From Harvard To Her Religious Calling

Sunday, July 25, AD 2010

Mary Anne Marks graduated from Harvard University at the top of her class.  You may have heard of her, she is the one that gave the salutatory address all in Latin.

She received a standing ovation.

In addition to graduating with a Classics and English double major with honors, she will be entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

You may remember these nuns from their appearance on the Oprah Show earlier this year in February and how they dazzled the audience as well as Oprah Winfrey herself with their simple devotion and love of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The following video is Mary Anne Marks being interviewed by Net New York‘s Outstanding Anchor Francesca Maximé on the Currents program.

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5 Responses to From Harvard To Her Religious Calling

Booming Traditional Religious Orders!

Friday, May 21, AD 2010

What has been an open secret is now backed by empirical evidence:

The most successful institutes in terms of attracting and retaining new members at this time are those that follow a more traditional style of religious life in which members live together in community and participate in daily Eucharist, pray the Divine Office, and engage in devotional practices together. They also wear a religious habit, work together in common apostolates, and are explicit about their fidelity to the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium. All of these characteristics are especially attractive to the young people who are entering religious life today.*

As I have been reading through the website of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) I came across this nugget of information [Emphases Mine]:

Myth #4:  Women entering religious life want to wear habits.Fact:  Both men and women seem to be drawn to habited communities. About two thirds of the newer members say they belong to a religious institute that wears a habit. Among those that responded affirmatively, a little more than half indicate that the habit is required in all or most circumstances.

Interestingly, almost half of the men who belong to an institute that does not wear a habit say they would wear it if it were an option [and those that don’t wear habits are obviously being disobedient and committing a mortal sin], compared to nearly a quarter of the women respondents.

Ann Carey of The Catholic World Report wrote that the study found several “best practices”:

  1. Involving membership and leadership in concerted vocation promotion efforts.
  2. Having a full-time vocation director.
  3. Using new media like the Internet.
  4. Offering discernment or “come-and-see” opportunities for potential members.
  5. Exposing young people to the idea of religious life from grade school through young adulthood.

What stuck out and confirmed what I’ve always thought in attracting people to religious vocations, as well as bringing in converts to the Catholic faith is:

“the example of members and the characteristics of the institute…have the most influence on the decision to enter a particular institute.”

Sister Elsa Garcia Practicing a Pagan Ritual

When you see a habitless nun walking around in her pants or muumuu’s you wonder what the attraction is when you could lead the same life without living in poverty.

As Saint John said in his epistle:

Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 Jn 2:15-17)

The rest of this posting will be an excerpt of Ann Carey‘s article on The Catholic World Report where she sights some examples of booming traditional religious orders:

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8 Responses to Booming Traditional Religious Orders!

  • God is clearly blessing these traditional orders with growing numbers of vocations, and His grace is abundant in the rebounding orthodoxy of the Gen Xers like me and even among many Millennials of this latest generation.

    From the perspective of a man discerning his vocation to Holy Orders as a religious priest (God willing!), I can vouch personally for the holiness, orthodoxy and zeal for souls of both the CA Norbertines and the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. I visited the OMVs at their beautiful shrine and seminary in Back Bay, Boston and met some amazing men: priests, seminarians, and novices. I would have been thrilled to join the Norbertines, but they have an upper age limit for men who enter of 28, and I surpassed that a few years back! 🙁 Nevertheless, God’s grace and the wisdom of a wonderful spiritual director (himself a religious priest/friar for many years) and a great vocations director have all led me to pursue a vocation as a postulant with the Marians of the Immaculate Conception later this year, also known as the “Divine Mercy Priests” for their ministry of spreading devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the messages Our Lord communicated to St. Faustina Kowalska. They are also a very orthodox and faithful order of young men whose vocations are booming (I attended a discernment weekend there wherein 4 of the 8 of us visiting applied for admission as postulants to the order–50% of us!)

    God is faithful if we remain faithful to Him!

  • You definitely have my prayers Kevin!

    Ora pro nobis!

  • The Father responds to those who are Faithful, Humble and Obedient – as His Son was.

  • I’m blessed to live near an order of very holy and orthodox priests, The Fathers of Mercy. They are going to ordain one priest and two deacons next Saturday.

  • You are blessed, Ellen. The Fathers of Mercy are a great order. Fr Louis hails from my old parish in Detroit and said Mass there every time he was in town. Very reverent and awesome sermons – his presence was always a great treat for the parish.

  • When these orders embrace the traditional Mass instead of the fabricated Mass (i.e., the Novus Ordo, even in Latin), then we’ll know that they’re serious about tradition.

    “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

    -Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, Preface to the French edition of Klaus Gamber’s The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background

  • My friend is with the Nashville Dominicans, and see loves it! 🙂 I am entering formation with the Salesians come end of August and in four years, I could be in the habit! It is exciting. Traditional orders are finding more members, there has to be a reason as you have proved.

  • Ash,

    You and your friend have my prayers!

The Dominican Sisters On The Oprah Winfrey Show

Friday, February 12, AD 2010

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  They are a new order that arose from Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.  They are devout and orthodox in our Catholic faith which explains why the average age of a nun is 26 and they are already turning back inquiries since they are packed to capacity in their new convent.

They recently made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show this past Tuesday, February 9.  I’ve only seen some of the show online and my assumptions were validated.  That being they were knowledgeable about our faith, energetically orthodox, and calm in their disposition.

I strongly advice you to watch all four videos that I have been able to track down of the entire show.  Some of the videos have a few seconds where the digital relay distorts the picture, but the sound is not disturbed.

Part I:  I love hearing the sisters talk about their faith unapologetically, ie, you hear “God called me”, “I am married to Jesus Christ”, etc, etc.  Simply beautiful!

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27 Responses to The Dominican Sisters On The Oprah Winfrey Show

  • I never watch Oprah but was visiting my brother’s family this past week and my sister-in-law had this particular show on. I was struck by Lisa Ling’s comments and was wondering if anyone knows if she is Catholic. It seems as these sisters, had a profouund impact on her.

  • Wait a minute! This is a scandal! They showed up on Oprah! We all know Oprah supported Obama! And according to this article, she supports abortion and homosexuality!

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2000/aug/00081101.html

    So how can they go on her show and make her evil acceptable?

    (Note to reader: this is sarcasm).

  • God can even use the vacuous Oprah show for His own purposes.

  • Doesn’t stop the fact, Donald, that their presence on Oprah helped her make more money, and we know she is pro-abortion… so how come no one is condemning them but praising them for the very things they condemn the USCCB for?!

  • Maybe because Oprah has absolutely nothing to say about the laws written in this country, how the laws are enforced and which judges are picked to enforce the laws. Additionally the nuns weren’t going on the show to honor Oprah, or to express support for her, but to spread their message. Oprah does quite nicely financially without the nuns. The nuns got a nice bit of publicity by going on the show. Making use of a pro-abort entertainer’s show in order to spread the message of Christ strikes me as being in the “cunning as serpents” category.

  • “Maybe because Oprah has absolutely nothing to say about the laws written in this country, how the laws are enforced and which judges are picked to enforce the laws.”

    While others say she is the one who got President Obama elected. And she has major influence over Obama. And she has major influence over her media.

    “Additionally the nuns weren’t going on the show to honor Oprah, or to express support for her, but to spread their message.”

    Same with the USCCB working with non-Catholic groups.

    “Oprah does quite nicely financially without the nuns.”

    So that excuses helping her make more money so she can push more pro-homosexual, pro-abortion themes in her media?

    “Making use of a pro-abort entertainer’s show in order to spread the message of Christ strikes me as being in the ‘cunning as serpents’ category.”

    It’s funny how it is “making use of…” and not “guilt by association” when people like a group.

  • “While others say she is the one who got President Obama elected.”

    Some people also say that Obama is a great President Karlson. Fantasy statements are never to be taken seriously. A lousy economy, Bush fatigue and McCain being a lousy candidate are what got Obama elected in this frame of reality.

    “Same with the USCCB working with non-Catholic groups.”

    It is called shoveling money at pro-abort groups Karlson. Feel free to try again.

    “So that excuses helping her make more money so she can push more pro-homosexual, pro-abortion themes in her media?”

    They didn’t help her make money Karlson by appearing on her show. She would have made precisely the same amount of money whether they appeared or not.

    “It’s funny how it is “making use of…” and not “guilt by association” when people like a group.”

    No it’s called the nuns being smart enough to use Oprah for their purposes. The Bishops are dumb enough to allow their Left-wing staffers at the USCCB to allow Left-wing groups to use the Bishops and the money contributed by unsuspecting Catholics.

  • “It is called shoveling money at pro-abort groups Karlson. Feel free to try again.”

    But God can use pro-aborts, as you just said. And so that’s why it is ok for the nuns to help Oprah get shoveled more money! Sheesh. Consistency. Not with you. Sophistry, that’s all you have.

  • Henry,

    When you try this “I will show how foolish your way of thinking is” tactics, you always end up with the egg on your own face because you don’t bother to actually understand the position of the people you’re trying to ridicule. Either do the work of understanding your opponents or just drop the tactic — you really don’t do yourself any credit with these dogged little “I’ll show you the implications of your thinking” sessions.

  • “But God can use pro-aborts, as you just said. And so that’s why it is ok for the nuns to help Oprah get shoveled more money!”

    Once again Karlson Oprah would have received precisely the same amount of money whether the nuns were on her show or not. The nuns did not place any more coins in her pocket. This is a strawman of yours that is completely unconvincing.

  • So Donald

    Since Oprah would receive the same amount of money either way,it makes it all fine for them to be the ones to help her make it?

  • She would have made exactly the same money Karlson if she had you on or Fifi the dancing beagle. The nuns used Oprah not the other way around.

  • Actually, would she? The fact that this got many who do not normally watch Oprah to watch her means it makes her more money. But the fact is, even if you are correct, you didn’t answer my question. Why should it be fine for them to help her make money, and thereby, cooperate with the evil which will be done with that money they helped her generate?

  • This really is not hard Karlson. Oprah makes precisely the same amount of money no matter who she has on. She is not a struggling host of a show trying to establish an audience. She has a huge audience and advertisers who pay her richly for commercial space on her show. She makes the same money no matter who she has. You will have to come up with some other red herring argument to argue that nuns appearing on Oprah is the same as the USCCB through the CHD funneling funds to pro-abort groups.

  • I agree with the fact that Oprah made no more money than she would have with a dog and pony show.
    I am an RN and I worked for a year in a convent and got to know a large group of the Sisters. I am also Catholic, as a convert in my sixties, before I worked at the Convent! They are usually incredibly quietly happy and work diligently to help others in many ways, the primary way in prayer, By renouncing the world in favor of Jesus when they become Sisters they do not think about money in their own existence. My guess would be that they went on that show to preach the name of Jesus as Savior, and no other reason as the Sisters of the Convent that I love would do! Nearly all of the Sisters I know worked most of their lives in poor areas of the southwest and California teaching school for indigent families children. If you do not know what it means to be a Sister you might do well to not comment about their motives!

  • Marilyn

    I don’t think you get the point of my comments. I am not criticizing the sisters, but applying the kind of logic which is used by some around here to judge the USCCB and show how it would also apply to those who do similar things and yet they applaud.

  • Henry points out the problems in logic when folks are selective in their criticism of association with evil. Oprah ok, but Jenkins not. Nixon ok, but Obama not. The dictatorship of relativism is wearing its tan uniforms on this site.

    If it didn’t sting on some level, you wouldn’t have strung out this thread into the teens. The fact that you have to continually justify it is telling. See if Michael Voris or Ray Arroyo can take your back on this.

    The bloggers here are playing to the home crowd, but they’re not doing their pro-life viewpoints, their conservative bona fides, or Catholicism any favors.

    Personally, I don’t see any problem with the nuns appearing on Oprah. Good for all of them.

  • Karlson makes a nonsense argument and Todd supports it. Business as usual for the usual suspects.

  • Marilyn,

    Disregard the comments by Henry K. and Todd.

    They want to destroy what is good for political points.

  • It’s a tough gig to have to prop up poor arguments, but you guys seem to have a good time doing so. Too bad we can’t take this discussion to Oprah or EWTN. They’re missing all the fun.

  • Todd let us know when you have an actual argument to contribute rather than just a snide attitute.

  • I think we need to say that the Sisters were invited to be on this Show, and it is not their intention to support Oprah.

    I think the best thing to conclude is that the little bit they did in harm is by far outweighed in the good which I no doubt occurred and will occur because of this encounter. I’m not trying to say this as a consequentialist.

    I say this because Oprah is not evil incarnate, she may be missinformed upon a great many subjects, but maybe she and her viewers can be converted. That is always the hope, appearing on a show of hers does not always show support for the views that Oprah has.

    I don’t know if you can link Oprah’s views to the Show in general. Any television program will have views that they support that will be in conflict with the faith. As long as you do not support or even make it known that you don’t support those views when you appear upon the said show I think it violates.

    We must engage culture in any case, show our disapproval and start to change it from the inside out. We are counter cultural and Christ will do the work, but we must engage in the debate and what better place then at the pinnacle of where it is seen. Silence is not an issue!

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  • I enjoyed watching these videos then unfortunately went to read the comments. The devil has his shills everywhere.

    God bless these wonderful sisters. I hope they touched many in Oprah’s audience who have been spoon fed untold amounts of new age nonsense and whatever else appears on that show.

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Women Religious: No Transparency Necessary

Monday, November 30, AD 2009

I have to say, I’ve been a little surprised by the reaction of many left-leaning Catholics to the Apostolic Visitation of women’s religious congregations. If history is any guide, whether inside the Church or outside, a resistance to third party scrutiny is not a sign of organizational vitality. This resistance is particularly odd in an ecclesiastical context, where one would have thought the bonds of communion between the Holy See and religious orders are fairly strong. Moreover, the reasons proffered for refusing to answer the questions range from unconvincing (‘they don’t understand us’) to the self-indulgently bizarre (‘Women religious…are asking if there is a “Ghandian or Martin Luther King way” to deal with violence they felt is being done to them’). In any case, I think it would be good to offer prayers on their behalf. There are clearly difficult issues here that need to be resolved; and it seems to me that the reaction to the Apostolic Visitation has gone a long way towards demonstrating the need for it in the first place.

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13 Responses to Women Religious: No Transparency Necessary

  • Fairly strong? Recently declared saints like Mother Guerin and Mary McKillop had their share of battles with non-saintly bishops. Is it charitable to suggest some men were deeply envious of women and their apostoaltes?

    I agree with your comment on the statement in which Gandhi’s name was misspelled. I’m fine with women religious refusing cooperation in the way that was asked. Questions from Rome have already been withdrawn because they were inappropriate. But the damage seems to have been already done.

  • If the women in the LCWR were really spiritual and not Marxist liberal New Agers, then their objection(s) to the bishop(s) might be understandable. But as it is, the LCWR goes to great lengths to admonish us to save the whales and the rain forests, and act with pluralism, all the while ignoring the fact that Obamacare will murder millions of babies on the taxpayers dime. No – there’s no excuse for the liberal trash in the LCWR. These Marxists should repent or be purged from the Church.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa. I read one comment and was startled, and then the next only to be startled all the more!

    To Todd: As far as I know, members of the LCWR are, by virtue of being religious communities of pontifical, rather than diocesan, right, directly responsible to the Vatican. These visitations are a normal, periodic thing. I was in seminary when we were visitated (lol). On one hand, it was a very big deal. Every single seminarian in the world was interviewed. A bishop met with me for 15-20 minutes and just wanted to hear whatever came to mind about the seminary. He asked some specific questions, too, ranging from the quality of the food and opportunities for exercise, to, shall we say, ones that offered opportunity for considerable more discomfort? They sat in on our classes and house Masses. They ate their meals with us and impressed me by their ability to listen and blend in. It was easy to forget that they are something like the modern equivalent of the Inquisition. The seminary I attended for 3 1/2 years before leaving (I am a layman) gave, as far as I could tell, no occasion for concern. Consequently, things went very smoothly and it was no big deal. Stonewalling makes no sense if there is nothing to hide.

    It’s not an invasion of privacy because there isn’t a right to call oneself Catholic publicly, use funds donated by the Catholic people, and then say, “Hey, how I operated as a Catholic is private.” That’s not a right – it’s a hypocritical self-contradiction.

    The second comment bothered me because of its eagerness to purge human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Excommunication, etc., is extraordinarily serious. The “good old days” aren’t coming back, and certainly not by that method. Things will only get harder and harder. What is happening, quietly around the edges, is that the Church is waking up. Not only are our bishops getting serious and our laypeople getting educated, but some folks who had naively strayed are starting to see the destruction wrought by ideologies they hold, and are second guessing themselves. There are bishops who could not bring themselves to mention contraception in the catechisms they wrote, who now write beautifully about the evils of such things. There are women religious who chucked their habits that now are rediscovering the rosary and the Holy Mass.

    Precisely because the Church and the world do not depend on me, I do not have to get angry about the things going on in them. Talk about purging usually comes from reddened faces, in my experience. Instead, I can take Jesus at his word (Mt 16:18) and (barring obvious malfeasance) trust those he has given us to govern.

    Paul, I enjoyed the “No Thanks, I Already Have a Messiah,” bumpersticker on your blog. Let’s follow Him, and not get too worked up about miscreants – God will take care of them.

  • The fact that groups representing 99% of women religious in the States (in the coverage I read anyway) are, at best, partially complying makes me want to see the questions for myself. I’d be much more comfortable judging this response if I knew more about what they were responding to.

  • Brett, the offensive and violent forms are here and here.

  • Is it charitable to suggest some men were deeply envious of women and their apostoaltes?

    Some years ago, I had a conversation with a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. She said the median age in her order was 70 and that the number of women who had entered in 1961 and 1962 exceeded by a factor of two the number who had entered since 1970. Somehow I do not think that that is an apostolate of which ‘some men’ would be envious. (Given that the population of women religious has declined by two-thirds since 1965, I would doubt that the experience of the Congregation of St. Joseph is unusual).

    I agree with your comment on the statement in which Gandhi’s name was misspelled.

    ?

    I’m fine with women religious refusing cooperation in the way that was asked. Questions from Rome have already been withdrawn because they were inappropriate. But the damage seems to have been already done.

    If they had not accommodated these broads by excising the questions, you’d have accused them of rigidity.

  • Those forms that Rick linked to are no more offensive than a census form. Silly.

  • Wow. All you have to do is declare perfectly legitimate questions–that make you uncomfortable–to be “violent,” and you are not only justified in not answering, but you can feign moral superiority at being “above” such violence. And rather than look to the Church for your example of peace, you look outside. How telling is this response?

    People who defend the dying orders’ decision to disobey, how do you justify this defense? Since when is transparency a bad thing? When did their oaths of obedience become obsolete? Who thinks that any Catholic religious order has the right to deny any accountability to the institution to which it belongs?

  • Todd – Are you suggesting that the Apostolic Visitation is inappropriate? If so, I am curious about why.

    Paul – I think women religious are owed a great more respect than the type of derision your comment displays. Obviously, I don’t think they are beyond criticism, but caricaturing them as ‘Marxist New-Agers’ is unhelpful.

    Brett – It’s a good point; at same time, the forms don’t seem that offensive to me, and it’s surprising that a better explanation for the noncompliance has not been provided.

    Rick – Thanks for posting the questionnaires.

  • Todd – Are you suggesting that the Apostolic Visitation is inappropriate? If so, I am curious about why.

    He is suggesting that apostolic visitations should proceed at the discretion of those being visited, FWER. He is also suggesting that everything is ship-shape in and among women religious, and pay no attention to those actuarial tables.

  • …or those labyrinths, yoga centers, liturgical dance studios, etc, etc, etc.

  • The questionnaires are perfectly harmless. The tone is similar to that of an auditor going through the books.

    And…resistance to answering the questions raises the same eyebrows that would be raised by resistance to an audit.

  • Their resistance is even more disturbing in light of the questionaires. The first half (Part A) appears to have been composed by CARA, which does superb survey work for the Church (and is affiliated with Georgetown). It simply asks for statistics regarding postulants and currently vowed sisters. What, exactly, is the problem?

    The second set is slightly more personal, but hardly “violence” to their charism (or what’s left of it, given the resistance). What harm comes from an honest, transparent response?

    The only “violence” here is what the recalcitrant sisters are doing to the English language. Either they are part of the broader Church (and are thus accountable to her), or they are not. The passive-aggressive rebellion does not speak of a healthy relationship to the rest of us.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-20-2009

Friday, March 20, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1.  Seems like priests and their habits have been ruminating around the blogosphere as of late.  Now Fr. Z has followed up this with insight concerning those for and against this trend.

For the link click here.

2.  Speaking of religious, after enduring the many innovations following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, vocations have rebounded:

“Nearly 70 percent of Catholic religious communities have seen a jump in vocation inquiries in the past year”

The vast majority of those entering the religious life are tradition-minded adults under the age of 40.

For the link click here.

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One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-20-2009

The Radical Love Of Dominicans

Thursday, February 5, AD 2009

Here is a beautiful video about a young nun, Sister Lauren Franko, who is in the discerning process on whether to pursue the religious life or not.  Another perspective is offered of what it takes to be a nun by Sister Maria of the Cross.  Both of these nuns are part of the Dominican Sisters of Summit, New Jersey.  It is a very well made Photo Essay by Time.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2051558&w=425&h=350&fv=]

more about “Radical Love“, posted with vodpod

(Biretta Tip: Patrick Archbold of Creative Minority Report and Toni Greaves)

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