Etched into the stone above her final resting place, you’ll find the words: “Repairer of the Breach.” A fitting legacy for Mother Lurana Mary White. She didn’t just preach At-One-Ment, she lived it.

Mother Lurana was always unique, even as a little girl. Her mother dreamed of the “good life” for her daughter. But teenage Lurana wanted to live as a nun.

However, Lurana was Anglican. She could join an Anglican order, and she did. Yet they didn’t take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience like she desired. Privately, she was allowed to make these vows. But deep down, she still wasn’t satisfied.

Then, she found Fr. Paul Wattson.

At the time, he wasn’t Catholic either. But when he told Lurana about his desire to found a Society of the Atonement, she went all in. Finally, she knew the path to fulfill her heart’s desire – the way of sacrifice and atonement.

With her heart on fire for this mission, Mother Lurana turned into a trailblazer. She joined forces with Fr. Paul and founded the Society of the Atonement. This was new for the Christian world! Rarely – if ever – had a woman established a religious order co-equally with a man.

Standing on Graymoor hill to plant their community, they shivered in the “howling wilderness,” with only a tiny chapel, a rustic farmhouse and a shabby paint house for shelter. Slowly but surely, Mother Lurana transformed Graymoor into the spiritual haven you find today.

She never stopped working. She steered her sisters through the community’s challenging early years. She endured skepticism from other Catholics. Under her leadership, St. Christopher’s Inn was established. It continues to house people recovering from addictions.

Mother Lurana followed the mission for At-One-Ment wherever it led her. Like Fr. Paul, she entered the Catholic Church to live the Franciscan way of life. Yet she passionately promoted Christian unity for the rest of her life.

Her devotion bore tremendous fruit. By the time she died, the Society of the Atonement had spread to Canada, Ireland, Brazil, Italy and Japan.

During this month of April, we celebrate both the birth and death of Mother Lurana. Let all who are saddened by division in the world, in our own communities or families, take heart in Our Lady of the Atonement, and in Mother Lurana’s legacy.

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