Archive for the 'News' Category

Bismarck Diocese Blessed With Two New Religious Communitites

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Sr. Mary Baptist

Sr. Mary Baptist

The Diocese of Bismarck in North Dakota has recently been blessed with the arrival of two very different religious congregations. As you can imagine, currently the diocese does not have many religious. However, Bishop David Kagan and his predecssor were eager for religious to come to minster to and pray for the people. Both will do the work of the New Evangelization in very differnt ways.

I posted months ago that the Carmelites in Alexandria, South Dakota, had decided to send four sisters to the diocese where they will live in a renovated farmhouse (“in the middle of nowhere”) in Emmons County. The four cloistered nuns arrived on March 19 and will have an open house from April 23-25 before they are permanently enclosed in the Carmel of the Holy Face. On April 26, Bishop Kagan will celebrate Mass at 11:00am then the nuns will be enclosed in their new home.

"In the middle of nowhere"

“In the middle of nowhere”

“Prayer is really the foundation for all missionary activity,” said Sister Mary Baptist, the Prioress. “You can talk to somebody and try to convince them, but if they don’t have grace, which is won by prayer, then it won’t be effective. So we really need prayer as the basis.”

The other group of four sisters coming to the diocese is from India. The Congregation of Teresian Carmelites is establishing their first mission in the Western Hemisphere in this most unlikely of places. They will minister to the people of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, assisting the priests and parishes and teaching at a mission school.

One of the Teresian Carmelites

One of the Teresian Carmelites

“It’s important to have the presence of holy people who can model what a life of faith should look like,” said a diocesan spokesman. “They’re also very obviously knowledgeable in the Catholic faith, and so they can evangelize to the people on the reservation and set a good example: that what is valuable to them … [is] a life that is for Christ and has meaning and purpose because it is lived for God.”

Visit the Diocese of Bismarck website or the National Catholic Register for more information.

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“Lean Into the Wind” with the Alhambra Carmelites!

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

OCD Alhambra




The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alhambra, California, are one of the fastest growing religious orders in the United States and fortunate for them, many of those entering in the past few years have had musical talent! Thus, they were pleased to recently announce the release of their seventh CD: “Lean Into the Wind.”

This latest CD, a combination of traditional chant and contemporary praise music, flows from their spirituality. “We come together three times a day and chant the Liturgy of the Hours,” says Sr. Timothy Marie “We spend four hours of prayer each day, but the Lord has called us to take our form of spirituality and take it into the world. We work in education, health care and retreats. We’re a blend — in the world, but not of the world.”

Almost 150 sisters serve the Lord in the community, in addition to 11 novices and postulants. The Carmelites were founded by Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament who arrived in the U.S. in 1927 after religious persecution drove her from Mexico. Their Motherhouse is in Alhambra, California, but they also serve God’s people in Florida, Colorado and Arizona.

leanwind“Lean Into the Wind” is their seventh recording.  Sr. Timothy Marie says, “There’s a parable in the Bible in which God talks about people not using their talents, so we wanted to use our gift to the service of the people, making a spiritual difference.“  (For excerpts from the beautiful recordings, click here!)

Sr. Gianna Heinemann, a native of South Dakota,  explains the “Lean Into the Wind” title:  “It’s facing your fear, but it’s more than that. It’s like grabbing the Lord’s hand and just running into the wind. It’s that sense of going deep with the Lord and allowing him to lead you and to trust.” She first felt called to religious life at World Youth Day in Germany, “For the first time, I saw young religious sisters who were wearing the full habit,” she said, and was struck by their joy and love for the Lord. A visit with the sisters convinced her that this was home.

Sr. Gianna is a South Dakotan native, one of two South Dakotans whose voices  you can hear on the CD. The other is Sr. Marie Estelle Klein who professed final vows in 2012 and hopes the CD will be a source of hope for people. “And we do pray for everyone. We see our charism as prayer. Each and every person in the world has a home in the hearts of Carmelite sisters.”

See the stories in the Pasadena Weekly and the Argus Leader. Click here to the order the CD!

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The Most Holy Mother of God in Vladivostok

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Priests with Patrick and Anulfo2010With the crisis in Crimea in the news, it is happy to see that there is happier news from across the vast continent that is Asia. On March 12, 2014, Brother Patrick Milan Napal, CJD, made his perpetual profession with the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord in Vladivostok, Russia.

The Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord is a new congregation being founded in Russia at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother of God in Vladivostok. The canons are helping to replant Christianity in a land where it was almost completely destroyed.

The story behind the re-establishment of this Catholic church is amazing. Over twenty years ago, Andre Popok, a young Soviet naval officer, converted to Roman Catholicism after reading restricted religious literature as part of a Communist indoctrination course. In 1991, he put ads in the local Vladivostok papers, looking for other Catholics. After a community formed, Popok wrote to the bishop responsible for the area asking for a priest. On November 15, 1991, the bishop accepted the application of Fr. Myron and (then) Br. Daniel Maurer to be the first resident Roman Catholic clergy in Vladivostok in 50 years. They found ten Catholics and a state-owned wreck of a church.


Our Lady of Vladivostok

After receiving help from Catholics in the US and elsewhere, the building was restored and returned to the Catholic Church. Eleven other parishes have grown up as well, some huge distances away. Fr. Myron and Fr. Dan are doing heroic work.You can help. They welcome donations, would love to come and speak in your parish and welcome visitors on mission trips. You can sponsor one of their seminarians. Come for a visit and bring some tenderness to a lonely person in an orphange or nursing home. Russia has the dubious distinction of being the first country in the world to legalize abortion. The average woman in Russia has between 6 to 8 abortions in her lifetime. Your donations can help save a life by supporting the CJD’s women support center.

The address for inquiries in English and Russian:
For inquiries in English, Spanish, Russian and French:

Mrs. Vicky Trevillyan is the National US Coordinator in Modesto, CA. Her phone number: 209-408-0728 and Email:

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IRL 40th Anniversary Featured in the National Catholic Register!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014


Mother Teresa and Archbishop Sheen were faithful supporters of the IRL.

Mother Teresa and Archbishop Sheen were faithful supporters of the IRL. Shown here with then-Abbot Edmund McCaffrey, IRL Executive Director.

This month, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the IRL’s founding at the 2014 National Meeting, we were pleased to see a story about this momentous event in the National Catholic Register.

Appearing in the March 22, 2014, issue, the author talked to several IRL board members and employees to get their perspective on 40 turbulent years of in religious life. The IRL was originally founded to “save religious life in America” which was experiencing a precipitous decline in membership, in both men and women’s orders.

Father Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., our National Director, said, “The IRL has a good reputation in the Church to fidelity to the Church. Therefore, communities become members because it’s a stamp of approval, in a certain sense, [that] they are faithful to Church teaching.” Four times a year, the IRL Executive Committee meets to discuss applications for new Affiliate members. We scrutinize them carefully and in some cases visit them before they are approved for membership. Earlier this month, we approved four new communities showing that we continue to be a vital portal for vocation information for youth, a source of assistance to the communities themselves and that there are new, growing and faithful communities emerging in the Church.

Mother Marie Julie Saegaert, SCMC, superior general of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, said that a number of young women who have come in and persevered in their order “met us at the annual meeting.” She also praised the laity who are such an important part of the IRL’s mission. “They are faithful to the Church and love the consecrated life. They are powerhouses of prayer.”

To read the complete story, visit the National Catholic Register.


Institute on Religious Life Launches New Website

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Revised screenThe Institute on Religious Life today launched a completely redesigned The new site is more dynamic and user friendly, houses a great resource of information, and provides expanded audio and video features.

“All of the changes are intended to convey a better sense of our mission and who we are as an organization,” said Michael D. Wick, executive director of the IRL. “We are so happy to launch our new website during the IRL’s 40th anniversary and as the Church prepares to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life which Pope Francis declared to begin this October.”

The new site was made possible by a grant from Our Sunday Visitor Institute. It was designed by Solutio Software of Cheney, Kansas.

“The site will be a great help to young Catholics who wish to know more or are considering the priestly or religious life, something very much needed in our times. And it will connect them to faithful institutes of consecrated life. The VocationSearch database is terrific for learning about the IRL’s 160-plus affiliate communities,” said M. Kathleen O’Brien, IRL director of operations. “We believe it is the premier Catholic vocations information portal—a ‘one-stop shopping’ experience for those who are sincerely discerning their vocation or seeking resources to promote and pray for vocations. From its 8-day ‘virtual’ discernment retreats, to the new Religious Life e-magazine, to vocation prayer leaflets for distribution among family, friends or parishioners, the new site offers all kinds of resources for building up the consecrated life.”

The site has in-depth reflections on the consecrated life, print and audio, including meditations by the IRL’s founder, Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., and talks given by IRL national director Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. The home page photo rotation features IRL affiliates, as well as real-time entries from the IRL’s “Vocation Blog” and a listing of scheduled events.

Young people who are serious about discernment can sign up for the free “Speak Lord” audio download of the month club or find out about upcoming “Come & See” vocation retreats. “Young people need catechesis and direction to be able to discern the Lord’s calling for their lives and the IRL wishes to provide helpful resources that will allow them to discern God’s will,” notes Father Nelson.

The Institute on Religious Life was founded in 1974 by Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Early supporters included Bl. Mother of Calcutta and Ven. Fulton J. Sheen. Its mission is to promote and support the consecrated life as a gift to the Church and an evangelical witness to the world.


Mother Dolores Hart, OSB – Starlet to Cloistered Nun!

Monday, March 24th, 2014

m delores osbDolores Hart was a rising starlet in the 1960s, with a Broadway play and ten highly successful movies to her credit. Then, she made a shocking decision: Hart left the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and entered the contemplative Benedictine monastery of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT.

Now, 50 years later, Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., will be speak on her vocational journey and the spiritual wisdom she gained by becoming a consecrated spouse of Christ on April 25-27, 2014, during the Institute on Religious Life’s National Meeting, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Registration is required to attend the three-day event.

Mother Dolores will give three talks at the IRL’s National Meeting. On Friday, April 25, she will address only religious, priests and consecrated persons at 11:00 a.m. On Saturday, April 26 at 1:30 p.m. she will be speaking exclusively to young people, ages 15-25, candidly sharing the story of her vocation. In the evening, Mother will give an after dinner address to those attending the IRL banquet which will honor Msgr. James C. Turro, recipient of the 2014 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute award.

Saint Luke Productions’ latest live drama, Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy, will be performed as part of the weekend’s events. The meeting will feature many other fine speakers including Very Rev. David Wilton, C.P.M, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, Sheila Liaugminas and Mother M. Julie Saegaert, S.C.M.C.

All are invited to be part of this special weekend, co-sponsored by Ignatius Press, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Institute on Religious Life. You can read Mother’s story in a book published by Ignatius Press: Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows.

For more information or to register, visit or call the IRL office at 847-573-8975.

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“Homily Gems” from Monsignor Turro

Friday, March 21st, 2014

turroIn 2014, the Institute on Religious Life will confer its’ Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award on Monsignor James Turro, professor extraordinaire and well-known to Magnificat readers for his former column “Your Word is a Lamp.” The IRL bestows this award on those individuals who display great fidelity to the Faith and deep love for religious life.

Father has been a long-time supporter of the IRL as a retreat master to our communities and priests and as a teacher at our Vita Consecrata Institute. Past award recipients have included Blessed Mother Teresa; Mother Angelica, PCPA; Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Monsignor joins very illustrious company!

Msgr. Turro is known for the brevity, conciseness and depth of his homilies. The website: contains a collection of some of his perceptive reflections on the Faith.

Here are some samples:

“The very hairs on your heads are all counted!” (Luke 12:7) An unusual way of saying a most soothing truth….For even you do not have so passionate an interest in yourself as to have taken a count of the hairs on your head.

A man sits in an airline terminal for hours feasting his eyes on those with destinations. What a satisfaction to have a destination in life! What a horror to drift aimlessly through life! Have you ever stopped to think that Christ has delivered us from such a pitiable condition as that – the condition of not being able to move effectively toward a clear-cut goal? Christ said: “I am the way” and “I am the light.”

“I have this complaint to make; you have less love now than you used to” (Rev 2:4). That first fervor is pitiably fragile we probably realize from our own experience but we may not have realized that we bear a responsibility for keeping it alive, as these words disconcertingly imply.

A forgotten truth: Mary is an opportunity for encountering Christ.

Our trials can be our greatest assets. Our privileges can turn out to be our worst enemies.

Do something beautiful for God: let someone feel the rich warmth of your love. You will be revealing something of God thereby.

Come see Monsignor in person! Join us at the 2014 National Meeting! For more information, visit our website or call (847)573-8975.




Gregorian Chant – Reaching out to the Next Generation

Friday, March 14th, 2014

sample efOn March 1, 2014, Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Brigittine Monastery of “Our Lady of Consolation” in Amity, Oregon. Archbishop Sample is an IRL Advisory Board member and the Brigittines are an IRL Affiliate community.

The Mass was the culmination of a three-day conference on Gregorian Chant and the role of sacred music in the liturgy sponsored by the Brigittine monks and Schola Cantus Angelorum. The conference drew priests, deacons, musicians, and others interested in learning about rich tradition of the Sung Gregorian Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

Click here to listen to the Archbishop’s homily. Some high points for me were his comments on why the the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is important. First, it extends pastoral care to those Catholics who remain attached to this beautiful liturgy. Second, we must remain in close communion to our past. We need a “reform of the reform,” that is reconnected to the Church’s rich tradition. Third, Gregorian chant is not meant to be listened to in the car; it’s proper place is in the Sacred Liturgy, it should be given a pride of place in the Sacred Liturgy.

Especially touching, was Archbishop Sample’s own testimony:

“When Summorum Pontificum came out, and the Holy Father said this is one of the forms of the Latin Rite, the Extraordinary Form, I said ‘I’m a bishop of the Church, I must know this rite!’  And I encourage my priests and my seminarians to learn and to know this rite.  Even if you never have a chance to celebrate it, knowing it, experiencing it – I guarantee you – it will affect the way you celebrate the Ordinary Form. It will do so.”






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Benedictines Brew

Monday, March 10th, 2014

osb beerIt seems that the Benedictine monks in Norcia, Italy, aren’t the only ones to rediscover the ancient Benedictine practice of brewing beer. The Benedictines at Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon will be introducing their own beer this summer with the slogan- Taste and Believe.”

Located in western Oregon in the beautiful Willamette Valley, Mount Angel Abbey was founded in 1882 from the 12th C. Swiss Abbey of Engelberg. The community keeps alive the ancient tradition of the choral office, the love of learning and Christian hospitality. Following the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia, the monks follow the traditional monastic observances, including those of enclosure, silence and the monastic habit. There are 53 priests and brothers living at the monastery.

taste beleiveThe idea to brew beer came about because the recession caused a drop in revenue from their sustainable tree farm. With available farmland where hops are grown and pristine abbey well water, the beer enterprise seems to be a natural way to provide the community with a new revenue source.

Benedictines have always welcomed strangers and the beer, which will only be sold at the abbey, will be an opportunity to introduce beer afficionados to abbey life. Most no doubt will be seeing their first ever Benedictine in the flesh!

Fr. Martin Grassel, OSB,  said, “Our society is badly in need of Christ. This started as a revenue project, but it has become equally important as an evangelization project.”



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Out of the Desert, Into the Promised Land

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

reg mtg kc moFor those of you in the Kansas City who want to attend a dynamite Regional Meeting, please plan to attend the session to be held on March 15, 2014, in Independence, MO, at the Franciscan Prayer Center. If you are from out of the area, you can contact the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist for overnight accommodations. Having personally stayed there myself, I can attest to the comfort and beauty of surroundings and warm hospitality.

The speakers include: Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. who will speak on “Spiritual Warfare, Engaging in the Battle for Souls;” Dr. John-Mark Miravalle whose talk will be: “Our Lady’s Labor Pains: Mary at the Foot of the Cross”; and Ms. Cheri Bowe, a consecrated virgin, who will speak on the “The Tree of Life: Our Call to Holiness Rooted in Baptism.”

Most Rev. Robert Finn will be the main celebrant and homilist for the 11:30 am Mass.

Registration for the entire day is $15.00 if you are registered by 3/12/14. This cost includes lunch. It will be $20.00 on the day of the conference (lunch is not included). It pays to register in advance!

The over-riding theme for the day is gratitude for the 40th celebration of our founding in 1974.

Please join us!