Archive for the 'Women’s Communities' Category

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

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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).

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A New Franciscan Community Begins!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Catherine, Nicolette, Alycia & Kristen

Catherine, Nicolette, Alycia & Kristen

A new community of Franciscan women is forming in the Diocese of Buffalo with the support of their bishop, Most Rev. Richard Malone. Called the Marian Franciscans, they are in the process of being established as either a public or private association of the faithful.

It is exciting for us, for in the Buffalo area, the IRL has only one Affiliate Community, the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Marian Franciscans are an active community whose mission is to serve the Church as agents of the New Evangelization. They have a three tiered approach: to serve existing entities in the Church, to minister to those who have had a crisis of the faith and to offer ongoing formation to those solid or lukewarm in their faith.

One of their hopes is to serve “as a ministry of presence to the middle class.” This is so needed! One of their potential apostolates is to have a coffee shop run by the sisters in their habits to meet and reach out to busy Americans where they are at in order to facilitate and rekindle an encounter with Christ and His Church.

Three of the foundresses came together when they discovered that individually they were discerning the same things and took it as a sign of the Holy Spirit. From 2010-2013, they lived and worked with the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm as they continued their discernment. The fourth foundress discerned through prayer that she too felt called to join them in this apostolate.

In August of 2013, they were Consecrated to Our Lady. In additional to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they will be professing a fourth vow of Total Consecration to Our Lady. Members pray the rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet daily in addition to regular spiritual readings and Franciscan devotions.

In Assisi on Pilgrimage

In Assisi on Pilgrimage

They are now living in the Diocesan Retreat Center doing retreat work and other ministries. They also hold weekly open house for those discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. This month, they have a fifth young woman joining them to further discern her call.

If you want additional information, please contact them directly at (603)205-6533 or write to: Nicolette Langlois, c/o Marian Franciscans, PO Box 834, Derby, NY  14047.

Please pray that they may become agents for the New Evangelization in Buffalo and beyond!

 

 

 

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The Sisterhood Premiere – Nov 25th on Lifetime

Monday, November 10th, 2014
The discerners

The discerners

“The Sisterhood,” a new Lifetime series premiering on Tuesday, November 25, at 10pm ET/PT, follows the discernment journey of five young women. The series features three IRL Affiliate communities: the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker, and the Carmelites for the Aged & Infirm.

From what we have heard, the filming of the series had a profound impact, not only on the young women on their vocation journey, but also on the crew who were involved in the production. This is a real live example of religious communities casting out into the deep to reach a whole new audience via cable TV.

The five discerners are Christie from California who performs in a country music band, Claire a homeschooler from Joliet, Eseni a former beauty queen from the Bronx, Francesca a recent college graduate from New Jersey, and Stacey from New York who performs in musical theater.

Lifetime told us, “We have sent out special sneak peeks to select members of the Catholic community and our network has already received wonderful feedback from sisters from around the country, religious reporters, and Catholic supporters. We would love your help spreading the word about this series in hopes of bringing much needed attention to the gracious nuns, sisters and church leaders that are so actively involved in changing the lives of young women who are on the sacred path of pursuing a consecrated life.”

So spread the word and please watch! It would be wonderful if a young woman watching the series could be moved to pursue a religious vocation. And the higher the audience ratings, the more that the cable networks will be inclined to pursue inspiring Catholic topics with the cooperation and assistance of religious communities. All should hopefully come away blessed by the encounter.

Check out the promo here!!

 

 

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Mother Angelica Update

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

m angelicaThe Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Alabama recently gave an update on Mother Angelica’s health. As they relate in their newsletter, Mother is living a “life of silence in union with Jesus in His Sacred Childhood, with all His helplessness and dependence on others.”

 “Although she is bedridden, Mother Angelica is strong and doing well. Our good Friars celebrate Mass in her room on Sundays, and each morning she receives our Lord in Holy Communion, the Divine Life that sustains her and gives her strength.
“Thirteen years ago on Christmas Eve, Mother said, ‘Jesus is coming today and I am going to the Chapel to wait for Him.’ It was there before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament that Jesus visited her with a stroke. Since then she has lived a life of silence in union with Jesus in His Sacred Childhood, waiting till He comes again.
“In her later years, before the stroke, Mother Angelica developed a great devotion and love for the Divine Child and it seems that Jesus wants her to experience His own Childhood with all His helplessness, totally dependent on others.
“So as she waits, Jesus continues to come to her in His hidden Presence in the Eucharist. It is Jesus who lives His life in her. With St. Paul she can say, ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.'” (Gal. 2:20)

The PCPA nuns were invited to the Diocese of Mobile in 1962. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was founded on August 15, 1981. In 1999, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, north of Birmingham, was consecrated. Mother suffered a severe stroke on Christmas Eve in 2001.

Bringing new life to their beginnings, sisters were sent to their original monastery in Ohio in 2002. They also sent sisters to help restart their “cradle” monastery in France. Two new foundations were begun in Tonopah, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas. And to think that Mother Angelica started EWTN with $200 in a garage. That’s all it takes for the Lord to begin His work.

We pray for blessings on Mother and her sisters, EWTN listeners and viewers, in grateful thanks for all Mother has done for the IRL, religious life and the Church.

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Coca Cola & Visitation Nuns & Elizabethan England?

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Snellville Choir

Snellville Choir

One of our Affiliates is the Monastery of the Visitation in Snellville, Georgia. In some recent correspondence to us, they indicated that their choir stalls came from Mary Ward’s chapel in Elizabethan England. That makes them 400 years old!! How they got to Snellville is a mystery I shall have to solve down the road!

It is funny/strange that Mary Ward’s choir stalls should end up in a cloistered monastery because she was infamous in her day for founding religious communities that worked outside of the convent in nursing the sick, visiting prisoners and teaching, etc. All the kinds of work that active sisters do today and that we take for granted. Like St. Angela Merici, she suffered for her revolutionary initiatives. However, the Church always recognizes God’s workings in the end, and Mary Ward was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

The Snellville monastery is the only cloistered contemplative monastery in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. They were founded in 1954 when Mother Francis de Sales came with her nine sisters from the Visitation monastery in Toledo to begin this new foundation. Their original monastery was purchased from the owners of the Coca Cola Company and in 1971, they purchased the land outside of Snellville. The current monastery is surrounded by 27 acres.

The nuns have no foundation and live month to month. Their maxim, taken from their Father St. Francis de Sales, is : “Ask for nothing, refuse nothing!” When their benefactors ask what they need, they say, “Whatever you give us, we need!”

The sisters were kind enough to thank the IRL for our work in directing potential vocations to them via our website. They have helped several women discern an active vocation, and they have had novices and final professed sisters who “discovered” the Visitation monastery through our website. A bishop and several priests have also corresponded with them requesting prayers through the IRL website. We are so happy to have others “discover” these beautiful sisters.

The Snellville visitation monastery does not have a website. The community is of note because they do consider belated vocations. They can be reached at:

Monastery of the Visitation

2055 Ridgedale Drive

Snellville, GA  30078

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Women’s Discernment Retreat with 6 Communities!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Sisters in Jesus the Lord

Sisters in Jesus the Lord

There is an excellent opportunity for young women (ages 18-30) who are discerning a call to become a bride of Christ to get help with vocational discernment and first-hand experience with religious communities during an upcoming Women’s Discernment Retreat.

The retreat will take place on November 14-15, 2014, at Prairie Star Ranch, in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. You don’t have to be a local Kansan to participate!

Servants of Mary

Servants of Mary

The main goal of the retreat is to help women learn tools for discernment of the Lord’s will for their life.  The young women will have the opportunity to grow in community with one another, develop their understanding of discernment, and meet some of the consecrated women serving in the Archdiocese. The sisters will share their lives and discuss such topics as Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, Prayer, and Communal Life.

Marian Sisters

Marian Sisters

The communities represented include three IRL Affiliate communities: the Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln, the Sisters in Jesus the Lord, and the Sisters, Servants of Mary. Three other communities will also be present: the Apostles of the Interior Life, the Fraternity of Missionaries of the Poor of Jesus Christ, the Little Sisters of the Lamb. The retreat will be directed by Karen Lombardi, a consecrated virgin of the Archdiocese.

For more information and registration, visit the retreat house website (www.archkck.org/ranch) or contact them via email at psrministry@archkck.org or call 785-746-5693.

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Poor Clare Nuns in Canada

Monday, October 27th, 2014

oscx bcThere are six Poor Clare monasteries in Canada; two English-speaking ones in British Columbia and four French-speaking ones in Quebec. That’s a lot of distance between monasteries!

What is the attraction of Saint Clare and Saint Francis for our time? In this age of lukewarmness and lethargy, where evil abounds,  the startling reliance on God’s Providence for everything is something alien to many, especially in the West where we rely on government programs, advanced college degrees and health clubs for our security. Francis and Clare embraced Holy Poverty, a radical dependence on God. Nothing else mattered. God alone is “the true wealth of the human heart” (Vita Consecrata). And that is still attractive today.

Saint Clare wrote that Poor Clares are to “live the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Poor Clares give themselves entirely to Jesus, vowing to live the Gospel without possessions, in chastity and in obedience, within the silence and solitude of their monastery enclosure.

The Poor Clares in Mission, British Columbia are a new IRL Affiliate. They are eight strong including 1 in formation and 1 aspirant. The Poor Clare Order was established in British Columbia in 1911 and the Poor Clares settled in their Mission home in 1962.The high point of their day is the Holy Eucharist, and they give the Lord praise seven times a day through the Liturgy of the Hours, including the midnight Office of Readings. Their “mission in Mission” is to pray for the Franciscan family and all the world.

For more information, contact

Sister Clare Marie, OSC
Vocation Directress
St. Clare’s Monastery
P.O. Box 3370
Mission, BC V2V 4J5
Phone: 604-826-2818

The Poor Clare Order was established in British Columbia in 1911. These Poor Clares settled in Mission in 1962.The high point of their day is the Holy Eucharist, and they give the Lord praise seven times a day through the Liturgy of the Hours, including the midnight Office of Readings. – See more at: http://vocationblog.com/2014/03/weaving-a-crown-for-the-lord-the-poor-clares-of-mission-bc/#sthash.3MEhZkAi.dpuf
The Poor Clare Order was established in British Columbia in 1911. These Poor Clares settled in Mission in 1962.The high point of their day is the Holy Eucharist, and they give the Lord praise seven times a day through the Liturgy of the Hours, including the midnight Office of Readings. – See more at: http://vocationblog.com/2014/03/weaving-a-crown-for-the-lord-the-poor-clares-of-mission-bc/#sthash.3MEhZkAi.dpuf

 

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LIttle Sisters of the Poor Discernment Retreat

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

mobile-vocationsWe are always happy to promote the The Little Sisters of the Poor and the work they do with elderly poor. If you are a young single woman, between the ages of 17 and 35, and want to be introduced to this beautiful life of service to the poor, the Little Sisters in Mobile, Alabama, are having a discernment retreat weekend from November 14 -16th, 2014 at their Sacred Heart Residence.

The weekend will consist of Mass, talks, service opportunities, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, vocation stories from the Little Sisters, and a one-on-on opportunity for those who want to accompany a Little Sister in her daily duties. It will begin at 5pm on Friday and conclude by 2pm on Sunday.

I had the privilege of attending one of these discernment weekends and it was a memorable experience. Besides getting a glimpse of the sisters’ selfless service to their residents, I also got to meet one of the Little Sisters’ prayer warriors. This was an invalid Little Sister, not that old, who suffered from a debilitating disease that left her confined to a room, hooked to machines. I never saw such serenity and love radiating from a more beautiful face. She grasped my hand, and I felt that I had held the hand of a saint.

The Little Sisters in Mobile have a 92-bed facility that is full to the rafters. They hope to expand soon to accommodate more residents who do not have adequate financial means to live independently. Often, there is no family to care for them or even visit. Because the Little Sisters actually live at the Home, they share their entire lives with the residents, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  This is what makes their homes unique. It is truly a place of family.

Registration is free for the weekend but registration in advance is appreciated. If you have any questions, please call Sr. Carolyn at (251)591-3700.

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Passionist Q & A

Monday, October 20th, 2014

 

The "under 30 gang" in Whitesville

The “under 30 gang” in Whitesville

Who is Paul Francis Daneo, Italian mystic and saint, better known as?

St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) whose Feast Day is today, October 20th.

 What does their insignia – Jesu XPI Passio – mean??

Written in Greek and Latin, these words mean: “The Passion of Jesus Christ.”

Who are the Passionsist saints?

St. Maria Goretti, St. Innocent Canoura, St. Gabriel Possenti, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Vincent Strambi, Blessed Lorenzi Salvi, Blessed Dominic Barberi, and most recently St. Charles Houben. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Princess Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, Fr. Ignatius (George) Spencer, Passionist priest, is being proposed for sainthood. He is also the great-uncle of Winston Churchill.

How were the Passionists founded?

The sorrowful Mother appeared to St. Paul of the Cross in the eighteenth century dressed in the Passionist habit, asking him to found an institute to remember the sufferings and death of her Son.

What refrain do they hold close in their hearts?

“May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”

 Where can I learn more about the Passionists nuns?

Visit our three Affiliates’ websites! Located in: Ellisville, MOWhitesville, KYErlanger, KY

Thanks to the Passionist Fathers too for some of the ideas for the Q&A!

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