Left: Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (www.motherofisraelshope.org); right: Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. on Sept. 8, 2011, when the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope became a public association of the faithful under Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa.
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. is founder of Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope (www.motherofisraelshope.org),
a new religious congregation currently headquartered in the Diocese of
Tulsa, Oklahoma, under the leadership of Bishop Edward Slattery. The
former Rosalind Moss was born into a Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York,
but converted to evangelical Christianity and then to Catholicism. She
worked on the staff of Catholic Answers in San Diego for nine years,
before leaving to found her religious congregation.
spent a year in Europe living with women’s religious communities to
learn the basics of religious life, and is now interviewing candidates
for her new community. She has had more than a thousand queries from
interested women; she plans to select six by the end of the year who
will join with her in establishing the community.
In conjunction with Catholic Answers, for 12 years she was a guest of the Catholic radio program From the Heart, and in April 2015 began a new radio program through Immaculate Heart Radio, Heart to Heart with Mother Miriam.
CWR: What is the mission or charism of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope?
Mother Miriam: Our
purpose is to help restore God’s design for the family. We want to
help Catholic families know who they are, their identity and vocation,
and that they are called by God, by Love and for love. We work with non-Catholic families as well.
apostolate is to be handmaids of the family. If a family has an
elderly member that is dying, we’ll be there to help them. If a mother
comes home with a sixth child and is overwhelmed, we’ll be there to
help. We would love to help families pray together, to set up a prayer
table and begin by praying even one Hail Mary a day. It can be utterly
One evening, a woman knocked at the door of our
priory to ask for help for an elderly man whose house had been badly
damaged in a tornado. We’re helping him find people to rebuild his
house. Another time I met someone in a coffee shop in great need, so
we’re doing what we can to help.
CWR: You also strongly identify with the traditional religious habit.
Mother Miriam: Yes.
We walk the streets in full habit. When I was 20, I was a single
Jewish woman who didn’t know Christ. The shortening of nuns’ habits had
an enormous impact on me, however. I felt a deep and immediate loss.
Twenty-six years later, the same “holy shock” went through me when I was
challenged to look into the claim of the Catholic Church that it was
the one true Church founded by Christ.
My dream has long been
to return the hemline of the religious habit to the floor and to the
world, as the glorious sign to God that it is.
spent time studying religious life in Ireland, where I was greeted by
sisters in pantsuits and running suits. You would have no clue if you
saw them in the street that they were sisters. It is deeply grievous to
I think many sisters abandoned the habit because they had
the mistaken notion that religious had to be like the people to whom
they ministered. But the people do not need religious to be one of
them, just as children don’t need their parents to be peers or friends,
but to lead them to heaven.
Other sisters got tired of the habit, because they thought it was hot, uncomfortable and too difficult to maintain.
feel like a hanger for the habit. I walk the streets and shopping
malls wearing it. People come up to me all the time asking, “Are you a
nun? I thought they were extinct!” People ask me for prayer. It
brings hope to the world.
I love the habit. I’d sleep in it
if I could. I suspect some of those sisters who abandoned it regret
it. They’d go back to it, but fear their community would ostracize them
if they did.
CWR: What concerns do you have about family life?
Mother Miriam: It
is God’s number one design to build His kingdom, and the Enemy’s number
one target to destroy. This destruction seems to be happening at
breakneck speed. When the Enemy destroys the family, he destroys
society. This attack has primarily happened within the Church; as Pope
Paul VI famously said, the “smoke of Satan” has entered the Church.
Catholic who is not a priest or nun has the very first and most vital
calling we have as human beings: to marry and multiply the kingdom of
God on Earth. I accept that a religious calling is higher than
marriage, but I cannot see anything more glorious than a man and woman
joined as one in marriage. If they are truly open to life-giving love
and living according to God’s design amidst many trials, it is in a
great measure to live heaven on Earth.
was your reaction to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision redefining
marriage, mandating that all 50 states accept “same-sex marriage”?
Mother Miriam: Utter, utter grief. I was not surprised, but nonetheless I was deeply grieved.
have asked me what I think of “same-sex marriage.” I tell them that I
have no opinion on it, because it does not and cannot exist. There is
no such thing. Human beings cannot define marriage; they can decide to
live immoral lifestyles, but what they do is not marriage.
has left Christians to be lights in the world. This “same-sex
marriage” ruling gives us a great opportunity to be lights in the
CWR: Not long ago, “same-sex marriage” was unthinkable. Do you marvel at the speed in which it has been widely accepted in society?
Mother Miriam: Yes.
It has happened very quickly. I used to use the example of putting the
frog in the boiling water: if you drop him in boiling water he’ll jump
out, if you put him in cool water and slowly turn up the temperature you
can boil him to death. But now I use a new illustration. There is a
lily you can put into a pond that doubles in size every day. The
question I ask is that if it takes 29 days for the lily to cover half
the pond, how many more days for the lily to cover all of it? Not
another 29 days, but one.
Pope Benedict XVI himself, in his
private writings, spoke about the Church having to go underground in our
day, due to the evil that pervades civil governments. But, for me, the
greatest tragedy is priests and bishops who have defected from the
faith and have not taught the sheep or who, by their silence or poor
example, have led them astray. This is far more grievous than what is
happening in the world today. In fact, if bishops were not afraid, if
they truly believed the Faith and taught the truth and Catholics knew
their faith, we would not be as threatened as we are.
CWR: What are your thoughts on last year’s Synod on the Family in Rome?
Mother Miriam: It was tragic. There was a confusion that came out of it that the bishops should not have allowed.
with the continuation of the Synod this October, there’s going to be a
discussion about the possibility of giving Communion to the divorced and
remarried. That is something that should not even be a topic. It
should be off the plate. It simply is not a Catholic question. Should
we reconsider whether or not murder is legitimate? It would be no less
absurd than discussing whether or not Catholics should receive the Body
and Blood of Our Lord in an unworthy and gravely immoral manner.
Families need direction and solid help that coincides with our faith so that we know how to live.
CWR: There is also a need to address the contraceptive mentality, which is depopulating much of the developed world.
Mother Miriam: Oh,
yes. The people of Israel, for example, are putting themselves out of
existence. The death rate is higher than the birth rate, and young
couples are not getting married. This is true in many parts of the
The contraceptive mentality has had a tragic effect on
society. But, many young people don’t have good examples to follow.
The father is not living in the home because parents are divorced or
never married; sometimes the mother is not involved. Young people don’t
have examples of good marriages. We need the example of holy families,
so we can build the domestic church.
CWR: What are you hoping this second phase of the Synod will produce?
Mother Miriam: I’d
love to simply see the faith taught, with the truth restored in clarity
and not a single compromise made. I’d like to see the truth of
marriage and the family proclaimed: that marriage is for life, that it
is a sacrament, that no one should be having extramarital intimacy and
that no one should be using contraceptives.
I’d like to hear
that the wife’s number one vocation is to make her husband a saint, and
that the husband’s number one vocation is to make his wife a saint.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has said that the greatest
gift a father can give his children is to love their mother, and the
greatest gift a mother can give her children is to love their father.
The children will learn what they see. If they see love, they will
CWR: How did the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope get its start?
Mother Miriam: Cardinal
Raymond Burke, when he was Archbishop of St. Louis, knew of my dream
for this new congregation and invited me to found the community in his
archdiocese. A month after I arrived, he was called to Rome by Pope
Benedict, and the new archbishop did not want the community to continue
in the archdiocese. I contacted five bishops, and Bishop Slattery
invited me to Tulsa. I’m now under Bishop Slattery, who is a holy
bishop and a true father to his flock.
Two years ago I went to
Angers, France with a foundational group of six women. We stayed with a
community of Benedictine sisters to experience the beauties of
religious life. I wanted my community to experience, from its
inception, the beauty of reverence and the freedom of obedience.
However, we faced difficulties we didn’t anticipate, and in four months
all six were gone.
I’m back in Tulsa in a three-bedroom house,
which has been divided into seven cells, so there is room for me and
another six women. We have no age limitwe take women from 18 to
118most of the more than 1,000 who have inquired are in their 50s and
60s. We’re not an order for older women, however; we very much want to
invite all age groups, especially younger women.
women who are inquiring I can select only six to enter next January.
I’m praying that God will one day give us a huge, beautiful convent,
wherever it is, that has room for many more women. The needs are huge,
and the women who are applying have a heart for the family and want to
spend the rest of their lives serving our Lord.
CWR: Who would be a good fit for your community?
Mother Miriam: Women who love God and who love the Church and every single doctrine She teaches. We cannot impart what we do not love.
need women healthy enough to participate in a contemplative-active
apostolate. We’re under the Rule of St. Benedict. We begin with Lauds
at 5:30 a.m. We also pray Vespers and Compline, have a daily Holy Hour
and the Rosary. We have a common schedule and share common meals.
desire women who have a pioneering spirit, and are amenable to change,
women who are flexible, mature and courageous, women who are ready to
suffer and to give their all.
Obedience is also important,
although it can be extremely difficult for a woman who has been making
her own decisions throughout her adult life. Every woman knows this in
advance. It is vital.
If God allows us to receive 500 women,
I’d love to have communities in the ghetto as well as wealthy
neighborhoods. But all who participate must understand we are not a
social service organization. We’re a religious community not trying to
fix the world, but to bring the love, the presence and the truths of God
to help restore what the Enemy has distorted and destroyed.
CWR: What challenges have you faced?
Mother Miriam: It
is often the women who enter or who desire to enter who bring with them
the greatest difficulties. They come from a world that is
“me-centered,” and lack a great deal of formation, even in
Christianity. I’ve been told not to take anyone from a dysfunctional
home, but it’s difficult today to find anyone who is not from one! The
family has been so destroyed, and many in society have been poorly
Also, although we’re a happy and joyful community, we
keep a great deal of silence in the priory. This can be difficult for
women who are used to much speaking!
The one thing that cannot
be tolerated is gossip. Gossip is poison. It kills. It is the one
thing above all others for which a woman would be dismissed.
CWR: What is the focus of your new radio program?
Mother Miriam: I
am free to speak about any subject at all, so we speak a lot about the
family. It’s been going wonderfully well. As I once said to Cardinal
Burke, what I live for, 24-7, is to put my arms around the whole world
and to tell them about Christ and His Church. Immaculate Heart Radio is
helping me to do that!
CWR: Was it difficult for your Jewish family to accept your conversion to Christianity?
Mother Miriam: Both
my brother, David Moss, and I converted to Christianity, and for two
years, we couldn’t go into our parents’ home, and they wouldn’t go into
ours. In their mindset, there are two kinds of people, Jews and
non-Jews. To leave the Jewish faith was considered not only to betray
but to diminish the people of Israel.
But, before they died,
they both gave their lives to Christ in the Baptist church. (I
converted to Catholicism after their death.) My younger sister, Susan,
also gave her life to Christ.
When others in the family found
out about my parents’ conversion, they took away their burial plots. To
this day, my siblings and I are not allowed into the homes of some of
our relatives. The name of Christ is not allowed to be spoken in such
It’s been 38 years since I became an evangelical
Christian, and 20 years since I became Catholic. I cannot get over the
fact that I believe, that I see, when so many others do not. Faith is a
CWR: What brought you into the Catholic Church?
Mother Miriam: Primarily
it was due to the influence of my brother David and Scott Hahn. My
brother became a Catholic 16 years before me, and today heads up the
Association of Hebrew Catholics. He was once an atheist, but never
stopped searching for truth.
I listened to four hours of
audiotapes of Scott Hahn debating a Presbyterian minister. At the end
of the debate, Scott declared that the one who looks into the claims of
the Catholic Church will discover a holy shock and glorious amazement to
find out what he had been fighting against is, in fact, the Church
Christ founded 2,000 years ago.
I stood paralyzed on the
spot. “Oh, no,” I thought. “Don’t tell me there is any truth to
this!” But, I knew that if I did not look into the claims of the
Catholic Church, I would be turning away from God. My journey into the
Catholic Church had begun.