Last week, on the World Day of Consecrated Life, Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna said that the consecrated life is a sacrificial offering because “dying and leaving behind the structures of this creation, you enter into the incorruptible life of the risen Lord.”
“Your chastity exalts the spousal meaning of your body; your poverty is for the possession of the good that is only satiated by the person of Christ and communion with Him; your obedience introduces you in an experience of freedom that the world does not know and cannot know,” he explained.
According to the prelate, “perhaps we are moving toward a time in which the Church here in the West will be stripped of many things.”
“But she will not be able to do it without holy priests, capable of sanctifying and of offering sacrifices in keeping with justice.”
“Therefore, remain firmly attached to Christ, and nothing will trouble you,” concluded Cardinal Caffarra.
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Mother Mary Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., Apostolic Visitator for Institutes of Women Religious in the United States, recently presented an overall summary of her findings to Archbishop Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL).
It is interesting to read the testimonials on the official “Visitation” website. Here are a few samples:
It was very obvious that Mother Clare’s concerns were for the good and holiness of religious life in the United States and for the Church. Mother Clare asked questions but allowed me the opportunity to pursue responses of my interest.
My experience of sharing with Mother Clare had the qualities of the Gospel account of Mary and Elizabeth’s visitation. We were mutually respectful of and receptive to one another and I believe the Spirit hovered over our exchange. I continue to seek clarity on the underlying motivation for the Apostolic Visitation. I thank Mother Clare for her warm hospitality and gracious receptivity.
The scapular of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy has been in demand by many of the faithful over the centuries. In recent months, its demand in the U.S. has increased.
The Order of Mercy (Mercedarians) is looking for a cloistered religious community who would like to make the scapular for distribution. The Mercedarian community in the U.S. is growing in size, and due to the importance of this part of their apostolate, they are expanding their website to include a page that will make the sacramental available.
The Mercedarians were founded by St. Peter Nolasco in 1218 to redeem Christian captives from their Muslim captors. In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, their members take a special fourth vow to give up their own selves for others whose faith is in danger. The Order exists today in 17 countries, including Spain, Italy, Brazil, India, and the United States. In the U.S., its student house is in Philadelphia, and it also has houses in New York, Florida, and Ohio.
The Order is seeking a scapular maker in the United States, and is willing to pay a fair price for bulk orders. This would be a great cottage industry for a religious community.
For more information, contact Fr. Joseph Eddy, O. de M., at 267-670-0503 (cell), or email@example.com.
On February 2, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Feast of the Presentation “is a significant icon of the giving of one’s life by those who are called to present again in the Church and in the world, through the evangelical counsels, the characteristics of Jesus, virgin, poor and obedient, the Consecrated of the Father.”
“In the meeting of the elderly Simeon and Mary, a young mother, the Old and New Testaments come together in a wonderful way through the thanksgiving for the gift of Light which shone in the darkness and prevented it from prevailing: Christ the Lord, the light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people of Israel” (cf. Lk 2:32).
Through the Virgin Mary, may “all who have received the gift of following Him in the consecrated life be enabled to bear witness to that gift by their transfigured lives, as they joyfully make their way with all their brothers and sisters towards our heavenly homeland and the light which will never grow dim” (John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, n. 112).
Today, the United States celebrates the World Day of Consecrated Life.
In an article in the The Boston Pilot, a Sister reflected on what it means to be consecrated to Christ:
Consecrated Life is a witness to generous Gospel dedication.
The Consecrated Life is a witness to the promise of eternal life…that God indeed will have the last word in our lives.
The Consecrated Life strives to mirror the compassionate heart of Christ.
The vows of poverty, chastity and obedience proclaim to the world that there is something more to life than materialism and success. Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
THROUGH OUR PRAYERS, MAY WE BE BLESSED WITH THESE FRUITFUL VOCATIONS!
On this Feast of St. Blaise, remember to get your throats blessed!
While traveling through Yugoslavia in 1989, I was surprised, while in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to see statues of St. Blaise in every nook and cranny. He is revered in that beautiful city because, according to tradition, he appeared in a dream to some townspeople to warn them of an impending Moslem attack. St. Blaise was an Armenian Bishop who was martyred c. 316. According to tradition, he cured a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat, hence the blessing of the throats today.
The picture to the left depicts St. Blaise holding an image of the city of Dubrovnik.
May God, through the intercession of St. Blaise, preserve us from throat troubles and every other evil.
In 1997, Pope John Paul II designated February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, as the World Day for Consecrated Life. This special day, one of the “forgotten legacies” from this beloved Pope’s pontificate, will be celebrated this year on February 5th.
The World Day for Consecrated Life helps the entire Church “to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and is intended to be an occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord.”
To encourage all members of the Church to pray for vocations to the consecrated life, the IRL has a novena, “Living Signs of the Gospel,” containing Pope John Paul II’s messages for this important day. For a free copy of this novena, please call the IRL offices at (847)573-8975. For bulk purchases, please visit our website.
On January 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI greeted participants attending a plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whom he thanked for their service to the Church, particularly in view of the forthcoming Year of Faith.
“As we know”, the Holy Father said, “in vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel. We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today. The renewal of faith must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time. I hope that the ‘Year of Faith’ may contribute … to restoring God’s presence in this world, and to giving man access to the faith, enabling him to entrust himself to the God Who, in Jesus Christ, loved us to the end”.
May we be the fuel to light the flame of faith in our families, neighbors and the world.
This year, the IRL’s Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award will go to the Very. Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., named the 2011 Man of the Year by Inside the Vatican magazine.
In the article, Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of the magazine, wrote: “Sometimes we are able to see a splendid adventure of life and faith just at the moment that it is unfolding. … Such is the case with Father Cassian Folsom and the refounding of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy—the birthplace of St. Benedict in about A.D. 480—which was closed in 1810, and reopened after 190 years in the year 2000. For what Father Folsom has done for Norcia, for what he has done for monasticism in general and Benedictine monasticism in particular, for what he has done for the Church’s liturgy and for what he has taught all of us about following Christ by his Christian example, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to select Cassian Folsom, who is also an old friend, as our ‘Person of the Year’ for 2011.”
Please join us at the IRL banquet dinner honoring Fr. Cassian which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The banquet is just one part of our National Meeting (April 13-15, 2012) which this year is focusing on The Sacred Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven. All are invited to attend. Please visit our website for more information.
The most current issue of Our Sunday Visitor (2/5/12) has an article on African American Catholics. The whole article is very interesting but one family stood out. Michael Healy, an Irish immigrant, and his common-law wife and slave, Eliza Clark, had ten children together. They were unable to marry because the laws of the time (early 1800’s) prohibited interracial marriage. Even worse, the children born to them were considered slaves. Therefore, the parents sent their children North for their education and freedom.
Their son James, a Suplician, became the Bishop of Portland, Maine. Their son Patrick, a Jesuit (pictured left), became President of Georgetown University. Sherwood was the rector of Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston. Two of their daughters, Josephine and Eliza, became nuns with the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph and the Congregation of Notre Dame in Canada. What sacrifices the parents made on behalf of their children! What wonderful formation the children must have received from others known only to God! God bless all parents who give so much for the welfare of their children.