Category Archives: News

Desert Nuns New Abbess – Mother Marie Andre, PCPA

The Desert Nuns Celebrate the Installation of their First Abbess



The sisters celebrated St. Joseph’s Day, March 19th, with a visit from their bishop, Thomas Olmsted, and the installation of their first abbess – Mother Marie Andre, PCPA!

The banner behind the sisters reads : Ego Semper Vos Protegam -I Will Always Protect You – words from Our Lord to Saint Clare of Assisi.


Three sisters, including then-Sister Marie Andre who professed Solemn Vows in 2005, came to Arizona in 2005 from Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama. On December  29th, 2015, by decree of the Holy See, Our Lady of Solitude Monastery officially became an autonomous Monastery of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.  Sr. Marie Andre was appointed the first abbess.

Some might look upon Jesus’ call as a hiccup in a young woman’s plans for the future for having a family and a career, and this decision is often incomprehensible and viewed as a contradiction because she is denying herself the chance to have children and a career.

But it’s not puzzling or bewildering to the one being called and hearing the Voice of the Lord!

This freedom is the total dedication to God in our daily life, and so we pray always every day of our lives for the grace to understand better how Jesus calls us.  Mother Marie Andre – June 2015

FREE Youth Session at IRL National Meeting

The theme for the National Meeting is “Merciful Like the Father! Celebrating the Year of Mercy.” This special time of grace is intended to challenge all of us to seek out God’s merciful love in our own lives so that we can become instruments of Divine Mercy to others.

 As an added bonus this year, an informative and inspiring Shroud of Turin Exhibit will be on display! After extensive medical, historical and scientific research, the Center for the Study of the Passion of the Christ and the Holy Shroud developed this instructive exhibit explaining the history and the scientific evidence. The exhibit features a full-length image of the Shroud and a life-size corpus of Our Lord reflecting the Gospel narratives and scientific findings. It is truly a fascinating and life-changing experience!

Join the IRL April 2nd in celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the 2016 National Meeting! For more information and to sign up please visit our website.

Apostleship of Prayer: March Intentions

ApostleshipofPrayerThe Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of January as well as reflections by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.


Families in Difficulty.That families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments.

Last fall the Synod of Bishops met to discuss some difficult issues surrounding family life and marriage.

In his opening remarks to the Synod, Pope Francis said: “The Church is called to carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions.” Then, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, he said: “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love”.

At the same time, he said, the Church is a loving “mother–conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a ‘field hospital’ with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; even more, to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.”

The Church, he said, “teaches and defends fundamental values, while not forgetting that Jesus said: ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners’ (Mark 2:17).”

Lent and Holy Week during this Jubilee Year of Mercy present a good opportunity for us to practice mercy toward families and children. Let us begin to do so with our prayerful support for all families experiencing difficulties.


Persecuted Christians. That those Christians who, on account of their faith, are discriminated against or are being persecuted, may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church.

Jesus predicted that his followers would be persecuted. Thus it should come as no surprise that Christians are being discriminated against, threatened, forced to flee, and killed in various parts of the world today.

The reasons behind this persecution are many. In some cases it is not a matter of religious differences but tribal, economic, and class differences. Sometimes persecution arises out of the fear of something new and different from the traditional religion of one’s ancestors. Sometimes being a Christian is seen as being unpatriotic.

Whatever the reasons, the fact is in the past year more Christians have been killed for their faith than followers of any other religion. According to Aid to the Church in Need, “Christianity is on course for extinction in many of its biblical heartlands within a generation, if not before.”

Last Easter, Pope Francis called for “intense prayer and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and sisters, who are being persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated for the sole reason that they are Christian. They are our martyrs of today, and they are so many, we could say that they are more numerous than in the early centuries.”

Our prayers have power to strengthen our persecuted brothers and sisters, that they may remain faithful to Christ. Let us pray with Easter faith, the faith that the suffering and death of Good Friday leads to the new life of Easter. May our faith unite with the faith of the persecuted and testify to the glory of God before the whole world.


IRL Affiliates and the 2016 March for Life

Cantius MarchJanuary 22nd marked the forty-third anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States. To commemorate the anniversary, pro-lifers from around the country faced great obstacles such as the weather to fill the streets of Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. as a witness to the dignity of all human life.

Over 5,000 people braved frigid temperatures and packed the streets of downtown Chicago on January 17th. Before marching, however, the event began with Masses for Life.  Several Masses for Life around the Chicago area were sponsored by religious orders and were influenced by their spiritualties such as the Franciscan Litany recited at St. Peter’s in the Loop. During the events, over 2,000 of the IRL’s Merciful Like the Father holy cards were distributed by Fr. Jim Heyd and his team.

Winter Storm Jonas wreaked havoc on the east coast during the weekend of the March for Life in Washington D.C. The weather forced many to stay home and participate in local pro-life events, however, many still converged on our nation’s capital to defend life. One group of 165 were led by Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC  of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. After attending the March, they unfortunately shared the fate of many and were stranded in Pennsylvania. They made the best of their situation, however,  and were able to celebrate Mass in the hotel’s bar. They were even joined at Mass by sisters from another IRL affiliate, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

walk-for-life16-17Pouring rain could not stop tens of thousands of people from attending the 12th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco. Among those in attendance were students from Thomas Aquinas College. The group led the Walk for Life last year and brought the largest group ever from the school this year with 220 students. The Sisters of Life also attended the Walk for Life and appropriately performed the corporal work of mercy of clothing the naked in this Year of Mercy by  giving their cloaks to protesting women so that they would not become ill before being arrested.

These and other tremendous stories emerged from the events surrounding the forty-third anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Pro-lifers will not soon forget them as they witnessed to the dignity of all human life.

Consecrated Virginity – A Sign of the Times

ocv1A recent article on Zenit mentions that at the closing ceremony for the Year of Consecrated Life were many consecrated virgins.

In 1970, the year that the decree Ordo consecrationis virginum was published, there were only a few consecrated virgins. Today, according to a 2015 survey, there are over 4000, found mostly in Europe and the Americas.

This description from the Information packet on the Order of Consecrated Virgins website, describes the beauty of the life very succinctly:

A consecrated virgin, after renewing her resolve of perpetual virginity to God, is set aside as a sacred person who belongs only to Christ. The acting agent in the Consecration is God Himself who accepts the virgin’s promise and spiritually fructifies it through the action of the Holy Spirit.
ocv3This sacramental is reserved to the bishop of the diocese. The consecrated virgin shares intimately in the nature and mission of the Church–she is a living image of the Church’s love forher Spouse while sharing in His redemptive mission.
The consecrated virgin living in the world embodies a definitive vocation in itself. She is not a quasi-Religious,nor is she in a vocation that is in the process of becoming a Religious institute or congregation. Nevertheless, she is a consecrated person, with her bishop as her guide. By virtue of the Consecration, she is responsible to pray for her diocese and clergy.
The consecrated virgin living in the world, as expressed in Canon 604, is irrevocably “consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the diocesan bishop consecrates [her] according to the approved liturgical rite.”

To read the complete article, see Zenit.

Apostleship of Prayer: February Intentions

ApostleshipofPrayerThe Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of January as well as reflections by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Care for Creation. That we may take good care of creation–a gift freely given–cultivating and protecting it for future generations. 

Life is a gift. Our very existence is a gift. We did not create ourselves nor are we chance products of blind forces of nature. And we are not God.

That may seem obvious, but from the beginning of human history, people have tried to be God. We see that even today in the way human beings use creation in ways that are contrary to God’s will. According to Genesis 2: 15, humanity was created to work with God, “to cultivate and care for” the earth. Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si: “Once we lose our humility and become enthralled with the possibility of limitless mastery over everything, we inevitably end up harming society and the environment. It is not easy to promote this kind of healthy humility when we exclude God from our lives or replace him with our own ego and think that our subjective feelings can define what is right and what is wrong.”

This month we begin Lent, a time of conversion. Let’s consider how we can
be humble stewards and not exploiters of creation. As a start, Pope Francis proposes we simply “stop and give thanks to God before and after meals.” Doing so “reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labors provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”


Asia. That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia.

Early last year Pope Francis visited the Asian country of Sri Lanka where four major religions coexist: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Unfortunately ethnic and religious differences there have led to bloody conflicts. Meeting with representatives of these religions, the Pope said: “For the sake of peace, religious beliefs must never be allowed to be abused in the cause of violence and war. We must be clear and unequivocal in challenging our communities to live fully the tenets of peace and coexistence found in each religion, and to denounce acts of violence when they are committed.”

All people are made in the image and likeness of God. God created everyone for eternal life—to be with God in the heavenly communion of saints. God desires this so much that he sent Jesus to shed his precious blood for the salvation of all. Thus all people are to be shown respect.In his speech, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of “dialogue, which is essential if we are to know, understand, and respect one another.” True dialogue requires honesty: “for such dialogue and encounter to be effective, it must be grounded in a full and forthright presentation of our respective convictions. Certainly, such dialogue will accentuate how varied our beliefs, traditions and practices are. But if we are honest in presenting our convictions, we will be able to see more clearly what we hold in common. New avenues will be opened for mutual esteem, cooperation, and indeed friendship.”

In true dialogue with non-Christians, we Christians need to listen respectfully, find common ground, and then in our turn to share the Gospel, in hopes that the Holy Spirit will open hearts to Jesus. We pray this month that opportunities for such sharing may increase in Asia, where Christians are in the minority.

The Canticle of the Passion Sung by the Marbury Dominicans

catherine ricciThe Dominicans Nuns of Marbury, Alabama, have recently posted on their website The Canticle of the Passion, or the “Passion Verses.” It is a specifically Dominican devotion traditionally sung on the Fridays of Lent.  A compilation of texts from Sacred Scripture that pertain to the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, this devotion was revealed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine de Ricci (1522-1590), a cloistered Dominican Tertiary of the 16th century. Today is her Feast Day!

“Our Lady is said to have desired Catherine, when she revealed this Canticle to her, to spread it through the convent as a form of prayer and contemplation supremely pleasing to our Lord. The venerable confessor, Fra Timoteo, wrote it out in full at the saint’s dictation and submitted it for the approval of the Order. Padre Francesco di Castiglione had then become general, and he was not satisfied with allowing its use in San Vincenzio. By a circular letter to all monasteries of the Province he ordered it to be placed amongst the regular devotions and forms of prayer peculiar to the Dominicans; and it has remained celebrated amongst us, under the title Canticle of the Passion, as a monument to the tender love of our great Dominican saint, Catherine de Ricci, for her crucified Jesus”  (from St Catherine de’ Ricci : Her Life, Her Letters, Her Community by Florence Mary Capes, p. 76-77).

The Dominicans are celebrating their 800th anniversary this year!
The Dominicans are celebrating their 800th anniversary this year!

Like St. Francis, St. Catherine de Ricci experienced the stigmata and for 12 years, every Thursday Noon until Friday at 4:00 pm, accompanied Jesus in His Passion. The Canticle of the Passion was revealed to Catherine immediately after her first great ecstasy of the Passion. Our Lady desired Catherine to spread it as a form of prayer and contemplation pleasing to Our Lord.

The Canticle of the Passion is sung to the haunting tones of their Dominican chant, leading them to enter more deeply into the solemn mysteries of this season of Passiontide and Holy Week.

If you go to their website, you can hear a recording of the The Canticle of the Passion sung by the nuns. Pictorial meditations are included and the Latin verses are translated into English.

It is really beautiful!!


Discalced Carmelite Friars – New IRL Affiliate!

ocd holy hillThe Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Province of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were recently welcomed as a new IRL Affiliate Community. The Province was established by German Bavarian friars in 1906 and has responsibility for the well-known shrine of Our Lady  Help of Christians in Hubertus, Wisconsin, commonly known as Holy Hill. The province includes monasteries in Milwaukee, Brighton, MA, Washington, DC and Kenya.

The Carmelite Friars follow the Rule of St. Albert of 1206. Each day, two hours are set aside for silent prayer. The Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours chart the rhythm of every day which also includes community meetings and recreation. The three linchpins of their life are: prayer, community and the apostolate.

The friars also staff the Institute of Carmelite Studies. If you are looking for a good book about or by Edith Stein, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St Therese of Lisieux and other Carmelite greats, look no further.

holy hillCarmel has its roots in the desert for the first friars were found in Israel on Mount Carmel. Keeping up the eremitic tradition, in 1968, the Province established a community of hermits in Hinton, West Virginia.

They welcome men who seek to dedicate their lives to this life of contemplative prayer united to apostolic zeal. They need young, spirited, creative men, strong in faith who want to work in areas neglected by the world.

In our day, there is a great spiritual hunger, yet many are bewildered and lost, cut off from the sustaining food of eternal life. We who have received a precious heritage see our special mission in the world to be helping any who need help on their way to God.”

For more information, contact Fr. Elijah of the Eucharist, OCD, vocation director ( or 262-628-1838.


Dallas Carmel – New IRL Affiliate Community!

dallas monasThe Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Dallas, Texas, are one of the newest IRL Affiliate Communities. Their monastery, the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and of St. Joseph,  was founded in 1928 by ten refugee nuns who arrived from Mexico due to the revolution and religious persecution. They arrived from the Carmel in Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico, which was founded in 1907.

The Dallas Carmelites are a cloistered contemplative community, totally dedicated to Christ in a community atmosphere of unity and constant prayer. Their daily ocd dallaslife is centered around the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Jesus—daily Mass, from which they receive the grace to live up to their calling. The hours pass in an alternating rhythm between prayer and manual labor. Simplicity of life, the silence and solitude of a hermit, the support of a loving community, all help to keep their goal in focus: “to be alone with Him alone.” They follow the 1990 Constitutions for Discalced Carmelite Nuns which requires that they celebrate the entire Divine Office every day in choir.

The Servant of God Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J., was the spiritual director of the current Prioress, Sr. Juanita Marie of Jesus Crucified. She spoke to him on the phone just thirty minutes before his death. She now seeks to lead the community with members that are a “living witness of a life consecrated to Christ that serves the Church through the hidden fruitfulness of Faith and self-sacrificing Love.”

Daily Mass at 7:00 am every day is open to the public. The Confraternity of the Holy Face meets every third Sunday at 3:30 pm and is also open to the public.


A Prophecy Fulfilled – The Franciscan Friars Minor in Costa Rica

osf ft wayne march
In DC, for the annual March For Life

In January, Fr. David Mary and eight Franciscan Brothers Minor from Fort Wayne as well as the Catholics on a Mission team traveled to Costa Rica to minister to the local Costa Rican and indigenous Cabecar people. This is a remote jungle area were homes have dirt floors and the indigenous people share shelter with their animals.

While there, they hosted a Vacation Bible School for the children and shared personal faith testimonies. Most people in the region are able to receive the sacraments only once a month, so it was a blessing that Mass was celebrated at least once a day with people

living in remote villages. As a result of past trips, 60-70 Cabecar now attend Mass regularly and the first, First Communion class in hundreds of years is now a reality!

Franciscans came to Costa Rica in the 16th century with Christopher Columbus and evangelized the indigenous people who began to embrace the Faith. When a tribe from a different area killed a friar and some of the converts, the Franciscans left to prevent further bloodshed. Over the years, a prophecy arose, a promise from St. Joseph, that one day radical barefoot Franciscans would return and bring them the Gospel. In 2013, this became a reality when the Franciscans from Fort Wayne arrived.

San Jose de Orosi anniversary Mass
San Jose de Orosi anniversary Mass

A bishop told them that they were the first Franciscans to set foot in the Cabecar territory in 250 years. Since that time, the Friars have established a partnership with Catholics on a Mission and the St. Bryce Foundation to continue these evangelization efforts. The 2016 mission trip coincided with the 250th anniversary of the completion of Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi, the chapel built in 1766 from the vision of St. Joseph.

Who are Catholics on a Mission? It was started in 2012 when several high school students who were actively involved in the Franciscan Brothers Minor youth group approached Fr. David Mary Engo with the idea to “put their service where their faith is,” and share the ofm guitargospel with people in a foreign country. Catholics on a Mission has become a student-driven service organization evangelizing parishes, cities and the world through the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

Following the exhortation of Pope John Paul in Redemptoris Missio, they believe that “the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”