Sister Angelita Myerscough grew up within walking distance of the Ruma convent. She entered the community at age 14, finished high school, and made first vows in 1937.
She earned a history degree at Saint Louis University in 1944, taught elementary school, then moved to St. Teresa Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school in East St. Louis, and to Precious Blood High School in Ruma. Her desire to be a missionary in China eluded her.
SS Andrea Doria
For two years in the 1950s, Sister Angelita Myerscough lived in Rome to study the roots, life and spirituality of the Adorers’ foundress, Maria de Mattias. On her ocean voyage back to the States, her ship, the S.S. Andrea Doria, was struck off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts by a Swedish line on July 25, 1956. She and most of the other passengers survived, but when the ship sank, she lost all her books, notes, and research on Precious Blood spirituality. In 1959, she renewed her research by working toward her doctorate at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Her dissertation on the spirituality of Maria De Mattias became the book , “Redemptive Encounter. “
Sister Angelita Myerscough became provincial of the then-Ruma Province in 1965 in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and the refreshing yet disruptive changes that followed. She made sure that sisters received opportunities for theological updating and personal growth through visiting speakers to the Ruma Center. She served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious from 1971 to 1972.
Sister Angelita Myerscough worked with others to revise the Adorers’ Constitution to embody the spirit of St. Maria De Mattias. During Vatican II, all religious communities were asked to revisit their community roots and charism.
During Sister Angelita Myerscough’s years as provincial, she invited the province to open missions in Liberia and Bolivia. She also tackled new areas such as provincial assemblies, new ministries, changes in habit, ongoing formation, and the option to return to baptismal names. She helped renew the focus on racial justice in East St. Louis, prompted in part by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.
She served in Rome for nine general assemblies. She was elected to the Adorers’ general council in 1975 and remained until 1988. Her extensive knowledge of St. Maria De Mattias and of congregational history, and her fluency in Italian, led her to translate a six-volume set of “Letters Maria De Mattias.”
Giant Among Adorers
Sister Angelita Myerscough was an Adorer for 76 years, offering her heart, her mind, her strength and her suffering for the good of the congregation until her death at age 92. She is one of the giants on whose shoulders we stand today.