Ada Carmelites: Refugees and Foundresses of Many

adaIn 2016, the Carmelite Nuns in Ada, Michigan, will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their founding. In 1916,  sixteen Carmelite nuns (12 professed and four postulants) fled the terror and raging persecution in Mexico and came to the United States.

After traveling to Cuba, New Orleans and Saint Louis, they finally found a home in the Diocese of Grand Rapids under the paternal care of Bishop Henry Joseph Richter. Their monastery was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  From this sacrifice of family and country came bountiful blessings. New foundations bloomed from Grand Rapids back to Mexico in 1919, then Buffalo, Detroit, Littleton, Traverse City, Iron Mountain and Denmark (WI).

Their original frame house in Grand Rapids was expanded and added on to many times to accommodate growth. Finally, in 1984, they were given ten rural acres outside of town in which to build a permanent, quieter home. They moved to Ada (Parnell), Michigan, in 1991.

This year, the are celebrating the 500th anniversary of their foundress’ birth. Commenting on St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, Pope Francis said: “(Teresa) asked her sisters not to waste time discussing ‘matters of little importance’ with God while ‘the world is in flames.'”

Be rooted in prayer, in communion with Jesus. Pope Francis said: “The prayer of Teresa was not a prayer reserved solely to a space or time of day; it arose spontaneously on the most diverse occasions. … She was convinced of the value of continual, if not always perfect, prayer. … To renew consecrated life today, Teresa has left us a great heritage full of concrete suggestions, ways and methods of praying that, far from closing us in ourselves or leading us merely to inner balance, enable us always to start again from Jesus, and constitute a genuine school for growth in love for God and neighbor.”

Alexian Brothers – New IRL Affiliate Community

Alexian Brothers throughout the ages with St. Alexius
Alexian Brothers throughout the ages with St. Alexius

The Alexian Brothers are one of the newest IRL Affiliates, welcomed into the IRL family in March 2015.

You may think that the Alexian Brothers were founded by St. Alexius who lived in the 5th century. They did adopt this saint who was devoted to the poor and sick as the patron for their first chapel but this was not until around the year 1400. Over time, they became known as the Alexian Brothers. They do not have a founder, per se, rather their congregation evolved and formed because of celibate men who lived in community and tended the sick, fed the hungry and buried the dead. The first written account of their activities stems from the year 1259.

In a time when people were afraid of the sick and dying, their selfless acts of charity were very counter-cultural. With the advent of the Black Plague in the 14th century, they remained true to their calling and stayed by the side of the contagious sick. In 1472, the Alexian Brothers were recognized as a religious community under the rule of St. Augustine.

After the decimation suffered as a result of the French Revolution, only three Brothers were left in Aachen, Germany, site of one of their earliest foundations. In 1854, Brother Dominic Brock rebuilt the decimated community and their numbers grew once again. In 1866, Br. Bonaventure Thelen came to the United States and established the first Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago. Today, the Alexian Brothers are located in Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, the Philippines, Hungary, and the United States.

Their charism is, in discipleship with Jesus, to reach out to the poor, sick and dying, especially the marginalized and the powerless — “Whatever you do to the least of these brothers of Mine, you do it to Me” (Mt 25:40).

Memorial Mass for Fr. John Anthony Hardon, S.J.

Hardon Publication June 2015.pub There will be a Memorial Mass for Servant of God, Fr. John Anthony Hardon, S.J., on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:00 P.M.

It will be held at Assumption Grotto Church, 13770 Gratiot Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. After Mass, there will be a reception. If you plan to attend, please bring a snack to pass around with your fellow attendees!

Father Hardon was born on June 18th in 1914. He died on December 30, 2000, from bone cancer at the Jesuits’ Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan.

Besides founding the Institute on Religious Life, Father Hardon also founded the Eternal Life Apostolate, the Marian Catechists, the Real Presence Association, and Inter Mirifica Social Communications.

Father Hardon’s Cause for Beatification and Canonization is now under auspices of the Eternal Life Apostolate of Bardstown, Kentucky. Father Hardon’s vast personal library and correspondence is housed at the Eternal Life Office and is now being organized and cataloged by Eternal Life volunteers. At the IRL, we just gave them a van full of Father Hardon original recordings from his many conferences for religious and the laity.

hardonRepresentatives of the Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Archive and Guild travel across the country to disseminate information about the life and works of Fr. Hardon. The Archive & Guild opened in St. Louis, Missouri in November of 2007, but is now located at the Eternal Life offices. Many of Fr. Hardon’s personal effects are temporarily housed at the archive, until the Fr. John A. Hardon Catechetical Center and Retreat House opens at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

For more information, visit the Guild website or write to:

Fr. John Hardon, S.J. Archive and Guild
902 West Stephen Foster Ave.
Bardstown, KY 40004

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters in Jesus the Lord in Russia

vlad-mission-communities-20For those of you who have read Fr. Walter Ciszek’s books, With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me, you will know of the struggles of Catholics in Far Eastern Russia. Father Ciszek endured many years of hard labor in prison camps in Siberia. Throughout his ordeal, beautifully and heart-renderingly portrayed in his books, he was always a priest. Nothing was dearer to him than the Russian people.

If you are interested in knowing about the revival of the Church in Eastern Russia, I suggest you receive the newsletter of the Mary Mother of God Mission Society. It documents the work of the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord in Russia. In 1992, after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, two priests from the Midwest, Fr. Myron Effing, CJD and Fr. Daniel Maurer, CJD, arrived in Vladivostok to help re-establish the Church in eastern Russia. Since then—and with the mission society’s help—they have founded or re-founded 11 Catholic parishes, have developed numerous charitable initiatives, have created a variety of catechetical programs, and done much more.

They have programs for alcoholics, college students, boy scouts, orphans, the elderly. They conduct pro-life work, bring sacred music to this once atheistic nation, rebuild churches, assign guardian angels (“grandmas”) to orphans, and provide food and medical assistance to needy families.

Our Lady of Vladivostok
Our Lady of Vladivostok

They are assisted by the Sisters in Jesus the Lord (Canonissae in Jesu Domino) who work in Russia with women, children and the elderly. They have woman’s support centers in several Russian cities: Lesozavodsk, Vladivostok, Artyom, Arsenyev, Nakhodka and on Russian Island.

The Sisters in Jesus the Lord is a new Public Association of the Faithful in the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. Their ministries, at home and in Russia, include: pro-life work, music and liturgy, catechesis and evangelization, ministry to the sick and homebound, AVE media, and stewardship of the land.  Each year, they bring a busload of young men and women to the IRL’s National Meeting.

I ordered a cookbook from the Society called Abundant Blessings, a compilation of recipes from the many cultures and countries of their priests, seminarians, sisters and families. Proceeds go towards the seminarians’ education and the women’s centers. God willing, they will also build a Catholic Church in Nakhodka called Our Lady of the Pacific.

 

A Brother to All: St. Andre Bessette and the Healing of Carl

ébl andreThe Catholic Sentinel of Western Oregon tells the story of a healing of a young boy by St. André Bessette, CSC. That man, Carl, is now 92 years old and still tells of his healing in gratitude to the saint.

An often forgotten vocation today is the vocation to religious brotherhood. Countless men have responded to this essential call to be a Brother to All but today it is sometimes looked upon as inferior to the priesthood. This is so far from the truth. A priest is a father; a brother is a brother walking beside us. Both are necessary on the road to eternal life.

Saint André is perhaps the most famous brother in our times. When St. André presented himself to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1870, he carried a note from his pastor that said: “I am sending you a saint.” None the less, the initially illiterate young man was assigned the seemingly lowly task of doorkeeper, where, said Pope Benedict XVI, he “did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him.”

st andreCarl Peters was born in 1923 to a very young teenage girl in Vermont. The father abandoned them at birth and Carl was given to a foster family to be raised. When he was 5 years old, he still hadn’t spoken a word, so the foster family took him to see Brother André who was then in his 80’s. Brother André has strong faith in the intercessory power of St. Joseph, building the great saint the largest shrine in the world dedicated in his honor. Brother André gave the family holy oil to be used on Carl every night. “I remember him to this day.” he said. The cure came quickly. “I could not talk and suddenly I could.”

Carl makes regular pilgrimages to St. Joseph Oratory and was able to watch the canonization of St. André there via satellite in 2010. His parishioners says he is a kind man who smiles a lot and does good works anonymously.

“I have been really fortunate in my life,” he said, “blessed by so many people I’ve come into contact with.”

 

Click here to watch the video and read the full story.

 

 

 

A Glimpse into the Santa Fe Carmel

santa feFor the year of Consecrated Life, the Carmel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Teresa in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has put together a charming little video to give people a glimpse into their life.

The Carmel is situated in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo (“Blood of Christ”) Mountains, on the high desert of northern New Mexico, reminiscent of the terrain of the Order’s first founders who lived in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.

They are part of the Spanish Catholic legacy of Santa Fe that has been present for more than 400 years. Santa Fe means Holy Faith! Their monastery traces its heritage back to Avila, Spain by way of Mexico.

A history book on the Carmelite order states that St. Teresa actually arrived here before the Carmelite sisters! A picture of her is found on the reredos of San Miguel Mission (built in 1610), the oldest church in the United States. The oval picture, found on the top left of the reredos, dates from the early 18th century and originated in Colonial Mexico. It is considered one of the earliest portraits of the saint.

reredosThe Carmeles arrived in Santa Fe in 1945 from the Carmel in Dallas, Texas. They in turn founded houses in Albuquerque, NM; Jefferson City, MO; and Kenya.

We pray that we may be a second Bethany where Our Lord may rest among those who have chosen the better part.

An Eastern-Rite Carmelite Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, is the only Carmelite Monastery in the Western Hemisphere belonging to an Eastern Catholic Rite. They belong to the Order of Discalced Carmelites and have the special mission to pray for the unity of the Eastern and Western churches.

Mother Marija of the Holy Spirit, Sister Marie Helen of the Cross and Sister Ann of the Trinity (d. 2001)  inaugurated the monastery on February 23, 1977. Fr. Walter Ciszek (may he one day be canonized), SJ, encouraged Most Rev. Michel Dudick, the Bishop of the Ruthenians (Byzantine Church) of Passaic, NJ, to accept them into his eparchy.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, several Byzantine rite girls came to them from Slovakia and Carpathia. In return, in 1995 and 2002, they sent Sisters there to begin the Monastery of St. Therese in Koritnyani, Transcarpathia (Ukraine). In 1999, they accepted Sisters of the Syro-Malabar Rite from South India, now five in byz 3number, who today comprise one third of their community.

Six to seven  hours daily are devoted to prayer and sacred reading. They also operate a bakery with mail order sales (you can request a catalog for Christmas!), design gift cards and breed miniature horses. Check out their website (Carmelites Mini Corral) if you would like to purchase a stallion, mare, foal or show horse!

 

 

5 Myths About Cloistered Life

marbury3The Dominican nuns of St. Jude Monastery in Marbury, Alabama, have a little brochure describing the 5 myths about cloistered life.

Myth #1: They pray all day

Their whole life is harmoniously ordered to preserve remembrance of God throughout the day. They chant the 7 hours of the Divine Office daily and have times for Adoration, meditation and the rosary. But they also clean, cook, nurse, study, recreate and more. They rise early and go to bed late and their hearts are free for God alone.

Myth #2: Talented. Go elsewhere?

Of course, all of the talents a women brings to the cloister are put to good use (teacher, musician, artist, writer, nurse) but the greatest gift a woman gives to God is the gift of herself, so that it may bear fruit a hundredfold for the life of His Mystical Body. Contemplatives are Christ’s chosen spouses, imaging in a radical way the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord.

Myth #3: The Cloister is for Introverts

The cloistered life involves solitude of heart which leads to deeper union with God. It also involves intense community, for you live in the enclosure with your sisters 24/7, 365 days a year. They pray, work and recreate together, striving to grow in unity of heart and mind rooted in love of God. . The cloistered life is for both introverts and extroverts—both have strengths and challenges which are transformed by grace; both serve God.

Myth #4: Cloistered Nuns Never Talk

The question is not, “Do I like to talk?” Rather it is, “Am I able to keep silence?” Silence is an ancient monastic observance which directs a nun’s thoughts and affections towards God rather than in unnecessary and distracting chatter. During work hours, however, the sisters speak when necessary and talk during meetings, classes and recreation.

Myth #5: Unfit for the Active Life? Try the Cloister.

Actually, the cloistered Dominican life is just as demanding though not as distracting as that of a student, mother or active religious. Normal good health is essential to enter upon their life of total dedication, complete self-giving to Jesus through Mary for the salvation of souls, lived through the monastic life of the community.

Contact the Dominican nuns for the brochure or if you are interested in knowing more about their life.

 

A Community for Later Vocations – Sisters of Jacopa

Bl. Jacopa
Bl. Jacopa

One of the most common inquiries we get is from women who have discerned a “belated” vocation and are asking what community will consider accepting women who are past 40 years of age. The communities do exist, some considering it on an exception basis, some dedicated communities for mature women.

One such community is the Sisters of Jacopa (FJA) in Toronto, Ohio. Sr. Kathleen Marshall, a widow and mother, was inspired to found the community on September 14, 2012. With permission from the diocese, they are pursuing candidates and forming this emerging Franciscan family.

The members (widows or single women over 40)  will seek to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, contemplation, adoration and study. Their characteristics are Franciscan, Marian, Eucharistic, and

Sr. Kathleen, wearing the proposed habit of the FJAs. Habit is a similar to what Bl. Jacopa is wearing in the picture.
Sr. Kathleen, wearing the proposed habit of the FJAs. Habit is a similar to what Bl. Jacopa is wearing in the picture.

obedience to the Holy Father. Their apostolates of prayer and service will focus especially on widows in addition to priests, the suffering elderly and families.

Bl. Jacopa (feast day February 8th) was a widow, friend of St. Francis of Assisi and a Third Order Franciscan. As he lay dying, he asked Jacopa to bring him his favorite almond treat to taste one last time. She was in attendance at Francis’ deathbed, hence, the tradition, when Franciscans commemorate Francis’ passing unto eternal life (Transitus), of distributing almond treats.

The Sisters of Jacopa are having a Come & See Weekend at their monastery(Mary, Ark of the Covenant) on May 15-17, 2015, in Toronto, Ohio (NOT Canada!). For more information, call (740)314-4023 or email: familyjacopa@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Franciscan Walk for The Year of Consecrated Life

OSF1  The Year of Consecrated Life is being recognized and celebrated in so many beautiful ways!  In the month of March, one group of 10 Franciscans walked the ancient Via Flaminia from beautiful Assisi to stately Rome in just seven days.  Filled with joy and prayer, these 10 men endeavored to travel from the land of Saint Francis, “a man of peace, a man of prayer”, to the land of Pope Francis and his hallowed halls of Rome.

As Pope Francis attempts to carry on the great traditions of Saint Francis’ devotion to poverty and service to the poor, these Franciscans travelled to honor him in his second year as our Holy Father.  Along the way, the men stayed with religious communities, parishes, and families.  Bowled over by the warmth and hospitality of all they met, they brought from each OSF2stop prayer petitions to lay before the Holy Father.  Collecting grains of incense in these stops as well, they symbolically infused those prayers into the incense which they handed to the Most Reverend J. Rodriguez Carballo along with a letter to be presented to the Pope.  The burning of incense at a future papal celebration will lift all these prayers to heaven.

The Franciscans had many reasons to embark on this physical and spiritual journey this year.  Not only is it the Year of Consecrated Life, it has also been 800 years since the granting of the indulgence of the Portiuncula and 500 years since the events which signaled the division of the Order.  They reportedly enjoyed the experience to the utmost.  As one of them writes; “The beauty of walking together allowed us to get to know each other, to tell our stories, to grow in fraternity, to learn how to help each other and give each other the time needed to find common rhythms.”  Surely the beautiful springtime countryside didn’t hurt!

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