One of 19 U.S. women's religious orders specifically identified as the next step in the Vatican's Apostolic Visitation, the Adrian Dominican Sisters (of Adrian, Michigan), are being investigated. The story is outlined in this piece from the Detroit Free Press:
They've taught legions of Detroit-area Catholics. They've taken on major corporations. They are watchdog nuns who have urged U.S. companies to be socially responsible. For five days this spring, a Vatican-backed team studied the Adrian Dominicans at their motherhouse in Lenawee County. They are among at least 19 sister congregations being investigated under a process called the Apostolic Visitation. The investigation hits at a time when the Vatican is dealing with escalating criticism of its oversight of priests accused of sexually abusing children.
While church officials have said the study is necessary to account for the shrinking number of American nuns, the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center, called it a "disastrous PR move by the Vatican."
"When American Catholics find out (nuns) are being investigated by the Vatican, they scratch their heads and say, 'What is this all about?' " said Reese, a Catholic commentator. "There has always been at the Vatican a deep suspicion of U.S. nuns because they are educated, outspoken and don't like to be pushed around."
One by one, several people deeply touched by the work of the Adrian Dominican nuns told a Vatican-sanctioned panel of investigators about the ways the Michigan-based order of Catholic sisters serves people in need and honors God. "I said very positive things regarding their community life. That's one of the things that seems to be questioned," said Bishop Gerald Wiesner, head of the Prince George Diocese in British Columbia.
During the inquiry in late April of the Adrian Dominicans, an order based 70 miles southwest of Detroit, Wiesner described how four Adrians work in rural British Columbia as a hospital chaplain, a pastoral minister, a counselor and a retreat director. "They live out their vows very ideally. They are exemplary," the bishop said. "What I would really highlight among them is their reaching out to the poor and social justice."
In an interview with the Free Press, Wiesner provided a rare glimpse into the Apostolic Visitation, an ongoing investigation of American nuns, long considered the workhorses of the Catholic Church. He said the encounter made him feel that "I had been in a court of law trying to defend a friend. Read the rest here.
The other 18 orders being investigated are included in this piece from NCR. They are:
- Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose of Fremont, Calif.
- Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius of Danville, Pa.
- Adrian Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Mich.
- Daughters of Wisdom (U.S. Province) of Islip, N.Y.
- Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Wheaton, Ill.
- Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (Katharine Drexel Sisters) of Bensalem, Pa.
- Sisters of Mary of the Presentation of Valley City, N.D.
- Sisters of Notre Dame of Toledo, Ohio
- Sisters of the Holy Family of New Orleans
- Benedictine Sisters of Chicago
- Adorers of the Blood of Christ (U.S. Region) of St. Louis
- Maryknoll Sisters of Maryknoll, N.Y.
- Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross (Diocesan Community) of Green Bay, Wis.
- Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, Pa.
- Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Emmitsburg, Md.
- Dominican Sisters of Amityville, N.Y.
- Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis of Cleveland
- Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Hamden, Conn.
- Dominican Sisters, Congregation of St. Thomas Aquinas of Tacoma, Wash.