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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Vocational Discernment at Mater Redemptoris

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News, Resources | One comment

mater redOne of the biggest obstacles a young woman faces as she discerns a religious vocation is finding wise spiritual guidance along the way. The other  factor preventing a flourishing of vocations is the sad truth that most young girls have never seen much less talked to a sister.

Fortunately, in the IRL’s backyard there is a wonderful apostolate whose mission is to assist young women to discern a call to the religious life. Called Mater Redemptoris, the goal of all of the programs is to promote understanding of religious life in the Church and to assist girls and women to find God’s particular call for their lives. It is a joint project with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George and the Diocese but it is open to women outside the diocese.

They offer long-term live-in opportunities, spiritual mentoring, retreats, and vocational talks. They just completed a vocational pilgrimage where women and their chaperones visited Catholic shrines and religious communities in the Eastern U.S. (It was so popular there was a waiting list!)

For high school girls, there are summer immersion programs (June 22-28 & July 6-12) where they will get a closer look at religious life.

For girls aged 9 – 13, a retreat (July 1-2) gives them an opportunity to interact with the Sisters and to begin learning about religious life.

Private retreats are available for adult women.

What a fabulous resource for young women! Check out their website and blog!


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Only a Passionist Vocation WIll Do

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

cp imageFr. Jude Mead, CP, was a noted author, teacher, retreat master and dear friend of the IRL. He suddenly in 1992 just as he was preparing to attend, once again as Dean, the IRL’s summer school for religious. When he celebrated his Golden Anniversary as a priest, he had these beautiful words to share about his vocation:

If I could be sixteen again I would do exactly as I have done all over again and still savour every moment of it. I always wanted to be a priest. Once I met the Passionists, only the Passionist vocation would do. So when I turn up my toes, still rejoicing in all I have received, I hope another young man will step into my battered sandals, able to enjoy, as I have relished, all the moments of these past fifty years. For what little I have given, for the much I have received, for whatever is to come, I thank the One and Only God. Fr. Jude Mead, CP (1919-1992)

The Passionsist were founded by St. Paul of the Cross in Italy in. The mission of the Passionist men and women is to keep alive in the world the love of Jesus Crucified. For more information, please visit one of their websites.


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Fr. Hardon 100th Birthday Memorial Mass

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

hardonAll are invited to a Memorial Mass and Reception to celebrate the 100th birthday of Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, and the 67th anniversary of his ordination.Yes, he was ordained on his birthday. It seems he was ordained at the same time of day that he was born into the world, according to his Mother!

The event will take place at the Colombiere Retreat Center in Clarkston, Michigan on June 18th, 2014, at 7:00 pm.

Fr. Hardon, who died in 2000, packed an enormous amount of work into his long life. He never wasted a minute. If he wasn’t writing or teaching or administering the sacraments, he was praying.

In the name of God, I beg you, with all my being, to pray.

Pray every day to our Lord. Pray for priests.

Pray that priests may be priests not only in name, but in reality.

What is a real priest? A real priest is one who loves Jesus crucified.

A real priest is one who loves nothing more — and I mean every syllable — who loves nothing more than to suffer out of love for Jesus, who ordained him.

A real priest is a living martyr. Pray for priests.


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D-Day Chaplain Remembered

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

Franciscan Friars Albert Scherer, left, and James McCurry unveil a memorial at Father Ignatius’ grave in Mater Dolorosa Cemetery.

Last week, on June 6th, the Western World remembered all of the soldiers who lost their lives on the D-Day beaches of Normandy, France, in 1944. On this 70th anniversary, one man was remembered in particular, Fr.Ignatius Maternowski, OFM Conv. Fr. Ignatius is believed to be the only Catholic chaplain who was killed on the day of the Allied landings.

Father parachuted in with members of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. Father landed safely near Guetteville and sought out a place where the injured could be treated. He then crossed enemy lines to seek out his German counterpart to see if he could set up a common hospital. Clearly displaying his red cross arm band and chaplain insignia, he was nonetheless shot in the back by a German sniper. He was 32 years old.

Father’s body lay where he was shot for 3 days until the Allies could move in. His body was buried in a cemetery near Utah Beach. Later, his  remains were exhumed and reburied in the Franciscans’ Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Father was a Holyoke native.

fr igantius“His quiet heroism is the stuff of legend,” said Conventual Franciscan Father James McCurry, minister provincial of Our Lady of Angels province. He exemplified “goodness and self-sacrifice above the call of duty.”

Fr. McCurry was present in Normandy during the ceremonies and told the people of Guetteville, “I stand here today on this hallowed ground, in my role as Father Ignatius’s next of kin – his Franciscan brother. Permit me to thank the good people of Guetteville and Picauville for the loving attention that you continue to show to his memory.”

The marker on his grave reads: “No Greater Love.”


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sjcOn May 27th, 2014, three young men of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius were ordained priests at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago. Fr. Joshua Caswell, Fr. Nathan Caswell, and Fr. Kevin Mann (read his vocation story) became priests of the Roman Catholic Church at the hands Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is a family story par exellence because the Caswells, Fr. Joshua and Fr. Nathan, are blood brothers, while their sister, Sr. Mary Judith, OP, is a member of the community of the Dominican sjcopSisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist! How proud their parents must be!!

Visiting Chicago and sightseeing among the architectural wonders is a great thing to do but don’t miss out on the churches! One such gem is St. John Cantius, rescued from dilapidation and dedicated to St. John Cantius. (Also known as St. John of Kenty or Kanty or Kanti).

Pope John Paul II had a great devotion to this Polish saint (1390-1472) who was born 13 miles from his birthplace. Pope Clement XII  named St. John Cantius the patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737.

From the SJC website:

Designed by Adolphus Druiding and completed in 1898, St. John Cantius Church took five years to build and is one of the best examples of sacred architecture in the city. The unique baroque interior has remained intact for more than a century and is known for both its opulence and grand scale—reminiscent of the sumptuous art and architecture of 18th century Krakow. The imposing 130 ft. tower is readily seen from the nearby Kennedy Expressway. In 2012, St. John’s completed an ambitious restoration, returning the lavish interior to its original splendor.

Truly, it is a heavenly marvel bearing good fruits!


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