Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apostolic Visitation of Women's Religoius Communities

Long over due....

And, it ought to be interesting. There are many faithful sisters who have given up their lives to serve the Lord in various ways. What is interesting is the sudden explosion of vocations in traditional religious orders where there is a focus on the fundamentals: Building virtue and holiness through the grace of Marian and Eucharistic devotion. Some would say that time spent in prayer is time lost working with the needy. Consider that Mother Teresa spent 4 hours daily in prayer, and probably only as much time sleeping. The rest was all work. And, the graces that followed in her work, were the fruits of that prayer.

Unfortunately, many religious orders in the US have moved away from that Marian and Eucharistic focus, with some even slipping into new age spirituality. It is also interesting to note that if one were to compare vocation statistics of these kinds of orders, to those which are more traditional, there is a real contrast. Those with a new age focus will reveal an older, average age with few new vocations. Those with a traditional focus don't have enough beds to handle all the young women who want to come on discernment weekends, and there are constant expansions being made on chapels, dorms and convents. In some cases, a handful of nuns must leave their communities to start a new branch in some distant location, such as that case with sisters from Mother Angelica's order in Alabama, who went to Phoenix.

Vatican begins visits to strengthen women religious in U.S.

Washington DC, Jan 30, 2009 / 01:25 pm (CNA).- The Vatican announced today that it is initiating the first-ever visitation of women’s religious communities in the United States. The visitations are being undertaken to help strengthen religious communities in the U.S., which are suffering from a sharp drop in vocations and gentrification of their ranks.

On the heels of issuing a report on the health of U.S. seminaries—which were found to be in relatively good condition—the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, headed by Cardinal Franc Rodé, is embarking on a comprehensive study of the more than 400 congregations present in the United States. The visitations will only assess those religious who engage in apostolic or active work, and will not involve contemplative communities.

The visitation process is being spearheaded by Connecticut native Mother Mary Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., who was appointed by Cardinal Rodé. Mother Clare is the superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a group of sisters that is based in Rome but has 135 sisters in the U.S.

According to a December 22, 2008 Vatican decree authorizing the visitations, the study is being undertaken “to look into the quality of the life” of the members of U.S. religious institutes.

Mother Clare estimates that the project will take about two years to finish, and says that upon completion she will submit a confidential report to Cardinal Rodé. There are no plans to publish the findings.

Sr. Eva-Maria Ackerman, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, explained how the several-stage process will work at a press conference in Washington D.C. on Friday.

Continue reading at Catholic News Agency: Vatican to Begin Visitation of Women's Religious Communities in US

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!