Archive for the 'Women’s Communities' Category

Bismarck Diocese Blessed With Two New Religious Communitites

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Sr. Mary Baptist

Sr. Mary Baptist

The Diocese of Bismarck in North Dakota has recently been blessed with the arrival of two very different religious congregations. As you can imagine, currently the diocese does not have many religious. However, Bishop David Kagan and his predecssor were eager for religious to come to minster to and pray for the people. Both will do the work of the New Evangelization in very differnt ways.

I posted months ago that the Carmelites in Alexandria, South Dakota, had decided to send four sisters to the diocese where they will live in a renovated farmhouse (“in the middle of nowhere”) in Emmons County. The four cloistered nuns arrived on March 19 and will have an open house from April 23-25 before they are permanently enclosed in the Carmel of the Holy Face. On April 26, Bishop Kagan will celebrate Mass at 11:00am then the nuns will be enclosed in their new home.

"In the middle of nowhere"

“In the middle of nowhere”

“Prayer is really the foundation for all missionary activity,” said Sister Mary Baptist, the Prioress. “You can talk to somebody and try to convince them, but if they don’t have grace, which is won by prayer, then it won’t be effective. So we really need prayer as the basis.”

The other group of four sisters coming to the diocese is from India. The Congregation of Teresian Carmelites is establishing their first mission in the Western Hemisphere in this most unlikely of places. They will minister to the people of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, assisting the priests and parishes and teaching at a mission school.

One of the Teresian Carmelites

One of the Teresian Carmelites

“It’s important to have the presence of holy people who can model what a life of faith should look like,” said a diocesan spokesman. “They’re also very obviously knowledgeable in the Catholic faith, and so they can evangelize to the people on the reservation and set a good example: that what is valuable to them … [is] a life that is for Christ and has meaning and purpose because it is lived for God.”

Visit the Diocese of Bismarck website or the National Catholic Register for more information.

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“Lean Into the Wind” with the Alhambra Carmelites!

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

OCD Alhambra

 

 

 

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alhambra, California, are one of the fastest growing religious orders in the United States and fortunate for them, many of those entering in the past few years have had musical talent! Thus, they were pleased to recently announce the release of their seventh CD: “Lean Into the Wind.”

This latest CD, a combination of traditional chant and contemporary praise music, flows from their spirituality. “We come together three times a day and chant the Liturgy of the Hours,” says Sr. Timothy Marie “We spend four hours of prayer each day, but the Lord has called us to take our form of spirituality and take it into the world. We work in education, health care and retreats. We’re a blend — in the world, but not of the world.”

Almost 150 sisters serve the Lord in the community, in addition to 11 novices and postulants. The Carmelites were founded by Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament who arrived in the U.S. in 1927 after religious persecution drove her from Mexico. Their Motherhouse is in Alhambra, California, but they also serve God’s people in Florida, Colorado and Arizona.

leanwind“Lean Into the Wind” is their seventh recording.  Sr. Timothy Marie says, “There’s a parable in the Bible in which God talks about people not using their talents, so we wanted to use our gift to the service of the people, making a spiritual difference.“  (For excerpts from the beautiful recordings, click here!)

Sr. Gianna Heinemann, a native of South Dakota,  explains the “Lean Into the Wind” title:  “It’s facing your fear, but it’s more than that. It’s like grabbing the Lord’s hand and just running into the wind. It’s that sense of going deep with the Lord and allowing him to lead you and to trust.” She first felt called to religious life at World Youth Day in Germany, “For the first time, I saw young religious sisters who were wearing the full habit,” she said, and was struck by their joy and love for the Lord. A visit with the sisters convinced her that this was home.

Sr. Gianna is a South Dakotan native, one of two South Dakotans whose voices  you can hear on the CD. The other is Sr. Marie Estelle Klein who professed final vows in 2012 and hopes the CD will be a source of hope for people. “And we do pray for everyone. We see our charism as prayer. Each and every person in the world has a home in the hearts of Carmelite sisters.”

See the stories in the Pasadena Weekly and the Argus Leader. Click here to the order the CD!

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Institute on Religious Life Launches New Website

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Revised screenThe Institute on Religious Life today launched a completely redesigned www.ReligiousLife.com. The new site is more dynamic and user friendly, houses a great resource of information, and provides expanded audio and video features.

“All of the changes are intended to convey a better sense of our mission and who we are as an organization,” said Michael D. Wick, executive director of the IRL. “We are so happy to launch our new website during the IRL’s 40th anniversary and as the Church prepares to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life which Pope Francis declared to begin this October.”

The new site was made possible by a grant from Our Sunday Visitor Institute. It was designed by Solutio Software of Cheney, Kansas.

“The site will be a great help to young Catholics who wish to know more or are considering the priestly or religious life, something very much needed in our times. And it will connect them to faithful institutes of consecrated life. The VocationSearch database is terrific for learning about the IRL’s 160-plus affiliate communities,” said M. Kathleen O’Brien, IRL director of operations. “We believe it is the premier Catholic vocations information portal—a ‘one-stop shopping’ experience for those who are sincerely discerning their vocation or seeking resources to promote and pray for vocations. From its 8-day ‘virtual’ discernment retreats, to the new Religious Life e-magazine, to vocation prayer leaflets for distribution among family, friends or parishioners, the new site offers all kinds of resources for building up the consecrated life.”

The site has in-depth reflections on the consecrated life, print and audio, including meditations by the IRL’s founder, Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., and talks given by IRL national director Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. The home page photo rotation features IRL affiliates, as well as real-time entries from the IRL’s “Vocation Blog” and a listing of scheduled events.

Young people who are serious about discernment can sign up for the free “Speak Lord” audio download of the month club or find out about upcoming “Come & See” vocation retreats. “Young people need catechesis and direction to be able to discern the Lord’s calling for their lives and the IRL wishes to provide helpful resources that will allow them to discern God’s will,” notes Father Nelson.

The Institute on Religious Life was founded in 1974 by Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Early supporters included Bl. Mother of Calcutta and Ven. Fulton J. Sheen. Its mission is to promote and support the consecrated life as a gift to the Church and an evangelical witness to the world.

 

Weaving a Crown for the Lord – The Poor Clares of Mission, BC

Saturday, March 15th, 2014
Sr. Agnes Marie (far right)

Sr. Agnes Marie (far right)

They may be little known in the United States, but there is a wonderful community of Poor Clare nuns in Mission, British Columbia, Canada. As the sisters closed the Octave of Christmas and began the New Year of 2014, they celebrated the first profession of Sr. Agnes Marie, OSC. As you can see by the picture, she looks to be about the happiest Poor Clare in the world!

Sr. Agnes Marie professed the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and enclosure. For the next three years, she will journey with “light step, swift pace and unswerving feet on the path of prudent happiness” (St. Agnes of Bohemia who founded the first Poor Clare community north of the Alps). “A continual, silent self-emptying for the sake of bringing souls closer to God: these were the desires of my heart,” Sr. Agnes Marie said. “Though it is a life of sacrifice, the joys and graces I receive from the Lord far outweigh the costs.”

The abbess, Sr. Marie-Celine, was once a Grey Nun and by joining the Poor Clares in far western Canada, left behind all that was familiar to her including her French Canadian heritage. The sisters have bears on their property and wear “bear-bells” to scare them off. One day, Sr. Christine and Sr. Marie Therese were checking on some newly planted trees when one of them heard a rustling sound, looked over a steep bank and saw a bear. Sister cried, “A bear! Run!” They took off and the bear did too — in the opposite direction!

The sisters are very happy that Pope Francis is showing the same love for the Poor Clares as did his predecessors. Last August, Pope Francis visited the Poor Clares in Albano Italy, alone and without anyone present. In October, he visited the Poor Clares in Assisi and let the Cardinals come in with him saying, “I did not have the courage to send them away.”

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.

The Poor Clare is one who weaves the flowers of each day into a crown for her King…one petal at a time. She is poor, chaste, and obedient. She is one who is alone on the mountain with Christ, enclosed in His Heart and lifting the entire world in prayer to her heavenly Father.

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The Prayers Continue in Oakland

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Welcoming Mass 2012

Welcoming Mass 2012

The Discalced Carmelites of the Oakland diocese have a new home! After coming to the diocese in 2012, the Carmelites of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph have been living in temporary quarters at St. Monica’s Parish in Canyon, CA. Now, thanks to a generous benefactor, the twelve Carmelites will have a permanent home (see complete story).

This is not just any home! It is a Spanish-style, 60-room mansion that was built in 1925. From the west side of the home, there are panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. In the late 1940′s, it became the home of the Carmelite community of Berkeley who sadly had to disband because of low numbers. Of the four remaining nuns, two went into a nursing facility and two others moved in with another Carmelite community. The house was for sale and was sought after for a variety of uses. Happily, it will remain a place of prayer.

As I have mentioned before, this monastery is a foundation from the Carmel in Valpraiso, Nebraska. The Nebraska Carmel was founded in 2001 and this will be their 2nd foundation, the other being Elysburg, Pennsylvania (2009). The Tridentine masses are typically celebrated at the Carmel and the Liturgy of the Hours is also in Latin. I also read that they use the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre or “Carmelite” Rite, the first Discalced Carmel to do so since 1588.

St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, pray for them.

 

 

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Spring Into Service with the Little Sisters

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

lspThe Little Sisters of the Poor have announced a new live-in service program for single college-age women. Called “Spring Into Service,” it is a chance to experience service to the elderly poor, prayer and community life in a faith-filled community of women religious.

You can stay as short as a week (eg. spring break) or commit to at least six weeks (eg. summer) with possible pay. No nursing experience is required.

The Little Sisters have 27 homes across the United States in places such as San Francisco, Gallup, Baltimore, Chicago, Washington DC, Denver, Mobile, St. Paul and others.   There is also a possibility of overseas placements.

Having been a volunteer for several years in the home in Chicago, I know first-hand what a wonderful experience this is. First of all, the residents are so happy to have cheerful, young people to talk to. Many of these poor elderly have no family; no one who comes on Easter or Christmas or even family that sends a note of encouragement. Secondly, the Little Sisters are so hospitable and the spiritual blessings that fell on me are too numerous to mention. No matter what your vocation in life may be, this opportunity will leave an imprint that will last a lifetime.

For more information, download their flyer .

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Listening to the Voice of Christ

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

sr candidaSister Candida Bellotti spent her 107th birthday with Pope Francis last week. The Holy Father greeted her and other Italian religious after his usual daily mass at St. Martha’s in Vatican City. Sr. Candida is a Camillian Sister who has been 80 years a religious. The Camillians were founded by St. Camillus de Lellis (d. 1614) and pronounce a fourth vow in additional to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience: “To serve the sick, even with danger to one’s own life.” You can always pick them out of a crowd by the distinctive red cross on their habit.

Sister was born in 1907 in Quinzano, Verona, Italy, the third of ten children born into the family. She professed vows in 1932 and worked until her retirement in 2000 at the age of 93! When she was 100, she traveled to Lourdes on a pilgrimage! You are never too old to enjoy life.

She has been over 80 years a religious and said, “I have never regretted having chosen this vocation.” What is the secret to her long life? She says, “To listen to the voice of Christ and to be docile to His will. During my whole life I have thought where the Lord takes me, that’s the right place for me.”

 

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A Pilgrimage with St. Therese of Lisieux

Monday, February 24th, 2014

o.carm. shrineThe Carmelites of the Ancient Observance in Allentown, Pennsylvania, are unique in many respects not the least of which is their monastery and chapel, a close duplicate of the one in Lisieux, France, where St. Therese the Little Flower lived and died. It is also the first Carmel of the Ancient Observance established in the United States.

The Carmelites trace their lineage back to Elijah, the great prophet, though the order was formally begun probably in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in modern-day Israel where hermits were believed to have resided for many, many centuries. You may recall from the first book of Kings that it was the site of the great confrontation between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal. Elijah challenged them to a trial by fire, won by the true God of Israel. When the people saw fire descend on the offerings of Elijah, they cried: “The Lord—He is God! The Lord—He is God!” (cf. 1 Kings 18)

stella marisFor all who have been to Mount Carmel in Israel, overlooking the harbor of Haifa, it is a place that leaves one with goosebumps. I happened to stay a memorable night at Stella Maris with the Carmelite nuns who live on the mount and offer pilgrims rooms. The cave below the main altar is believed to be the cave where Elijah lived.

Mother Therese of Jesus, O.Carm., founded the Allentown Carmel in 1931 along with her companion, Mother Clement Mary. Mother Therese was born in Germany and Mother Clement in North Dakota  but both came to America by way of a Carmel in Naples, Italy! In fact, an eruption of Mount Vesuvius precipitated their departure.

Mother Therese died on Easter Tuesday morning, April 11, 1939. However, when the mausoleum was being renovated in 2001, her body was exhumed and appeared to be incorrupt, 63 years after her death. So was the green palm branch that had been placed in her tomb. Her body was moved to the Monastery, and the tomb is now open to the public on Sundays for visits and prayer. The cause for her canonization is being studied.

ocarmThe chapel, whose patroness is St. Therese of Lisieux, is full of stained glass windows showing scenes from the saint’s life not often seen depicted in stained glass. Other Carmelite saints are also highlighted. It sounds like a wonderful place to contemplate the mysteries and majesty of God!

With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts.” (Carmelite motto)

 

 

 

 

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Desert Nun Run

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

nunrunSome “nun runs” involve young women taking minivans to various convents and monasteries. This “nun run” truly involves running!

The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery in Tonopah, Arizona, are hosting their 5th annual “desert nun run” on March  8, 2014. This is their biggest fundraiser of the year with the proceeds going towards the construction of their monastery. For the time being, they live in temporary modular homes though the chapel was dedicated in 2011. Their goal is to have a complete cloistered monastery in the heart of the desert, a first for the diocese of Phoenix. They also hope that the publicity will build up their community of friends and raise awareness of their otherwise hidden contemplative mission of adoration and intercession.

If you are in the area, sign up! You can do a 10k or 5k run, or a 1 mile walk. If you cannot attend, you can still be a sponsor for the event or a donor. Fr. Mark Mary from EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” will be there, running or walking, I do not know!

The nuns are a foundation from the Mother Angelica’s monastery in Alabama. The “desert nuns” welcome retreatants, both lay and priests, who would like to participate in their life of prayer and solitude.

Solitude is the place where man finds God.  – St. Eucherius

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All Will be Revealed in the Next World

Monday, February 17th, 2014

cp familyMany Catholics are aware that there are cloistered orders of nuns in the Church, and they probably would be vaguely aware of the Carmelite family and perhaps the Poor Clares, if only because of St. Francis. But the average person in the pew is not likely to know the Congregation of the Passionists, founded by that dear holy man, St. Paul of the Cross in 1720 in Italy.

Which is a shame, because they have the mission to keep the Lord’s Passion forever in their hearts. When the world is going about its business, and people are living their lives oblivious to the salvation won for us by Our Lord’s Passion and death, these sisters ponder it anew every day, every hour, for us!

The nuns make altar breads as a means to support themselves.
The nuns make altar breads as a means to support themselves.

The IRL has three Passionist Affiliate Communities in Whitesville and Erlanger, Kentucky; and in Ellisville, Missouri. This blog post is to alert you that the Ellisville Passionists have a new blog! Through the kindness of some lay people who love them, the blog is an effort to make them better known. Death has taken some of the beloved sisters to their eternal reward and their faithful friends would like to see them receive holy vocations!

So please, visit their blog and ‘like’ it and pass it on to young women who might have a vocation to this life of Prayer, Solitude, Penance and Community. They profess a five-fold vow: poverty, chastity, obedience, enclosure and devotion to and grateful remembrance of the Passion.

A newly professed Passionsist nun wrote: In the cloister, it is so much easier to turn one’s thoughts to God, and to remember also His Church, and all persons in the world, those in and out of the Church, so many living lives of sin and needing God, and to call upon God’s mercy for oneself and others, remembering the dying. In His work for souls, Our Lord relies on us His religious far more than we know. How He has used us will all be revealed in the next world.

 

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