On the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1898 two young women made religious vows which formally established The Community of the Transfiguration. Eva Lee Matthews and Beatrice Henderson had been living in community under a religious rule for about a year before this service (held at St. Luke's, Cincinnati) of profession, when they became Mother Eva Mary and Sister Beatrice. They made their life vows in 1903 and 1904 respectively.

Mother Eva's vision for her Community was to pattern it after the lives of Mary and Martha of Bethany. She chose to name her Community for the mystery of the Transfiguration (since there was already a Community in the Episcopal Church known as the Sisters of Bethany).

The Community’s first home was in Cincinnati, not far from St. Luke's—where Mother Eva's brother, the Rev. Paul Matthews, was rector. The Sisters’ work began there with mothers and children. This grew into the official ministry of the Bethany Home which moved to the present property in Glendale in the summer of 1898. Initially the children at Bethany Home attended public schools. Later, it became a boarding school called Bethany School, which transitioned to a day school in 1976.

As the Community grew, Mother Eva felt it possible for the Sisters to undertake additional work through branch houses. Throughout the years these have supported a variety of ministries including education (both Christian formation and regular academics; sometimes establishing and always supporting schools), care of children (some in orphanages), respite care and retreats, access to nature, support of mothers, feeding/clothing/sheltering people, providing medical care—and always praying. Current ministries include Bethany School, St. Monica's Recreation Center in Lincoln Heights, Ohio, work in the Dominican Republic, a West Coast ministry based in California, the Tabor Ministry near Butler, Ohio, Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale, Ohio, Food for the Soul (serving throughout greater Cincinnati), and Transfiguration North Carolina.

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





Timeline of work, ministries, and houses

  • 1895 House of Women
  • 1897 Bethany Mission House
  • 1898 Purch
  • 1898 vows
  • 1900 Bat Cave, NC
  • 1906 Glendale, OH: St. Edmund's School for boys
  • 1911 Cleveland, OH: St. John's Orphanage
  • 1914 Wuhu China: school
  • 1918 Honolulu, Hawaii: St. Andrew's Priory school
  • 1931 Lincoln Heights (Cincinnati): parish work, St. Simon's school, community center SMRC now
  • 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, OH: Transfiguration Spirituality Center retreat center
  • 2011 Butler, OH: Tabor Ministry
  • 2022 Glendale, OH: Food for the Soul
  • 2024 Bat Cave, NC: Transfiguration North Carolina retreat center


A New History

Women of Devotion: History of An Anglican Religious Community 1898-2008 chronicles the history of an American religious society of women, affiliated with the Episcopal Church, the "Community of the Transfiguration" founded in Glendale, Ohio, that continues today. 

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