Archive for the 'Women’s Communities' Category

St. Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

This picture is too wonderful not post on the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila. It shows two Carmelites Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sister Mary Scholastica and Sister Inez, with a very young aspirant.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux wanted to enter at age 14 but this may be pushing it a little too far!

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Thérèse’s sisters Pauline, Marie and Céline all became Carmelite nuns. Thérèse wrote that she too was destined to great things, like St. Joan of Arc, whose exploits “filled her with delight.” However, instead of calling her to combat in the world, she heard “in the depths of my soul a voice that was gentler and stronger still: the voice of the Spouse of virgins was calling me to other exploits and more glorious conquests, and in the solitude of Carmel I understood my mission was not to crown a mortal king but to make the King of Heaven loved, to conquer for Him the kingdom of hearts.”

God bless all of the Carmelites in the world today. May their prayers and good works bring under the standard of Christ many souls.

 

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Feast Day of St María Soledad Torres Acosta

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

sdem2ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II

TO THE SERVANTS OF MARY MINISTERS TO THE SICK

on the occasion of their 150th anniversary in 2001

The particular nature of your primary task, free care of the sick in their own homes, takes on new meaning in our times where the reality of illness or death is often concealed in daily life. With this service you eloquently proclaim that illness is neither an unbearable burden for human beings nor does it deprive patients of their full dignity as persons.

 On the contrary, it can become an enriching experience for the sick and for their whole family. In this way, by holding out a hand to the sick, your mission also helps to keep families together and discreetly supports cohesion in the home, where no one should feel he is a burden.

 I ask the Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, to accompany you in your efforts and to visit homes with you, in order to show them Jesus, the true Saviour and Redeemer of every human being through His sacrifice on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection.

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Norbertine Canonesses Continue to Grow!

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Norbertine SrsCongratulations to Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. and Sr. Mary Andre, O.Praem., both Thomas Aquinas College graduates, on their first profession of vows as cloistered Norbertine Canonesses in Tehachapi, California. How happy they look!

The sisters read the following handwritten profession as their families and fellow sisters looked on:

“I renounce the world and I promise a conversion of my ways and life in community, especially in poverty, consecrated chastity, and obedience, according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Canonesses Regular of the Order of Premontre, to you Mother Prioress and to the sisters for three years.”

These sisters were just founded in 1996 by a group of lay women who wanted to become Norbertine canonesses. They have grown like crazy and now number 29!

The five fundamental elements of the Norbertine Order are:

  • Solemn and Reverential Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in Choir: Besides participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the sisters pray the seven canonical hours of the Divine Office together in their chapel.
  • Devotion to the  Holy Eucharist: St. Norbert was known as the Apostle of the Eucharist.
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary: They recite the rosary daily and promote consecration to the Blessed Mother.
  • Spirit of Penance: Knowing the need for continual conversion and reparation, the sisters abstain from meat and keep midnight Vigils amidst the silence of the cloister.
  • Zeal for Souls: With maternal love, the Canonesses embrace the whole world, desiring to bring Christ to spiritual birth in every heart.

We pray for them and beg the Lord for holy and persevering vocations to religious life!

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Why Would Anyone Want to Become a Nun?

Monday, September 8th, 2014
Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! The first to walk behind the standard of Christ.

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! The first to walk behind the standard of Christ.

Time magazine recently had an article about “nuns,” asking why anyone in their right mind would want to become a “nun” these days.

Father Robert McTeigue, S.J. wrote a brief rebuttal. I give you the highlights here. Check out his complete post at Aleteia.org.

To summarize the article, it said in essence:

  • No one is becoming a nun anymore.
  • No one is becoming a nun anymore because the Vatican is mean to nuns.
  • The proof that the Vatican is mean to nuns is that the Vatican won’t let nuns become priests.
  • No one is becoming a nun anymore because all the cool reasons for which young women used to become nuns can now be realized by young women without suffering the indignity of enduring the Vatican’s lack of appreciation.

The author asks why young women would want to join an institution where they cannot rise above a certain level (ie. the priesthood and Pope). Young women do not need religious life anymore. They can become highly educated, travel and do good without being tied down with kids and husbands.

Father says in reply: Notice what the author did not mention.

  • She did not mention women entering religious life because the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are a path to holiness.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life because they wanted to live as a consecrated bride of Christ.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life to find the consolation of communal life.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life to live the charism of their order’s founder (e.g., loving God in simplicity in the manner of Saint Francis, loving God in truth in the manner of Saint Dominic, etc.).

Regarding this lack of understanding, here is what St. Paul has to say:

“…no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms. Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually” (1 Corinthians 2:11b-14).

Check out our website for communities faithful to the Church who are attracting vocations. Find one near you!

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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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