Tag Archives: Women’s communities

Help a Sister out!

We would like to interrupt this terribly long blog break to bring you a very special announcement and prayer request:

A friend of a friend is trying to enter the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, but she needs to pay off several thousand dollars in student loans by the end of this month in order to enter. Will you help? Every little bit counts! Click here to donate.


As for the terribly long blog break – nothing is amiss! I’ve just been a little overwhelmed by the demands and chaos of my second semester as a first-year teacher. Fortunately, the end (read: the summer) is in sight! Be on the lookout for a revival of the blog once the school year winds down in May.

Please pray for Chelsea’s fundraising campaign, and pray for me and my students as well!

Charity

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Retreat Opportunities: Spiritual Motherhood Retreat

Sorrowful Mother antique prayer card Benziger

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for all priests!

Next month, the Franciscan-Dominican Sister Servants of the Eternal Word in Birmingham, Alabama will be hosting a retreat on Spiritual Motherhood for Priests, called “Praying for Priests: A Vocational Call.” The retreat runs from October 28-30 and will be directed by Fr. Paul Pecchie, who I believe is responsible for promoting this apostolate of forming spiritual mothers here in the United States. To register or find out more information, click here.

I am planning to attend the retreat with several other women from my diocese, and I would love to know if any of you plan to be there as well!

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Potpourri: I love the Pope, Dominican Vocations, Happy Priests!

Inspired by my incredibly creative friend Maggie and her beloved “Clippings” posts over at Ten Thousand Places, I thought I’d try out a similar series of posts on this blog. Each Potpourri post will consist of a list of miscellaneous links, photos, videos, quotes, and/or other tidbits I came across during the week that I thought might interest you all. Let me know what you think!

  • I just now got around to reading the Holy Father’s address to young women religious at World Youth Day in Madrid. LOVE this quote (emphases mine):

“Gospel radicalism means being ‘rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith’ (cf. Col 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. St. Benedict, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to Him, the Bridegroom, as were the saints… Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. … In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”

– Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Young Religious, 19 August 2011
Nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid

There were LOTS of young nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid!

  • More good news from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN: 1 sister recently made final vows, 15 novices made first vows in July, 24 received the holy habit and began their novitiate (including a friend from my hometown, now Sr. Malia Grace!), and 16 new postulants entered in August. Deo gratias!
  • A spunky young blogger reflects on the journey that led her to enter the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI: “Why I’m Joining the Habit-Wearing, Rock Star Sisters” (Ha!) And just for the record, this is yet another proof that in the Young Catholic Church, “six degrees of separation” do not apply; it’s always more like one or two degrees. Exhibit A: Meris has just entered the same convent where a dear, dear friend of mine from college (Sr. Mary Martha!) just began her novitiate. Exhibit B: Meris’ high school friend, Brother James Claver, was a missionary with me in Honduras back in 2008. In both cases, it’s just one degree! Crazy!
  • Meris’ friend Carolina, who also entered the Sisters of Mary this fall, has shared a beautiful “glory story” on her blog about the generous donors who paid off her student loan debt so she could enter the convent. Praise God!
  • Clergy are ranked #1 on a list of the “Ten Happiest Jobs,” based on a survey conducted by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago. I always love to hear the clergy that I know describe their job as “being a happy priest!”
Happy Seminarians

Happy Seminarians. I have no idea who took this photo, but I just love it!

That’s all for now. Look for another I’m-so-excited-about-vocations! linkfest next week!

Charity

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Prayer Request: Entrance into Carmel

Please pray for D., a young woman I met recently who is entering this monastery of Discalced Carmelites today. And pray for the Sisters – today they’re also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of their monastery!

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Nashville Dominicans in the News (Yet Again!)

Always great to see the “vocations boom” being covered by the secular media!

To learn more about the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, visit their Web site: http://nashvilledominican.org

(HT to Aggie Catholics)

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Poor Clares of Lerma Form New Religious Order

About a month ago, I stumbled across this video of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. (Preacher to the Papal Household and author of the fantastic book Virginity: A Positive Approach to Celibacy for the Sake of the Kingdom) visiting a vibrant group of young Poor Clares at a convent in Spain. Because the clearest versions of this video are the originals in Italian and Spanish, the one I’ve posted below is not subtitled. (If you really want English subtitles, you can go here – but I have a feeling you’ll agree they aren’t really necessary!)

Beautiful, right? Since that video was posted in 2009, when there were already a whopping 140 sisters in the convent at Lerma, the number of sisters in this community has climbed to almost 200! And that’s not all. Last Saturday, the “Clarisas” of Lerma officially became a new religious order.

Nearly 200 young nuns processed from their cloister to the cathedral of Burgos on Saturday [February 12, 2011] for the official establishment of their new institute of consecrated life.

Sister Verónica María Berzosa Martínez, formerly the abbess of the group, is now also their founder.

Sister Berzosa, 46, joined the Poor Clares when she was 18. She felt called along with the sisters of her community to establish this new charism, which has now been recognized by the Church as an institute of consecrated life.

Read the entire article on Zenit.org.

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March for Life + Other Blessings

So far, my blogging resolution to “post something every day” this year has been a spectacular failure. It only lasted two weeks… but no matter! The second half of January was jam-packed with blessings that I can’t wait to share.

One of those blessings was my first ever pilgrimage to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. At the last minute (about a week before we left), I signed up to go with a group of nearly 400 high-schoolers and young adults – which included about two dozen seminarians, five of the Nashville Dominicans’ novices and their novice mistress. Part of the focus of our pilgrimage was to “plant the seeds” of vocational discernment in our group of teens, and all I can say about that is: mission accomplished!

Until I have time to write about the other beautiful things God is doing in my life, I’ll leave you with this video of the March:

The Church (particularly the young Church) was so well-represented – I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder to be Catholic!

(HT to Mark Shea)

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A Poor Clare’s Solemn Profession

Since the video in my last post has been removed from YouTube (and I swear it was there just two days ago!), I found another, equally awesome glimpse of cloistered life to share with all of you.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I love how it’s executed with such simplicity. St. Clare would probably be pleased!

(HT: The Anchoress)

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Women of Mystery, Women of Hope

This 7-minute short film depicts three communities of religious sisters in their day-to-day work and prayer in New York City. The orders shown in the video happen to be three that I have long admired for their commitment to the poor and their joyful witness: the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, the Missionaries of Charity, and the Sisters of Life.

For more information about the sisters, click on the links above the video. For more on the film, check out the project Web site: www.mysteryandhope.org.

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Is the “vocations crisis” over?

Finally, some good news!

For as long as my friends and I can remember, Catholics have used the term “vocations crisis” to refer to the shortage of priests and religious that has plagued the Church for the past several decades. I have often wondered whether awareness of this “crisis” was a recent phenomenon, so I did a bit of research…

It seems that the term “vocations crisis” was being used as early as 1969, right around the time the “crisis” began. I’m not sure how often it was used in the years that followed, but if my Vatican archives keyword search is any indication, it looks like the use of this term exploded around the year 2000. My own experience tells me that for the past ten years or so, it has become somewhat of a buzzword among Catholics.

I got used to talking about the “vocations crisis,” too, until one day my spiritual director told me something that rocked my world: There has never been a crisis of vocations, because God has never stopped calling. What we have mistakenly termed a “vocations crisis” is, and has always been, a crisis of response.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? God would never abandon the Church, His Beloved Bride. He has always called, and continues to call, sufficient laborers for His vineyard. Sadly, many of those He was calling in decades past could not (or would not) hear His voice.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, with each decade that’s passed since the “sexual revolution” of the sixties, our culture has become increasingly hostile to the pursuit of a celibate vocation — and I am not speaking only of the secular culture! Even among Catholics, I have seen an astonishing lack of support from “good Catholic parents” who seem to think their child must be CRAZY to consider living a celibate life… And it seems that this hostility, both inside and outside of the home, has made many young people afraid to even consider a vocation. The result? A crisis of response that has lasted some 30-40 years.

So, what’s the good news?

Young people are answering the call, and LOTS of them!

Last March, I saw this post on Vocation Boom: “Vocations are on the rise, and here are the stats to prove it.” Then I came across an article about the recent CARA Study on vocations to the religious life in the United States, and this one from the National Catholic Register.

But the proof isn’t only in faceless statistics. Last year, I said goodbye to about a dozen friends who were leaving to begin their first year of formation for priesthood or religious life. That’s when numbers like these really began hitting home for me:

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal after their final profession, 2010

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal after their final profession, 2010 (from the CFRs' Picasa album)

  • Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: 9 new postulants in 2009, 7 more in 2010, 6 brothers (above) took final vows last fall. Congratulations, Br. Dismas!
  • Sisters of Life: 8 new postulants last year, ranging in age from 22-25!
  • One young woman from our diocese entered the Missionaries of Charity Sisters in January 2010.
  • Two more entered the local Carmel in October.
  • Another joined Mother Angelica’s Poor Clares (the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration) in Hanceville, AL.
  • The major seminary in my home state welcomed 35 new seminarians last fall — a number they had every right to be happy about!

On a side note, I recently discovered that 5 of the 26 seminarians from my diocese went to the local public high school I attended… which wouldn’t be a big deal, if it weren’t for the fact that we were all there at the same time. This means that my alma mater produced 5 seminarians in 5 years! Plus a Jesuit novice. And (God willing!) a consecrated virgin. Not bad at all for a public high school!

Perhaps those numbers don’t impress you. Perhaps my friends and I are the exception… but I would venture to say that this is probably not the case. Seminaries across the country are welcoming young men in droves, and more than a few religious orders are growing at an almost alarming rate.

Is the “vocations crisis” over? I think things are definitely looking up, and I can say that with confidence and joy. My friends and I are the living proof!

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