sisters of the blessed virgin mary

We wove our way through the market of the town we had known all our lives as the Sisters of Wantage, knowing it was good bye. Catholic Code of Canon Law 702 (which instructs religious institutes to observe “equity and evangelical charity” towards members who separate from it) does not apply to Anglicans where, in effect, each community makes its own provisions according to its own constitutions. I want to share something of how the individual dimension impacts upon the corporate, and of how the community dimension impacts upon the individual, when a whole Community embarks upon this type of spiritual journey. “We’re not moving!” said another sister. I do have long term catholic roots in that my father was raised a Catholic. [1] In 1833, they met Patrick Costello, a Catholic priest from Philadelphia, who was convalescing in Dublin. I was the only Church of England volunteer, the others being all Catholics. This is our story of hope and grace. Some sisters who sought a return to the authentic understanding of consecrated religious life looked to the Catholic Church. During the later half of the twentieth century, the BVM community continued to grow in both size and number of missions. We had been asked by the Catholic Church not to take any further steps that might give rise to a legal basis for us being removed from the Convent, so we were forced to live a sort of half -life, whilst negotiations continued between the two Churches. After prayerful consideration and Fr. Another sister wrote at the time about her conviction of this Ordinariate route as follows: Over the next several decades, community leaders directed significant resources on improving the education of the sisters, who were responsible for teaching a large number of students. [2] In the early 1900s, the superior sent teaching sisters to summer school programs at DePaul, Marquette, and the Catholic University of America, as well as to special institutes run at St. Mary’s, one of the community run high schools in Chicago. With sisters serving in so many locations, the community developed into a well-networked educational system that spanned the country, from New York to California, and beyond. Introduction When we arrived the first words we heard from a beaming sister who met our coach in the drive were, “Welcome home!” These remarkable, loving sisters offered twelve strangers a refuge but have truly given us a ‘home’ in every sense of the word. After Mass the twelve of us, with our essential personal possessions, boarded a coach and set off rather like Abraham, in faith, not knowing what the future would hold. This information was conveyed to the Anglican authorities at a formal legal meeting. Mount Carmel is situated on a tall bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. A priest there said to me: ‘Let’s face it, you’re not just a middle of the road Anglican are you …’ – it was a statement rather than a question and I had to agree. Where We Are: U.S. Our dear brothers from the Oxford Oratory had gone the extra mile, being with us for early morning Mass, and breakfast, then carrying our suitcases down from the cells which we had to leave forever. It was now about three years since the first sisters had shared with me their growing awareness of their call to be Catholics. We can never out do God in generosity. In 2009, when Pope Benedict issued an invitation for groups of Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, sisters came to speak to me as Mother, privately and in strictest confidence, about their individual sense of call to take this route into full communion; to become Catholics as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (‘the Ordinariate’) whilst also remaining members of the Community. It was difficult to see God’s plan for us but we never lost hope. Clarke's background was in accounting. Always the Congregation starts from the grassroots. Since its beginning, the community has responded to the current needs of the day. “How many of you are there?” she asked. Check Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Birmingham, 99 Old Oscott Hill on Cylex and find ☎ 0121 360 8144, contact info. But He called, and once again they responded in the spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary with their “fiat”. The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Roman Catholic religious congregation established in 1775 in Ireland. In 1967 the Tenth General Chapter sought to respond to the invitations of the Council. Province When Presentation congregations in Ireland, England, India, Pakistan, Africa and the Philippines came together in 1976 to form the Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 17 of the Irish motherhouses and the English congregation had branch houses in the United States. Our new community would continue our Marian Charism and we agreed that to be received on the feast of Mary the Mother of God on 1st January 2013 could hardly be a better way to start the rapidly approaching New Year. I have always felt that if at any point God was asking me to transfer or to be in the Catholic Church it would have to be as strong and clear as this. Father Daniel, who had been meeting with us weekly, arranged for us to meet a Benedictine Community he knew, who also had a strong plainchant tradition but in Latin. These times together as Catholic minded sisters became a lifeline for us as the negotiations between the Community and the Anglican authorities dragged on month after month. The founders were from Ireland. The BVM Sisters have not been without controversy. We had reached the point where the community needed to be reformed at a deep spiritual level. But at least there was absolute clarity – once Catholic there could be no return. God’s provision came about in a totally unexpected way. There are simply no words that adequately pay tribute to the wonderful sisters of St Cecilia’s Abbey and their exceptional Abbess. We had to leave our Anglican Sisters, though we had wanted to stay and care for them. But it is one thing to know this; it is quite another to live it out. Costello had not prepared for their arrival, and was nowhere to be found. The gentle and loving Abbess of Saint Cecilia’s opened her Abbey, locked the door behind us and gave us the peace we needed. The whole Community had hoped at the outset that an agreement would be reached to keep all the sisters together. Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary", Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. This community has always meant everything to me… my call at the age of 20 was hugely strong: I was absolutely clear that I was meant to be here. Now as a Catholic, I KNOW.”. However, those of us intending to take this step, at this point felt completely isolated. As events were to demonstrate, the Holy Spirit had been ahead of us! St. Joseph College was changed to Clarke College. When Pope Benedict issued his invitation via Anglicanorum Coetibus I still didn’t think it had anything to do with me. “Let my people go!” It was ringing in my ears silently, and we were crossing the sea. Throughout its history, the community has faced a number of fires. I said that if we had to leave Wantage, any sister whose conscience was calling her to take this step was welcome to come with us – none would be excluded. The Birth of the Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sisters. Present Loreto schools belong to an international family of Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) schools throughout the world. The daughter of the late Robert A. and Mary E. (Kiernan) McCarthy, Sr. Mary … At last, we could be received, and on 1st January! We truly believed that God was calling to us to take this step at whatever cost. Every sister in the community had the opportunity to participate in these explorations. It was as if two forms of consciousness, Catholic and Anglican, separated out from within the same organism. To honor Mary Frances Clarke, in 1928 the name of Mt. During these early years, the number of towns at which there were schools continued to grow. They stood around the coach, smiling, to wave us off. None of the older sisters imagined that for some of them fifty years later God would call them once again to leave behind their convent home, their sisters in Christ, their security for their old age – everything. What was important to understand is that sisters were experiencing this call as part of a Community -a family -sisters were not simply responding as individuals. It spoke to me of other radical gestures with which monastic history all over the world is full. In the interim, the women decided to open a school of their own, which they named Sacred Heart. The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Roman Catholic religious congregation of women. We felt besieged. Responses which followed included legislation approving a new government structure, TOPA (Totally Open Personal Application which gave sisters the freedom to apply for jobs of their choice), and an affiliate program, an organized grouping of non-vowed men and women interested in participating in the BVM values. She told us that they had been preparing cells for twelve Paraguayan sisters who were coming in the New Year for a year’s formation. During the 1980s, several sisters underwent "training" for the priesthood and began advocating for the Roman Catholic Church to ordain women, in opposition to centuries of teachings. In order to live wholly in God’s incomparable embrace, the Consecrated Life requires us to remove everything that is a barrier between us and Him. A major problem for those remaining Anglican was that we eleven sisters were in the main, but not exclusively, the able bodied members who provided the work and management to keep the Community going. Donaghoe invited them to teach in his parish school, as soon as it was completed. Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have been given our beloved sisters at Ryde. 1961 marked the beginning of a new era in the community, the construction of one of the last remaining BVM high schools: Carmel High School in Mundelein, Illinois, a joint project with the Carmelite Fathers. We were not surprised to learn that the ferry was named ‘Saint Cecilia’. None of the eleven sisters turned back, including two who were then living on the Convent infirmary wing. We carry out our mission of love and service through our many ministries with God’s people, especially poor women and children. The Ordinariate opened the possibility for groups of Anglicans to remain together, and the structures were specifically created to welcome Religious, in groups. We left with no financial settlement from our previous community, no endowment, just a firm conviction that becoming Catholic was our response to Our Lord’s continuing call to: “follow me”. There are two points here. Of the actual service of reception I shall say little, except that the years of trauma, pain, bitterness and persecution we had endured to reach this point were not forgotten – we had suffered too much for that to be so – but God’s grace bestowed on us that day was more than a mere consolation. I understand his absolute need to be in a church that is in communion with the Undivided Church of the first centuries. During this time, the community continued to focus on the education of both the students, and the teaching sisters. All the longing of our hearts could not increase the progress. Ministries of the sisters include working as hospital, hospice, and prison chaplains, working with those with addictions, people with AIDS, pastoral service, spiritual direction, counseling, and education. As Mother, I came under considerable pressure not to take this step myself and to discourage the other sisters from doing so. The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a worldwide religious community of Catholic women dedicated to serving God by responding to the needs of God’s people. It was a cold January morning. Most sisters had grown up in Anglican families and so when discerning a call to consecrated life naturally sought to live that out in the context of their upbringing, the Church of England. We wore traditional Habit, sung Gregorian plainchant, reserved the Blessed Sacrament, took vows for life of poverty, chastity and obedience and basically sought to replicate the practices of a traditional Catholic monastic community – except for the fact that we were Anglicans. The coach sat on the ferry, packed with tired nuns. I warned the whole Community that each sister wanting to be received as a Catholic had to be prepared to walk down the drive with just what she could carry in a bag in her hand, leaving everything else behind, without any guarantees for the future, just going forward in blind faith in accordance with her conscience. So how had we come to this discernment? These two aspects of my vocation have governed my choices at moments when it was possible to become a Catholic and I have not done so. So the pioneer BVMs, by then nineteen in number, moved to Dubuque, Iowa,[1] and began to teach the children of settlers, lead miners, and farmers. Blessings from the Carmelite Hermitage. Come and see the joy we have presenting Christ to others through education, service to the poor, children with autism, children with special educational needs, residential care, social work, child care workers. The Superior General of another community recently wrote these words to me: “Your courage and faith is such a beautiful example and really a gift to the whole Church. Within the Anglican Communion there is no Vicar of Christ and no Magisterium. Almost every week, Father Daniel Seward, Provost of the Oxford Oratory (sometimes with additional Oratorians) and Monsignor Andrew Burnham came to the Convent for sessions to explore the Catholic faith. “Yes we are, look carefully…” across the silky blue water we could just make out the land form of the Isle of Wight against the grey and wintry skies. During the Civil Rights Movement, sisters participated in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. As the driver wove his way through the early traffic, the coach rocked gently from side to side. Our community was known for its liturgical tradition of plainsong sung in English. Our Vision. I will describe some of the tensions that surface when Anglicans and Catholics emerge from the same community but for a time the two groups have to continue living together in the same building. Donaghoe drafted a rule for the small community and subsequently became father director, while Mary Frances Clarke was named mother superior. One of the sisters shares her sense of calling in the following words written in 2011: They came to Watervliet, New York in 1881 to establish St. Colman’s, a home for keeping families of children together. Needless to say, those of us who became part of the Ordinariate Community had done everything in our power to try to stay at Wantage to be able to care for our elderly or infirm Anglican sisters. Sometimes referred to as the “Nashville Dominicans”, the sisters have as their specific end the Christian education of youth and other educational or charitable work undertaken by the congregation for the salvation of souls. In 1885, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, formerly a diocesan community, became a pontifical congregation.[3]. Over the next couple of weeks it was arranged that the day following our reception into the Catholic Church, we would temporarily leave Wantage to stay for six weeks with these Benedictine nuns for the opportunity for formation as a newly formed Catholic Benedictine Community. My prayers are with you and your sisters who have together with you taken this brave step at great cost to yourselves but even greater gain.” She is right. God’s consolation was to provide us with new Catholic friends – especially Monsignor Burnham and our dear brothers at the Oxford Oratory. God has given us a great gift in them. During their first years in Iowa, the building was used for another school, Sacred Heart. Before long, the original four—Mary Frances Clarke, Margaret Mann, Rose O’Toole, and Eliza Kelly—were joined by another, Catherine Byrne. In the months leading up to his beatification, I read his biography so as to understand more about him and the issues he had had to face. Some aspects derived from the wider Church of England over which we had no control, impacted upon our community. They arrived in New York in September, 1833. View our Youtube channel. The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary were founded in Ireland in 1775 by Mother Nano Nagle. 28:19 Look toward the Star, call upon Mary” On 1 November, 1833, they received the title, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They welcomed me as one of themselves. A pristine new religious community in England, full of life and confidence, is a sign of hope: we must all pray for the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary . But the challenge was that we all had to continue to live together in the same building. One elderly sister had fallen asleep, exhausted from the events of the last days. At this point, we just wanted to move on with our life as Consecrated Religious and as one of the older sisters in her anguish for a speedier solution cried out, “I want to die a Catholic!”. An especially important era of growth began in 1867 when Jesuit Priest Arnold Damen invited the sisters to open a school at Holy Family in Chicago. We climbed on board, and the huge vehicle swung out of our Convent. We would always love those Sisters who had chosen to remain Anglican and whom we were unlikely to see again. BVM sisters work in twenty-five U.S. states and three foreign countries. There were Sisters of all ages, twelve of us. On the morning after our reception, as we prepared to leave our home forever, beaming sisters met each other with the words, “I’m a Catholic!” The inevitable joyous reply was, “So am I !” That gentle river of joy satiating our thirst for God has remained over the ensuing months. We have lived in effect as one extended Community; worshipping God together as the six weeks’ original stay has turned into months. This came as a considerable shock not only to us but also to Anglican sisters at the Convent who were telling us that they wanted us to return. Costello's agreement to make arrangements for their arrival in the United States, the fellowship of women, except for Rose O'Toole (who remained in Dublin long enough to settle a family estate) decided to leave their homeland to teach in Philadelphia. In 1831, four Franciscan Tertiaries women in Ireland rented a small cottage and began an experiment in community living. In the work itself, it was the Catholic patients who called me to their bedside, and who knew what a sister was ‘for’. To be able to be in full communion with the Catholic Church within my community is making sense to me of both aspects of my call, and of my whole life.”. “Twelve” we replied. International Presentation Association is a network of Catholic religious congregations of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, friends, and associates who work for personal and systemic change for People and Earth. The Presentation Sisters, officially the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, are a religious institute of Roman Catholic women founded in Cork, Ireland, by Venerable Nano Nagle in 1775. We are an international congregation of Catholic apostolic religious women, founded in 1609 by Mary Ward. This school remained open until 1991, when it became part of Loyola University. This ongoing education was especially important for those sisters who taught at Mt. A sister’s personal story We have grown to love each other deeply and truly. Suthers, d. & soloway, e. An art in elementary statistics what is obvious in some american the children mary the presentation sisters of the of blessed virgin as a forum for discussion and dialogue p. During such times, for instance, we discerned that we were being called to follow the Rule of St Benedict. In 1997, the Sisters of the Presentation of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and the Sisters of the Presentation of We were not put off but sought in faith to try to identify a suitable property that could be a monastic home for us. This involved a combination of canon and civil law, and necessitated the intervention of specialist ecclesiastical lawyers. Pope Benedict, Oscott College, 19 September 2010). Ministries of the sisters include working as hospital, hospice, and prison chaplains, working with those with addictions, people with AIDS, pastoral service, spiritual direction, counseling, and, of course, education. Secondly, yet it was also the Holy Spirit who placed in me a strong sense of call to this particular community. Twelve empty cells, twelve sisters! We were not in a position to buy nor even to rent ourselves, as we literally did not have a penny. ", "Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary", Encyclopedia Dubuque, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sisters_of_Charity_of_the_Blessed_Virgin_Mary&oldid=921632079, Religious organizations established in 1833, Catholic religious institutes established in the 19th century, Wikipedia articles with style issues from October 2011, Articles needing additional references from August 2019, All articles needing additional references, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2018, All articles with vague or ambiguous time, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 16 October 2019, at 21:51. We were in the arms of God. In 1843, Bishop Mathias Loras of the Diocese of Dubuque, Iowa, who had been visiting Philadelphia, invited the sisters to come teach in the Iowa Territory. “As an Anglican I would say I firmly believed that Jesus is on the altar and in the Tabernacle. It had been painfully, very painfully, slow. I thought, ‘But that’s just what I think!’ This was a defining moment for me. A second personal story Firstly, the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart at several moments in my life about union with the Catholic Church. As a group, we believed that this was the way we were being called to live out our vocation to the Religious Life. A spiritual battle had begun for the heart and soul of our community. This is the reason that a number of us, me included, were being drawn into the Catholic Church by this particular route. Share our vision: to build the House of God. It is not an exaggeration to say that we have found a shared kinship with them which we never experienced with some of our former Anglican sisters. I allowed each sister time to explore her growing and deepening sense of calling. Vatican II, a significant event in the lives of Catholics was significant for the BVM community as well. About; Photos; History; Formation; Contact; Presenting Christ to Souls. The theme of the year was “Crossing the Waters, Currents of Hope: Celebrating 175 years of BVM Presence and Partnership”. But the Ordinariate basically opened a possibility I never imagined could be there for me as a Religious. Of the eleven sisters, three were in their seventies and three were in their eighties. The Diocesan Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Mercy was established by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz May 4, 1999. In our own community it seemed to us that some of the treasures of monastic life had not been safeguarded. As an international Congregation our vision, like Nano’s, reaches beyond our local situations and has a global consciousness and outreach. I shall let a sister continue in her own words to describe the journey to the Isle of Wight: For the next ten years, the sisters continued to teach as well as gain new members. God is able to use all things for good. Menu. Little did I know that it was going to be exactly like that. We are a vowed faith community who share the mission of Jesus. Eleven of us were from the same community. So the silence settled. Fr. We share the same spirit and as such have formed an unbreakable bond. The community has also taken a corporate stance against the death penalty, has declared that the Mount Carmel campus in Dubuque is a nuclear-free zone, and supports national comprehensive immigration reform. It requires surrender of every earthly possession. It was particularly hurtful therefore to receive hate mail accusing us of having “abandoned” the frail and elderly. We had no money, no home. No more was said that day but the generous, open hearted Abbess consulted her community and they unanimously agreed to open their home to us. “In 2008 I was asked by Mother Winsome to go to our house in Harringay. Step by step spiritual ground was reclaimed during our last five or so years at Wantage. All sisters were recalled to the basic tenets of our consecrated life: to live out the evangelical counsels in the context of monastic life. The discernment process Inevitably, despite the confidential nature of the ongoing negotiations, word of our intentions seeped outside the Community and I started to receive what can only be described as “hate mail” from people who were furious at the prospect of some of the sisters being received into the Catholic Church. In the United States, the Institute is present in Arizona, Illinois, and Wisconsin. They were the first women religious in the territory and would soon open many additional schools. I was taught the Rosary by a CSMV Sister when I was in my teens. When it became clear to me that there was a critical mass of sisters across the board, who were experiencing the same call to become Catholics, I sought the permission of each to share this with the whole Community. [1] In a further setback, the women discovered that Fr. It was evident that these sisters were in danger of losing their monastic vocation replacing it with a notion of a loose association of well-meaning women doing good works. [2] The Sisters of Charity, BVM opened a number of schools throughout the city, including St. Mary’s and Immaculata High Schools. This became no less true as the sisterhood continued to grow. However, shortly before Christmas, the Anglican authorities informed me by email that it would be best for the remaining Anglican sisters if we did not return. There seemed no human way forward. We proclaim the Good News with missionary zeal, in a spirit of love and joy. [citation needed] It is unclear whether there is still BVM support for the change. Travel Journal. The motion of the ferry was so slight that we felt nothing of our progress. Learn More We continued meeting together well beyond the conclusion of the formal catechesis course because the weekly exploration sessions became the only opportunity for the Catholic minded sisters to discuss our shared spiritual journey and vision for the future with each other and the Catholic Priests. What an inspiring commitment! She was 89. But the process to implement our decision was necessarily two­fold: a spiritual process of discernment as to whether a sister was being called into full communion as a Catholic and a practical process of investigating how this might be lived out. At this point the Community involved the ecclesiastical authorities of both the Church of England and the Catholic Church to explore how this might be made possible. There was inherent within this sense of call to full communion, the call to remain together. It seems to me that each of us was given a very special gift of healing grace, so that we could experience true joy as we were received at last into the full communion of the Catholic Church. To help sisters understand exactly what Pope Benedict was proposing, I called the whole Community to a meeting with representatives from the Catholic Church, who would be able to answer any of their questions. The Loretto Sisters (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IBVM) are an active community of Catholic women seeking to spread the Gospel as ‘Contemplatives in Action’. Together, in March 1832, these five opened a school, Miss Clarke’s Seminary, for young girls on North Anne Street in Dublin. To the English province of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto Sisters. We were going to the Benedictine Abbey of Ryde, across the Solent. We have come to appreciate the meaning of God’s grace as we have experienced it in the loving embrace of the Ryde sisters. These two sisters made their first vows on 15th August 1928. The Ordinariate In fact some of what CSMV traditionally did best, our Divine Office and our English Plainchant, is precisely what was being welcomed by Pope Benedict as -in his words -‘a treasure to be shared’ with the whole of the Catholic Church. [4] The following year, construction began for another college, Mundelein College in Chicago. Charity of the first centuries everything for Christ live once we were unlikely to see again depths be! I specifically asked where I should be said another sister his consolation, his love..... Was significant for the Heart and soul of our hearts could not increase the progress had wanted stay! 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