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2017 Posts

Discernment Matters: The choices of a lifetime - A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Sunday 31, December 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

SOMETHING RATHER SAD happened to 100 percent of U.S. citizens in the 2016 election. No one felt heard or taken seriously. Half the nation wanted more attention paid to the facts. The other half wanted more attention paid to them. 

Must we choose between ideas and people? Is it impossible to respect both? Social tensions stem from the reality that many people no longer trust the ideas. Facts have become “facts” that mutate dramatically depending on our sources. Experts are now “the elite”—a despised bunch if ever there was one. 

Americans were once keen on developing expertise. This country created the broadest public school system ever attempted. The Old World scourge was privilege defined by dynasty. The American experiment was to invent a nation leveled by literacy. Equal educational access would produce a citizenry of “elites,” fueling progress and prosperity. John Carroll, the first U.S. bishop, recognized an opportunity and rushed ahead to establish the parochial school system. Religious communities were founded to provide the empowering ministry of education. 

Catholic schools were frequently the only schools on the frontier. In the century that spawned the virulently anti-Catholic institutions, Protestants and others still didn’t hesitate to send their children to the sisters for an education. Book learning meant an equal share in the national conversation. It’s time to restore respect for the unifying power of learning. Education must again become the bridge to opportunity, not a source of division and suspicion.

Discernment Matters: The choices of a lifetime - LARGE AND IN CHARGE

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Tuesday 26, December 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Doctrines & Beliefs

GOD IS THE ALMIGHTY. Jesus is Lord. Christ is King. We use these phrases liberally in our tradition, but what are we really saying? The message is one of sovereignty—a creaky multisyllabic word that sounds at once old-fashioned and formidable. Sovereignty is the original superpower. No one is above the sovereign. No authority can limit and no voice overrule such a person. Sovereignty gets its way. 

Grandiose statements are generally the hallmark of arrogant individuals. Nations can be arrogant, too. Some claim that God, by one name or another, is on their side, blessing all their deeds and rooting for their success. To be honest, we may hear some of our neighbors say “God Bless America” in a tone that’s aggressive toward and dismissive of the fate of other nations. This possessive attitude about God’s favor is as old as the Bible. “God Bless Israelites,” some ancient stories positively recommend, “and divine wrath befall the rest of you!” 

The sovereignty of God, however, is by definition the biggest superpower there is. It can never be a gun in your arsenal or mine, pointed at our opponents. God can’t be controlled. Those who imagine they have the wrath of God on a chain, to be unleashed on their enemies at the appointed time, are kidding themselves. God is always large and in charge. No earthly authority, no army, no superpower nation merits our ultimate allegiance.

Discernment Matters: The choices of a lifetime - BE NOT AFRAID

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Tuesday 12, December 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

THERE IT IS AGAIN. That nagging in your brain, gnawing in your gut, heightening your emotions and making you want to fight—or run. We’re biologically bred to fear, and it’s not something we can pretend away. But we don’t have to be enslaved to it, to come out swinging or fleeing whenever fear rings the bell. 

This generation is awash in fear, and with good reason. Every age has its violence, but this age has turned its genius toward inventing more ways to express it. We mount wars over dwindling resources. Terrorism brings the front of any far-off conflict to local churches, movie theaters, and street marathons. The world economy teeters on a mismanaged financial industry and poorly considered backroom deals. The environment, our vital cocoon, is under assault in every direction. 

And of course, we haven’t resolved the more pedestrian forms of violence: racism, sexism, child abuse, domestic abuse, and prejudice based on orientation, class, ability. The volume has ramped up on hate speech all around us. It’s now civil to be uncivil. 

All of which is reason to fear. Is there any reason for courage? For people of faith, certainly! The admonition not to be afraid is repeated often in Scripture—because people tended to freak out as regularly in those days as now. Fear is useless, Jesus tells us. What is needed is faith; that is, confidence in God’s faithfulness. When God is for us, as Paul says, who can be against?

#GivingTuesday: A day to give back by paying forward

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Sunday 19, November 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization

#GivingTuesday is a global effort to help others through charity and service. Over the years, you have assured us of the benefits you received from the resources provided by VISION Vocation Network and its annual VISION Guide and Vocation Match service. 

During this season of gratitude, we invite you to give back by paying forward with a contribution that helps us continue our ministry's reach. 

For the past 30 years, VISION has helped more than 5 million people find their place in the church, and we've connected thousands of men and women to vocation directors and religious communities around the world. 

The church needs our help, and we need yours to continue our important mission. 

Your donation will allow us to assist the next wave of spiritual pilgrims in their discernment journey and ensure a hopeful future for religious life. 

Please remember VISION Vocation Guide on Giving Tuesday and any other day of the year! We rely on the generosity of donors like you to support our work in providing vocation-related education, awareness, resources, and services. 

Please partner with us through prayer, engagement, and financial support in encouraging men and women to invite God into their decision-making and consider a vocation to religious life.

When you give back by paying forward in support of VISION, you become part of this great calling and mission to help others find their way to lives filled with joy and love. What a perfect gift!

Donate now
 Vision Vocation Guide and are resources of the Natiional Religious Vocation Conference, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.


Discernment Matters: The choices of a lifetime - CONVERSATION STARTER

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Monday 06, November 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

HOW CAN WE SAY that conversation is a lost art when people hold forth everywhere and no one appears at a loss for words? Well, chitchat isn’t conversation. Nor is blogging, with its counter-jabs and grandstanding rebuttals. Tweeting isn’t dialogue. All the misinterpreted e-mails and texts should be enough to convince us that, while words fly in all directions, they’re not exactly "smart" bombs.

Conversation is rooted in two Latin words meaning “to associate with” and “to turn around.” We gather in friendly dialogue to turn words around: first one speaking, then another, until the exchange of words turns US around. We should all expect to arrive at a new place in the end. That place will most definitely not be on opposite sides of a wall.

When Socrates taught his students to dialogue, he insisted one speak and the other listen. The listener could reply only after he (always he) repeated the first person’s position. The first speaker had to agree this was a faithful rendering of his ideas before the second person could advance the discussion. In this way, both listener and speaker remained attentive, respectful, and engaged.

Conversation, understood this way, is a truly moral activity. Most talkers simply want to have their say, to talk past whatever was just offered. We don’t engage others in search of truth; we blast one and all with “our” truth. What if we regarded each person, especially those with different perspectives, as a potential source of wisdom? What might we learn?

Documentaries on "martyrs of charity" to be released on 25th anniversary of their deaths

Posted by: Jennifer Tomshack   🕔 Monday 28, August 2017 Categories: Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a vowed religious community of Catholic women, are preparing for the 25th memorial anniversary of the deaths of five of their American missionary sisters in Liberia. In October 1992, these "martyrs of charity" were killed by soldiers in the army of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor during a civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead. This coming October, the sisters are releasing two mini-documentaries about the martyrs.

Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra and Mary Joel Kolmer were killed as they drove the convent’s security guard home to a neighboring suburb. Three days later, soldiers shot and killed Sisters Kathleen McGuire, Agnes Mueller, and Shirley Kolmer in front of their convent.

“We remember them as fellow sisters radically committed to their ministry. Their lives and martyrdom have left an indelible mark on us,” the community said in a statement. One current Adorer, Sister Elizabeth Kolmer, had a biological sister and a cousin who were among the five. Another current Adorer, Sister Mary Ann Mueller, had a biological sister in the group.

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ were founded in 1834 as a teaching order by Saint Maria De Mattias in Italy. The Adorers strive to be Christ’s reconciling presence in the world by responding to the needs of individuals and society. Diverse in their ministries and singular in their mission to be a compassionate presence wherever they are, Adorers serve as educators, justice advocates, health care workers, pastoral ministers, spiritual directors, and more. Worldwide they are 2,000 women strong, including more than 200 in the United States.

Read bios of the martyrs of charity.

Watch the final letters of the martyrs read by their sisters.

Watch a Frontline news segment on the martyrs: “Who killed the nuns?”

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TV series on Catholic sisters worldwide

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Tuesday 25, July 2017 Categories: Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization

Sisterhood, a special, seven-part series produced by Canadian Salt + Light TV in collaboration with Loyola University New Orleans, gives viewers an exclusive look into the daily lives of sisters from around the world. As Salt and Light decribes the focus of the series: "Day in and day out, in every country, religious sisters provide an enormous service to the Church, giving life to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Without their prayer, their wisdom or their charity, the Church could scarcely begin to achieve its mission. Yet, the number of sisters in North America and in other countries is dwindling, and at a time when the world desperately needs their charisms."

The series, which already aired in Canada, is available for streaming  at  Salt + Light.

Pope: A life not shared belongs in a museum

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 14, June 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Catholic culture,Pope Francis,Mission & Evangelization

Pope Francis said that a life which isn't shared with others "belongs in the museum," according to Inés San Martín reporting for Crux. In a Google hangout with youth from around the world, the Pope urged young people not to succumb to an "elitist education" but to be agents of a "human globalization." 

“To educate is not to know things," said Francis, but to be "capable of using the three languages, that of the hands, the heart and the mind. Education is to include.”

New Denver Carmelites urge discerners to answer the call they hear

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Friday 21, April 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life

“If you feel that call, answer it!” Sister Imelda Cardona of the Carmelites of the Holy Trinity says in a general message to young Catholics. “God loves you, so you should answer.”

Sister Cardona is one of six Allied Discalced Carmelites, who have come to the U.S. from Mexico to open a convent in Denver and care for the archdiocese's Holy Trinity Center.  

The community, whose charism is to know and to make known the glory of the Holy Trinity, has arrived to Denver to care for the archdiocese’s Holy Trinity Center. 

Founded by Sister Martha Maria Ramirez-Mora on July 16, 1986, the order has 200-plus nuns serving in various apostolates – ranging from assisting at nursing homes to retreat centers – in Mexico, Italy, Rome, Argentina and Chile.

“It is by the grace of God,” Mother Martha Patricia Malacara, superior of the community, told the Denver Catholic that the sisters have made their way to the U.S.

Although they will be helping out in the archbishop's residency and caring for the sacristies on the John Paul II center campus, prayer is the primary ministry of this semi-cloistered, comtemplative community: “We want to let people know that we are praying for them.” Mother Malacara says. “Prayer is our main charism.”

Prayer requests may be emailed to or mailed to Allied Discalced Carmelites of the Holy Trinity, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver, CO 80210. Be sure to tell them VISION Vocation Network sent you!


Friars lead Muslim-Catholic prayer at airport in wake of travel ban

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber   🕔 Friday 10, February 2017 Categories: Clergy,Consecrated Life,Prayer and Spirituality,Mission & Evangelization

Carmelite friars conducted a “ministry of presence” at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 29, the day that protests erupted around the country over President Trump’s travel ban targeting seven majority-Muslim countries. The friars’ action segued into a spontaneous interfaith prayer service with a Muslim imam.

Brothers Matthew Gummess, Mikhail Woodruff, and Kevin Keller "wandered through the crowd to hear stories, share hope, and offer a friendly prayerful presence,” reports the Order of Carmelites blog. “Brother Mikhail was a voice of kindness and impartiality in conversation with reporters. Brother Matthew offered moral support and chocolates to travelers, airport staff, security, lawyers, and anybody who might need a little boost.”

After they met Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, who was also at the airport, the four agreed to hold an immediate joint prayer service.

“Together with the Imam, those present were called to prayer by Brother Matthew with some verses of 'Amazing Grace.' Brother Mikhail invoked the presence of God in a warm and hospitable prayer. Then Imam Hendi passionately prayed on behalf of the gathering—roughly 50 people from diverse faiths—offering words of peace, justice, and integrity,” the Carmelites report.

Nun among the roles of the late Mary Tyler Moore

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber   🕔 Thursday 26, January 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Catholic culture

The late actress Mary Tyler Moore (1937-2017), who died this month, once played a nun on screen. Among Moore's long list of film and TV credits, she starred in "Change of Habit," a 1969 film in which she depicted a Catholic sister who was, as the movie's trailer pronounces,  "dedicated to her calling but at heart a woman."  That is, she was yet another woman of her era who had a crush on Elvis.

The movie is one of many Hollywood films about Catholic sisters. From Julie Andrews as a rambunctious novice in "The Sound of Music" to Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen Prejean in "Dead Man Walking," films have frequently turned a lens on life as a sister. Catholic sisters themselves take issue with inaccuracies, but pop culture curiosity about religious life seems to live on.



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