World Day of Cloistered Life

Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to support the cloistered and monastic life on World Day of Cloistered Life, Monday, November 21, 2016, the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

“The primary purpose of World Day of Cloistered Life, traditionally known as Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”), is to support—both spiritually and materially—the gift of the cloistered contemplative life,” said Rev. Thomas Nelson, O. Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life. Pope Francis reminds us that “it is an opportune occasion to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and in silent work.”

Pope Pius XII first instituted this worldwide ecclesial event in 1953 to publicly recognize women and men who so generously give of themselves to this unique calling and who each day, from the various convents and monasteries spread throughout the world, offer prayer unceasingly. Pope St. John Paul II later expanded its celebration and encouraged Catholics to support this sublime vocation in any way possible.

Since his election, Pope Francis has highlighted the vital importance of cloistered contemplative life in the Church’s mission. In the recent Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei Quaerere, the Holy Father wrote that those who devote the whole of their lives to the contemplation of God “are a living sign and witness of the fidelity with which God, amid the events of history, continues to sustain His people.”

World Day of Cloistered Life has a special significance as the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to a close. “The prayers and sacrifices of cloistered religious is the foundation of all the Church’s work of mercy,” said Father Nelson, “because their prophetic witness and prayerful presence secures the grace needed for God’s merciful love to reach even the most hardened and distant of hearts.”

 The nationwide effort to publicize World Day of
Cloistered Life (Pro Orantibus Day) is coordinated by the Institute on Religious Life. The IRL was founded in 1974 by Servant of God Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J., and is comprised of bishops, priests, religious and laity who support and promote the vowed religious life.

A FREE PDF packet of resources is available online, including a meditation for this occasion at CloisteredLife.com.

+ + + + +
The cloistered religious featured on the 2016 World Day of Cloistered Life logo is from the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The community’s website is OPNuns-FH.org.

A Prayer for the Forgotten Holy Souls

We often think of friends and family who have died and wonder if their immediate loved ones are praying for them after death. There are also the people who died long ago or who were ignored and abandoned in this life and have no one to pray for them now.  This is the prayer for all of these beloved children, awaiting to enter their eternal homeland.

souls(Czech artist Jakub Schikaneder’s 1888 painting “All Souls Day”)

O merciful God, take pity on those souls who have no particular friends and intercessors to recommend them to Thee, who, either through the negligence of those that are alive, or through length of time are forgotten by their friends and by all.

Spare them, O Lord, and remember Thine own mercy, when others forget to appeal to it. Let not the souls which Thou has created be parted from Thee, their Creator. They are Thy work, and though they  have sinned, they have been redeemed by Thee.

Vouchsafe, therefore, to look upon them  and to deliver them from the intolerable pain of absence from Thee; the light and love of all Thy creatures. Oh! place them in the number of Thy blessed Saints and citizens through Jesus Christ their Savior. Amen.

(Courtesy of the Desert Nuns)

l1-poor-souls-altarThis picture is of the side altar at St. Michael’s Church in Chicago, a church that survived the great fire. It is called the Poor Souls altar and shows a soul being raised from purgatory to be united with Christ through the intercession of a priest during Mass. Have a Mass said for a poor soul today!

A Latin phrase at the bottom inset of the Altar is translated as “The written book will be brought forth, in which the whole is contained whence the world is to be judged.”

Apostleship of Prayer November Prayer Intentions

refug1Countries Receiving Refugees

That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.

 

refug2Collaboration of Priests and Laity

That within parishes, priests and lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving in to the temptation of discouragement.

For more information, visit the Apostleship of Prayer’s website.

 

 

 

Jesuits Elect First Non-European Superior General

sj-sant-spirituOn October 14, 2016, the Society of Jesus elected their first Latin American Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal of Venezuela, at the Jesuit’s 36th General Congregation held in Rome. He is also the first non-European to be elected. As the 31st Superior General, he will be leading the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Church, succeeding Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ., who had served since 2008. There are 16,740 Jesuits worldwide, including approximately 12,000 priests; 1,300 brothers; 2,700 scholastics; and 753 novices. The country with the largest number of Jesuits is India, with over 3000!

fr-sosaFr. Arturo was born in Caracus, Venezuela, in 1948, entering the Jesuits in 1966. He speaks several languages and knows Pope Francis, having met him in 1983 during a previous General Congregation and at other times. The Holy Father was the first person notified after the election.

When asked what initially attracted him to the Jesuits, Father Arturo responded: “Everything….They are an apostolic power in many areas.” The areas of priority for him in the mission fields are poverty, helping migrants and refugees, and inter-religious dialogue. The Jesuits profess four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience, and “obedience specifically in regard to worldwide mission,” or as it said in the previous decrees of the 35th General Congregation: “Total availability to serve the Church wherever the Pope sends us.”

The day of the election began at the beautiful church of Santo Spiritu in Sassia in Rome where in his homily Fr. James Grummer, SJ, Vicar General, said: “Our mission this morning is to elect a General. We will be locked into an upper room, not for fear but for concentrated listening to the Spirit’s whisper. We are not afraid because we believe so strongly that the Spirit guides the balloting that according to Formula 84 ‘The man elected cannot refuse the election.’”

May the Holy Spirit guide grace Fr. Arturo Sosa with the wisdom to guide the Society of Jesus with clarity of vision, compassionate service and dedication to the mission.

Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.JesuitVocations.org for more information.

 

Passionist Nuns Celebrate St. Paul of the Cross Feast Day

St. Paul of the Cross founded the Congregation of the Passion in 1720. While walking home after attending Mass, he saw himself “clothed in long black garment with a white cross on my breast, and below the cross the Holy Name of Jesus was written in white letters. At that instant, I heard these words spoken to me: ‘This signifies how pure and spotless that heart should be which must bear the Holy Name of Jesus graven upon it.’ On seeing and hearing this, I began to weep.”

His desire was to gather around him companions who saw the Passion of Jesus as God’s love-message to them and the world. Along with the men’s community, the contemplative community of women, the “Doves of Calvary,” were to stand at the foot of the Cross with our Sorrowful Mother and, with her, keep alive the memory of the self-sacrificing love of Jesus Crucified.

Three Passionists communities, Affiliates of the IRL, faithfully keep this remembrance of the Lord’s Passion before them always. In a special way, today! the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross.

They are:

  • The Passionists nuns of Erlanger, Kentucky. They make altar breads for the faithful on-site.  Watch this YouTube video to see how their prayerful dedication to this holy ministry brings the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to the faithful!

 

  • The Passionist nuns of Whitesville, Kentucky.   Their guest house, monastery and chapel are located on a peaceful 170-acre site of beautiful woodlands. Through their hidden life of prayer, penance, work, and joy they seek to be little co-redeemers with the great Co-Redemptrix.  Please keep Ruth and Olivia (their two new aspirants) in your prayers as they  discern if it is truly God’s plan for them to be future Passionist Nuns.

passionistaspirants2016blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Passionist Nuns of Ellisville, Missouri.  Please pray for Meg, their newest postulant, who plans to enter the Passionists on November 11th. “We are dedicated to the greatest act of love on earth—the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ!”

May the Passion of Christ be ever in our hearts!

Sisters of the Holy Family Celebrate 175th Jubilee

thThe sisters of the Holy Family will opening the celebration of their 175th Jubilee with a Mass on November 19, 2016, honoring the their foundress Ven. Henriette Delille.

The mass will be at their Motherhouse on Chef Menteur Boulevard in New Orleans, LA. The celebrant will be Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

For more information, visit the sisters’ website.

 

Institute of Catholic Culture Welcomed as New IRL Affiliate!

icc

The institute of Catholic Culture, through its’ apostolate the Magdala Institute, has for several years now been providing top-quality, free formation classes for sisters and nuns. We were pleased at the IRL’s September Board Meeting to approve them as a new IRL Affiliate.

The ICC was founded in 2006 by Rev. Franklyn McAfee, S.T.D., and Rev. Hezekias Carnazzo, M.A., as an educational outreach project within the Office of Evangelization at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia, in response to the Church’s call for a new evangelization.

From the beginning, the ICC has offered weekly seminars in Catholic history, philosophy and theology, with a strong emphasis on the study of Sacred Scripture. Soon, it was bursting at the seams, as attendees from all over the Northern Virginia / Washington D.C. metropolitan area began to visit, knowing they could receive quality, orthodox education with the Institute’s programs.

Today, the ICC averages over 200 eager participants at its regular education programs and offers Catholic adult faith formation opportunities in local parishes. In addition, it has expanded beyond its initial geographical region by offering live and on-demand video streaming of its programs, CD production of past seminars, and over 600 hours of catechetical programs in its free, on-line media library.

magdalaOf interest to IRL communities is their Magdala Apostolate, dedicated to providing sound doctrinal formation—both initial and ongoing—for women religious and novices, in accord with the Church’s call for a new evangelization. Each term, they offer semester-long courses in the faith to any religious sister or community who applies. All that is needed to participate is a:

  1. A computer
  2. An internet connection with a download speed of about 4.00 Mbps and an upload speed of about 1.0 Mbps.
  3. A webcam

They have also begun building an online resources library, so that those who visit their web site can access not only the archived and live programs, but also the written resources discussed and referenced.

Topics covered include:

  • Scripture
  • Theology
  • Church History
  • Philosophy
  • Catechetics
  • Spirituality
  • Continuing formation classes like Greek, Biblical Apologetics, Ante-Nicaean Fathers

fr-hezFather Carnazzo has been to many IRL National Meetings, both as a speaker and participant. Ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 2016, he also serves as the Director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization for the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton. We highly recommend his courses. Feel free to call the ICC for more information at 540-635-7155.

 

St. Procopius Abbey Welcomed as New Affiliate

We welcome St. Procopius Abbey as a new IRL affiliate!
st-proc-commSt. Procopius Abbey is a Benedictine monastery of monks comprised of priests and brothers who live in community, seeking God by a life of prayer, obedience, and conversatio morum (conversion of life), according to the Rule of St. Benedict. Prayer and conversion are at the heart of their life. At the same time, they serve in outside apostolates, especially in the schools that they founded and continue to sponsor—Benet Academy and Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, where they serve on the faculty and staff. They also assist nearby parishes, especially with Sunday Masses.

St. Procopius Abbey was founded by monks from St. Vincent Archabbey (Latrobe, PA) in 1885 in order to pray and work among the Czech and Slovak immigrants. Benedictine Monks from St. Michael’s Archabbey in Bavaria, who arrived in America in 1846, were the founders of St. Vincent’s.

Over the next decades, the monks founded a high school, college, and seminary, and operated a press. They were also engaged in parish work. After 1901, the schools began operating in Lisle. In 1914, the Abbey too was transferred to Lisle.

Blessed by many vocations in the past, St. Procopius Abbey was able to found two new monastic communities: St. Andrew’s Abbey in Cleveland, OH, and Holy Trinity Priory in Butler, PA. The growth of the schools eventually led the monks to decide to build a new
monastic complex, that would give them a stronger Benedictine identity, enhance the contemplative character of their lives, and help
abbot-austinthem better serve the students and public. Planning began in 1959 and they moved into their new home in 1970.

Abbot Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B., was elected in 2010 as the 10th abbot. The motto on his coat of arms is beautiful: pariter ad vitam eternam (“all together to eternal life”).

 

Conyers Cistercians – New IRL Affiliate & New Abbot!

abbot-aug-ocsoAt the September Board of Director’s meeting of the IRL, we were pleased to approve the application of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, as our newest Affiliate community. This past summer has been a momentous time for the Trappist monks who on May 29, 2016, elected Father Augustine Myslinski, OCSO, as their eighth Abbot. On August 15, the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, conferred the abbatial blessing on Abbot Augustine in the Abbey church. “Today we bless and dedicate Abbot Augustine as he fully accepts his election as the abbot of the monastery of Conyers,” said Archbishop Gregory, “and places all of his trust in God’s fidelity which never forsakes.”

On the abbey website it states: The abbatial blessing of an abbot is a sacrament, having been established in the Western church since the eighth century. During the liturgy, Archbishop Gregory bestowed the church’s blessing upon Abbot Augustine to confirm him in his ministry. In the rite of blessing, the abbot promises to persevere in determination to observe the Rule of St. Benedict and to encourage the brothers in the love of God, the life of the Gospel and in fraternal charity.

Abbot Augustine is a Chicago native but moved with his family to Georgia when he was 11 years old. He initially entered a diocesan seminary but before his ordination as a deacon, discerned that God was calling him elsewhere. That elsewhere was the abbey in Conyers where he professed vows as a brother in 2005. Further discernment led to his ordination as a priest in 2011. “I resisted this call for many years.” He said. “When I first heard God calling me to monastic life, my response was, ‘Go pick on somebody else!’”

ocso-abbeyThe Monastery was founded in 1944, when twenty-one Trappist monks left Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky for the wilderness of rural Georgia. Together they built the magnificent Abbey Church, a massive concrete structure that took 15 years to complete. The last surviving member of original 21 Conyers monks died in 2014 at age 102.

Today, the community of 34 monks spanning several generations meets seven times a day for communal prayer of the Divine Office beginning with Vigils at 4:00 a.m. and ending with Compline at 7:30 p.m. As Cistercian monks, they profess the Benedictine vows of obedience, stability and conversatio morum (“Conversion of Life” as referenced in chapter 58 of the Rule of St. Benedict.)

abbey-church-aerialRetreat guests are invited to fully participate in the monastic schedule of the Divine Office. The Abbey Store provides visitors with the opportunity to purchase food products, such as fudge and biscotti, that are made at The Monastery Bakery by the Monks. The stained glass studios of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit have been in operation since 1957, first used for in the Abbey Church.

We pray for Abbot Augustine, his brother monks and all who come to their door seeking to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, that the Lord may bless them for their commitment to Christ, His Church and His people.

“God doesn’t need our prayers because He takes care of everything,” Abbot Augustine said. “Instead He wants our prayers. One reason He wants our prayers is because it draws us closer together in unity and love—united together in Christ Jesus.”

%d bloggers like this: