Monday, June 10, 2013

R.I.P. - Nadine Brown, founder of suppressed Intercessors of the Lamb

Nadine Brown then, and more recently

I received an email from someone informing me that Nadine Brown has passed away. She founded the Intercessors of the Lamb, now suppressed by the Church, which I wrote quite a bit about some years ago.

The person who wrote me was quite distressed over my past writings. He brought up the clerical sex scandals and related cover ups and told me I was following bishops blindly in my support of Archbishop Lucas in the matter.  Here is my response to him:

Dear ----------,  
Thank you for informing me of Nadine Brown's death.  May God grant her eternal rest. I'll remember her in my intentions today. I am glad to hear that Nadine Brown continued in her Catholic faith at Our Lady of Lourdes parish, from where she was buried.  
I regret that you experienced what you did in seminary.  I'm not unaware that these things have happened, as I had read the book, Goodbye, Good Men by Michael S. Rose which describes the very culture you talk about in seminaries.  I know priests who suffered through that gauntlet, barely making it through to ordination. These things are clearly wrong, but we don't judge the Church, which was founded by Jesus Christ, on the sins of men who have God-given free will to choose a sinful path, and still others who would choose a sinful coverup rather than hold those responsible, accountable.  
Judas was a priest, called by Jesus. He too had free-will and God permitted him to turn on Jesus out of greed.  But, there were 11 other Apostles who, as weak as they were, did not turn on Jesus in sinful greed. Thanks be to God people didn't condemn the young Church for the sins of Judas, or refrain from hearing the other Apostles, projecting the blame for Judas on them. Just as those apostles didn't deserve to have the blame for Judas projected on to them, today's bishops and priests don't deserve to have the guilt of clerics who committed sins that cry out to heaven, projected on to them.  Sure, there are guilty parties and while they may escape justice here on earth, they will not escape the Just Judge, from whom nothing can be hidden. 
While in  your woundedness you may project blame on all bishops for the sins of a few, I can't go down that path.  "Do what they say, not what they do," were the words of our Lord in reference to sinful leaders.  
I understand that you disagree with my writings in support of Archbishop Lucas.  You are free to do that, but I stand by what I wrote back then.  What you don't know is what was in, and remains in my heart.  I think Nadine Brown was a victim of sorts herself. She was a victim of not getting proper oversight for her fledgling community. I'm not going to judge the predecessor of Archbishop Lucas because I do not know the circumstances surrounding this apparent lack of oversight, and whether he had tools to do that. Many new communities were emerging in those days and with their focus on a more traditional religious life, I'm sure some bishops were glad to welcome them, unaware of problems in need of addressing before they could become entrenched. In the case of the Intercessors, I believe this caused many more people to be hurt when things were found to be out of harmony with certain aspects of how religious communities are to be formed.  Had intervention happened sooner, Brown may have been more open to changes needed to bring community  life into harmony with the Vatican process. Either the community would have faded out of existence early on if it could not right itself, or it would have formed properly and blossomed into something much richer.  
I am glad to see the community which emerged from the suppressed Intercessors of the Lamb, now called, the Brides of the Victorious Lamb, recognized by the Church.  They continue under the guidance of Archbishop Lucas there in Omaha.  I was aware of some of the training they went through by some very solid theologians.  This gave the many an opportunity to see if religious life, as envisioned by the Church, would work for them in this particular charism.  I understand some have pursued life in other communities, or continued on in secular life.  May God grant all of them peace and enlightenment. 

I ask all of you to pray for the repose of the soul of Nadine Brown. May God grant  unto her, eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon her.

Please, also pray for all former members of the suppressed Intercessors of the Lamb no matter where they are or what they are doing. These people all desired to pursue God in a religious vocation and should be recognized for their willingness to sacrifice their lives in this way.  When a vocational pursuit comes to an end, regardless of how it happens, it can have devastating impacts to one's life and faith.  In many cases, people give up careers, homes, and much more, to follow a vocation. If it doesn't pan out, they must work through many material, emotional, and spiritual challenges.

Here is a photo of some of the religious sisters of the church sanctioned community, the Brides of the Victorious Lamb. They are small in number, but well formed.  I understand some of the priests who were with the community have gone to dioceses to work.  Keep them also in your prayers.

I am closing comments on this post because, as my blog will show with so few posts of late, I'm swamped with a number of projects, including ordinary home care, that I have not had as much time to devote to the blog. I hope to be posting more regularly in the coming weeks.  For now, a post here and there.

Any other updates on former members, please feel free to contact me at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.  I can't guarantee I will reply to all emails, but I will read through them.

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