Category Archives: Women’s Communities

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!

Motherhouse
Motherhouse

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: SistersofMaryMorningStar@gmail.com 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.

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!