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The National Catholic Register has an article in its latest issue (2/9/14) about teaching Orders active in the Church today. I am happy to say that all of those cited are IRL Affiliate members and doing astonishingly well with vocations. Here are some highlights:
Their official name is the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and they were founded in 1860, proving that you do not have to be an new order in order to be thriving. The Motherhouse is located in Tennessee, the state with the lowest percentage of Catholics in the U.S. There are 300 sisters teaching in 40 schools in the US, though there are also sisters in Australia, Canada and Scotland.The Dominicans’ motto is veritas (truth) with the mission to contemplate the truths of Christ and pass on the fruits of that contemplation to others. The sisters equip students “to go out and transform the culture for Christ.”
The School Sisters of Christ the King were founded in 1976 by Bishop Glennon Flavin, the 3rd president of the IRL. There are 32 sisters teaching 1500 students in the Diocese of Lincoln. Their goal is “to bring abut the reign of Christ through Catholic education.” Three former students have become sisters within the order! What a wonderful testimony to the holy example of the teaching sisters!
These Dominican sisters were canonically established in 1997. Then there were 4 sisters—today there are 120 sisters whose average age is 29! The sisters teach in schools in 8 states across the country. Sr. Joseph Andrew said, “Ours is a holistic approach, touching mind, body and soul. We seek to put a Catholic culture in our schools.”
The Norbertines operate St. Michael’s Abbey Preparatory School, a boarding school for 67 students, in Silverado, California. It is consistently ranked among the top 50 Catholic high schools in the nation. There are also expansion plans to handle 100 students. Fr. Victor Szczurek, O.Praem., says that it was “monastic schools like our own that helped form Christendom in Europe and throughout the world.” Their daily program includes Mass and 40 minutes of Eucharistic adoration. By the end of their 4 years of studies, says Father, the students “are convinced of the vital importance of the Church’s sacraments.”
The School Sisters of Christ the King hold a special place in the hearts of those of us at the IRL for their founder, Bishop Glennon P. Flavin, was President of the IRL from 1981 to 1987. He founded the School Sisters in 1976 in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, to serve in the schools of the diocese and to pass on the Faith as the 3rd Millennium approached.
This summer, at the invitation of a priest of the Diocese of Gallup, NM, four sisters traveled to New Mexico to go door to door in the town of LaChee on the Navaho Reservation. Over 200 homes now have a crucifix and/or a picture of the Good Shepherd hanging on the wall, three boys came to Church for the first time and entered CCD, another girl and her mother are interested in RCIA, and 30 children attended Good Shepherd Summer Camp. The sisters went to over 300 homes where they spoke to the people about Jesus, prayed with them, and invited them to Mass.
The sisters asked: was it a success or failure? The answer: “it is not ours to judge…for the evangelizing work of the Church is an extension of Christ’s mission…We, as His members, are just privileged, and commanded, to participate in it.”
This Fall the sisters welcomed two postulants, both from Nebraska, and celebrated Sr. Mary Grace’s reception into the Novitiate. Sr. Teresa Marie made her first profession and Sr. Marie Caritas professed perpetual vows. They are a growing, lively community, very welcoming to young women discerning a vocation. The sisters also rejoiced that a former student has entered the seminary.
The School Sisters of Christ the King, “in the spirit of St. Alphonsus, are devoted to the Passion of the Lord, their crucified King, and have a special love for Mary, their Queen.”
Ut Christus Regnet! May Christ the King Reign in your Hearts!
It’s not often that you hear of a diocese asking women to prayerfully consider the call to religious life so we must thank the Diocese of Des Moines for developing one called Bella Vita (which is Italian for “beautiful life”). And what a beautiful life!
The goal of Bella Vita is to introduce young women to Sisters joyfully living out God’s call in their own lives. The next event is scheduled for April 18, at St. Theresa Parish in Des Moines. The evening starts with 30 minutes of adoration followed by dinner and fellowship with a School Sister of Christ the King (an IRL Affiliate Community), from Lincoln, NE, and two Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus from Minnesota.
What a wonderful idea!
During spring break this year instead of heading for Daytona Beach, 12 young women decided to participate in a “Nun Run,” a beautiful journey of faith which allowed them to see different communities and their apostolates up close and personal. All twelve students were from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, whose 2 traveling minivans were decorated with the words: “BC Nun Run” and “Honk if you love nuns!”
Their journey took them to 5 IRL Affiliate Communities: the School Sisters of Christ the King; Marian Sisters; The Benedictine Sisters, Mary Queen of the Apostles; the Little Sisters of the Poor (see their write up on the 4 days spent there); and the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Holy Eucharist. The “run” ended at the IRL Midwest Meeting in Independence, MO, where Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., offered advice on the practical steps for vocational discernment in general and discerning a religious community in particular.
One young women said, “The breathtaking truth that is found in religious life was clearly felt and experienced. And it has helped me so much to grow as a person, to love others, to live and share my life with others. It has been great!”
As a gift to God for His goodness, and in response to many requests, the School Sisters of Christ the King have recorded a CD called “In Praise of our King.” The recording contains portions of the liturgy of the hours beautifully chanted by the sisters.
The CD is available, free of charge, upon request. They may be contacted at School Sisters of Christ the King, Villa Regina Motherhouse, 4100 SW 56th Street, Lincoln, NE 18522-9261.
While you’re at it, you might want to include with your request for the CD a tax-deductible gift to the sisters–not only to offset the cost of the CD, but even more to support the sisters and their apostolic works.
This relatively young community already staffs seven Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lincoln, but needs contributions to continue to train young sisters for this work.
Looking for ideas on how to celebrate Halloween/All Saints Day? Check out the School Sisters of Christ the King, based in the Diocese of Lincoln.
On Sunday afternoon, October 30th, the sisters are hosting at their motherhouse a “Super Bowl of the Saints” in honor of All Saints Day. (Locals are instructed to follow the red balloons to get there!)
Entire families are invited, as the festivities include activities for all ages. Children are encouraged (but not required) to wear their favorite saint costume, as everyone in attendance will be encouraged to learn from the saints how to respond to the Heart of Jesus.
This dynamic, relatively new (founded in 1976) community of sisters has a beautiful “apostolic mission”:
“Responding to the call of Christ and His Church, we, the School Sisters of Christ the King, strive to bring about the reign of Christ through the apostolate of Catholic education. As Brides of Christ, daughters of the Church and Mothers of Souls, we devote ourselves to reflect His love, teach His truth and form His image in souls in the schools of the Diocese of Lincoln.”
The Sisters belong “totally to the King,” as they reverence Christ as King in the Crib, on the Cross, in the Blessed Sacrament, and reigning in Heaven, and this wonderful charism has attracted many young women to this community. If you know someone who might be interested, the Sisters regularly offer “Come and See” retreats.