauty is given that the light may shine through us and guide others to know, love and glorify him.”

Find more about the Community in this book Mother Eva Mary CT, The Story of a Foundation

(September 2011)

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