Archive for the 'Women’s Communities' Category

St. Clare Festivities – Rockford, Illinois

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

pcc malloyLast winter, we had the pleasure of visiting the Poor Clare Colettine Monastery in Rockford, Illinois, where we enjoyed a nice long visit with Mother Dominica. This recent article in the Rockford Catholic newspaper brought back happy memories of the grill and the incredibly nice, yet inexpensive candles available in their modest gift shop.

On August 11, the Feast Day of St. Clare, Bishop David Malloy celebrated Mass with the nuns and gathered guests. He said that the relationship between St. Francis and St. Clare was a “unique sharing of the gift of grace.”

The bishop said that we can’t talk about Clare without talking about poverty. It warns us against believing that wealth “is of our own doing, of our own making” instead of being a gift from God to be used to live justly, in service to the poor.

He said it was rather intimidating “to talk about Clare in front of the experts.” But after Mass, they gave him a thumbs-up from behind the grill when they said his choice of a particular St. Clare biographer was the best one to draw from for his homily.

pcc groupThe Poor Clares of Corpus Christi Monastery are a vibrant IRL Affiliate Community. They begin their day at 12:30 a.m. (!) when the a sister knocks on each cell door to summon the sisters to prayer. The nuns, clothed in the religious habit adapted for the night, rise in silence like the wise Virgins ready and waiting for the call: “The Bridegroom is here, come out to meet Him!”

If you want to really know what one day in their monastery is like, in detail, visit our website: cloisteredlife.com!!

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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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A Poor Clare Father; A Poor Clare Daughter

Monday, August 18th, 2014

PCC corkPCC cork pcc corkWhen a Poor Clare nun enters the monastery, she leaves her family behind forever…or does she?

This wonderful story in the Irish Examiner peaked my interest so I looked deeper into the story behind the foundation of the Poor Clare Colettine Monastery in Cork, Ireland. The Poor Clares of Cork are celebrating the 100th anniversary of their founding this year, something that will make their Christmas Eve Midnight Mass extra-special for this is the date and time when the first Mass was celebrated in the monastery.

The Poor Clares came to Cork because of one man, Walter Dwyer, whose daughter was a Poor Clare nun in Tournai, Belgium. Wishing to have his daughter closer to home as he was dying, he asked the famous Jesuit, Fr. Wille Doyle (He was a military chaplain killed during the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I. His body was never recovered), to find sisters for a new monastery in Cork. Mr. Dwyer said that he would finance it. The long and the short of it is that Fr. Doyle and Mr. Dwyer were successful. The first Mass on Christmas Eve night was attended by the Dwyer family and two of the founding Sisters, one of whom was Sr. Maria Dwyer, Walter’s daughter.

Walter died a peaceful and holy death next door to the Monastery in Bon Secours Hospital. His body rested in the Monastery Chapel the night before his burial. His daughter died 40 years later on her father’s fortieth anniversary. The Cork monastery founded two daughter houses as well in Ennis, Ireland, and in Bothwell, Scotland.

There are currently 8 sisters living in Cork. Please pray that they receive a wonderful Christmas present this year−holy, persevering vocations to fill their monastery.

 

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Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

osf wiThe IRL was blessed to have as one of its friends, Sr. Evelyn Ann Schumacher (1919-2013), OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity. Sr. Evelyn Ann wrote many books on a variety of topics that were published by the IRL, usually related but not limited to deepening one’s religious vocation.

One of her books was called An Undivided Heart: Pope John Paul II on the Deeper Realities of the Consecrated Life. She presents the Holy Father’s thoughts on the Call and the Vows that is helpful for novices and aspirants as well as those religious seeking personal renewal. Another book she wrote on the subject of Pope John Paul II’s regard for religious is Holiness Heart of the Renewal: The  Lasting Legacy of Pope John Paul II’s Message to Religious.

Sr. Evelyn Ann’s community’s Motherhouse is located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. They were founded in 1869 in rural Wisconsin by five young Catholic women, in response to God’s call and inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s Gospel way of life. They serve in a variety of ministries across the U.S.

They are holding Vocation Discernment Retreats on August 17-19th, 2014, and again on August 21-23, 2014, at their beautiful Motherhouse. Click here to register or for more information.

 

 

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St. Clare – A Family Affair

Monday, August 11th, 2014
St. Agnes of Assisi

St. Agnes of Assisi

I can’t remember where I read this but a bishop once asked a priest (I think Father Hardon, SJ) about vocation programs and asked, “What is the best way to attract priestly vocations?” The answer, “Become a saint, Your Excellency.”

Holiness is attractive and it reminds me of our saint for today, St. Clare of Assisi. The foundress of the Poor Clares, the 2nd Franciscans Order, Clare placed her life into the hands of St. Francis of Assisi in 1212 at the age of about seventeen. Sixteen days later, her younger sister Agnes secretly left the family home to join her sister. Emissaries, sent by their angry Father, dragged Agnes by her hair out of the monastery.They abandoned her in a field because she was so unexpectedly heavy, something viewed as Divine intervention. Their mother, Blessed Hortulana, and younger sister Beatrice, later joined them and their cousin Ruffino was an early companion of St. Francis.  Holiness attracts.

So on this feast day of St. Clare, as we pray for our relatives who may seem far from the faith, let us invoke St. Clare and St. Agnes and ask for their assistance in helping us to become saints, so we can inspire our nearest and dearest to draw closer to the Lord themselves.

O dearest, look on heaven that invites us, and bear the Cross and follow Christ who preceded us; indeed, after various and many tribulations we shall enter through Him into His glory.  Love with your whole heart God and Jesus, His son, crucified for our sins, and never let His memory escape your mind;  make yourself mediate continually on the mysteries of the Cross and the anguish of the mother standing beneath the Cross.

—St. Agnes of Assisi

 

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Little Sisters First Profession

Friday, July 25th, 2014

profession2014On Saturday, July 19, three young women made their first profession of vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and hospitality as Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Ann’s Novitiate in Queens Village, NY.  Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh was the main celebrant and homilist.

Following is a brief introduction of the new Little Sisters:

Sr. Amy Catherine Joseph (Hagedorn), a native of Indiana, met the Little Sisters while a nursing student in Evansville. She received her first obedience for their Home in Philadelphia.

Sr. Elisabeth de l’Eucharistie (Dugré), from Québec, Canada, met the Little Sisters while working as a baker in Montréal. In addition to her culinary skills, Sister Elisabeth is an accomplished flutist. Her sister played the cello for the Profession ceremony, and her mom sang a beautiful meditation hymn in French! Sister Elisabeth was assigned to their Home in Dinan, France, the third home of the Congregation and the site where St. Jeanne Jugan worked with the Brothers of St. John of God to draft the original Constitutions of the congregation.

Sr. Maria Carmen Therese (Ozuna) was born in Mexico but then migrated to the United States, settling in the Philadelphia area. Sister Maria Carmen worked as a child care provider before entering their congregation. Her sister performed a beautiful meditation hymn in Spanish during the ceremony. Sister Maria Carmen Therese is headed to Jeanne Jugan Residence in Washington, D.C.

Click here to enjoy a slide show of the new Little Sisters!

 

 

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Looking For Spiritual Renewal?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

dscjpodiumRight now, the IRL is hosting the Vita Consecrata Institute, a summer program of  spiritual renewal and graduate-level studies on the theology of the consecrated life. One group of attendees who attended the first session came from the Disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Christoval, Texas.

Sr. Magdalena, Sr. Mary Thomas and Sr. Elizabeth Ann took classes on the Theology and Spirituality of the New Evangelization and the Vows according to St. Thomas Aquinas. Sr. Elizabeth Ann was able to pray in front of the tomb of her patron, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the sisters had fun going kayaking in the Shenendoah river!

dscj kAYAKAs you can see from the pictures, it is not all classroom study! There are outings, a daily schedule of prayer and lifelong friendships developed with different communities from around the country and sometimes the world. The course of studies is designed for priests, religious and other consecrated persons who seek spiritual renewal and enrichment. You can take the courses for credit towards a Masters Degree or simply audit them.

The classes are held at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. For more information, visit our website.

 

 

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Golden Jubilee for a Daughter of Carmel

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

May crowning - Sr Tanya 2On this beautiful Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it is wonderful to highlight the Golden Jubilee of a daughter of Carmel, Sr. Tanya of the Carmelite Monastery in Latrobe, PA.

Sr. Tanya (born Tatiana) knew from age six that she had a desire for God. Though she frequently went to daily Mass with her mother at a nearby Carmel, she first spent some time with the Maryknoll Sisters before coming to Carmel in 1962. The Carmel in Latrobe was founded from the Carmel in Loretto, PA, in 1961. Sr. Tanya was one of the first two women to enter the new Carmel.

Sr. Tanya is a talented artist who painted the images of the Way of the Cross that are hanging in the the Chapel. She is an avid gardener and has great devotion to Our Blessed Mother and skillfully makes Rosaries to sell in their store.

Her sisters say that her fidelity to God and to the Queen of Carmel is manifest in her generosity and self-giving love.

With a public celebration of the Eucharist in August followed by a reception, the sisters will thank God for His goodness to her and to their community.  Later this year, the Carmelites will begin a year-long celebration preparing for the 500th birthday of St. Teresa of Avila, who reformed the Carmelite Order.

May Sr. Tanya have many more joyous and fruitful years ahead, all to the glory of God!

Photo of community taken by Sr. Tanya. She is at the upper right.

Photo of community taken by Sr. Tanya.

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Little Flowers in Lincoln

Monday, July 14th, 2014
The sisters with Bishop Bruskewitz

The sisters with Bishop Bruskewitz

The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Mercy, is a new IRL Affiliate Community located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Originally founded in Vietnam, the sisters are now a Diocesan Congregation established in 1999 by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.

What, you may ask, are Vietnamese sisters doing in Lincoln? Like many Vietnamese, some sisters were forced to flee as the Communists advanced. Eventually, via Australia and Missouri, they ended up in the diocese of Lincoln.

Sister Rosaria Hoang was one of the original sisters. As a 22 year-old, she was one of 34 sisters who were placed on the last Australian Air Force flight out of Vietnam. They thought their exile would be temporary. But after the fall of Saigon and the ensuing persecution of the Church, they knew this was not to be.

“We all go into the chapel, all the sisters. We cry. We pray. We encourage each other to restart our lives, outside of Vietnam,” said Sister Rosaria. Bishop Patrick Flavin, the late bishop of Lincoln, asked three of Missouri sisters, including Sister Rosaria, to come with him to Lincoln and work with the community’s Vietnamese refugees.

The Lincoln sisters are teachers, child care providers (Little Flower Child Care Center), religion instructors, nurses and assistants to the bishop. They also remain on-call as interpreters for the Social Security Administration. And supportive of their sisters in the community in Vietnam.

“However, the work we are doing is not important as to whom we are,” Sister Rosaria said. “With our witnesses to the religious consecrated life, we pray and hope that the Holy Spirit will ‘tap’ on those we have a chance to interact with and draw them all closer to him.”

See a wonderful story on them in the Journal Star.

Angelic Warfare Confraternity

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Fr. Ambrose Little, OP, enrolling the young women into the Confraternity

Fr. Ambrose Little, OP, enrolling the young women into the Confraternity

Last month, the Dominican Nuns in Marbury, Alabama, welcomed seven young women to their monastery for a weekend Vocation Retreat. These high school and college-age women came seeking answers to these questions: What is the vocation of a cloistered Dominican nun? Is it God’s will for me? The girls chanted the Liturgy, engaged in talks and recreation, and kept prayerful silence all day on Saturday so that everyone could have a chance to listen to God without getting distracted.

One of the most moving events of the weekend was the enrollment of six of the girls into the Angelic Warfare Confraternity (one had enrolled the previous year). What is a confraternity you may ask? They were very popular before Vatican II but unfortunately seem to have fallen out of favor since then.

A Confraternity is a supernatural brotherhood or fellowship of men and women who make a sacred pact to pursue some good together in the Church. The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is a confraternity run by the Dominican Order and dedicated to the pursuit of purity and chastity under the patronage of St. Thomas and the Blessed Virgin. Who wouldn’t want such supporters!!!

St. Thomas Aquinas is the perfect patron for this Confraternity. His family was vehemently opposed to his Dominican vocation and his brothers even sent a prostitute to his room to lure him from his vow of chastity. Thomas drove the woman out, slammed the door behind her, and emblazoned the sign of the cross on the door with a red-hot brand. According to testimony at his canonization, Thomas experienced a vision of  two angels who bound a cord around his waist and said, “On God’s behalf, we gird you with the girdle of chastity, a girdle which no attack will ever destroy.”

In the enrollment ceremony, which can only be conducted by a Dominican priest (though another priest can do it with permission), the priest confers the blessing upon a cord and a medal of St. Thomas Aquinas. One or both of these items are to be worn at all times, with practical exceptions (surgery, etc.). The name of the person enrolled and place of the enrollment ceremony goes into an official Register. You too can join the ranks in company with St. Aloysius Gonzaga and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati who were also members!

This Confraternity is not just for the young. Anyone serious about living a chaste life may become a member. In honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, members say fifteen Hail Mary’s for chastity for themselves and all the members of the Confraternity.

Many people who go through ceremony and wear the blessed cord or medal testify to experiencing great relief from temptations and greater strength in resisting temptations. As St. Paul says, “The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20).

For more information, visit www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org. To see when the next vocational retreat will be held in Marbury, visit the nuns’ website!

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