SUPERET LIGHT CHURCH, a peculiar religion and church with followers across the world.
THE HOLY SUPERET CHURCH on 3rd.
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 555:
The cultural monument is a neon sign. A bright purple and pink, heart-shaped, eye-grabbing neon sign that reads, Holy Superet Light Church. Looks more like a sign you’d find advertising a 50’s diner than a church.
But it does advertise a church. On an unassuming portion of Third St. in the Westlake/MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles, there is a church, called the Holy Superet Light, and it’s home to a group of people who follow the teachings of a woman known affectionately as Mother Trust.
Mother Trust, whose real name is Dr. Josephine De Croix Trust, is a tough bat to find much information on. Legend has it that she was able, at the tender age of four, to see auras. Of people, objects, vegetation…
The church is just sort of there. East of a pupusa joint. West of the Saint Vincent Medical center. Across the street from a liquor store.
At the side of the church is an impeccably maintained garden, the focal point of which is another neon sign, a neon rainbow hovering over a large statue of Jesus. (Relatively certain the rainbow has nothing to do with LGBT solidarity).
So, what’s the Holy Superet Light Church? Well, it’s a new-age type religious organization that was started in the 1920s by Josephine Trust.
There’s a sermon every Tuesday night at 8pm.
Plan a day. Give yourself two hours. Have some pupusas, and walk over. That’s what we did. Service lasts an hour. If you want to stop by earlier in the day, the garden is open from 2-7 p.m. We arrived 15 minutes early and were greeted by a small matronly woman whom we followed into the lobby. She was warm and welcoming as she pointed us through the doors to the chapel (a correction: a comment left at the bottom of this page says the place we were led to is not the chapel, but the auditorium).* She seemed eager that we’d dropped in.
Not sure who chose the color pallet of the chapel—if it was Mother Trust, herself, or if it was an outside job—but it’s a notable feature of the interior. The walls and vaulted wood ceilings are princess pink. The pews, 12 rows deep and two wide, are baby boy blue, like maybe Mama T. had seen boy/girl newborns with their hospital bonnets still on, before she headed to the hardware store for primer.
The floors are a light-colored hardwood and everything is clean. Clean, clean.
It’s a big space, too. Pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and some wispy pastel paintings line the walls. The pews face a stage, and the stage has three main focal points. 1) A large, well-lit painting (meant to represent three Auras) on an easel that sits stage right. 2) What looks to be a mini-shrine to the Church’s founder. A black and white picture of Mother Trust flanked by candles and flowers. 3) And best of all. Slightly more toward center, a chair that looks like the star set-piece in a high school production of Alice in Wonderland. It's a chair, maybe a throne, shaped like a heart. It's royal purple (the color, as we understand it, of God's Aura… yeah, M.T. was all about the auras) and is trimmed in gold.
Just off stage is a piano (with another black and white portrait of Mama T.) and the podium where, on the evening we went, two people read some words from Mother Trust.
To say the speakers lacked charisma would be an understatement. To say the author of the words lacked literary finesse would be gracious. Perhaps the readers should get their due credit, though, because, reading some of the literature, Mother Trust could have used a stern whack from a high school English teacher. Her syntax is off, punctuation and capitalization seem arbitrary, and she uses the word (word?) “etc.” in her many lists a lot.
At precisely 8 p.m., the lights of the chapel went down and the classical music that had been, well, not blasting, but playing at high volume (not unpleasantly), was turned low and switched over to the contralto voice of a man singing a church hymn. Just as the word Amen hummed over the speakers, a man seated in the front pew took the podium.
He was nicely dressed—slacks, belt and button up. He wore glasses and had a thick Spanish accent. He addressed the congregation that numbered, including us two interlopers, seven. All of whom, it might be mentioned, scattered themselves about the pews and spoke not a word to each other pre or post-service.
There were two speakers that night—we learned later (we went to the church a second time) that speakers rotate among congregation members every six months. The second was a middle-aged white woman dressed in a long skirt and pale green, long-sleeved cardigan with embroidered flowers. We mention the long sleeves, because we read on a site that women are not supposed to show their arms at the Holy Superet Church. It was jacket weather the night we went, so we were already wrapped up.
We wondered what was it about the words of Mother Trust that spoke to this woman. She wore lipstick for the occasion. Was she married? She touched her cheek gently when she stumbled on a word. Did she have a cat? Children? A day job? She talked about dark atoms, and unpaid bills.
Speaking of bills and finances, one of the biggest questions about this Church: Where in great vibrations do they get their funding? Not a clue, too timid to ask the question. But their grounds ain’t non too shabby. In the time between our first and second visit (1 week), they’d gotten a brand new sign advertising their next sermon.
It’s not easy finding information on the history of Mother Trust or the Superet Light Church beyond what their websites itself says. But here are the basic things we gleaned for our trips to the church and a little internet research.
- Mother Trust’s real name is Dr. Josephine C. De Croix Trust, and she is from Poland.
- She is titled as Dr., and often referred to as a scientist… or sometimes Scientist, though it’s not at all clear what she holds her doctorate in.
- She made a speech at Carnegie Melon and became known (to I’m guessing a handful of followers) as a healer.
- She started the church in the 1920’s.
- She died in 1957 and is buried in the church grounds at the Los Angeles location that we went to, which is the Mother Church.
- The biggest congregation of Superetists is located in Nigeria.
- God spoke to mother trust by allowing her to see the light that shined through the bible.
- M.T. is not a prophet, but isn’t not one. When we asked if she was, there was a pause, and we were told, “Mother Trust is a scientist. She was special.”
- The Superetist is a worshiper of God’s Purple Heart.