Category Archives: Women’s Communities

Sisters of the Holy Family Celebrate 175th Jubilee

thThe sisters of the Holy Family will opening the celebration of their 175th Jubilee with a Mass on November 19, 2016, honoring the their foundress Ven. Henriette Delille.

The mass will be at their Motherhouse on Chef Menteur Boulevard in New Orleans, LA. The celebrant will be Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

For more information, visit the sisters’ website.


Institute of Catholic Culture Welcomed as New IRL Affiliate!


The institute of Catholic Culture, through its’ apostolate the Magdala Institute, has for several years now been providing top-quality, free formation classes for sisters and nuns. We were pleased at the IRL’s September Board Meeting to approve them as a new IRL Affiliate.

The ICC was founded in 2006 by Rev. Franklyn McAfee, S.T.D., and Rev. Hezekias Carnazzo, M.A., as an educational outreach project within the Office of Evangelization at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia, in response to the Church’s call for a new evangelization.

From the beginning, the ICC has offered weekly seminars in Catholic history, philosophy and theology, with a strong emphasis on the study of Sacred Scripture. Soon, it was bursting at the seams, as attendees from all over the Northern Virginia / Washington D.C. metropolitan area began to visit, knowing they could receive quality, orthodox education with the Institute’s programs.

Today, the ICC averages over 200 eager participants at its regular education programs and offers Catholic adult faith formation opportunities in local parishes. In addition, it has expanded beyond its initial geographical region by offering live and on-demand video streaming of its programs, CD production of past seminars, and over 600 hours of catechetical programs in its free, on-line media library.

magdalaOf interest to IRL communities is their Magdala Apostolate, dedicated to providing sound doctrinal formation—both initial and ongoing—for women religious and novices, in accord with the Church’s call for a new evangelization. Each term, they offer semester-long courses in the faith to any religious sister or community who applies. All that is needed to participate is a:

  1. A computer
  2. An internet connection with a download speed of about 4.00 Mbps and an upload speed of about 1.0 Mbps.
  3. A webcam

They have also begun building an online resources library, so that those who visit their web site can access not only the archived and live programs, but also the written resources discussed and referenced.

Topics covered include:

  • Scripture
  • Theology
  • Church History
  • Philosophy
  • Catechetics
  • Spirituality
  • Continuing formation classes like Greek, Biblical Apologetics, Ante-Nicaean Fathers

fr-hezFather Carnazzo has been to many IRL National Meetings, both as a speaker and participant. Ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 2016, he also serves as the Director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization for the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton. We highly recommend his courses. Feel free to call the ICC for more information at 540-635-7155.


Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi Celebrate 70 Years in U.S.

osf laconUnless we strive to offer and impart to them the basic and fundamental need to draw closer to God, we have given them very little.

With these beautiful hearts, the Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi in Lacon, Illinois, continue on with their mission to serve the poor, sick and aged in their apostolates. On August 13, 2016, they will celebrate their 70th anniversary in the United States. There were founded in 1894 in in Budapest, Hungary, by Anna Brunner to serve the poor and the terminally ill, in the compassionate spirit of St. Francis. They came to this country in 1946 from Slovakia and settled in Illinois.

laconThey remain an international congregation serving in Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and the United States in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and schools with the same spirit of compassion and the love of God that guided Mother Anna during the congregation’s early years. They seek to serve Christ in His poor, sick and aged brothers and sisters at their nursing home in Lacon, Illinois, and their hospital in Mountain View, Missouri. They are fortified by their union with Christ in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary, meditation and personal prayer.

We pray that during this celebration year, that God may grant them the grace to fully live out their charism of poverty, humility and a loving union with God.

We will, therefore, so live our religious vocation as to convince all that through our consecration to God we do not become estranged from our fellow men, but that our union with them grows deeper in Christ’s love.

Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen Celebrate 775 Years

hank familySome communities are celebrating 25 years and 100 years this year but another is celebrating 775 years! Amazing!

The Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen were founded in 1241, just 15 years after the death of Saint Francis. In the early 14th C, they received the Third Order Rule of St. Francis.  Throughout the centuries, they suffered the “slings and arrows” of misfortune as a result of the vicissitudes of history but they have persevered. In 1632, for example, the sisters had to flee from an invading army.  By 1635, of the five sisters remaining, 4 died of the plague. In 1828, because of governmental laws forbidding the acceptance of new members, there were only 5 sisters left again. But by 1968, they had over 2000 sisters!


Today, they are an international congregation serving the Lord in 5 countries: Germany, the United States, Brazil, Spain and India. The sisters in Hankinson, the North American Province, currently live in six convents with 25 sisters. Worldwide, there are 800 sisters!

In May, three sisters from Hankinson travelled to Germany for the festivities. Back home, the sisters were busy planting trees – 42 of them in one day! According to tradition, when Sr. Mathilde arrived from Germany in the early days, she looked at the barren plain and yearned for the trees of Bavaria. So they planted trees. Lots of them! In honor of the 775th anniversary, the congregation decided to plant 775 trees throughout their 7 provinces.

hankchurchTrees have deep roots. They appear to be asleep for a brief period of time and then they blossom forth again. “This related well to our Congregation,” say the sisters, “as through the years we have experienced the dry times when our congregation was down to one Sister and then a springtime of new growth, branched out in newness reaching the United States, Brazil, and India to share the message of Jesus Christ in caring for the sick, the hungry, the widow, the children and the lonely.”

The imitation of Christ, in love, 

is the way & goal of our vocation.

New Community Welcomed to New Ulm

ghentThere is a new contemplative community in the small town of Ghent, in southwestern Minnesota, called the Sisters of Mary, Morning Star (Sisters of Maria Stella Matutina). Founded in Spain in 2014, this Association of the Faithful is the only contemplative community of sisters in the diocese of New Ulm. There are 225 sisters worldwide in 10 countries.

The sisters are contemplative but not cloistered so they can participate in activities around the diocese and open their doors to the laity. Their primary work is to pray for the new evangelization and I read that they commemorate the Easter Triduum each weekend, beginning with a Holy Hour every Thursday where they recall the Lord’s Agony in the Garden. They also pray for a half hour after Mass and often spend 2 hours a day in Adoration. They live simply and support themselves by doing leatherwork and selling crafts.

ghent 2Their unusual name stems from one of Our Lady’s titles in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Morning Star. From the Book of Revelation (2:26-28), we read: “To the one who wins the victory, who keeps to my ways till the end, I will give authority over the nations — the same authority I received from my Father. He shall rule them with the rod of iron and shatter them like crockery; and I will give him the morning star.” In Song of Songs (6:10) it says: “Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun.” The planet Venus is known as the Morning Star, often visible just before dawn before the sun eclipses her light.  It is an image of Mary reflecting the light of her Son.

Their priory in Ghent is the site of their U.S. Novitiate. In 2015, they opened a second convent in Monona, Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Madison. For more information about the community, please email them at: or call (507)428-3919.

Our charism is to live the mystery of Christ’s offering to the Father, in light of the paternity of Saint John, and we desire to live with Mary her mystery of Compassion, for the Church and for all men.

 Our Community wishes to live a contemplative life in the heart of the world in order to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization.

 Living our contemplative life in the heart of the world allows us to welcome guests and share our life of Eucharistic Adoration, love for the Word of God, search for truth and fraternal charity.

Carmel of Ada, Michigan, Celebrates 100 Years in America

Ada Gp PhotoOn April 6, 2016, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by Most Rev. David Walkowiak to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Joined by 10 other priests, the Bishop told the assembled: “The confidence and consolation it gives us to know there are people who are pursuing the love of the Lord alone, and this is the focus of their lives, it gives us a model and an inspiration to do as much as we can in the same direction.”

The sisters also joyfully announce the reception of the habit and the new religious name of Miss Caley Nolan, now Sr. Mary Christina of the Holy Eucharist. Her family attends a local parish and her cousin also happens to be a priest in the Diocese!

IMG_0343 (2)The monastery is under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a title dear to the sisters’ hearts for their foundress and 15 other nuns were forced to flee Mexico during the persecutions in the early part of the last century. They were founded by the Carmel in Queretaro, Mexico, and after many separations and stops, were welcomed to the diocese by Bishop Joseph Richter in 1916.

Their epic journey to Michigan is an incredible story.  Their foundress, Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament, was a woman who anticipated what was to come, prepared for it, faced it with courage and went back into the lion’s den time and time again to bring her sisters to safety.

ada mother eliasMother prayed to St. Therese, the Little Flower, not yet beatified, to help them out of their difficulties. She promised her that she would do all in her power to spread the Carmelite Order if they were spared. One day, Mother and another sister were led to a large yard to be executed. She knelt, saw the guns and heard the fire. When she regained consciousness, they were able to escape and though there was blood on their clothes, they were not injured. St. Therese had truly saved them.

From the little seed in Grand Rapids came foundations in Mexico (1919, 1936, 1940, 1950), Buffalo (1920), Schenectady (1923), Detroit (1926), Littleton (1947), Traverse City (1950), Iron Mountain (1950), and Denmark, WI (1992). She truly fulfilled her vow to the Little Flower to extend the order whenever she had the opportunity!



Benedictines of Mary Issue “Adoration at Ephesus”

ephesusThe Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, have recently issued their newest album, adding to the selection of their other very popular albums of songs and chants that give glory to God. Entitled “Adoration at Ephesus,” it is a collection of songs sung by the nuns when they gather together for Eucharistic Adoration.

The album contains 24 tracks in Latin and English and includes such favorites as: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, Adoremus in Aeternum, Ave Verum, Panis Angelicus, Jesus My Lord My God My All, and many other well-known and not-so-well-known classics.

The nuns’ previous albums have risen to the top of Billboard’s Classical Traditional Artist’s list for three years running. They are tapping into to the world’s innate desire to lift up their hearts to God, finding peace to that restlessness that St. Augustine says can only be found in Thee.

All proceeds from the album will go towards the nuns’ new monastic church fund. The chapel that they pray in is only a temporary one. “As the community grows and the hospitality apostolate expands,” said Mother Cecilia. “the necessity of undertaking the design and building of a new church has become a pressing reality.”

fatimaMother also noted the link between Fatima and Adoration, for this spring marks the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the Angel of God to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta in 1916 in Portugal. In the first apparition, the Angel told the shepherd children to kneel and repeat this prayer: “My God, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope in Thee and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee and do not love Thee.”

“I was simply astounded that our album corresponds so perfectly and intimately with the message he brought to the children and the world,” said Mother Cecilia. “If one word had to be chosen to summarize that message, it would be: adoration. We pray that all souls will adore our Eucharistic Lord with great faith, love, reverence and thanksgiving!”

To read the complete story, visit the Catholic News Agency.

St. Catherine of Siena: Messenger of Mercy

Siena Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Catherine of Siena which is particularly significant during this Year of Mercy and 800th Jubilee of the Foundation of the Dominican Order. St. Catherine led an extraordinary life as an advisor to the Holy See, Dominican tertiary, and witness to God’s merciful love.

Catherine Benincasa was born on the feast of the Annunciation in 1347 and quickly grew to have a deep spiritual life first having an apparition of Christ at the young age of 6. After some hesitation from her family, St. Catherine obtained permission to become a Dominican tertiary and experienced a “mystical marriage” with Christ at the age of 21. Following the momentous occasion, she performed works of mercy including visiting the imprisoned whom she hoped would turn to God and nursing the sick even volunteering to care for those afflicted with the most terrible diseases.

St. Catherine soon became renowned throughout Italy for her sanctity and wisdom. During her life, she strove to maintain peace throughout Italy by negotiating peace terms between cities and preaching a crusade in hopes of unifying the Christendom to retake the Holy Land. St. Catherine’s wisdom caused popes to take her counsel as she was influential in convincing Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome and even moved to Rome herself at the request of Pope Urban VI during the Great Schism that occurred in 1378. Her wisdom and profound spiritual insights are also apparent in her writings which led her to be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

8900060944_b1782bb7c7_oThe feast of the renowned Dominican saint corresponds this year with the 8th Triennial General Assembly of the Dominican Sisters International who are currently meeting in Rome to pray, reflect and discuss the future of their preaching mission. The IRL has many Dominican affiliates including the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne who were founded by the youngest child of author Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rose. For more information on affiliate Dominican communities please visit the IRL website.

Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Celebrate 100 Years

On March 29, 2016, the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary celebrated 100 years since their foundation with a Centennial Gala.  In attendance, was Timothy Cardinal Dolan as well as many other dignitaries and well-known entertainers.

osf nyThe sisters were founded in 1916 in Savannah, Georgia, by Fr. Ignatius Lissner, SMA, a Frenchman, and Miss Elizabeth Williams, who became Mother Mary Theodore, FHM, the first Superior General.

Some years prior, Father Lissner had received the blessing of the Holy Father to establish missions to serve the black population in the main cities of Georgia. Father Lissner and other SMAs, in six years, established six churches and seven parochial schools in Georgia.

But in 1915, the state legislature proposed a bill that would outlaw the teaching of black children by white teachers. Alarmed, Father Lissner, a member of the Society of African Missions,  and Miss Elizabeth Williams, an African American woman, founded a new congregation, the Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary in Savannah, Georgia to minister to and evangelize the African American community. This title was chosen to inspire the members of the congregation to serve their neighbors and each other “with the same zeal and love with which Mary served her son Jesus Christ”.

osf ny2Their life is centered on the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Unity and Transformation. They pray as Jesus taught His disciples for each other, for the grace of self-transformation, renewal of neighbor, the Church, our society, for victims of injustice and for peace and justice in our broken world (Luke: 11:1-13).  They focus mainly on the promotion of Catholic social justice teaching, youth evangelization and healing missions, education of the young and feeding the needy.

We have a firm belief with experience that Prayer works miracles and ardent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has power to heal wounds.

IHM Sisters Move Into New Motherhouse

The IHM sisters in their new chapelIn November of 2015, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary moved into their new home, a 32-bedroom Novitiate House of Formation in Colwich, Kansas, on the site of the former Simon horse ranch. The convent, chapel and altar were blessed by Bishop Carl Kemme on December 8, 2015.

The sisters bought the property in 2012 so that they could house all of their sisters under one roof. Previously, the sisters had been living in smaller convents throughout Wichita and did not have a place to gather as a community.

Mother Mary Magdalen, IHM
Mother Mary Magdalen, IHM

“We had no chapel large enough for us to be able to pray in together,” said Mother Mary Magdalen O’Halloran. “We had no dining room large enough for us to take our meals together; we had no room where we could meet for community meetings, days of recollection, conferences, or recreation. In addition, we were quickly running out of bedrooms.”

The new novitiate has a chapel, community dining room and assembly hall. In the future, the Motherhouse will be built as the next phase of the building plan. They have the fortunate situation of needing most of the bedrooms in the Novitiate already  for they have had five young women enter their community since the building began and another entering this month as a postulant.

The sister’s primary apostolate is to educate the young in the Catholic faith. Thus, they will retain two of their current convents at St. Joseph Parish and Holy Cross Parish for use during the school year.  They also  are active in the St. Paul Student Center at Wichita State University. The sisters “first” apostolate though is to contemplate the Word and to pray and work for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of priests.

ihmTheir founder, Fr. Joaquin Masmitjá (1808-1886), said, “Thus the Sisters would instruct others, especially young women, in the Catholic faith so that they in turn might become the instruments for instructing and strengthening others, and in this fashion rebuild the foundations of morality in a society weakened by its divorce from religion.”  As it says on their website and how true it is: “An honest look at our world today will testify to the need for our charism among the young.” Visit their website to see how their charism is beautifully summarized in their insignia (above).

“We’d been planning and waiting for this day for 39 years, since we arrived in the Wichita diocese,” said Mother Mary Magdalen. “It was a monumental day for us.”

For the complete story, please visit the Catholic Diocese of Wichita’s website.