Work of Angels

This year commemorates the 850th anniversary of the death of St. Theotonius (1082-1162), co-founder of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, a new IRL Affiliate Community. The Order was founded in 1131 and violently suppressed in 1934 by the government of Portugal. The restoration of the Order was undertaken in 1977 by members of the spiritual movement called Opus Sanctorum Angelorum (Work of the Holy Angels). They were granted the privilege to introduce into the Order a “special devotion to the holy angels according to the tradition of the Church.”

In 1958, Pope Pius XII said that our lives are surrounded by the holy angels: “Each one of us, even the poorest of the poor, has angels watching over him. The angels are glorious, pure and splendid, but they have been given to us as companions along the way of life. They have the task of watching over you all, so that you do not stray away from Christ, your Lord.”

Archbishop Allen Vigneron has appointed the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Grotto) and the Adoration chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, both in Detroit, as places where a plenary indulgence may be gained to mark this special year honoring the saint (February 18, 2012 to February 18, 2013).  The church of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Carrollton, Ohio, will be an additional location where the indulgence may be gained. The relics of the Saint from the original monastery of Coimbra, Portugal, will be on a tour of all the houses of the Order throughout the world. They will be in Detroit from September 10 to 22, 2012.


You Are Forever a Spouse of Christ

May 31, 2012, was the solemn profession day for two Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga. St. Benedict says in his rule, “Let him who is to be received make in the oratory, in the presence of all, a promise of stability, conversion of manners and obedience before God and his saints. This petition is to be written in his own hand.” The two sisters, Sr. Lioba and Sr. Maria-Gertrude,  followed their spiritual father, Saint Benedict, by doing just that.

Mother had an interesting insight into what it means for a Bride of Christ to die to self.  She said, “You have embraced the very heart of what John the Baptist has said, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ If a nun’s deaths do not make her more alive to God, she is still living in the Old Testament, she will not be very good news to the world; but you are good news to the world. You have embraced the Paschal Mystery.”

The Abbey is the newest IRL Affiliate Community. Located in the Archdiocese of Denver, they were founded in 1935 from the Abbey of St. Erentrud in Austria. In addition to participation in the daily Eucharist, spiritual reading and liturgical prayer, they also run a gift shop and retreat house.


The Alma Sisters: A Vision of the Religious Woman

Excerpt from the Alma Sisters website. Well worth reading the complete article!

We, the physicians and future physicians of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan, met on June 2, 2012, to articulate the vision of the call and contribution of religious women in the redemptive healing ministry of the Church. We also addressed statements issued by the Leadership Conference of Woman Religious (LCWR),various news agencies, and other organizations which have created confusion, polarization, and false representations about the beliefs, activities, and priorities of a significant number of women religious in the United States.

As religious women, our whole life is based in faith. Apart from faith, religious life has no meaning. The doctrinal assessment from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) regarding the LCWR is in the language of faith. The responses of opposition are being expressed using the language of politics. There is no basis for authentic dialogue between these two languages. The language of faith is rooted in Jesus Christ, His life and His mission, as well as the magisterial teaching of the Church. In addition, the language of faith does not contradict reason, but elevates it and secures its integrity. The language of politics arises from the social marketplace. The Sisters who use political language in their responses to the magisterial Church reflect the poverty of their education and formation in the faith.

…We praise the generosity and service of religious women who have gone before us. We see great hope for the future of religious life within the Church and for a continuation of its health care mission in the service of all people. This hope lies in remaining within the deposit of faith and the hierarchical structure of the Church. We cannot separate ourselves from sacred Tradition or claim to advance beyond the Church. There will be new expressions of the faith to meet the needs of this present day, but these will be contained within and directed by the Magisterium of the Church. As Saint Augustine exclaims, “O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new!”

IHM Sisters of Wichita are Growing!

In the mail today, we received a brief note saying that the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita have obtained 80 acres of land on which to build a house of formation for their novitiate and for those discerning a vocation to religious life. The sisters ask that we join them in renewing our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and place ourselves, our families, our friends and all our works under her protection. How about doing that today, when we honor the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Here is a Solemn Act of Consecration from the EWTN website.

The community, an IRL Affiliate, was founded in 1848 by Fr. Joachim Masmitjá for the purpose of rebuilding society through the education of young women.  In 1979, the community in Wichita became autonomous, a new community with a long history. How wonderful to hear of a community that is growing and planning for the future with the eyes of Faith. Check out their video on YouTube for a glimpse of their life.

Prayers for Priests on the Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Congregation for Clergy has released this prayer in preparation for the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Clergy, held on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (this year, June 15).


O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of  the whole Church:

Grant it love and the light of Your Spirit,

and give power to the words of Priests

so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance and return to You, O Lord.

Lord, give us holy Priests;

You yourself maintain them in holiness.

O Divine and Great High Priest,

may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere

and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares

which are continually being set for the soul of Priests.

May the power of Your mercy,

O Lord, shatter and bring to naught

all that might tarnish the sanctity of Priests,

for You can do all things.

My beloved Jesus,

I pray to you for the triumph of the Church,

that you may bless the Holy Father and all the clergy;

I beg you to grant the grace of conversion

to sinners whose hearts have been hardened by sin,

and a special blessing and light to priests,

to whom I shall confess for all of my life.

(Saint Faustina Kowalska)

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Eucharist

The IRL is consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our founder, Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, wrote that it is a remarkable fact that “all of Christ’s appearances to St. Margaret Mary were when she knelt before the Eucharist. He would literally replace the Sacrament on the altar when He showed His physical heart to this devoted mystic, as much to say, ‘When you see the Eucharist, you see Me; and when you see Me, you behold My Sacred Heart.'”

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has waned in recent times eclipsed by devotion to Divine Mercy. However, Divine Mercy flows from the Sacred Heart of Jesus as evidenced by the picture commissioned by St. Faustina. In any event, June which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a good time to pray a novena to the Sacred Heart for some special intention. Click here for the novena that Padre Pio prayed every day for those who requested for his prayers.

Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.

One Million Fans

On June 3, 2012, in case you missed it, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Milan in front of one million people!! As a You Tube  audio put it- WOW!

At the conclusion of his address, the Holy Father said, Family, work, celebration: three of God’s gifts, three dimensions of our lives that must be brought into a harmonious balance. Harmonizing work schedules with family demands, professional life with fatherhood and motherhood, work with celebration, is important for building up a society with a human face. In this regard, always give priority to the logic of being over that of having: the first builds up, the second ends up destroying. We must learn to believe first of all in the family, in authentic love, the kind that comes from God and unites us to him, the kind that therefore “makes us a ‘we’ which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28)” (Deus Caritas Est, 18). Amen.


For Greater Glory

It’s one thing to dispassionately watch a movie. It’s another thing to relive and experience your community’s frightful past while watching it.

On August 1, 1926, Mexico stopped all religious practices. No marriages, no ordinations, no masses. Priests were killed, the most famous being the martyr, Bl. Miguel Pro. Religious freedom gone. The Carmelites of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an IRL Affiliate Community founded by Ven. Mother Luisita, were forced to conduct their work in secret. Some were put in jail. Many sisters were hidden by families willing to risk their lives for the Faith. Mother Luisita came to California in 1927, kissing the ground of a country that protected religious freedom. May we not take it for granted!

Mother’s work became established in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In 1929 she returned to Mexico and continued the work she had begun there, as well as guiding, visiting and directing the sisters in California. She spent the remainder of her life in hiding, ill and living in extreme poverty. The specific charism of Mother Luisita blends contemplation and apostolic works in loving service of the Church and lives on today.

At the invitation of Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, 75 Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart attended the premiere of For Greater Glory which recounts the struggle of the Cristeros, courageous defenders of Jesus Christ,  who fought for religious freedom in Mexico during this time.

The sisters said, “It all became real for us. The Blood. The torture. The injustice of it all. Above all, the faith of the people. What faith!”

Vivo Cristo Rey!

Rosary for the USA

I happened to pick up the Rockford, Illinois, Diocesan newspaper and saw an article about a rosary that would be beautiful to use for prayer the Fortnight For Freedom (from June 21 to July 4).

When Manny Yrique was praying before the Blessed Sacrament about his concerns for the future of America, he had a sudden inspiration. The rosary has 50 Hail Mary beads so why not offer each one for the 50 US states? (I guess technically it has 53 Hail Mary beads so you could add Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands)

If you order the rosary, a prayer booklet is included listing special prayers for the federal government, local governments and the names of the 50 states.

God bless America!

Women Religious

There is an interesting article in The National Catholic Register regarding the history behind The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) doctrinal assessment.

A little background: The Vatican established the LCWR in the 1950’s (originally named the Conference of Major Superiors of Women in the United States). In the 1980s those religious communities that did not share the political and religious views of the LCWR petitioned the Holy See to allow them to form their own association. This was finally done when the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) was established in 1992.

The IRL Affiliate Communities are part of the CMSWR. Go to our website to see a list of our communities.

According to the article:

The average age of the members of LCWR communities is 73 and increasing, while their numbers fall. Meanwhile, what of the CMSWR? They represent 20% of all the women religious in the U.S., more than 11,000 sisters, but they are young, with an average age of 35 and falling, and they are growing fast. They are happy to state their fidelity to the magisterium of the Church, to pray together as the central focus of their lives, to work together in community apostolates, to wear recognizable religious habits and, above all, to promote and protect their consecration to Christ as the source and goal of the Church’s life.