The IRL is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Rawls as its full-time Office Coordinator. Today, July 13th is his first day of work.
Michael grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and is the youngest of four children. He attended Aurora Central Catholic High School where he participated in several sports including baseball and basketball. Beginning in seventh grade, he worked as a caddy at a local golf course and eventually served as a manager of the junior golf course affiliate during high school and college. Michael attended the College of DuPage before transferring to the University of Notre Dame the spring of his sophomore year.
While at Notre Dame, Michael majored in theology and history with a concentration in Medieval Christian History. His capstone project examined the diplomacy of the Vatican during World War II. The University offered many opportunities that Michael took advantage of allowing him to grow both spiritually. He served as Pastoral Commissioner in his dorm, Morrissey Manor, and helped to found the Notre Dame Catholic Identity Council which seeks to preserve and promote the Catholic identity of the university by providing a collaborative space for clubs and other organizations at the University with a faith based mission. The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) movement has played an integral role in his life particularly in college. Consecrated to Our Lady at the age of 9, Michael has been a member of the MI for most of his life attending and leading youth camps, young adult groups, as well as, leading the Notre Dame MI group as its president. Michael sought an opportunity where he could continue to grow following his graduation and build upon the formation he received throughout his college years.
The position of IRL Office Coordinator is a tremendous fit for Michael. Having attended several National Meetings, including this past year’s in which he brought 20 other students from the University of Notre Dame, Michael understands the importance of the IRL’s mission. He is edified by the founder, Servant of God Fr. John Hardon S.J., and is committed to carrying on his legacy by working to promote and support the consecrated life. He also believes that the position of Office Coordinator will benefit him by providing an environment to discern God’s will.
We welcome Michael as our new Office Coordinator and ask prayers that God will bless him and our efforts to build up the Kingdom through the gift of the consecrated life.
Oratorians around the world are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Philip Neri. He was born in 1515 in Italy and founded the Congregation of the Oratory in 1575. The most famous Oratorian is Henry Cardinal Newman, convert and blessed. Our Sunday Visitor (July 12, 2015) has a nice article on St. Philip in the latest issue.
Oratorians live in community and under a Rule but are not religious, in that they do not profess vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They live freely in a community but are free to leave at any time. This prompts the old saying that “true sons of St Philip are known at their burial.”
Each Oratory is independent, observing the way of life outlined by St. Philip . It was shortly before Pentecost, 1544, that Philip received the grace of his vocation as the founder of the Oratorians. The Holy Spirit filled his heart in so dramatic a fashion, while he was praying in the catacombs, that his rib cage was split around his heart. This was verified after his death.
St. Philip’s biography is a wonderful read because he did such unexpected things to bring people to God, using humor and the ridiculous to make his points. One man asked is he could wear a hair shirt and Philip said, yes, but wear it on the outside! Philip once shaved half of his beard off before an important event. Laughter is good medicine for the soul!
The work of the apostolate is prayer, preaching and the sacraments. For a wonderful and thorough overview of an oratory including historical references, visit the Toronto Oratory website. It lists the ten characteristics of the classical Oratorian vocation:
Instituting a school of prayer
Promoting spiritual direction and sacramental confession
Extending the liturgical movement
Cultivating Eucharistic devotion
Fostering saving knowledge of the Holy Scriptures
Keeping alive the lore of the saints
Inculcating moral literacy
Elaborating an “historical orthodoxy”
Supporting cultural and intellectual endeavors
Encouraging a graced encounter between clerics and the laity
Assisting the revival of community and family life
Carrying out the New Evangelization
Sounds like a plan for life for all!
“The great thing is to become saints.” St. Philip Neri
On August 15, 2015, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious will release a new film on religious life called For Love Alone. The 18-minute video was produced by Grassroots Films.
Mother Mary Clare Roufs, ACJ, and Sr. Clare Matthiass, CFR, went on a two week blitz around the country previewing the film in locations ranging from College Station and the Aggies in Texas to seminaries and finally, appropriately enough, to Hollywood.
Here are some comments:
At the Wake Up the World rally in Toronto, Canada: “Many of us have not grown up or ever met nuns. This film gave us the perfect exposure to what the consecrated life is like. What a beautiful insight!”
In West Palm Beach: “The comments from the Sisters and all those in the film are so honest. You can tell they are speaking from a place of truth, and it just pierces through your heart. It is a film that is not just for Catholics, anyone can watch this film and be captivated by the beauty of Religious Life.”
From a seminarian in Denver: “Though this movie is about Religious Life, ultimately it is about ones encounter with the one we love -Christ Himself. For me, as I watched the film, it was as if my heart was being pierced with a longing for this intimacy with Christ. The film moved me deeply and made me want to go straight to the chapel and pray. He (Christ) is the reason I want to be a priest. Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful film!”
From an aspirant in Vancouver: “The film was exciting! I feel it was a good representation of the excitement I feel about my call to religious life. I would love for my parents to see this film!”
The Benedictine Monks of San Benedetto Monastery in Norcia, Italy, founded by Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, on the site of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica’s birthplace, are issuing their first international recording—a CD album of Marian chant. Called BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia, the selections focus on the seven mysteries or defining moments of Our Lady’s life.
When you purchase BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia directly from their web site, a significant amount of the proceeds will go directly to them. The funds will assist with the many needs of their growing community.
EWTN will be airing a special called “Behind the Scenes”, a behind the scenes look (as is evident by the title) at the recording process. Those air times are: June 2, 2015, 6:30pm ET & June 4, 2015, at 10:30pm ET. You can also watch the shows streaming live online at EWTN.com.
What some families give back to the Church in terms of children who enter religious life is often incredible and heroic. Witness the jubilee celebrations of Mother Mary John Billeauld, O.C.D., Sr. Theresa Anne Billeaud, C.D.P., and Sr. Anne Deelaus, O.C.D. Together they are celebrating 180 years of consecrated life!
On May 24, 2015, the three Sisters celebrated their triple jubilee during a Mass in front of a record breaking crowd of over 400 family members and friends. Concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Emeritus Sam Jacobs of Houma, Louisiana, was Msgr. Michael Jamail, V.G. of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas, and several other priests.
Mother Mary John and Sister Theresa Anne are blood sisters. They come from a family of nine girls, five of whom entered religious life. Three are Sisters of Divine Providence and two are Carmelites. Commenting on her vocation, Mother Mary John said, “I just knew that (Our Lord) wanted me to be a Carmelite nun and He filled me with a desire to respond to Him. When this conviction is so strong on one’s heart, there is no room for doubt.”
In this year celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, Mother said that one of the best experiences of living the life of a Discalced Carmelite nun at the monastery in Lafayette, Louisiana, is knowing that the legacy left to them by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross “can be fulfilled in our own lives today…”
Sr. Anne comes from a large family as well. Two of her sisters entered religious life as Carmelites in Rhode Island and New Orleans. After Vatican II, with all the changes sweeping through communities, Sr. Anne said that her superiors in Lafayette “strove to faithfully maintain the original Carmelite charism – prayer for the Church and world, and the necessary silence and solitude that would foster the growth of prayer and awareness of the needs of the time.”
What kept her going through the years? It was simple, she said. “I knew God wanted me here and I wanted to be here.” Difficulties experienced were lightened by her relationship with Jesus and His Mother and her sisters in Christ.
We gave thanks for these many years of fidelity to a call of the Spirit who has filled the hearts of our Sisters with His Living Flame of Love. With St. Teresa we can say: “The true love of God is as a fire!” This Fire has inflamed the hearts of our Sisters through these many years.
There will be a Memorial Mass for Servant of God, Fr. John Anthony Hardon, S.J., on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:00 P.M.
It will be held at Assumption Grotto Church, 13770 Gratiot Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. After Mass, there will be a reception. If you plan to attend, please bring a snack to pass around with your fellow attendees!
Father Hardon was born on June 18th in 1914. He died on December 30, 2000, from bone cancer at the Jesuits’ Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan.
Besides founding the Institute on Religious Life, Father Hardon also founded the Eternal Life Apostolate, the Marian Catechists, the Real Presence Association, and Inter Mirifica Social Communications.
Father Hardon’s Cause for Beatification and Canonization is now under auspices of the Eternal Life Apostolate of Bardstown, Kentucky. Father Hardon’s vast personal library and correspondence is housed at the Eternal Life Office and is now being organized and cataloged by Eternal Life volunteers. At the IRL, we just gave them a van full of Father Hardon original recordings from his many conferences for religious and the laity.
Representatives of the Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Archive and Guild travel across the country to disseminate information about the life and works of Fr. Hardon. The Archive & Guild opened in St. Louis, Missouri in November of 2007, but is now located at the Eternal Life offices. Many of Fr. Hardon’s personal effects are temporarily housed at the archive, until the Fr. John A. Hardon Catechetical Center and Retreat House opens at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
For those of you who have read Fr. Walter Ciszek’s books, With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me, you will know of the struggles of Catholics in Far Eastern Russia. Father Ciszek endured many years of hard labor in prison camps in Siberia. Throughout his ordeal, beautifully and heart-renderingly portrayed in his books, he was always a priest. Nothing was dearer to him than the Russian people.
If you are interested in knowing about the revival of the Church in Eastern Russia, I suggest you receive the newsletter of the Mary Mother of God Mission Society. It documents the work of the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord in Russia. In 1992, after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, two priests from the Midwest, Fr. Myron Effing, CJD and Fr. Daniel Maurer, CJD, arrived in Vladivostok to help re-establish the Church in eastern Russia. Since then—and with the mission society’s help—they have founded or re-founded 11 Catholic parishes, have developed numerous charitable initiatives, have created a variety of catechetical programs, and done much more.
They have programs for alcoholics, college students, boy scouts, orphans, the elderly. They conduct pro-life work, bring sacred music to this once atheistic nation, rebuild churches, assign guardian angels (“grandmas”) to orphans, and provide food and medical assistance to needy families.
They are assisted by the Sisters in Jesus the Lord (Canonissae in Jesu Domino) who work in Russia with women, children and the elderly. They have woman’s support centers in several Russian cities: Lesozavodsk, Vladivostok, Artyom, Arsenyev, Nakhodka and on Russian Island.
The Sisters in Jesus the Lord is a new Public Association of the Faithful in the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. Their ministries, at home and in Russia, include: pro-life work, music and liturgy, catechesis and evangelization, ministry to the sick and homebound, AVE media, and stewardship of the land. Each year, they bring a busload of young men and women to the IRL’s National Meeting.
I ordered a cookbook from the Society called Abundant Blessings, a compilation of recipes from the many cultures and countries of their priests, seminarians, sisters and families. Proceeds go towards the seminarians’ education and the women’s centers. God willing, they will also build a Catholic Church in Nakhodka called Our Lady of the Pacific.
éThe Catholic Sentinel of Western Oregon tells the story of a healing of a young boy by St. André Bessette, CSC. That man, Carl, is now 92 years old and still tells of his healing in gratitude to the saint.
An often forgotten vocation today is the vocation to religious brotherhood. Countless men have responded to this essential call to be a Brother to All but today it is sometimes looked upon as inferior to the priesthood. This is so far from the truth. A priest is a father; a brother is a brother walking beside us. Both are necessary on the road to eternal life.
Saint André is perhaps the most famous brother in our times. When St. André presented himself to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1870, he carried a note from his pastor that said: “I am sending you a saint.” None the less, the initially illiterate young man was assigned the seemingly lowly task of doorkeeper, where, said Pope Benedict XVI, he “did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him.”
Carl Peters was born in 1923 to a very young teenage girl in Vermont. The father abandoned them at birth and Carl was given to a foster family to be raised. When he was 5 years old, he still hadn’t spoken a word, so the foster family took him to see Brother André who was then in his 80’s. Brother André has strong faith in the intercessory power of St. Joseph, building the great saint the largest shrine in the world dedicated in his honor. Brother André gave the family holy oil to be used on Carl every night. “I remember him to this day.” he said. The cure came quickly. “I could not talk and suddenly I could.”
Carl makes regular pilgrimages to St. Joseph Oratory and was able to watch the canonization of St. André there via satellite in 2010. His parishioners says he is a kind man who smiles a lot and does good works anonymously.
“I have been really fortunate in my life,” he said, “blessed by so many people I’ve come into contact with.”
The Year of Consecrated Life is being recognized and celebrated in so many beautiful ways! In the month of March, one group of 10 Franciscans walked the ancient Via Flaminia from beautiful Assisi to stately Rome in just seven days. Filled with joy and prayer, these 10 men endeavored to travel from the land of Saint Francis, “a man of peace, a man of prayer”, to the land of Pope Francis and his hallowed halls of Rome.
As Pope Francis attempts to carry on the great traditions of Saint Francis’ devotion to poverty and service to the poor, these Franciscans travelled to honor him in his second year as our Holy Father. Along the way, the men stayed with religious communities, parishes, and families. Bowled over by the warmth and hospitality of all they met, they brought from each stop prayer petitions to lay before the Holy Father. Collecting grains of incense in these stops as well, they symbolically infused those prayers into the incense which they handed to the Most Reverend J. Rodriguez Carballo along with a letter to be presented to the Pope. The burning of incense at a future papal celebration will lift all these prayers to heaven.
The Franciscans had many reasons to embark on this physical and spiritual journey this year. Not only is it the Year of Consecrated Life, it has also been 800 years since the granting of the indulgence of the Portiuncula and 500 years since the events which signaled the division of the Order. They reportedly enjoyed the experience to the utmost. As one of them writes; “The beauty of walking together allowed us to get to know each other, to tell our stories, to grow in fraternity, to learn how to help each other and give each other the time needed to find common rhythms.” Surely the beautiful springtime countryside didn’t hurt!
On March 5th, Pope Francis addressed the Pontifical Academy for Life and told them:
When life becomes very fragile and the end of earthly life comes close, we feel the responsibility to look after and accompany the person in the best way possible.
The biblical commandment to honor our parents reminds us in a broader sense of our duty to honor all elderly people… On the contrary, the Bible severely admonishes those who neglect or mistreat their parents.
Medicine has a special role within society as testimony to the honor due to an elderly person and to every human being. Evidence and efficiency cannot be the only criteria governing the work of doctors, and nor can the rules of healthcare systems and economic profit. A State cannot expect to profit from medicine.
The elderly need, first and foremost, the care of their families – whose affection cannot be substituted even by the most efficient structures or by the most competent and charitable healthcare workers….(Palliative care is) an important help for the elderly who, for reasons of seniority, receive less attention in terms of curative medicine and are often neglected. Abandonment is the most serious ‘malady’ to afflict the elderly, and also the greatest injustice they can suffer; those who have helped us to grow should not be abandoned when they need our help, our love, our tenderness.
Looking for a home where the elderly will be cared for and loved as family?
Check out some of our Affiliates:
Carmelite Sisters for the Aged & Infirm
Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne
Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church
Dominican Sisters, Immaculate Conception Province, Justice, IL
Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Peoria, IL