Archive for the 'News' Category

The St. Therese of America: Teresa Demjanovich

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich,An American woman will soon be beatified yet I would venture to say that most people have not heard of her. Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a Sister of Charity who died in 1927 at the age of 26, will be beatified on Saturday, October 4th at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ. It is the first beatification to take place in the U.S.

In another first, Sr. Miriam Teresa is considered a contemplative ala St. Therese of Lisieux. Like the Little Flower, she will not be known by what she accomplished in a measurable, worldly sense but in the shining example of her life. A glimpse of this can be seen in the words she left behind and which were compiled after her death by her brother, Msgr. Charles Demjanovich. The National Catholic Register has a beautiful article on her life and legacy.

Teresa was born in 1901 in Bayonne, N.J., to Slovakian parents and raised in the Ruthenian Catholic (Byzantine) Church. She earned a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in literature from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey, in 1923 and then taught Latin and English. She entered the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton but she never professed final vows.

In 1926, her spiritual director asked her to write conferences on religious life for the novitiate, quite something for such a young sister. These 26 conferences were published in a book after her death called Greater Perfection. The book can be purchased from the Sister of Charity’s website.

In fact, Fr. Bradley, who gave the conferences, posted a note on the Motherhouse bulletin board after her death stating that the conference he had been giving the sisters were actually written by Sister Miriam Teresa. Father Bradley was inspired to make this unusual request of so young a sister because  “I believed that she enjoyed extraordinary lights, and I knew that she was living an exemplary life. I thought that, one day, she would be ranked among the saints of God, and I felt it was incumbent upon me to utilize whatever might contribute to an appreciation of her merits after her death.”

She professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in articulo mortis (at the point of death) while in the hospital. She died of peritonitis resulting from appendicitis surgery though she was also very weak from other ailments as well.

Union with God, then, is the spiritual height God calls everyone to achieve – any one, not only religious but any one, who chooses, who wills to seek this pearl of great price, who specializes in the traffic of eternal good, who says ‘yes’ constantly to God…The imitation of Christ in the lives of saints is always possible and compatible with every state of life. The saints did but one thing – the will of God. But they did it with all their might. We have only to do the same thing; and according to the degree of intensity with which we labor shall our sanctification progress. (Greater Perfection, pp. 264-266)

 

 

 

 

 

Radio Maria

Friday, September 19th, 2014

madonnaCheck out Radio Maria, a Catholic station committed to calling for conversion through radio programming. Tomorrow, Saturday, at 11:00am, Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, will be speaking with Sr. Beth Ann Dillon, DSMP, about her vocation, ministry and community (who care the for the mentally disabled). Both Father and Sister are on the Board of Directors of the IRL.

Begun in Italy in 1987, since 1991 Radio Maria has spread to the five continents, accomplishing the staggering number of 70 radio stations joined together in the World Family of Radio Maria. There are 18 channels in Africa alone. They are focusing their greatest effort in the African continent where another six projects are ready to start as soon as the resources are available. They do not accept advertising, preferring to rely on Divine Providence alone.

There are stations for English, Italian, German, Spanish and French-speaking people. In the US, the English stations are located in Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as well as streaming online. Italian and Spanish stations are in NY and Chicago (I didn’t know that there were many Italian-speaking people in Chicago).

I was unfamiliar with Radio Maria until today when Fr. Kubicki mentioned that he had a regular hour-long show on the air every week (Saturdays at 11:00 A.M.), where he brings in guests and often speaks with sisters from different congregations.

How do they measure success? Not on audience share but on the number of souls who return to God.

Radio Maria must be an effective instrument of Mary and must try to be a living image of Mary. Our Lady must have a silent presence on the radio, in all broadcasts, even in those which are not specifically religious, including music. Her beauty, light, peace, joy, tenderness, faith, hope and love must be present. Every Radio Maria program must emanate the presence of Mary.

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I Want to Become a Saint

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom 14:18)

brstephen_fiIn Memoriam: Br. Stephen Cox (1992 – 2014)

September 4, 2014

Stephen Timothy Cox was born in Walnut Creek, California on March 22nd, 1992 to Edwin and Nelda Cox. He is the second of two children. His sister, Sarah, is eight years his senior. The family home is in Concord, California, a community on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

Stephen grew up in a traditional Catholic Family. His school years were spent in public schools, homeschooling, a small Catholic Academy and Prep School and finally graduating from Concord Public High School in 2010. After high school Br. Stephen enrolled in Diablo Valley Community College where he graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in 2013. During his time in College he spent a semester abroad in Italy.

His interests and activities clustered around music and church. Br. Stephen played the trumpet and French horn and was a good vocalist. He sang in choirs at school and church and was looking forward to participating in the Renaissance choir here at the Abbey.

Br. Stephen awakened to a religious vocation at age 14 after viewing the Movie Therese by Leonardo de Filippis. He was profoundly moved by the film and immediately began to investigate religious orders to apply to.

First, Br. Stephen investigated religious orders which were in some way connected with St. Therese and the movie that was so instrumental in his vocational awakening. He was turned away in several instances because of his youth and the fact that he had epilepsy. Finally, he was permitted to apply and was accepted at Mount Angel Abbey. He began the postulancy on March 20th, 2014. He was ecstatic when he found out that part of the movie Therese was filmed at the abbey.

Br. Stephen was a very pious young man. He arrived at the abbey with all the zeal and romantic idealism that are typical of the young. He saw himself very much in the model of St. Therese of Lisieux. His aspirations were simple. As he put it in his application in response to the question “Why do you want to be a monk of Mount Angel Abbey?” He wrote, “Because I want to be a saint and I think that this is the best place for me to do that.”

Br. Stephen was loved by his classmates and the monks of the Abbey. He was very diligent in extending hospitality to the visitors coming to the monastery to consider a call to the monastic life.

He had a refreshing simplicity about him, a sense of humor and smiled a lot. He was humble and zealous; a good monk. Br. Stephen died suddenly in an epileptic seizure the morning of September 4th, 2014.

~Abbot Gregory Duerr & Community, Mount Angel Abbey

 

Memorial services in the Abbey Church:

September 9, Tuesday, 12:00 – Reception of Body

September 9, Tuesday, 7:25pm – Vigils for the Dead

September 10, Wednesday, 10am – Mass of Christian Burial (followed by procession to the Abbey Cemetery)

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Why Would Anyone Want to Become a Nun?

Monday, September 8th, 2014
Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! The first to walk behind the standard of Christ.

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! The first to walk behind the standard of Christ.

Time magazine recently had an article about “nuns,” asking why anyone in their right mind would want to become a “nun” these days.

Father Robert McTeigue, S.J. wrote a brief rebuttal. I give you the highlights here. Check out his complete post at Aleteia.org.

To summarize the article, it said in essence:

  • No one is becoming a nun anymore.
  • No one is becoming a nun anymore because the Vatican is mean to nuns.
  • The proof that the Vatican is mean to nuns is that the Vatican won’t let nuns become priests.
  • No one is becoming a nun anymore because all the cool reasons for which young women used to become nuns can now be realized by young women without suffering the indignity of enduring the Vatican’s lack of appreciation.

The author asks why young women would want to join an institution where they cannot rise above a certain level (ie. the priesthood and Pope). Young women do not need religious life anymore. They can become highly educated, travel and do good without being tied down with kids and husbands.

Father says in reply: Notice what the author did not mention.

  • She did not mention women entering religious life because the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are a path to holiness.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life because they wanted to live as a consecrated bride of Christ.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life to find the consolation of communal life.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life to live the charism of their order’s founder (e.g., loving God in simplicity in the manner of Saint Francis, loving God in truth in the manner of Saint Dominic, etc.).

Regarding this lack of understanding, here is what St. Paul has to say:

“…no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms. Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually” (1 Corinthians 2:11b-14).

Check out our website for communities faithful to the Church who are attracting vocations. Find one near you!

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The Worldwide Carmelite Virtual Choir

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

st teresa choirOn March 28, 2015, the Carmelite family will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelite Order and first woman Doctor of the Church.

In anticipation of this momentous event, Carmelite nuns and friars from around the world participated in a virtual choir, visually and musically demonstrating the familial ties that bind the Carmelites across the globe, all due to this Spanish nun who initiated a reform of the Carmelites in the 16th century.

Thanks to the wonders of computer technology, individual Carmelites in monasteries across the oceans, above and below the equator, did recordings in the comfort of their own monastery and submitted it on the virtual choir website where it was synchronized with many other voices from around the Carmelite worldwide community and compiled into a single choir.

Sr. Teresita Flynn of the Carmel, California, monastery was one of the singers. “I became so excited by the idea that nuns from all different countries were going to participate in this project to honor St. Teresa,” she said. “We actually didn’t have the equipment to make the recording, and I was very lucky that they prolonged the deadline, and also that someone donated a laptop so we could do it. I did it at about 5 minutes to midnight on the day of the deadline.”

The two songs were premiered at a August 2014 celebration of the life and legacy of St. Teresa of Avila in San Jose, California. Called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,” it featured presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world.

The three day celebration in San Jose, called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,”  will feature presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world. – See more at: http://vocationblog.com/#sthash.r5q5GglB.dpuf

The two songs, composed by Sister Claire Sokol, OCD, are Nada Te Turbe, a Spanish piece sung by Discalced Carmelite nuns, and Salve Regina, sung by nuns, friars and seculars. It can be viewed on YouTube. They are accompanied by the Teresian Orchestra of the Cathedral of St. James in Seattle, Washington. Listening to the angelic voices, one would think that they all were in one room, it is that perfect. Amazing. The PBS station KNPB is producing a documentary on the whole endeavor.

The phrase “Nada te turbe” was found in St. Teresa’s breviary after her death. It means “Let nothing disturb you.”

Let nothing disturb you; Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.

 

 

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St. Teresa of Avila Virtual Choir

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

8066354_origNext year, on March 28, 2015, Carmelites around the world will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelite Order and first woman Doctor of the Church. In preparation for this momentous event, two virtual choirs composed of real Carmelite voices from around the world will debut this month. It’s hard to imagine but when I listened to a prior virtual choir recording, I was impressed. The singing sounded angelic!

Thanks to the wonders of computer technology, individual Carmelites from around the globe did a recording in the comfort of their own monastery and submitted it on the virtual choir website where it was synchronized with many other voices from around the Carmelite worldwide community and compiled into a single choir. If you did not know differently, one would think that the singers were all in one room. Really quite amazing.

Scott Haines produced Eric Whitacre’s first virtual choir, “Sleep,” in 2009 and the next production “Lux Aurumque” — featuring 185 voices from 12 countries — in 2010. You can listen to the production on YouTube where it has almost 4.5 million views. Scott is the producer behind the St. Teresa celebration.

The world premiere of the two virtual choirs is right around the corner. From August 21 through August 23, it will be part of a public celebration of St. Teresa of Avila in San Jose, California. It will be available on YouTube beginning August 24th. The PBS station KNPB is also producing a documentary on the whole endeavor.

The three day celebration in San Jose, called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,”  will feature presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world.

The songs that will be sung by the two virtual choirs are: Nada Te Turbe, a Spanish piece sung by Discalced Carmelite nuns, and Salve Regina, sung by nuns, friars and seculars. Both pieces were composed by Sister Claire Sokol, OCD.

Sr. Teresita Flynn of the Carmel, California, monastery was one of the singers. “I became so excited by the idea that nuns from all different countries were going to participate in this project to honor St. Teresa,” she said. “We actually didn’t have the equipment to make the recording, and I was very lucky that they prolonged the deadline, and also that someone donated a laptop so we could do it. I did it at about 5 minutes to midnight on the day of the deadline.”

Several members of IRL Affiliate communities will be speaking at the St.Teresa event including Sr. Regina Marie Gorman, OCD, (Alhambra, CA); Sr. Mary Clare Trolley, OCD, (Terre Haute, IN); Sr. Teresita Flynn, OCD, (Carmel, CA); and Sr. Michael Crimmins, OCD, (Danvers, MA).

Registration information can be found here. For those of us who cannot attend, we will look forward to the YouTube premiere!

 

 

 

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Pray for Peace in Iraq – August 17th

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

cross iraqTomorrow, August 17th, the US bishops are asking that all Catholics pray for peace in Iraq.

Don’t make the mistake I did and accidentally look at the pictures on the internet if you want to sleep tonight. What is happening in Iraq is diabolical and evil. Please pray for the men, women, children, mother, fathers, nuns, brothers, priests, aunts, uncles, grandparents, orphans, elderly in Iraq who are spared no mercy.

The following is a prayer by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako:

Lord,
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.

iraqGlory be to you forever.

 

 

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Four-In-One Discernment Retreat

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

retrewat logoFor those of you who feel that you may have a vocation to the consecrated life as a religious sister, here is an opportunity to be with 4 communities during one retreat weekend!

The St. Therese Discernment Retreat will be held from Friday, September 5th to Saturday, September 6th at Nazareth House Retreat Center, Henry, Illinois. Communities represented include:

The theme for this year’s retreat is Mary, Mother of Evangelization, taken from Evangelii Gaudium. Who better to be a model for total self-giving!

For more information call (309) 655-2645 or check out the website for a registration form.

Help a Young Woman Enter Religious Life!

Monday, August 11th, 2014
Christina (2nd row, 2nd from left) with Sr. Joseph Andrew, OP, and other candidates.

Christina (2nd row, 2nd from left) with Sr. Joseph Andrew, OP, and other candidates.

For the past few months, we have been blessed to have a summer intern, Christina Pezzella, working with us in the office. She is eagerly counting down the days until her entrance into the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. The date of entrance is August 28th but she has one huge stumbling block to overcome—her student loan debt.

Christina graduated from Hillsdale College early in December 2010. At the time, she said, “I did not have any idea that the Lord would one day call me to the religious life. For this reason, I am faced with loans that I will not be able to pay off in time without assistance.”

Her debt, which was initially over $60,000, has been reduced to approximately $20,000 thanks to the generosity of many people and a lot of hard work on Christina’s part. She has given her vocation talk to numerous groups, held bowl-a-thons, and given her testimony on the radio. What is the price of a vocation? For her and for the Church, it is priceless!

Acceptance letter from Mother Assumpta, OP

Acceptance letter from Mother Assumpta, OP

On the Feast of St. Dominic, Christina received the most joyous news. A benefactor has agreed to match all donations up to $10,000. This generous gift will enable her to enter on August 28th IF she is able to raise the remaining $10,000.

She humbly asks you, and anyone you may know, to prayerfully consider making a contribution to her vocation fund, which will be matched 100%! This will double any gifts. To make a contribution, or to find out more information about her vocation story, please visit her blog: www.TheLifeCatholic.com.

Christina says: May God bless you abundantly… you are in my prayers!!!

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Who’s Who in the Catholic Church

Friday, August 1st, 2014
St. Dominic and the Dominican Saints

St. Dominic and the Dominican Saints

This year the Church will begin the Year of Consecrated Life highlighting the lives of service to God’s people of monks, nuns, sisters, friars, and orders of priests as well as the men and women in secular institutes and societies of apostolic life. The Year for Consecrated Life officially begins on November 30, 2014, the first Sunday of Advent. Pope Francis has called for a special yearlong focus on consecrated life, asking the Church’s religious sisters, brothers and priests to “wake up the world” with their testimony of faith, holiness and hope. It will end on February 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated Life.

The secular press freely tosses about terms like nun, sister, priest, monk without really knowing what they are specifically referring to. So, for the upcoming Year of Consecrated Life, here are some definitions which may serve as a helpful guide to distinguish the different forms of consecrated life:

Monk: a member of a community of men, usually contemplative, under the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, living according to the Order’s Rule. Examples: Benedictines (including Cistercians, Trappists), Carthusians, and Camaldolese.

Nun: a woman under solemn vows (eg. poverty, chastity, obedience) living in a cloistered, contemplative religious community. Examples: Poor Clares, Carmelites, Benedictines, Passionists. See www.cloisteredlife.com

Sister: a generic term for a religious woman whether cloistered or a member of  a congregation under simple vows. Sisters are part of a spiritual family, share possessions in common and live together in Christ-like charity. Examples: Franciscans, Little Sisters of the Poor, Olivetan Benedictines

Friar: from the Latin word frater (brother). Friars are members of the mendicant orders. Unlike monks, friars engage in work outside of the monastery. Examples: Dominicans (Friars Preachers), Franciscans (Friars Minor), Carmelites (White Friars).

Diocesan Priests: men ordained by a Catholic bishop to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments of the Church in a particular diocese. They make three promises at ordination: to pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily, to obey their bishop and to live a celibate lives.

Canons Regular: priests who have vowed themselves to the service of a particular parish or oratory along with other clergy, with whom they live a common, religious life of poverty, chastity, and obedience in a residence (eg. rectory, abbey) attached to a church under the authority of a superior. Distinct from monks, canons publicly pray the Liturgy of the Hours in common and administer the Sacraments in a particular church. Examples: Norbertines, Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

Clerics Regular: religious institutes or orders whose members profess vows, live in community according to a rule approved by the Church, and engage in a variety of apostolic work. Unlike canons, they do not pray the Liturgy of the Hours in common to devote themselves more fully to apostolate work. Example: Jesuits, Camillians

Secular Institute: a society of consecrated life, clerical or lay, whose members profess the evangelical counsels. Its members are not bound to live a common life but strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within. Examples: Father Kolbe Missionaries of the Immaculata, Schoenstatt Fathers & Sisters. See www.secularinstitutes.org

Societies of Apostolic Life: its members, without religious vows, are dedicated to pursuit of an apostolic purpose, such as educational or missionary work, and lead a life as brothers or sisters in common according to a particular manner of life and strive for the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions. Examples: Oratorians of St. Philip Neri, Daughters of Charity.

Consecrated Virgins & Widows: one of the ancient forms of consecrated life whose roots are found in the New Testament. These are women who, with the Church’s approval, live in the respective states of virginity or perpetual chastity “for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.” Consecrated virgins are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite (Consecratio Virginum), are betrothed mystically to Christ and “are dedicated to the service of the Church” (www.consecratedvirgins.org). Consecrated Widows are experiencing a resurgence and groups are forming to assist in the resurrection of this form of consecrated life.

Hermits/Anchorites/Eremites: those dedicated to God in a consecrated life, professing the three evangelical counsels, confirmed by a vow or other sacred bond, in the hands of the diocesan bishop, and observing his or her own plan of life under the bishop’s direction and approval.

Comments and corrections and clarifications welcome!!

(The image is from the monastery of the Dominican Nuns at Estavayer le Lac, Switzerland, founded in 1280. The Dominican nuns have continually praised God in that location for almost 750 years.)

 

 

 

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