In one the NRVC will develop a conversational tool to enable religious institutes to engage in a deeper exchange about the findings of the landmark 2009 NRVC/CARA study on recent vocations to religious life and their implications for apostolic life with respect to community, visibility, communal prayer, and celebration of Eucharist.
The second project will convene three gatherings for women religious in the eastern, middle, and western regions of the U.S. The purpose of these unprecedented gatherings will be for women religious to study the research regarding recent vocations and discuss and reflect on the combined implications of this information for religious sisters as they work together to increase their membership both individually and collaboratively.
|SISTER FRANCES Evans (left)
and her longtime friend
Sister Maggie Hession
with Nolan Ryan when
he pitched for the Rangers.
Talking about her background, she had a few observations about her vocation. “I was a convert. I worked six years in Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio in the lab. There was something different about the sisters. The only thing I can think is, God just shook me by the neck and said, ‘This is what you’re going to do.’ In 1950 I entered convent in San Antonio, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.”
Did they wear habits back then? “We sure did! We wore habits for a long time.” Could they go to baseball games? “Not back then, you didn’t go much of anywhere. I worked in the hospital most of the time. I don’t think we even had television when I entered.
“I was stationed here in Fort Worth in 1967,” she said. “It was beginning to lighten up a bit here and there. I remember well when they went to the shorter skirts and I walked out of chapel and felt the breeze on my knees. I never knew how good that would feel.”
See another profile of the sisters in the Wall Street Journal.
|MOTHER THERESE Couderc.|
The mission of the Cenacle Sisters is to awaken and deepen faith primarily through retreats, religious education, and other activities. Mother Therese Couderc started it all in 1805 when she turned a hostel for women pilgrims visiting the tomb of Saint John Francis Regis, the great Jesuit missionary, into a "cenacle"—a place of prayer and retreat, said Cenacle Sister Rosemary Duncan, r.c. in a recent newsletter article. The Cenacle Sisters have centers throughout the United States and the world.
By the way, the Chicago Cenacle is having a women's weekend retreat November 4-6 on "The Three Teresas—of Avila, of Lisieux, of Calcutta." For more information contact Sister Rosemary.
|PAINTINGS from "Heritage in Stone."|
|KATHLEEN TURNER and Evan Jonigkeit in "High."|
Kathleen Turner will reprise her Broadway role as a tough-talking sister (and we do mean tough—the play has its share of nudity, profanity, and violence) who counsels a young drug addict in a planned national tour of the three-character drama High, by Matthew Lombardo.
High bills itself: “When Sister Jamison Connelly (Turner) agrees to sponsor a 19-year-old drug user in an effort to help him combat his addiction, her own faith is ultimately tested. Struggling between the knowledge she possesses as a rehabilitation counselor and a woman of religious conviction, she begins to question her belief in miracles and whether people can find the courage to change. High explores the universal themes of truth, forgiveness, redemption, and human fallibility.”
When a wildfire threatened the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner in south central Washington State, the Greek Orthodox nuns who live there went out and did what most property owners would: They helped fight the fire.
In the author blurb at the end of his fine article for the current issue of VISION, “Blessed are we who comfort the mourners,” in which he tells his vocation story, it says that Matthew Kuczora, C.S.C "is expected to profess his final vows in August 2011." Well, he did it!
The Holy Cross Office of Vocations informs the world: “On Saturday, August 27, 2011, Mr. Matthew C. Kuczora, C.S.C. made his final profession of vows with the Congregation of Holy Cross. Matt professed forever the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the midst of a celebration of the Eucharist in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. In taking these vows Matt committed the rest of his life to living and serving in the Congregation of Holy Cross as an educator in the faith." Congratulations, Matt!
Holy Cross is on VISION.
Sr. Helena Burns, F.S.P. reports that the air conditioning in the motherhouse chapel in Boston was cranked down to 50 F and “even the audience faked it with us” but the taping of the Daughters of St. Paul Christmas concert video went came off fine, even though “the swinging jib camera arm thingy knocked over the decorative burning candle on the altar rail and clocked the same lady in the head twice. Otherwise,” Sr. Helena says, “no casualties.”
The video that will be created from the filming will air on the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn's NET TV channel this Christmas, and a DVD will be available. Daughters of St. Paul Christmas Concert Tour locations will also be announced and will include Boston, N.Y.C., Virginia, and Cleveland, and other cities.
The Daughters of St. Paul are on VISION.
|DEFORESTATION of farmland in Cameroon.|
The Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minnesota have been involved in such efforts. They are part of the Carbon Covenant, which itself is a project of Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), founded by Episcopal priest Rev. Canon Sally Bingham. IPL is an organization of 10,000 congregations in 30 states who pledge to cut their energy consumption through energy-efficiency and alternative energy sources. Through the Carbon Covenant, the Rochester Franciscans helped the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon purchase 35,000 tree seedlings to combat deforestation.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester are on VISION.
• Brigham Young University in Utah
• Hillsdale College in Michigan
• Thomas Aquinas College in California
• Wheaton College in Illinois
• Grove City College in Pennsylvania.
The top 5 with the “least religious” students:
• Bennington College in Vermont
• Reed College in Oregon
• Bard College, Vassar College, and Sarah Lawrence College, all in New York.
“It all falls down to what you consider to be religious,” Schwadel said. “If it’s simply attending religious services, then no. Highly educated people are not less religious; in fact, they’re more religious. But if it’s saying the Bible is the literal word of God and saying that only one religion is the true religion, then they are less religious.”
Schwadel found that, among other things, with each additional year of education:
• The likelihood of attending religious services increased 15 percent.
• The likelihood of reading the Bible at least occasionally increased by 9 percent.
Respondents to the GSS were asked whether they believe in God without any doubts; with various levels of doubt; whether they have a different concept of God or a higher power; or whether they didn’t believe in any such thing, Schwadel said. “With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’ " he said. "But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’ ”
Then again, last year’s Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life U.S. Religious Knowledge survey found that atheists/agnostics scored highest among various faith (or non-faith) groups when it came to basic religious knowledge! —Ed.
“We can’t cure our patients, but we can assure the dignity and value of their final days, and keep them comfortable and free of pain.” Those were the words of Rose Hawthorne, later Sister Mary Alfonsa, O.P., a daughter of the great American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who in 1896 went to the slums of New York to care for poverty-stricken cancer sufferers, where she was soon joined by the young Alice Huber.
|DOMINICAN SISTERS of Hawthorne pray
at a new Rose Hill Home facility dedication.
"If you have to be terminal, this is the place to come," one resident told Catholic News Service. "It's the most unusual place I've ever been. You're not conscious of people being ill here. We all have cancer and we're all terminal, but it's serene and there are lots of moments of fun and laughter," she said. "The care is done with love and . . . . the women who care for you gave up their lives for this work and it's their vocation."
See also on the VISION site Alice Camille’s Ask Alice about Catholicism article “Reading the Bible: Should I read the Bible myself or can I just rely on hearing it at Mass?”
|THE ST. CUTHBERT GOSPEL in its original binding.|
I realize I've been on a Jesuit-related theme in recent posts, but here's one more I offer because it reminded me of the item below about the discovery that a painting hanging for years in Oxford University's Jesuit residence was actually by Michelangelo.
Recently, the British Jesuits were again in the news in connection with an artistic and historic treasure: Catholic News Service reports that the British Province of the Society of Jesus has sold the historic St. Cuthbert Gospel—believed to be the oldest intact book produced in Europe—to the British Library for $14.7 million.
The pocket-sized late 7th-century Latin translation of the Gospel of John, produced by monks of Wearmouth-Jarrow in northeast England, was found inside the coffin of Saint Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, when the saint's grave was opened in 1104. Experts believe the manuscript was placed inside the casket within 10 years of the bishop's death in 687.
The Jesuits will use the proceeds from the sale to restore a historic church and pay for educational work in London and Glasgow. The British Library will make the the manuscript available for people to view either directly or online.
A while back I posted an item about Mother Dolores Hart, prioress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a Benedictine monastery in Bethlehem, Connecticut, who before becoming a sister had an acting career which included giving Elvis Presley his first on-screen kiss (she's still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). She's making an appearance this evening in Chicago to kick off the St. Michael Church (outdoor) Film Festival. After screening clips from her films, she will speak on “A Culture of Life: Healing the Heart, Fragmented & Disintegrated.”
Here's a short video with some publicity shots from her acting career, followed by a home movie of a birthday party she attended with Elvis:
In the 1960s on New York City’s Lower East Side, Father Walter Janer, S.J., a Puerto Rican-born Jesuit, started what would become the Nativity Mission School by setting up study halls and recreational activities for local youth as well as opening a summer camp in upstate New York. “We saw how much they had changed over the summer,” said Father Jack Podsiadlo, S.J. current president, of the young people who came through the door. “The idea was to see how many of our kids we could prepare for admission to Jesuit high schools.”
After formally opening in 1971, Nativity Mission Center and its middle school relied on priests, volunteers, and young teachers and welcomed young people whose parents could not afford parochial school tuition. Teachers were always there throughout the school day and during evening study hall. Since then Nativity has sent scores of young men to New York Jesuit high schools like Fordham Prep, Regis, and Xavier.
|THE LOWER EAST SIDE at Delancey St. and the Bowery.|
That decision sent Father Podsiadlo, in the spirit of generations of Jesuit missionaries, on a journey to find an area of New York that the center could better serve, like the South Bronx and Brooklyn, where it plans to relocate in 2012. “We serve the poor,” said Father Podsiadlo, who has worked at the Lower East Side school since 1973. “If they’re not here, then we’ll move to where they are.”
Read the full New York Times article.
Editor’s note: With World Youth Day beginning shortly in Madrid, remember to check out the article on “Pilgrimage: The adventure of walking with God,” which mentions Father Podsiadlo and his walk of Spain’s historic Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, in the upcoming 2012 issue of the VISION Catholic Religious Vocation Discernment Guide, available now in print and soon in a digital edition on this site.
The Jesuits are on VISION.