Little Flowers in Lincoln

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Women's Communities | No comments yet.
The sisters with Bishop Bruskewitz

The sisters with Bishop Bruskewitz

The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Mercy, is a new IRL Affiliate Community located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Originally founded in Vietnam, the sisters are now a Diocesan Congregation established in 1999 by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.

What, you may ask, are Vietnamese sisters doing in Lincoln? Like many Vietnamese, some sisters were forced to flee as the Communists advanced. Eventually, via Australia and Missouri, they ended up in the diocese of Lincoln.

Sister Rosaria Hoang was one of the original sisters. As a 22 year-old, she was one of 34 sisters who were placed on the last Australian Air Force flight out of Vietnam. They thought their exile would be temporary. But after the fall of Saigon and the ensuing persecution of the Church, they knew this was not to be.

“We all go into the chapel, all the sisters. We cry. We pray. We encourage each other to restart our lives, outside of Vietnam,” said Sister Rosaria. Bishop Patrick Flavin, the late bishop of Lincoln, asked three of Missouri sisters, including Sister Rosaria, to come with him to Lincoln and work with the community’s Vietnamese refugees.

The Lincoln sisters are teachers, child care providers (Little Flower Child Care Center), religion instructors, nurses and assistants to the bishop. They also remain on-call as interpreters for the Social Security Administration. And supportive of their sisters in the community in Vietnam.

“However, the work we are doing is not important as to whom we are,” Sister Rosaria said. “With our witnesses to the religious consecrated life, we pray and hope that the Holy Spirit will ‘tap’ on those we have a chance to interact with and draw them all closer to him.”

See a wonderful story on them in the Journal Star.

Let No Wolf Enter the Sheepfold

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Papal Address | No comments yet.

pfrancisThe following is Pope Francis’ homily given on July 7 in the chapel of Santa Marta, attended by victims of sexual abuse by clergy, along with some families and carers and members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

It is worth reading in full.

After the Mass, the Holy Father spent three hours with six abuse victims, three men and three women, from Britain, Germany and Ireland.  

The scene where Peter sees Jesus emerge after a terrible interrogation… Peter whose eyes meet the gaze of Jesus and weeps… This scene comes to my mind as I look at you, and think of so many men and women, boys and girls. I feel the gaze of Jesus and I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the Church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons. Today, I am very grateful to you for having traveled so far to come here.

For some time now I have felt in my heart deep pain and suffering. So much time hidden, camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained until someone realized that Jesus was looking and others the same… and they set about to sustain that gaze.

And those few who began to weep have touched our conscience for this crime and grave sin. This is what causes me distress and pain at the fact that some priests and bishops, by sexually abusing minors, violated their innocence and their own priestly vocation. It is something more than despicable actions. It is like a sacrilegious cult, because these boys and girls had been entrusted to the priestly charism in order to be brought to God. And those people sacrificed them to the idol of their own concupiscence. They profane the very image of God in whose likeness we were created. Childhood, as we all know, young hearts, so open and trusting, have their own way of understanding the mysteries of God’s love and are eager to grow in the faith. Today the heart of the Church looks into the eyes of Jesus in these boys and girls and wants to weep; she asks the grace to weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left life long scars.

I know that these wounds are a source of deep and often unrelenting emotional and spiritual pain, and even despair. Many of those who have suffered in this way have also sought relief in the path of addiction. Others have experienced difficulties in significant relationships, with parents, spouses and children. Suffering in families has been especially grave, since the damage provoked by abuse affects these vital family relationships.

Some have even had to deal with the terrible tragedy of the death of a loved one by suicide. The deaths of these so beloved children of God weigh upon the heart and my conscience and that of the whole Church. To these families I express my heartfelt love and sorrow. Jesus, tortured and interrogated with passionate hatred, is taken to another place and he looks out. He looks out upon one of his own torturers, the one who denied him, and he makes him weep. Let us implore this grace together with that of making amends.

Sins of clerical sexual abuse against minors have a toxic effect on faith and hope in God. Some of you have held fast to faith, while for others the experience of betrayal and abandonment has led to a weakening of faith in God. Your presence here speaks of the miracle of hope, which prevails against the deepest darkness. Surely it is a sign of God’s mercy that today we have this opportunity to encounter one another, to adore God, to look in one another’s eyes and seek the grace of reconciliation.

Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness.

I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves. This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.

On the other hand, the courage that you and others have shown by speaking up, by telling the truth, was a service of love, since for us it shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church. There is no place in the Church’s ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not. All bishops must carry out their pastoral ministry with the utmost care in order to help foster the protection of minors, and they will be held accountable.

What Jesus says about those who cause scandal applies to all of us: the millstone and the sea (cf. Mt 18:6).

By the same token we will continue to exercise vigilance in priestly formation. I am counting on the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, all minors, whatever religion they belong to, they are little flowers which God looks lovingly upon.

I ask this support so as to help me ensure that we develop better policies and procedures in the universal Church for the protection of minors and for the training of church personnel in implementing those policies and procedures. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that these sins have no place in the Church.

Dear brothers and sisters, because we are all members of God’s family, we are called to live lives shaped by mercy. The Lord Jesus, our Savior, is the supreme example of this; though innocent, he took our sins upon himself on the cross. To be reconciled is the very essence of our shared identity as followers of Jesus Christ. By turning back to him, accompanied by our most holy Mother, who stood sorrowing at the foot of the cross, let us seek the grace of reconciliation with the entire people of God. The loving intercession of Our Lady of Tender Mercy is an unfailing source of help in the process of our healing.

You and all those who were abused by clergy are loved by God. I pray that the remnants of the darkness which touched you may be healed by the embrace of the Child Jesus and that the harm which was done to you will give way to renewed faith and joy.

I am grateful for this meeting. And please pray for me, so that the eyes of my heart will always clearly see the path of merciful love, and that God will grant me the courage to persevere on this path for the good of all children and young people. Jesus comes forth from an unjust trial, from a cruel interrogation and he looks in the eyes of Peter, and Peter weeps. We ask that he look at us and that we allow ourselves to be looked upon and to weep and that he give us the grace to be ashamed, so that, like Peter, forty days later, we can reply: “You know that I love you”; and hear him say: “go back and feed my sheep” – and I would add – “let no wolf enter the sheepfold”.

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A Widow’s Walk

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | No comments yet.
chervin pic

Dr. Rhonda Chervin, PhD, MA

Here is something greatly needed and timely for our times. “A Widow’s Walk” conference specifically for women who seek encouragement, comfort and wisdom from the widow saints after the loss of a husband.

The presenters for the three-day event are Dr. Rhonda Chervin and Marti Armstrong. Dr. Chervin, along with Anne Lassiter, has a 4-Disk DVD out entitled “A Widow’s Walk With Christ” which you may have seen on EWTN.

During the Widow’s Walk Conference, there will be two 1-hour talks a day followed by group sharing and prayer. It will be held at the Home of the Family of Jacopa Association in Steubenville, Ohio, from August 12th-14th, 2014. The Family of Jacopa was founded by Kathleen Marshall, FJ, (Community Servant), and it is a Franciscan Community specially for widows and women over the age of 40.

The topics look wonderful: saints who were widows, Jesus as the Second Bridegroom, Mary as the exalted widow, Stations of the Cross for widows, witness stories of the presenters, and much more.

Some saints who come to mind who were widows are Sts. Jane de Chantal, Elizabeth Seton, Bridget of Sweden, Frances of Rome, Rita of Cascia, and, of course, the Blessed Vrigin Mary. Like Consecrated Virgins, Consecrated Widowhood is making a comeback around the world.

On her website, Dr. Chervin has a list of options for widows desiring to give themselves more fully to the Lord including the names of communities that are specifically for widows or accept widows as an older vocation, the status of a Rite for Consecrated Widows, etc.

Right now, there is no official, canonically recognized Rite for widows to be consecrated in the Latin Church. However, the Canons for the Eastern Catholic Churches do allow for the consecration of widows and widowers.

For reservations for “A Widow’s Walk,” please call (740)314-8455. Please advise them if you need overnight accommodations.

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Radical Joy Conference – Tampa

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News, Vocations | No comments yet.

rad joyHere is an event that I wish every parish would sponsor or encourage: Radical Joy Expo – Religious Life Conference. It is an day-long meeting meant to introduce young people to religious life. As Pope Francis said, “No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the Joy brought by the Lord.”

Pope Francis has declared 2015 a year dedicated to consecrated life. This observance will be a distinct way for the Universal Church to thank religious for their witness and response to God’s call to radically follow Him in joy. It will also serve to promote vocations to this unique form of discipleship in the Church.

radical joyAll young people are invited to come together on this day, Saturday September 13th, so that they themselves can see that this radical witness of joy, joy that only Jesus can give, is still alive, well and making a big comeback! It is an opportunity for young people to talk face-to-face with sisters, brothers and priests.

Bring your school, bring your youth group, bring your family and friends. Don’t think that this invitation isn’t for you. Come, come see what God has in store specifically for you. The location is: Mary Help of Christians Center, 6400 East Chelsea Street, Tampa, FL, 33610. For more information visit the website or call  (813)626-6191.

“Consecrated life is a prophecy,” said the Holy Father. “Like birds, God ask us to fly the nest and to be sent to the frontiers of the world, by avoiding temptation to ‘domesticate’ our young people we help our church grow. This is the most concrete way of imitating the Lord”

 

 

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College of Mary Magdalen Collegiate Summer Program

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | No comments yet.

Magdalen_Oct2013_by_Lomanno_0205 (1)The College of Saint Mary Magdalen, an IRL Affiliate, has a wonderful summer program for college students. Held July 27 – August 9,  the cost is only $795.00.

The program gives young people a two-week experience of living on a Catholic college campus for study, prayer, and recreation.  Participants live in the College’s residence halls, study philosophy, theology, and music (with the option to study politics and literature), attend daily Mass, and enjoy sports, drama, and socials.  Several day-trips are planned for hiking in the White Mountains, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, canoeing the Merrimack River, and spectating at the Quechee Gorge in Vermont.

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen’s Summer Programs are designed for students who have completed at least one year of high school.  Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, and recent high school graduates are welcome to attend. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen is one of only 28 colleges in the U.S. to be named to the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. The College offers a Great Books education rooted in the Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions.  Their fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church is a source of joy for their students, their parents, and their entire collegiate community.  As they say on their website, they are joyfully Catholic!
For more information, visit their website or call: (603)456-2656

 

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The study of philosophy does not mean to learn what others have thought but to learn what is the truth of things. -St. Thomas Aquinas

 

Fr. Ambrose Little, OP, enrolling the young women into the Confraternity

Fr. Ambrose Little, OP, enrolling the young women into the Confraternity

Last month, the Dominican Nuns in Marbury, Alabama, welcomed seven young women to their monastery for a weekend Vocation Retreat. These high school and college-age women came seeking answers to these questions: What is the vocation of a cloistered Dominican nun? Is it God’s will for me? The girls chanted the Liturgy, engaged in talks and recreation, and kept prayerful silence all day on Saturday so that everyone could have a chance to listen to God without getting distracted.

One of the most moving events of the weekend was the enrollment of six of the girls into the Angelic Warfare Confraternity (one had enrolled the previous year). What is a confraternity you may ask? They were very popular before Vatican II but unfortunately seem to have fallen out of favor since then.

A Confraternity is a supernatural brotherhood or fellowship of men and women who make a sacred pact to pursue some good together in the Church. The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is a confraternity run by the Dominican Order and dedicated to the pursuit of purity and chastity under the patronage of St. Thomas and the Blessed Virgin. Who wouldn’t want such supporters!!!

St. Thomas Aquinas is the perfect patron for this Confraternity. His family was vehemently opposed to his Dominican vocation and his brothers even sent a prostitute to his room to lure him from his vow of chastity. Thomas drove the woman out, slammed the door behind her, and emblazoned the sign of the cross on the door with a red-hot brand. According to testimony at his canonization, Thomas experienced a vision of  two angels who bound a cord around his waist and said, “On God’s behalf, we gird you with the girdle of chastity, a girdle which no attack will ever destroy.”

In the enrollment ceremony, which can only be conducted by a Dominican priest (though another priest can do it with permission), the priest confers the blessing upon a cord and a medal of St. Thomas Aquinas. One or both of these items are to be worn at all times, with practical exceptions (surgery, etc.). The name of the person enrolled and place of the enrollment ceremony goes into an official Register. You too can join the ranks in company with St. Aloysius Gonzaga and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati who were also members!

This Confraternity is not just for the young. Anyone serious about living a chaste life may become a member. In honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, members say fifteen Hail Mary’s for chastity for themselves and all the members of the Confraternity.

Many people who go through ceremony and wear the blessed cord or medal testify to experiencing great relief from temptations and greater strength in resisting temptations. As St. Paul says, “The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20).

For more information, visit www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org. To see when the next vocational retreat will be held in Marbury, visit the nuns’ website!

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kokomoAs one living in the cold and snowy Midwest, getting up at midnight on a dark winter night is not something I relish. I have to be really motivated to leap out of a warm bed. Imagine doing that every day, every week, every year for eighty two years! That is what Sr. Mary Bernadette of the Poor Clare Colettines in Kokomo, Indiana, has been doing since 1932!!!

The oldest Poor Clare nun in the U.S., Sister Mary Bernadette celebrated her 100th birthday on June 29th. One man, who has known her his entire life, said, “Over the years, I’ve learned that Sister Bernadette is the kind of person who lends an ear to you, but then gets right to the point. You can talk to her about any subject, and she always knows what kind of medicine you need. She’s a spiritual doctor.”

Founding Sisters

Founding Sisters

Sister is an Extern Nun who greeted visitors, answered the phone and performed necessary errands. She joined the Poor Clares despite her father’s strong objections and found the Poor Clare life not that much different than life on the family farm for her family was poor anyway. She was one of the founding sisters who came to Kokomo from Chicago in 1959.

The Poor Clares in Kokomo are Colettines meaning that they embrace as their founders both St. Francis and St. Clare as well as St. Colette, their second mother. They rise at midnight for Matins (Midnight Office of Readings) and end the day with Compline (Night Prayer) at 9:00 pm. Of course, there is Lauds (Morning Prayer), Terce (Midmorning Prayer), Sext (Midday Prayer), None (Midafternoon Prayer and Scriptural Reading), and Vespers (Evening Prayer) in between. How comforting to know that they are praying when we are asleep or busy with our jobs or families.

Let us always regret that we have but one heart with which to love God, and that this heart is so poor and weak. but such as it is, God asks it of us! Let us give it to Him constantly and completely. Let Him have this poor heart for time and eternitySt. Colette

 

 

 

The Poor Clares sleep on straw mattresses atop of planks, do not eat meat, do not wear shoes

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The Only Vocation I Could Be Satisfied With

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

fr walkerOn the night of June 11, 2014, Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, age 28, was shot to death in an apparent robbery attempt in his own rectory at Mater Misericordiae Mission in Phoenix, Arizona. The pastor, Fr.  Joseph Terra, FSSP, was severely beaten but thanks be to God, survived the attack.

According to the Vicar General of the Phoenix diocese, Fr. Terra was able to administer the Last Rites to Father Walker. Father Walker’s sister Sasha said that her family is able to smile through their tears because “he had Last Rites, and it gives us so much peace knowing that he was able to have those special graces.”

Who was Father Walker? He was ordained just 2 years ago by His Excellency Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz. Parishoners described Father Walker as a “sweet, gentle man,” “a young bright face almost angelic disposition” with “complete faithfulness to the Church.” The two priests at the Mission were often seen sitting on either side of the altar chanting Latin prayers. They prayed outside abortion clinics every week.

Both Fr. Walker and Fr. Terra were “incredibly devout and focused on their mission as priests of the Church.”

Fr. Walker was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, one of 11 children.His family’s life changed when they came across a book entitled, The Incredible Catholic Mass, which introduced them for the first time to the Latin Mass. On his own initiative, Father taught himself Latin and became an altar server at an FSSP apostolate in Scranton, PA. He attended Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Ontario and then entered the FSSP seminary.

The Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Very Rev. John Berg, said:

“In an age where we seem so centered upon ‘clerical stars’ and are constantly searching for the ‘newest approach to evangelization,’ the life of our confrere gave witness to one of the greatest priestly virtues, a quiet and consistent strength, which is a mark of the Good Shepherd who watches vigilantly over His flock in season and out of season.”

We should appropriately end with Father Walker’s own words, written on his FSSP application:

God, in His infinite love, desires all men to be saved and so achieve their true end. Along with the Church, then, I am deeply grieved by these errors concerning the nature and dignity of man accepted by so many people in the world, which deviate them from their supernatural end. In full view of the situation in the world, then, the only vocation that I could be satisfied with, as a work, would be one that would be dedicated to bringing people to salvation in whatever way God wills for me to do so.

Mater Misericordiae, Ora pro nobis

Requiescat in Pace, dear Father.

 

 

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gerardI recently finished reading The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest by Fr. John Gerard, SJ, (Ignatius Press) and happily came across an article in Crisis Magazine that reinforced my opinion that this is one fine book!

John Gerard was ordained a Jesuit priest during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). During her governance, 87 Catholic priests were executed for treason for not submitting to the Act of Supremacy which declared her head of the Church of England.

Fr. Gerard spent his early priestly years ministering to the remnant of Catholics who remained faithful to the Church in England, hiding in “priest-holes” which devout Catholics built into their stately homes to safeguard the  priests who administered the sacraments to them. John won many converts but was ultimately betrayed by a traitor in one of the households and was subjected to brutal tortures before he finally escaped and then left England for good.

When Fr. James Schall, SJ, first heard about Fr. Gerard, he thought it an interesting adventure story but surely one that could not happen in this country. Now he is not so certain. Practicing Catholics were pursued relentlessly in Elizabethan England and is it so different today?

One of the interesting sidebars in the book is a brief mention of Mary Lady Lovel, a pious woman who devoted her life to good works, gave money to the Jesuits and in Antwerp founded (as benefactress) the first English Carmelite monastery. Young English women throughout the ensuing decades fled to Belgium to take up religious life. It was only at the end of the 18th century that the Carmelites could return home and establish the first English Carmelite monastery on English soil at Lanherne in Cornwall.

lanherneEleven Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate now occupy the monastery, the Carmelites having left the site in 2001. Here, St. Cuthbert Mayne celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (using the altar which is  now in their small choir) and ministered to the faithful. A friend of St. Edmund Campion, St. Cuthbert was  martyred in 1577. For more information on this holy site, please visit Friends of Lanherne. 

Through the intercession of the English martyrs, may God bless England with many holy vocations.

 

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Bl. Paul Giustiniani, Son of Romuald

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | One comment

Remembering today the Camaldolese Monks of Monte Corona of Holy Family Hermitage in Bloomingdale, Ohio, on this Feast Day of St. Romuald. The Monte Corona monks were founded as a Camaldolese reform by Bl. Paul Giustiniani in 1520. The Camaldolese themselves were founded by St. Romuald in 1023. Pray for holy vocations for these dedicated men of God.

Bl. Paul and St. Romuald

Bl. Paul and St. Romuald

O God, Who chose St. Romuald to renew the eremitic life in Your Church, 

give us the strength to  deny ourselves in order to follow Christ in the way of the Cross

and to go up with Him into the glory of Your reign.

Through Jesus  Christ Your Son, Who is God and Who live and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end.

Amen.

The above picture can be purchased from the monks in Ohio.

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