Archive for the 'Women’s Communities' Category

180 Years of Consecrated Life – in three sisters!

Saturday, May 30th, 2015
MotherMaryJohn

Mother Mary John, OCD

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.”

Sr. Anne, OCD

Sr. Anne, OCD

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.

See the interview with two of the sisters in The Advertiser, Lafayette, LA and watch the video of the Mass on the Lafayette Carmel website.

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The Trinitarians of Mary – New Religious Community

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

circleThe Trinitarians of Mary is the newest IRL Affiliate Community. Founded in just 1992, they have experienced wonderful growth. The name of the community was inspired by St. Louis de Montfort who described Mary as “the Sanctuary of the Divinity, the Throne, the City, and the World of God.” In other words, the first Trinitarian.

Their foundress is Mother Lillie who was born in San Diego and had a powerful spiritual experience in Fatima where she felt the calling to found a new order in the Catholic Church with the Eucharist at its center.  Through a life of prayer and penance the Trinitarians of Mary support the Catholic priesthood and the Church, opening their doors to all through monastic hospitality and retreats.

The community’s first monastery was a leaky old camper on a mountain in Tecate, Mexico. From this “Mount Tabor,” the sisters have helped thousands of needy families through the distribution of food, clothing, blankets, building supplies, medicine and religious education. They hope to build a conservatory for orphans and underprivileged girls in the near future. And many other plans are in the works.

Mother Lillie

Mother Lillie

One particular expression of their contemplative vocation is rooted in the practice of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. The hours each sister spends at Our Lord’s feet in solitary adoration before the Blessed Sacrament gives meaning to her religious consecration. By their filial devotion to Mary, members desire to bring about the triumph of her Immaculate Heart by seeking to make her known and loved by all who come in contact with them.

They engage in monastic apostolates within the grounds of their monasteries that are compatible with and stem from their prayer. They welcome people from all walks of life whose spiritual and material needs brings them to their monasteries (two in Mexico and three in the U.S. – San Diego, Los Angeles, Grand Rapids). Their pray the Divine Office in Latin.

Our particular expression of the contemplative vocation is rooted in the practice of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and is our way of continuing in the Church the presence and work of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

We are called to love as she loved, by immersing our minds and hearts in God in a continual act of adoration, so that our entire lives  become “an expression of the love of the Son for the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit” (VC,21). 

Taking her as our model, we seek to be vessels of the indwelling Trinityas we fix our gaze on the Eucharistic face of Christ.

 

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Ada Carmelites: Refugees and Foundresses of Many

Monday, May 25th, 2015

adaIn 2016, the Carmelite Nuns in Ada, Michigan, will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their founding. In 1916,  sixteen Carmelite nuns (12 professed and four postulants) fled the terror and raging persecution in Mexico and came to the United States.

After traveling to Cuba, New Orleans and Saint Louis, they finally found a home in the Diocese of Grand Rapids under the paternal care of Bishop Henry Joseph Richter. Their monastery was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  From this sacrifice of family and country came bountiful blessings. New foundations bloomed from Grand Rapids back to Mexico in 1919, then Buffalo, Detroit, Littleton, Traverse City, Iron Mountain and Denmark (WI).

Their original frame house in Grand Rapids was expanded and added on to many times to accommodate growth. Finally, in 1984, they were given ten rural acres outside of town in which to build a permanent, quieter home. They moved to Ada (Parnell), Michigan, in 1991.

This year, the are celebrating the 500th anniversary of their foundress’ birth. Commenting on St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, Pope Francis said: “(Teresa) asked her sisters not to waste time discussing ‘matters of little importance’ with God while ‘the world is in flames.'”

Be rooted in prayer, in communion with Jesus. Pope Francis said: “The prayer of Teresa was not a prayer reserved solely to a space or time of day; it arose spontaneously on the most diverse occasions. … She was convinced of the value of continual, if not always perfect, prayer. … To renew consecrated life today, Teresa has left us a great heritage full of concrete suggestions, ways and methods of praying that, far from closing us in ourselves or leading us merely to inner balance, enable us always to start again from Jesus, and constitute a genuine school for growth in love for God and neighbor.”

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Sisters in Jesus the Lord in Russia

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

vlad-mission-communities-20For 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.

Our Lady of Vladivostok

Our Lady of Vladivostok

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.

 

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A Glimpse into the Santa Fe Carmel

Friday, May 1st, 2015

santa feFor the year of Consecrated Life, the Carmel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Teresa in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has put together a charming little video to give people a glimpse into their life.

The Carmel is situated in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo (“Blood of Christ”) Mountains, on the high desert of northern New Mexico, reminiscent of the terrain of the Order’s first founders who lived in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.

They are part of the Spanish Catholic legacy of Santa Fe that has been present for more than 400 years. Santa Fe means Holy Faith! Their monastery traces its heritage back to Avila, Spain by way of Mexico.

A history book on the Carmelite order states that St. Teresa actually arrived here before the Carmelite sisters! A picture of her is found on the reredos of San Miguel Mission (built in 1610), the oldest church in the United States. The oval picture, found on the top left of the reredos, dates from the early 18th century and originated in Colonial Mexico. It is considered one of the earliest portraits of the saint.

reredosThe Carmeles arrived in Santa Fe in 1945 from the Carmel in Dallas, Texas. They in turn founded houses in Albuquerque, NM; Jefferson City, MO; and Kenya.

We pray that we may be a second Bethany where Our Lord may rest among those who have chosen the better part.

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An Eastern-Rite Carmelite Monastery

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, is the only Carmelite Monastery in the Western Hemisphere belonging to an Eastern Catholic Rite. They belong to the Order of Discalced Carmelites and have the special mission to pray for the unity of the Eastern and Western churches.

Mother Marija of the Holy Spirit, Sister Marie Helen of the Cross and Sister Ann of the Trinity (d. 2001)  inaugurated the monastery on February 23, 1977. Fr. Walter Ciszek (may he one day be canonized), SJ, encouraged Most Rev. Michel Dudick, the Bishop of the Ruthenians (Byzantine Church) of Passaic, NJ, to accept them into his eparchy.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, several Byzantine rite girls came to them from Slovakia and Carpathia. In return, in 1995 and 2002, they sent Sisters there to begin the Monastery of St. Therese in Koritnyani, Transcarpathia (Ukraine). In 1999, they accepted Sisters of the Syro-Malabar Rite from South India, now five in byz 3number, who today comprise one third of their community.

Six to seven  hours daily are devoted to prayer and sacred reading. They also operate a bakery with mail order sales (you can request a catalog for Christmas!), design gift cards and breed miniature horses. Check out their website (Carmelites Mini Corral) if you would like to purchase a stallion, mare, foal or show horse!

 

 

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5 Myths About Cloistered Life

Monday, April 27th, 2015

marbury3The Dominican nuns of St. Jude Monastery in Marbury, Alabama, have a little brochure describing the 5 myths about cloistered life.

Myth #1: They pray all day

Their whole life is harmoniously ordered to preserve remembrance of God throughout the day. They chant the 7 hours of the Divine Office daily and have times for Adoration, meditation and the rosary. But they also clean, cook, nurse, study, recreate and more. They rise early and go to bed late and their hearts are free for God alone.

Myth #2: Talented. Go elsewhere?

Of course, all of the talents a women brings to the cloister are put to good use (teacher, musician, artist, writer, nurse) but the greatest gift a woman gives to God is the gift of herself, so that it may bear fruit a hundredfold for the life of His Mystical Body. Contemplatives are Christ’s chosen spouses, imaging in a radical way the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord.

Myth #3: The Cloister is for Introverts

The cloistered life involves solitude of heart which leads to deeper union with God. It also involves intense community, for you live in the enclosure with your sisters 24/7, 365 days a year. They pray, work and recreate together, striving to grow in unity of heart and mind rooted in love of God. . The cloistered life is for both introverts and extroverts—both have strengths and challenges which are transformed by grace; both serve God.

Myth #4: Cloistered Nuns Never Talk

The question is not, “Do I like to talk?” Rather it is, “Am I able to keep silence?” Silence is an ancient monastic observance which directs a nun’s thoughts and affections towards God rather than in unnecessary and distracting chatter. During work hours, however, the sisters speak when necessary and talk during meetings, classes and recreation.

Myth #5: Unfit for the Active Life? Try the Cloister.

Actually, the cloistered Dominican life is just as demanding though not as distracting as that of a student, mother or active religious. Normal good health is essential to enter upon their life of total dedication, complete self-giving to Jesus through Mary for the salvation of souls, lived through the monastic life of the community.

Contact the Dominican nuns for the brochure or if you are interested in knowing more about their life.

 

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A Community for Later Vocations – Sisters of Jacopa

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Bl. Jacopa

Bl. Jacopa

One of the most common inquiries we get is from women who have discerned a “belated” vocation and are asking what community will consider accepting women who are past 40 years of age. The communities do exist, some considering it on an exception basis, some dedicated communities for mature women.

One such community is the Sisters of Jacopa (FJA) in Toronto, Ohio. Sr. Kathleen Marshall, a widow and mother, was inspired to found the community on September 14, 2012. With permission from the diocese, they are pursuing candidates and forming this emerging Franciscan family.

The members (widows or single women over 40)  will seek to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, contemplation, adoration and study. Their characteristics are Franciscan, Marian, Eucharistic, and

Sr. Kathleen, wearing the proposed habit of the FJAs. Habit is a similar to what Bl. Jacopa is wearing in the picture.

Sr. Kathleen, wearing the proposed habit of the FJAs. Habit is a similar to what Bl. Jacopa is wearing in the picture.

obedience to the Holy Father. Their apostolates of prayer and service will focus especially on widows in addition to priests, the suffering elderly and families.

Bl. Jacopa (feast day February 8th) was a widow, friend of St. Francis of Assisi and a Third Order Franciscan. As he lay dying, he asked Jacopa to bring him his favorite almond treat to taste one last time. She was in attendance at Francis’ deathbed, hence, the tradition, when Franciscans commemorate Francis’ passing unto eternal life (Transitus), of distributing almond treats.

The Sisters of Jacopa are having a Come & See Weekend at their monastery(Mary, Ark of the Covenant) on May 15-17, 2015, in Toronto, Ohio (NOT Canada!). For more information, call (740)314-4023 or email: familyjacopa@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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Pope Francis and the Elderly

Friday, March 13th, 2015

p francisOn 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

For a complete list, visit our website.

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Carmelites – Doubly Blessed

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Malaya Twins This vocation story is interesting because of the generosity of the family in offering two daughters to God, in this case twins, who made their solemn profession as Discalced Carmelites on February 14th, 2015.

The twins, Sr. Mary Sheila and Sr. Shirley Therese, age 25, became Carmelites in Sarawak, Malayasia. Twins are common in the family and these twins are one of four sets in the clan! Their mother Juliana, had a difficult first pregnancy with them and prayed that God would spare at least one of them. He doubly answered her prayers by preserving the life of both. When Sr. Shirley was diagnosed with leukemia at age 10, Juliana prayed again for the life of her daughter, promising if she were healed that she would offer this child to God. She was double blessed again, because both children accepted the call from God to enter religious life.

Rather than viewing this as a double loss, their father, Stephen said, “It’s not a sacrifice by the family. It’s a gain for the whole Roman Catholic community and we are all right with that.” The twins’ mother was instrumental in bringing a Sunday school to the parish and said that the twins at an early age showed a devotion to God, preferring saints’ stories to other books.  A friend said, “Juliana is a very hard-working Catholic and we can all see she has brought up her seven children very well. The twins are the eldest, followed by five other children who are all very obedient and God-fearing. She has set a very high standard for other Catholic women to follow.”

Their monastery in Mir, Sarawak, was founded in 1985 and houses ten nuns. The twins are the first members of the indigenous tribe of the Kenyahs to become Discalced Carmelites.

The brochure from the monastery states: “The Carmelite Monastery is an open witness to the reality of the presence and the existence of God, which in today’s broken world, is often denied. It is a reminder to the world of the validity of Gospel values.”

“In the hidden garden, the needs, joys, wounds and sorrows of the world are carried before the throne of God hourly every day, especially in the Sacred Liturgy.”

To read more, visit the Borneo Post (now that’s a great newspaper name!)

 

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