Archive for the 'Women’s Communities' Category

Dominicans Sisters of St. Cecilia – “You Belong to Us!”

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

op tn 2A little boy once asked a religious sister, “Are you married?” When she said no, he said, “Good, ’cause then you belong to us.” Thus begins an article in the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia‘s latest newsletter. I think it sums up perfectly the Year of Consecrated. Let us celebrate consecrated men and women who, because they belong totally to God, belong totally to us.

There are so many news items  to relate relative to the Nashville Dominicans that one hardly knows where to start. Here we go:

  • Two sisters are now teaching at a high school in Auburndale, Tenessee.
  • Sister Anne Frances is full-time on the campus ministry staff at Providence College
  • They have a new foundation in the Sittard, Netherlands, where strangely enough the Peruvian Dominican St. Rose of Lima is patroness.
  • They acquired Villaggio Betania, 20 miles NW of Rome, Italy, to provide a home base for sisters studying in Rome, for facilities for the study abroad program of Aquinas College, and to support evangelization efforts. It was previously owned by the Dominican Sisters of Bethany so it stays in the Dominican family.
  • They are expanding Bethany Retreat House to accommodate the growing number of people seeking a place of quiet and prayer.

According to their last update to us, they are over 300 sisters, including 60 in formation!!

Mother Ann Marie, OP, says: “Each of us is called by God to ‘reach out to others  and seek their good’ (Pope Francis). At a time when  our world is experiencing so much anguish in its search for the peace that only God can give, let us ask Him to make us instruments of hope. Wherever He places us each day, let us allow Him to be at work in us to bring the peace of Christ and the joy of the Gospel.”

Tags:

Rocky Mountain Carmelites

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Monastery with Mt. Olympus in the background

Monastery with Mt. Olympus in the background

There is a nice write-up in a local Catholic newspaper on the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the article, they talk to Mother Margaret Marie Miller who in October was named the new Mother Superior. Mother was one of the five founders who came from Alhambra, California, in 1952 to found a Carmelite monastery in the then-sparsely populated Catholic diocese.

“To be a Carmelite is a real vocation,” said Mother Margaret Marie. “The Lord gives it [the vocation] to you, but you have to be open and you have to be open to whatever he wants from you.”

Mother was inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux and like her wanted to save souls. She considered becoming a missionary but concluded, like St. Therese, that in the cloister she could reach everybody. “That was the thing that struck me. I didn’t even know what the life was going to be like, I just knew that I was going to pray for the whole world. You pray for the whole mystical body and that is what sounded really great.”

ocd utahI am reminded of a priest whose father wanted him to become a doctor. He said, “Dad, as a doctor, my patients are going to die. As a priest, I can lead them to eternal life.” Carmelites are praying people unto eternal life.

She has some practical advice on prayer. “Prayer is very simple; it’s not complicated. Prayer is a loving exchange with someone that loves you. God is all-powerful; His will is Him, so it’s pretty simple: Open your mind and He is with you all the time. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it’s simple.”

You can support the eleven Carmelites in Utah by purchasing their candy and holy cards and the like. You can also get a first-hand glimpse into their lives by watching their very appealing YouTube video.

Tags: , ,

Mercedarian FREE Seven Day Course

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

merc logoThe Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are offering a free 7-day course in Mercedarian Spirituality. Participants in this email course will learn how to discern their vocation and discover more about the Eucharistic-Marian charism of the Mercedarian Sisters.

What are the spiritual values of the Mercedarian sisters?

  • The constant giving of our lives as Jesus does in the Eucharist.
  • Example and model of Christ the Redeemer
  • A life centered on the Eucharist and our Blessed Mother
  • Daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Meditation, and Rosary
  • Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction
  • Faithful to the Magisterium of the Church

The course which is open to everyone consists of an email delivered to your inbox each day for seven days. Catholic women open to religious life may find this course particularly helpful, as it offers valuable insights into religious discernment. The emails will focus on both the specific charisms of the Mercedarian Sisters as well as religious life in general. The purpose of this free course is to promote the beautiful calling to religious life, to foster vocations, and to provide a glimpse into the Mercedarian Spirituality.

Sign up today!!

Tags:

Norbertines Break Ground!

Friday, December 5th, 2014
Wilmington Sisters

Wilmington Sisters

Last July, earth moving equipment began to level the ground in Silverado Canyon in preparation for the construction of the new abbey for the Norbertines, replacing the old one which is really bursting at the seams with students and vocations.

This past August, the California abbey welcomed six young men who are studying to become Norbertine canons. Three young women as well became the first Americans to enter the Nobertine sisters from Slovakia (Sr. Adriana, Sr. Roberta & Sr. Benedicta)  who reside in a convent nearby Wilmington.

The new abbey will include a church, convent, welcome area/meeting rooms, monastery and cemetery chapel. These buildings will comprise only a small portion of the hundreds of acres of the original Holtz ranch thus preserving an important part of the rural California landscape.

The Norbertine also have a cloistered community of Norbertine Canonesses that is growing rapidly in Tehachapi. The Norbertine Sisters of Wilmington are one of the newest branches on the family tree of the Norbertine Order founded by St. Norbert (1080-1134). They were founded in 1902 in the Czech Republic by Fr. Vojtech Frejka, a Norbertine Father from the abbey of Strahov in Prague. The Slovakian Norbertines reside in SS. Peter and Paul Convent in Wilmington, CA, which was established in 2011.

“Our congregation of Norbertine sisters in Slovakia received an invitation from the Norbertine fathers in California to help them establish a new community of Norbertine sisters in the United States,” said Sr. Benedicta.

In Wilmington, they minister to needy families, teach religious education, and work in the Catholic book & gift store, and in the parish office. Like St. Norbert, they live a common life, “prepared for every good work,” centered daily on the Mass and chanting of the Divine Office.

Tags:

Wake Up the World!

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

wake up!Pope Francis has called upon consecrated women and men to “wake up the world!” And last weekend the 2015 Year of Consecrated Life officially began.

Religious cannot shake and wake up the world unless there are actually men and women religious. One religious can make a difference! Look at the lives of Sts. Francis, Dominic, Benedict, Mother Cabrini, Don Bosco, Mother Teresa, etc…

Another great foundress was St. Jeanne Jugan, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor in 19th century France. The Little Sisters have issued a new vocation video called Love Serves in celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. It is free and viewable online here. They want our help in reaching young women who might make a great Little Sister of the Poor in serving the elderly poor.

lspIn a recent poll, more than one in four young Catholics reported that they had never been encouraged to consider becoming a religious sister, brother or priest. Those who were invited to consider a religious vocation said it was a family member, a friend, a teacher or youth minister who broached the subject with them. It could be you!

Please share the vocation video, LOVE SERVES, with a young woman you might know. It may make an everlasting difference!

Tags:

First Profession in Marbury: A “Twin” Celebration

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Sister-Mary-Thomas-OP-and-twin-brother-Dominic-RankinWhat makes this picture unique? Well, it so happens that the two happy people pictured in it are Sr. Mary Thomas of the Holy Name of Jesus, OP, and her twin brother, a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College. I have featured twin vocation stories before but never a twin brother and sister!

Sr. Mary Thomas made her First Profession on November 22nd at the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude in Marbury, Alabama. Her brother was given permission to fly-in from Rome, Italy, for the occasion. Also in attendance were her Mother and Father and younger brother. What generosity on behalf of their parents to present two children to the Lord as a religious and priest.

The Feast Day on the 22nd celebrated the life of St. Cecilia. As Mother Mary Joseph said, the readings and chants for St. Cecilia could have been chosen just for a Profession ceremony.  “Audi filia, et vide, et inclina aurem tuam: quia concupivit rex speciem tuam: Hearken, O daughter, and see; turn thine ear: for the King desires thy beauty.”

It was also an extra-special occasion because the Mass was a Dominican Rite Missa Cantata (Sung High Mass) celebrated by Fr. Dominic Marie Langevin, O.P. Before Vatican II, the Dominicans celebrated almost exclusively their own ritual of Mass and the Divine Office. Sister’s brothers grew up serving in an FSSP parish, so they quickly picked up the slightly different rubrics for serving the Dominican Rite.

In this Year for Consecrated Life, may many blessings descend upon the Dominican nuns in Marbury. May all families be open to and welcome with joy their children’s call to religious life.

Tags: ,

Little Followers of Jesus

Monday, December 1st, 2014

c de foucauldOn this date in 1916, 98 years ago, Bl. Charles de Foucauld was dragged out of his little hermitage in southern French Algeria and killed by rebel bandits. Reading the story of the last years of his life could make you weep if it wasn’t for his strong, unwavering humble faith, in Jesus and in his mission among his Moslem brothers in North Africa.

He had good friends among the local people but no converts. He asked: “Is my presence here doing any good? If it does not, the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament certainly does it greatly. Jesus cannot be in a place without shining forth. Moreover through contact with the natives, their suspicions and prejudices are slowly abating. It is very slow and very little. Pray so that your child does more good and that better workers than him might come to clear this corner in the field of the family’s Father.”

While Bl. Charles did not found a religious order, many people have followed in his footsteps. If you see a poor community called the “Little Brothers of Jesus” or some such variation, they are probably inspired by Bl. Charles. A few years ago, I ran across a little elderly Charles de Foucauld sister in a remote area of Israel who invited me into her hermitage (though we did not speak the same language). She opened a tin which contained a few crumbly cookies and offered them to me with great ceremony. I remember that “meal” with more fondness than any 5 star dinner in a fancy restaurant.

little sisters of jesusThere are little sisters and brothers of Jesus in the US. One community is the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Salisbury, Maryland. Their mission: We are sent to help people believe in Christ Jesus who reveals the goodness of the Father, giving preferential love to the poorest of the poor. In the spirit of Charles de Foucauld, united as a community in the love of Jesus, in the spirit of Mary and under the protection of St. Joseph, sharing a life of faith, love and simplicity, we strive to cry the Gospel with our lives.

Charles de Foucauld composed this prayer as he meditated on the death of Jesus on the Cross:

This was the last prayer of our Master, our Beloved. May it also be ours. And may it be not only that of our last moment, but also of our every moment:

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.

Tags: ,

Wahpeton Carmelites Celebrate 60th Anniversary

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Community 60thOn November 1, 2014, the Carmelite Nuns of the Ancient Observance of the Carmel of Mary in Wahpeton, North Dakota, celebrated the 60th anniversary of their foundation. It was an eventful day, a triple event―the celebration, a bishop and an election― making it all the more memorable.

Back in 1954, seven sisters left the Carmelite Monastery in Allentown, PA, to settle in the northern plains. Being that it was a Marian Year, it seemed appropriate that the new Carmel should be named in honor of Our Blessed Mother. Bishop Leo Dworschak, who had issued the invitation to come to the diocese, wanted a Marian monument to commemorate the year, and in his opening Mass on November 1, he stated: “This is a great day for the Fargo diocese!”

To celebrate this year’s occasion, Bishop John Folda of Fargo offered Holy Mass at the monastery with the chancellor, Father Luke Meyer; the chaplain, Father Jim Tiu; and a former chaplain, Father William Ovsak concelebrating. The local Lay Carmelites were also in attendance.

Following the Mass, triennial elections were conducted in which Sister Madonna was elected prioress, followed by Sister Mary Ruth, First Councilor, and Sister Joseph-Marie, Second Councilor. A luncheon was served for the attendees after which Bishop Folda visited with the Community and expressed his great joy in having a cloistered Carmelite monastery in the diocese. They are the bishop’s prayer warriors!

At the Carmel of Mary, the nuns observe strict papal enclosure and center their lives on the solemn celebration of the liturgy. The monastic day begins at midnight when they rise from their warm beds, in the dark of night, to praise of God and offer intercessory prayers the world. The nuns chant The Liturgy of the Hours in common seven times throughout the day. They pray especially for the needs of priests, of the Church, and of the whole world.

The sisters welcome prayer intentions (and vocation inquiries!)

www.carmelofmary.org

Carmel of Mary

17765 78th Street SE

Wahpeton, ND 58075

Tags:

Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick, 100th Anniversary

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

sisters 100th applauseThis month, the Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick, celebrated 100 years in America. Their arrival in New Orleans in 1914 was not planned. The Mexican Revolution, persecution of Catholics, the arrival of the US Navy and a soldier asking for water, are all part of the circumstances that brought these beautiful sisters to our shores.

In 1914, anti-religious forces in Mexico were conducting a violent campaign against Catholics, where the Servants of Mary had 22 convents. American military personnel were dispatched by President Woodrow Wilson (for reasons too complex to go into here) and occupied Vera Cruz. One day, an American soldier presented himself at the Servants of Mary convent in Vera Cruz, asking for drinkable water. This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the sisters and the soldiers. Seeing how tenderly the sisters cared for those with tuberculosis and other contagious diseases, they asked the sisters to come back with them to the United States, because there were no sisters there who cared for the sick in their own homes.

100th ArchbishopMother Provincial recognized the hand of God in this request and readily agreed. Six sisters left their homeland on August 20, 1914, debarking in Texas and arriving in New Orleans one month later. The same bishop who originally welcomed the sisters to their arrival point in Texas, would be nursed by the sisters as the Archbishop of New Orleans on his deathbed. If you want to know the good communities, see where the priests go in their twilight years!

Currently, the Servants of Mary have six convents in the United States: in New Orleans (1914), Kansas City (1917), the Bronx (1931), Los Angeles (1928), Oxnard, CA (1961), and Newbury Park, CA (1964).

In New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan was the guest of honor at a luncheon commemorating the anniversary. In New Orleans, St. Anthony of Padua Church was filled to capacity for a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond. The Archbishop likened the sisters to the Good Samaritan who was the only one to care for the sick stranger when others passed by.

One gentleman in attendance, who cared for his dying son in 1986, said, “You’re at a state in your life where you get to the point where you almost can’t go any more. The first thing you know, they come in and take over, and they actually encourage you more than the patient. These are God’s chosen people. They are wonderful people.”

 “The Servants of Mary without choice of person or place must be ready and willing to fly at once on the wings of obedience and love of God, to offer the service of charity without limits, gratuitous, and with no hope of a reward other than that promised by Heaven.”  – St. María Soledad, Foundress

Tags:

A Passionist “Dad” Reflects on His Daughter’s Vocation

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

noraThe following is an excerpt of a reflection written by Matt Wenke on the occasion of his daughter Nora entering the Passionist Monastery in Whitesville, Kentucky. To read the full version, click here!

When other men’s daughters might have expressed an interest in the convent or the cloister, I wouldn’t have questioned it at all. “What a noble and beautiful vocation!” or “What a meaningful life with a holy purpose!”

When I heard of my own daughter’s interest in the cloister, my immediate thought was, “How often can you come home to visit?!!!” Isn’t this sad… that my first thought wasn’t just about Nora’s vocational fulfillment and spiritual well being? My initial thought was about the fact that I might be missing my daughter’s presence in my home and her gentle, delightful company.

I looked at my daughter. A pure soul. A deeply spiritual young woman, wanting to discern God’s call for her, freely. She has the desire to conform herself to God’s Will that I have prayed for, for all of my children, whether God’s call be to the single life, marriage, lay ministry or consecrated religious life. To be authentic followers, we have to be open to all choices, not just for ourselves, but for all of those we love and for all of God’s children.

When Nora came home from her three month aspirancy visit, she never fully returned. Her body was home, but her spirit belonged to a cloistered convent in Kentucky. She reminded me, “I need to be going about God’s work for me, and it isn’t here, anymore.” She didn’t say this, meanly. It was just a statement of fact. Nora’s words to me reminded me of Jesus’ words to His Mom and Dad (Mary and Joseph) at the Finding in the Temple… “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

I prayed to have the courage and love to give back to God, she whom He’d only loaned to us for nearly nineteen years, my only daughter. God gave His Son for me. Could I place back in His loving arms the beautiful daughter He had created?!

I won’t lie to you or pretend to be a strong, courageous man. I cried and cried countless times as I looked at my beloved daughter, praying the rosary beside me each night, and tears came to me as I looked at her, across the room at Morning prayer or during our recitation of the Angelus, many days at Noon. Not one day of her two month visit did I take her presence for granted.

Well, the time came. The Gospel reading was perfect … about finding a precious pearl and buying the field, in order to hide and later possess that valuable pearl or “treasure.” This “pearl” will be joined to the string of precious pearls, which is the Sisters. She will be balanced and placed in just the right place to further enhance the beauty of Jesus’ chain of pearls who are already there, in the cloister.

I observed with joy and wonder and awe Nora’s radiant joy upon returning to the cloister. Nothing bad for her could bring her this visible joy and peace and ecstasy she seemed to be experiencing! I was shocked on the morning of Nora’s entrance, that her joy and love were infectious. I could only think about my daughter’s joyful, unselfish, pure and FREE decision to enter cloistered religious life… and to give ALL to God! What is sad about that? Nothing! My daughter entered the cloister with my smiles and my blessing and my glorifying God…. For calling my dear daughter. She belongs to Him! So do you and me!

Is your daughter/granddaughter or other loved one thinking of joining the sisters or embracing a religious vocation?

Pray for courage and love and generosity. Don’t deprive yourself of a chance to sacrifice. Don’t deprive God of His Beloved Bride… your loved one!

MattWenke2Be assured of my prayers for you, whether you are the aspiring nun or her family and/or loved ones.

 Prayerfully,

 Matthew R. Wenke

August 3, 2014, (One week after our daughter’s entrance).

Tags: , ,