Category Archives: Women’s Communities

Foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Beatified

oshj picLast October, a group of forty-one pilgrims consisting of sisters, their relatives, priests and lay people from the Diocese of Youngstown made a pilgrimage to Italy for the beatification of Mother Maria Teresa Casini, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which took place on October 31, 2015.

Mother Casini founded the Oblate Sisters in 1894 in Grottaferrata. Their charism is to pray for the sanctification of priests and the holiness of the Church. Mother was beatified in the Frascati cathedral where she was baptized in 1864, two days after her birth.

oshjFor the Oblate Sisters from Hubbard, Ohio, this was an extra-special event because the miracle required for Mother’s beatification occurred in their own diocese. In 2003, five-year-old Jacob Sebest of Campbell, Ohio, was diagnosed with irreversible brain damage after a swimming pool incident. Two days later, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, after intense prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of Mother Teresa Casini, young Jacob miraculously awoke from a medically induced coma without any signs of brain trauma. Today he is a healthy, vibrant 17-year-old and a senior in High School.

The day before the beatification, the pilgrims visited Grottoferrata where Mother first established the congregation and where she later died in 1937. They prayed before the historical tabernacle that depicts her vision of the Pierced Heart of Jesus. They also venerated a relic, a braid of Mother’s hair that was cut off when she made her first profession of vows. Unbeknownst to her, said Sr. Joyce Candidi, O.S.H.J., it was preserved “by those who sensed that one day she would be recognized for her great love and heroic virtues.”

Jacob and Bishop Murray
Jacob and Bishop Murray

Jacob and his family were able to make the trip to Italy and greet the Holy Father in Rome after the beatification along with the General Superior and General Counselor of the Oblate Sisters. On the Feast of All Saints, Pope Francis said: “(Mother Teresa Casini) was a contemplative woman and missionary; she made her life an offering of prayer and concrete charity in support of priests. Let us thank the Lord for her witness!”

On November 2nd, Bishop George Murry, S.J., celebrated Mass for the pilgrims in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica at the site of St. Peter’s tomb where they gathered to pray in thanksgiving once again for the life and holiness of Blessed Mother Teresa Casini. After the return home, one pilgrims observed, “As each day goes by, it continues to sink in that we experienced life-changing, as well as once-in-a-lifetime events.”

The Diocese of Youngstown is planning to celebrate Mother Casini’s beatification on Sunday, May 22, 2016, at St. Columba Cathedral.

See additional photos from the trip on Facebook.

Franciscan Sisters’ “Discernment of Spirits” Silent Vocation Retreat

osf manitowocAre you a 20-something young woman discerning if God is calling you to religious life or to married life? Or seeking to follow His will more closely? A Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, Sr. Jacqueline Spaniola, is offering a silent retreat, March 11-13, 2016, based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

The Spiritual Exercises are a timeless and always useful “exercise” to guide you in the spiritual life as you seek to do God’s will. Most free time will be spent in blissful silence in order to pray and to ponder how God is working in your life. The retreat begins Friday, March 11th, at 6 p.m., and ends after a noon meal on Sunday, March 13th. The retreat is being held at the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s beautiful Motherhouse in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. For more information call or text 920-323-9632. Register for the retreat here.

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity foundation dates back to 1866 when 5 young women, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s simple way of living, banded together to form a small community dedicated to teaching religious education amongst the scattered parishes in the area. By  1872, there was such a growth in the number of sisters that  property was purchased on the shores of Silver Lake, the current site of the Holy Family Motherhouse. Today, they serve in education, healthcare and outreach to the poor.

If the retreat dates do not work for you, please let them know, and they will try to schedule alternate dates and invite other young women to join you.

For more information, please contact Sr. Julie Ann Sheahan, OSF, at sjulieann@fscc-calledtobe.org or address: 2409 S. Alverno Road, Manitowoc, WI  54220.

Discernment of Spirits retreat_8.5x11_2015outline

“My vocation was a surprise when I first became aware. Over the years of saying yes to the call to religious life, my life has been one of purpose, meaning and satisfaction.”

 

Need Custom Liturgical Habits & Vestments?!?

norbert sequoiaAre you looking for someone who can design (or repair) high-quality liturgical vestments, linens or religious habits? Someone who understands the Catholic faith and prayerfully goes about her work of making beautiful designs for God?

A good resource is the The Liturgical Co., founded and run by Sequoia Sierra, a Lay (Third Order) Norbertine. Sequoia designed the postulants’ habits for the newly established Norbertine Sisters in Wilmington, CA. You can see the beautiful result in the picture!

The Norbertine sisters were originally founded in the Czech Republic in 1902, though this community was founded in 2011 by the General House of the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters in Slovakia. In the US, they minister to the poor, teach religious education and work in a book store.

In an article in Regina Magazine, Sequoia described the design process and how special the work was to her. “This was an incredible and profoundly moving experience… Having the honor of being a part of their history, at the very beginning of them establishing themselves here in the U.S. is an experience that will always be very special and dear to my heart.  It was the experience of a lifetime.”

I love that the new postulant uniform has 5 buttons on them, to remind everyone of the five marks of the Norbertine Order;

  • Solemn and Reverential Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in Choir
  • Devotion to the Holy Eucharist
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • A Spirit of Penance
  • Zeal for Souls

opraem vestMay they be blessed with many young women in postulant habits!

To read the Regina article, visit their website. To learn more about The Liturgical Co., visit www.theliturgicalco.com. To read about the new Norbertine family of sisters, visit the Sts. Peter and Paul parish website!

 

Capuchin Poor Clares in Delaware – Thirty Years in America!

PCC DEThe Capuchin Poor Clare nuns of St. Veronica Giuliani Monastery in Wilmington, DE, are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. On December, 12, 1986, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, ten sisters left their beloved Mexico and came to a foreign land to be prayerful support to the Capuchin friars in their service to the poor. When they arrived in Philadelphia, a group of Capuchin Franciscans were awaiting them at the airport holding a large image of the Blessed Virgin of Tepeyac Hill, a heartwarming sign that Our Lady of Guadalupe was still with them in this new mission.

pcc de2The sisters make the habits for the Capuchin Brothers as well as liturgical vestments and altar linens. They assist the Brothers by  preparing meals for an emergency shelter for women with children.

The Capuchin Poor Clares were founded in by Ven. Maria Laurentia Longo in the 16thC. St. Veronica Giuliani, mystic and Capuchin Poor Clare, is their famous saint.

The sisters are blessed to have three young vocations, raising the number of nuns to twelve. They pray every day that the Lord will bring many more vocations “so they can join us in giving God adoration and glory through a life of prayer!”

 

 

 

New Dominican Foundation in Ireland

opIn 2016, the Dominicans are celebrating the 800th anniversary of their founding. Their Order was officially confirmed by Pope Honorius III on December 22, 1216, as a body of Canons Regular. The year-long plus celebration takes place between November 7, 2015, and January 21, 2017.

The history of the Dominican family in Ireland is almost as ancient. The Order of Preachers came to the Emerald Isle in 1227, 789 years ago. Rounding up, that’s 800 years too!

In this jubilee year, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, based in Nashville, Tennessee, gave Catholics in the city of Limerick some happy news. It had been announced that the Dominican fathers were leaving the city because of falling numbers. But beginning in August, four sisters from Nashville will be moving into the priory associated with St. Saviour’s Church.

It was Bishop Brendan Leahy who issued the invitation and much to his surprise, received an interested reply. Two sisters came last summer and “were very taken with Limerick.”

saviourThe church is dedicated to the Most Holy Saviour Transfigured. Paintings and stained glass windows honor the Dominican saints, namely, Sts. Vincent, Catherine of Ricci, Pius V, Albert the Great, Catherine of Siena, Rose of Lima, Peter the Martyr, Margaret of Hungary, John Macias, Thomas Aquinas and Dominic. Sounds like a worthy Dominican pilgrimage site for the Jubilee Year!

The Nashville Dominicans were founded in 1860 and came to the city at the invitation of the second Bishop of Nashville, the Right Reverend James Whelan (born in Ireland). The Bishop, also a Dominican, wanted sisters to “conduct an academy for higher education of girls and young ladies” with an emphasis.”

The sisters will continue the Dominican tradition of contemplative prayer and evangelization, namely teaching and religious formation, in their new home city.

“In this year dedicated to Consecrated Life, it is like a gift from God to us that we can now look forward to the arrival of new young Dominican Sisters who will surely also be an inspiration to young people,” said Bishop Leahy.

To read more, visit The Limerick Reader website.

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Update

m angelThe Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, Alabama, were in the news recently for two very different reasons.

The Catholic News Service reported that Mother Angelica, PCPA, their foundress and founder of EWTN, is receiving nutrients from a feeding tube. Suffering lingering effects and partial paralysis as a result of two  strokes she suffering 14 years ago , she is able to communicate with a squeeze of the hand or gestures with her eyes. On her 92nd birthday in April, the sisters said that she offers all her sufferings for the Church.

It was also announced recently that the Poor Clares of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville will be merging with the Poor Clares from Charlotte, NC. Mother Dolores Marie, PCPA, who is presently the Abbess of St. Joseph Monastery in Charlotte, will be the superior.
In 2002, the Hanceville Poor Clares sent sisters to help their monastery in Portsmouth, Ohio. Sisters were also sent to help reopen their cradle monastery in Troyes, France. Over the past seven years, the community has also made new foundations in Tonopah, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas.

Mother Dolores Marie and three other solemnly professed nuns of the Charlotte community started out as members of Our Lady of the Angels in Alabama. They were invited to come to Charlotte from Portsmouth, OH, in 2010 by Bishop Peter Jugis.

 Mother Delores says: “I ask your prayers for both of our Communities during this time of transition and for me as I assume the role of Superior of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. …With this new mission before us, our building plans in the Diocese of Charlotte are obviously placed on hold. However, the Holy See has granted that Saint Joseph Adoration Monastery be held canonically open to facilitate a return in the future.”
For more information, see the posting on the Charlotte website.
Lord, we pray for bountiful vocations for the Poor Clares, so that through their lives prayer, poverty and sacrifice, they can continue to serve the Church both in Alabama and North Carolina.

Visitation Sisters Renew Vows

vhm2
Visitation Monastery in Tyringham

On November 21, 2015, Visitation Sisters around the world renewed their vows. On the day when the entire Church celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day when Sts. Anne and Joachim presented their daughter to the Lord, these daughters of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal presented themselves before the altar of the Lord and professed their eternal devotion to their Spouse.

Joining in this renewal of vows was the the Visitation Monastery in Tyringham, Massachusetts. It is relatively new, the sisters having moved there in 1995 from Delaware. It is called Mont Deux Coeurs or the Mount of the Two Hearts because it is dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of His Mother, Mary.

It could also be said that the term Mont Deux refers to the hearts of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal who were the co-founders of the Visitation Order. One biographer said that their relationship went unbelievably deep – “One is forced back to Scripture parallels: the love of Joseph for Mary, the love of our Lord for Martha and Mary.” One could say that the Visitation nuns are twice twice blessed!

VHMThe Visitation Sisters of Tyringham are cloistered, contemplative religious whose lives are dedicated to prayer and to living in community. They try to be gentle instruments of the Lord in the midst of a world increasingly violent and intolerant.

Their “work” is to sing the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day with the Church. On the first Sunday of the month,  one of the Sisters gives a talk on the Heart of Jesus at the monastery, open to everyone. One of the recent talks was about Leonie Martin (d. 1941), sister of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was a Visitation nun, in Caen, France, and her cause is being promoted.

Leonie was the most difficult of the Martin children, prone to outbursts and a poor student. Can you imagine having a saint for a sister? Yet, she persevered, really persevered and found her heart filled after a long life with the infinite tenderness of God.

Sr. Leonie Martin, V.H.M.
Sr. Leonie Martin, V.H.M.

Here is a Visitation sister’s reflection on what her canonization would mean to so many: “To those millions of souls who see themselves ungraced, ungifted, unlovable, unlikely to succeed (in every conceivable way), Leonie presents the impossible turned possible, the lost sheep hoisted upon the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, Who searches out the least of His flock and gathers them close to His heart.”

 

 

 

 

 

Carmelite Monastery of the Mother of God Turns 50

vocations_7On a rainy day in November, 1965, Mother Dolores and nine other nuns from the Carmelite Monastery of Carmel-by-the-Sea founded a new monastery in San Rafael, California. Mother Dolores, now 93, and the other nuns of the now Carmelite Monastery of the Mother of God are joyously celebrating the 50th anniversary of this event throughout the month of November.

The now Carmelite Monastery of the Mother of God has been striving to respond to Our Lady of Fatima’s message regarding praying for the conversion of sinners and Russian people since its foundation. Early on the sisters learned to sing the Byzantine Liturgy with hopes of one day founding a Carmel in Russia. Fr. Loius Bouier suggested that they first make a foundation in Finland.  Following the fall of communism, the sisters  opened a small foundation in Moscow. The venture proved to be impractical and the sisters sold the small monastery to the Divine Word Missionaries who used it to establish a St. Olga’s Catholic Parish which the Carmelites still prayerfully support.

The Carmelite Monastery of the Mother of God is a truly universal one with sisters from all over the world including sisters from four different continents. The sisters enjoy a peaceful setting with over 400 redwood trees on the monastery grounds creating a place conducive to prayer.  The Monastery has matured immensely since its initial foundation in 1965.

78 people attended the first of three Masses commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Monastery’s founding. The Mass was celebrated by Most Rev. John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe on Nov 1st, All Saints Day. In his homily, Archbishop Wester emphasized the sisters’ Reliance on Divine Providence saying, “my dear sisters, you are living examples of this because you believe in a God who actively works in you in very beautiful ways. It’s not always been easy, but you take on our sufferings and make them your own.”

“Chopped” Champion – Sr. Alicia Torres

choppedI only watch three shows on cable TV – Hogan’s Heroes, the Weather Channel and the Food Network’s “Chopped.” So it was a thrill to watch the special “Chopped” Thanksgiving special to see a member of one of our Affiliate Communities compete to win the $10,000 prize.

Sr. Alicia Torres of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago was one of four contestants selected from the many who serve the underprivileged in soup kitchens around the country. Some months ago, “Chopped” called our office asking for the names of potential “sister” cooks. Fr. Bob Lombardo, CFR, the superior of the community and IRL Board Member, also heard the word and was able to propose Sister Alicia.

chopped 2Sr. Alicia wowed the judges during every round.  Each show, the contestants are asked to open up a mystery basket of ingredients and transform them into an appetizer, then a main dish, and finally a dessert. During each round, one cook is eliminated. During this episode, each basket contained in various manifestations turkey, potatoes, cranberries and green beans. How she made the final dessert from that concoction of ingredients was truly imaginative!

The judges were amazed that someone with no formal cooking education could be so gifted. She has chosen to use those gifts for the greater glory of God. Her love for her Spouse, Jesus, and that love outpouring to others is what animates her and her cooking. “When I cook, I want to share that love, and I try to put care into everything that I make for every person that I serve,” she said in a WGN interview.

The $10,000 prize money won as the last “Chopped” cook standing will be used to restock their food pantry. For Christmas, she will be cooking for 1400 people in their west side neighborhood from their Mission of Our Lady of the Angels.

Congratulations Sister Alicia!

 

Sisters of Life Head West

slThe Sisters of Life are one of the fastest growing religious communities in the United States with 26 young women entering in just the past two years. Thanks to this rapid growth, the Sisters of Life have expanded by opening their tenth convent in Denver from which they hope to evangelize and promote a culture of life on college campuses.

On September 16th, the Denver Mission Team of Sr. Mary Louise Concepta, Sr. Maris Stella, Sr. Maria Anne Michela, and Sr. Fiat Marie joyfully celebrated the opening of St. Mary Magdalene Convent in Denver. They were joined by His Excellency Archbishop Samuel Aquila who celebrated Mass and blessed the convent.

denver3The Sisters of Life plan to evangelize on several college campuses near their new home in Denver. They will be teaming up with chaplains and FOCUS missionaries to provide a ministry of presence and prayer. Their new college outreach program is crucial to their mission as college-aged women are the most likely to pursue an abortion in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. The Sisters have had great success in promoting life, however, having served over 6,000 women since 2002 with over 90% choosing life for their child.

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, superior general of the order and recipient of the 2015 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award, said, “It was from this city in 1993 that St. John Paul II exhorted those gathered for World Youth Day to defend the sacredness of human life. Our sisters look forward to strengthening the Denver lay faithful committed to building a culture of life.” The Sisters of Life hope to continue to faithfully respond to the Holy Father’s charge and promote the sacredness of life in their new home.