Thank You, Sisters

Fr. Jim Martin pays tribute to the legacy of women religious since Vatican II:



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David Pasinski
6 years 8 months ago
Thank you, Fr. Jim, for an articulate, beautiful, goose-bump and tear evoking tribute which many of us echoed in letters to editors and to bishops.

While I was very happy you included Jean Sullivan, the lay mssioner who was martyred with the others in El Salvador, she was Maryknoll trained, but was a lay missioner from Diocese of Cleveland mission team at that time. Perhaps some are familiar with the documentary and the popular film, "Roses in December," which told her story.

I am sad to bring up the obvious in the face of such a fine tribute, the "painful and demoralizing" aspect, which was not just for the sisters. It is for all of us. While not all may identiify with Mary Hunt's fine piece, "We are All Nuns," it nevertheless reflects the true disgust that I sadly admit feeling about thh whole energy behind this so called investigation (in another era, you know the name it woud have have had beginning with a "w") and the need to truly call it what it is.

  I greatly respect the LCWR for deliberating on their response and I pray for them, but the rest of us should denounce it for what it is, how it was funded, instigated, and the "who" of the principals involved. As I've posted elsewhere, this continues to first anger, then sadden, then simply leave me numb about any presumed hierarchical leadership or appreciation not only of Vatican II and women, but how the exercise of "authority" makes sense in the Church today.

Many of us were taught not only to announce the good news (the value and appreciation of the nuns) but also to oppose the forces of oppression. And whatever "truths" may be contained in this investigation, the whole exercise is apparently one of oppression. And we should call it such.
ed gleason
6 years 8 months ago
Fr Jim ; A Great and detailed tribute to the Sisters. That the sisters are being  demeaned in so many comment boxes for being aged, and then shown  disrespect for  their work by Vatican lay toadies, , makes my anger at the hierarchy for initiating this mess both just and lasting. My contempt leads me to posit .. the possiblility that the hierarchy's own  low standing has prompted them to 'let's take them down a peg too'...
6 years 8 months ago
I would like to add my voice to that of Fr. Martin and David Pasinski in praise of - and thanks to - our Sisters!  We learned our prayers from them, our catechism from them, and their quiet lives of prayerful and selfless love for the Lord, for the Church, and for all of us has enriched us beyond measure.  I am a Catholic today because of the Sisters in my life; and I remain a Catholic today because of the Sisters in my life.

The criticism of the Sisters by conservative and traditional Catholics who would like them to return to their habits and their convents and their restricted life often take the form of saying things like, "Well the nuns of the LCWR are all older women who will soon be gone."  If these people would take a long, loving look at the contemporary institutional Church, they would realize that most of us contemporary Catholics could be described the same way!  The institutional Catholic Church has become very grey indeed!

Anyone who can't see that institutional Catholicism in the West is on the decline is in denial.  We have lost a significant segment of our membership in the US - and the figures would be worse were it not for the Hispanic immigration that has taken place - and yet the leaders of the Church, here and in Rome, are rallying against gays, the Sisters, and now divorced/remarried Catholics (too many annulments!).  This will drive even more of our faithful away!

We could use some charismatic leadership - the kind of leadership that we had in the aftermath of Vatican II - to bring true renewal, not simply restoration of old forms, to the Church.
Julett Broadnax
6 years 8 months ago
Thank you for your positive message about the good sisters who have not only nourished you in your faith - but have also nourished and touched many of our lives in profound and lasting ways.

I received 12 years of education through Incarnate Word Sisters of Houston, Texas, Holy Cross Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.  The Carmelites, School Sister of Notre Dame, Sisters of Divine Providence, Sisters of Mercy, Jesuits and Benedictan orders of priests and nuns have also had a lasting impression on me and my faith journey.  I took a course in college recently on formation of one's conscience - also taught by a nun through University of Dallas.

The sisters have done nothing but increase my desire to live my life using Christ and the Scriptures as my models.  But they also taught me how to think for myself, and use discernment in how I am to follow Christ - on whatever road he wants me to follow.  

I am aware of their financial needs in their old age - and often receiving no financial help from their diocese where they work, even though they worked for a pittance at teaching in diocesan parish schools and working in diocesan hospitals for many years.

I wonder at the wisdom of this whole investigation and its outcome.  I am very sad and disheartened by what the CDF has called for.  It must really be true that the heirarchical church does not want women to have any voice or control over their lives, but are to be silenced and overseen as if they possess no wisdom from the Holy Spirit. 

I await with anxious heart how the leadership of LCRW will address this issue and the impact on their lives as dedicated servants of God.  And thanks for reminding us to write to our individual Bishops about our thoughts and feelings in this regard.
J Cosgrove
6 years 8 months ago
Fr. Martin,

Thank you for the extremely nice tribute to the nuns of the Catholic Church.  We all owe them a lot for what they have done.  I know I do as they made a big difference in my life.  I often say to my friends that I was raised by the Catholic Church mainly through the schools taught by nuns.  They made be proud to be a Catholic and taught me know how to live my life.
Tania Santander Atauchi
6 years 8 months ago
Oops!  My comment has been deleted!  I guess for expressing the other side of the issue.  Well, only those of us who are religious and know our co-religious sisters can objectively talk about ourselves.  Supporters of the ''demoralized'' sisters would do well in spending at least one day in some LCWR religious communities and see if they could still hold the same opinion afterwards.
Bernice Anglin
6 years 8 months ago
Fr. Jim,

A beautiful tribute-well done and well deserved.  Be sure to send us  your new address!!
Anne Chapman
6 years 8 months ago
Tania, quite a revealing set of assumptions.

 One does not have to be a member of a religious order to understand the impact (almost all positive) that the sisters who are members of orders belonging to LCWR have had on the world, including those who were educated by these sisters, and count some among friends and family.  Their contribution to God's children and the church - selfless and without support from the clergy, especially financially - cannot be overestimated.

 So far, I am unaware of similar impact by most of those in the ''traditional'' orders whose focus seems to be primarily on separating themselves from God's children - through physical separation, through their mode of dress, through their lack of presence in shelters, soup kitchens, AIDS wards, inner city schools, abused women's homes,  etc.  Perhaps you could enlighten us here as to how your order is working as Jesus's hands and heart in the world today?   I know that at least a few among the traditional orders do more than stay behind their convent walls, keeping the world at a safe distance, although that seems to be the main concern of too many.  How about yours?

Your next error is assuming that many who post here, including Fr. Martin, are not well acquainted on a personal level with many sisters who are among those being attacked and demeaned by Rome.  Most who are horrified by Rome's accusations and actions have decades of personal experience with these amazing women of God.

It is beneficial for all to reflect at times on the virtues - especially that of humility.
6 years 8 months ago
While I totally agree we must thank our sisters, I do not think expressing appreciation should be used as a way of avoiding, of denying, the reality of this crackdown.  It is a very blatant exmple of the Roman Chuch's ongoing message that women are not co-equals  - and therefore apparently need men to keep them in some kind of order.  I was given the same repsonse when I raised this issue in our Peace and Justice committee - in lieu of addressing this underlying disrespectful, demeaning and dangerous thinking and philosophy.  If we don't see it for what it is, we are in denial, thereby enabling this systemic thinking and behavior to go on.
Jim McCrea
6 years 8 months ago
"Supporters of the 'demoralized' sisters would do well in spending at least one day in some LCWR religious communities and see if they could still hold the same opinion afterwards."

Those who get all teary-eyed about nuclear families, if honest, can say the same thing.

Ditto for members of male religious orders, particularly brothers.

Why should their be perfection in women's religious orders when they are part of such a totally dysfunctional, authoritarian, clericalist church?
Craig McKee
6 years 8 months ago
Thank you, SSJ's of Springfield, Mass.
Specifically, Sisters:
Mary Winifreda, SSJ
John Aloysius, SSJ
James Theresa, SSJ
Roberta Maria, SSJ
James Elizabeth, SSJ
Paula Marie, SSJ
Louis Bertrand, SSJ
Marie Daniel, SSJ
Thomas Catherine, SSJ
Rose Catherine, SSJ
Monica Michael, SSJ
Mary Elizabeth, SSJ
Jane Mary, SSJ

6 years 8 months ago
Thank you, Sisters of Divine Providence, Pittsburgh, PA

My teachers:
Sr. Margaret Mary Wagner, CDP
Sr. Eleanore Brunner, CDP (RIP)
Sr. Victoria Baldaug, CDP (RIP)
Sr. Myra Rodgers, CDP
Sr. Rosemarie Wirth, CDP (RIP)
Sr. Mary Gilbert Kelly, CDP (RIP)

My friends:
Sr. Anne Winschel, CDP
Sr. Jean Rene Seiler, CDP
Sr. Phyllis Scello, CDP
Sr. Mary Traupman, CDP
Sr. Louise Kovoloski, CDP
Sr. Liz Apel, CDP
Sr. Mary Joan Coultas, CDP

and all the Sisters of Divine Providence of Marie de la Roche Province


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