Monastery of Perpetual Adoration hosts year-long celebration of foundress

By Mary Powers

In the midst of the tumultuous time of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s attack on Europe, a simple Franciscan nun was called to form a new order dedicated to perpetually adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Mother Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation was born Caterina Sordini in Grosseto, Italy, in 1770. She was the fourth of nine children. Her father had arranged a marriage for her, but she was instead called by God to enter a Franciscan monastery in Ischia di Castro.

In February 1789, she saw a vision of Jesus “seated on a throne of grace in the Blessed Sacrament surrounded by virgins adoring Him.” She heard Him tell her, “I have chosen you to establish the work of perpetual adorers who, day and night, will offer Me their humble adoration…”

Mother Mary Magdalene, with the help of her spiritual director, established the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, first in Italy and then throughout the world. Since its foundation in Rome, the order has grown worldwide with monasteries in Italy, Africa, Austria, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.  

The Monastery of Perpetual Adoration in San Francisco was established in 1928 when the sisters fled Guadalajara, Mexico, during the persecution of the Church under the government of President Calles. The first sisters arrived in San Diego in July 1926 following the edict ordering the closure all churches in the Republic of Mexico. At the invitation of Father Dionisio Kavanaugh, they moved to San Francisco with the rest of the sisters joining them in 1928.

This year, the sisters of Perpetual Adoration will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of their foundress, Mother Mary Magdalene, from November 29, 2023 – November 29, 2024. The Holy See also granted a Plenary Indulgence for those who attend Eucharistic celebrations, Eucharistic blessings, and adoration in any of the monasteries of the Order of Perpetual Adoration—including the monastery in San Francisco.[1]

The sisters joyfully launched the holy year with a procession and the opening of the holy door on Wednesday, November 29, along with their morning Mass. A picture of Mother Mary Magdelene was prominently displayed on the altar, honoring their foundress.

All are welcome to come and adore Jesus in the Eucharist at the Monastery and join the sisters in celebrating the jubilee year.

[1] The usual conditions apply for a plenary indulgence, including Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions.