The Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Fairfield and Vatican document Cor Orans

“Every monastery has its own idea about how to respond to Cor Orans,” says Catherine Bauer, designated spokesman for the community. “We know of 60 monasteries who are very much against it, but the Fairfield Carmelites are the only ones willing to take a stand.”

Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Fairfield, Pennsylvania of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. (Image: www.fairfieldcarmelites.org)

The Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Fairfield, Pennsylvania of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were established in 2018, an outgrowth of a Carmel convent in Valparaiso, Nebraska.  Following the beliefs of the great Carmelite reformer Teresa of Avila (1515-82), Carmelite religious houses are to be kept small, and when a sufficient number of sisters join a single house, a contingent of the sisters is sent elsewhere to form a new, and eventually autonomous community, such as that of Fairfield.

The Fairfield Carmelites wear a traditional habit and live a life of sacrifice.  They spend eight or more hours a day in prayer, sleep 5½ hours a night, and engage in such penances as abstinence from meat and frequent fasting.  They eschew modern conveniences such as indoor heating or air conditioning, electricity, and indoor plumbing.  They make use of the traditional Latin Mass and breviary, and have prayer as their charism, or work, for the Church and her priests.

While such a hard life is unthinkable to many, the Sisters have flourished as a community, drawing 100 inquiries per year about joining the community.  There are currently 25 sisters at Fairfield, with another two scheduled to enter; the maximum number the sisters can take at present is 30.  The leadership of the community includes Mother Stella-Marie of Jesus, prioress, and Mother Therese of Merciful Love, subprioress.  They are in the process of building a new monastery, with the buildings being made of stone.

While the sisters have been doing well with attracting vocations and fundraising for their new monastery, a 2018 document released by the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, titled Cor Orans (“praying heart”), has the sisters concerned about their future.  According to a Vatican news release, “The document provides precise guidelines regarding all the practical, administrative, legal and spiritual aspects pertaining to the founding and running of Monasteries for contemplative nuns.”

The Fairfield Carmelites have many objections to the contents of the documents and have written Vatican officials repeatedly to request an exemption, but so far unsuccessfully.  Chief among their concerns is the loss of autonomy of their community, (a hallmark of Carmelite houses for 500 years), loss of control of their finances, and formation of new members.

While the Fairfield Carmelites have yet to speak to the media about their concerns, Catherine Bauer, younger sister to Mother Therese and daughter to the community’s caretaker, Tom Bauer, spoke to CWR about the community’s concerns.  Catherine serves as the community’s director of marketing and development, leading the effort to raise funds for the community’s new monastery, and is the designated spokesman for the community.

CWR: How did your sister, Mother Therese, come to join the Carmelites?

Catherine Bauer: She was the oldest of seven children; we grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  When she was age 14, and I was 11, she began telling the family she wanted to join a religious order.  She looked at the Poor Clares and the Buffalo Carmelites before deciding on Valparaiso.  Valparaiso is a well-established community that can trace its lineage back 400 years to Mexico.  They are an incredible order and have drawn large numbers of vocations.  Young women are attracted because of their stability and faithfulness to their charism.  It was nuns from this community who came to establish a house in Pennsylvania, first in Elysburg and then Fairfield, in the Diocese of Harrisburg.  They first came in 2009, and the three bishops who have led Harrisburg since then have all been very supportive.

How is the process of building their monastery going?

Catherine Bauer: It is coming along well.  We have the funding for the foundations of the chapel, and we’re working on permitting several other buildings.  We are starting work on the interior of the refectory and kitchen, and will hopefully finish in 2022.  We’ve finished the recreation and work rooms building.  All will be made of stone and timber.

CWR: Why stone?

Catherine Bauer: It fits in with the charism of the Carmelites.  Stone is solid, permanent and lasts.  If built right, a stone monastery will last a thousand years.  The idea is that this community of nuns, too, is here to stay.

For the Carmelites, everything is a prayer that brings them to God, and has symbolic importance.  They have to hand pump rainwater.  They have to light candles and oil lanterns.  They bring in wood to cook in a wood stove.  All is done with great mindfulness.

They have no phone (they can, however, use the caretaker’s phone in an emergency), electricity, or computers.  Everything is a littler harder to do.  They are trying to live as their foremothers did.  St. Teresa of Avila believed her nuns should live as austerely and laboriously as possible.  She did not believe the life of a nun should be cushioned, but a hard, continually wearing away of your faults, along with a mindfulness of your surroundings and continued prayer.

The chapel we are building is small, holding about 80 faithful plus the nuns, with a main church over a crypt.  In the heat and humidity of the Pennsylvania summers, the stone buildings will retain coolness, and the sisters will be able to go below to the crypt for Mass.  And, in time, the living sisters will be surrounded by the remains of the sisters who have finished their lives on this Earth.

CWR: Where do the sisters get their food?

Catherine Bauer: Local people donate fish and cheese, and they grow their own vegetables.  The sisters also raise chickens for eggs and have cows for milk.

CWR: Why do they prefer the [traditional] Latin Mass?

Catherine Bauer: As Carmelites, there is certainly an appeal to it being the same Mass Teresa of Avila would have attended.  They also say the rosary in Spanish as she would have.

But also, as beautiful as the Novus Ordo Mass can be, the Latin Mass has a history and meaning they find more beneficial.  And, many of their vocations are coming from traditional families, so many sisters would have had the Latin Mass as part of their upbringing.

CWR: How have you observed this life of sacrifice to have benefitted the sisters?

Catherine Bauer: When I visit, there are no words to describe the joy or love for life and the Church I observe among them.  They laugh, tease, and tell funny stories.  As the nuns have told me, we get to live a beautiful life, and then we get heaven at the end of it.  St. Teresa of Avila has said that if you follow the Carmelites’ rule of life, you’re guaranteed to go to heaven.

CWR: Are visitors welcome?

Catherine Bauer: Their Mass is open to the public, although since they are cloistered, you won’t see the nuns.  When people have donations or prayer requests, they can come and ring a bell and one of the sisters will respond.  There is a turn or turnstile, on which items can be placed and the nun answering can turn it around and receive it.  (For those who do not live locally, prayer requests and other questions can be emailed to me at fairfieldcarmelites@gmail.com.)

CWR: The community had a four-day apostolic visitation at the end of September.  Why was that?

Catherine Bauer: They were visited by two Carmelite nuns and one Carmelite father at the behest of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.  The official reason given was an investigation related to the transfer of a group of Carmelite nuns out of a Philadelphia convent in 2021.

The Valparaiso Carmelites had been asked to re-found a Carmelite community in Philadelphia.  There were three elderly nuns there, one of whom has since died and a second has entered a nursing home.  Valparaiso agreed, and sent six nuns, with another three coming from Elysburg (now part of Fairfield).  In 2021, the nuns wanted to return to Valparaiso, as they believed the implementation of Cor Orans was interfering with their way of life.  The nine nuns did return to Valparaiso, along with two aspirants who had joined the community.

Due to the proximity of the Fairfield Carmelites, they received the apostolic visitation to determine what had happened in the Philadelphia convent.  But we believe an issue of greater importance to those visiting was to assess Fairfield’s observance of Cor Orans.

CWR: The Fairfield Carmelites have concerns about this document.

Catherine Bauer: Yes.  For the past 500 years, Carmelite communities have been small and family-like, and operate autonomously, the ideal environment to pass down the community’s traditions.  If implemented, Cor Orans will give control of the monastery over to a religious federation outside of the community and will give Vatican officials greater oversight into the day-to-day lives of the Carmelites.

It is a mandate for female contemplative orders, with 298 rules the nuns are required to follow.  It centralizes power in the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, requiring all women’s contemplative religious orders to follow the same rules.

These rules relate to the formation of new nuns, financial oversight and the sharing of assets between monasteries, constant visitors and requirements that our Mother Superior and Novice Mistress attend regular meetings and formation classes.  Our community tried to follow these rules, but quickly realized it is impossible to do.  They wrote many letters requesting exemptions, as have many other cloistered women’s communities, and talked to their bishop, telling him we are being interfered with.  They cannot follow the rule of St. Teresa of Avila and Cor Orans.

This was the reason that the 11 nuns in Philadelphia opted to return to Valparaiso, which was the justification for the apostolic visit to Fairfield.

CWR: You are raising millions of dollars to build the Fairfield Carmelites a monastery. How might Cor Orans affect the finances of cloistered women’s monasteries?

Catherine Bauer: It gives officials in the Holy See access to the financial assets of the nuns and their properties.  It gives them the ability to take control of the monastery, evict the nuns and then have financial control over the property.  We believe there are those in leadership in Rome who believe that contemplative orders don’t have a place in the Church any longer.  They believe the nuns’ assets would be better used for charitable ventures; the assets can be sold and the money given to the poor.

CWR: You also have concerns about the formation of your novices.

Catherine Bauer: Yes.  Cor Orans allows religious federations to remove novices from communities, form them, and then return them later.  Imagine if someone took children away from their parents, educated them, and then returned them to their home years later.  Would anyone want this?

CWR: What will the sisters do if they get an unfavorable verdict from the apostolic visitation?

Catherine Bauer: When the three visitors left, they assured the Fairfield Carmelites that they were living a good life, and all was in order.  We are concerned, however, that it does not matter what the three say, the directive from the Congregation will be that the Carmelites must implement Cor Orans.

The nuns will not do this, and we fear it will cause a firestorm, and could lead to their suppression.  We believe that if the broader Catholic community is aware of what is happening, it will make it harder for them to shut the community down.  The Catholic media and laity can be our salvation, as right now we have no recourse to canon law or the Vatican.

CWR: Will other communities support you?

Catherine Bauer: Every monastery has its own idea about how to respond to Cor Orans.  We know of 60 monasteries who are very much against it, but the Fairfield Carmelites are the only ones willing to take a stand.  I think the others believe that if they lay low, things will blow over.  Since the Fairfield nuns received the apostolic visitation, however, it is their head on the chopping block.  Our nuns have chosen to stand up and fight, even if they will be doing so alone.

CWR: What else would you like to share?

Catherine Bauer: The Fairfield nuns do not want to be in this position in which they are being forced to choose between their charism and the heart of the Church.  They love the Magisterium, they love the Church and its history.  They have no intention of being schismatic, nor do they want to disobey rules.  They are Carmelites, and they are Catholic.  But this is their Church, too, and they shouldn’t be forced to choose between 500 years of Carmelite history and being in the heart of the Church.

We need the Carmelite nuns.  We need their prayers.  We must not diminish the role of contemplative orders in the Church.  Prayer will save our Church, and it will save our world.  We must protect these nuns at whatever the cost.

(Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)


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About Jim Graves 208 Articles
Jim Graves is a Catholic writer living in Newport Beach, California.

201 Comments

  1. Dear Saint Teresa of Avila, please arrange to have someone smack upside the head whoever needs to be smacked to protect the Fairfield Carmelites; and indeed all Carmelites; and indeed all contemplative orders.

    • I am also heartbroken and very angry about this and I support your comments. Why can’t the Vatican leave Santa Teresa of Avila’s children alone? They are lifting us up on their shoulders. Blessed Mother, rid us of all evil, amen.

      • The best reply ever. You are correct. There is more to this story than meets the eye. There needs to be greater oversight of monasteries by the Vatican. For many years, several Catholic monastic communities have taken advantage of their autonomy to practice their own version of what Catholicism is. So much so that they have become pagan like incorporating New Age mysticism in their beliefs and conduct thus creating cult-like behaviors. The Eucharist has also been desecrated in such communities
        That is why the Vatican has decided to sift through these communities by being more involved and having greater insight. To those who are unaware, be very careful with the spirit of division. The nuns are not as innocent as they seem.

        • There needs to be greater oversight of monasteries by the Vatican.

          No, there doesn’t.

          Not unless you’re an ideologue bent on obliterating any charisms or differing political viewpoints from the Church. The idea that the Fairfield Carmelites have even a flea’s bite of pagan practice or ideas in their lived charism is . . . simply bizarre.

          • “Bizarre” is the sight of nuns saying to the Church and those who are their superiors, “The nuns will not do this.”
            “Bizarre” also is the notion that “salvation” is to be found in the media, or the laity, rather than in Jesus Christ and His Church.
            No one, especially religious, would resist some form of accountability unless possibly there exists something they do not want to be known.
            The more I study this interview, the more alarming it has become to me.

        • You must be mistaking the Vatican’s Pachamama event for something that occurred in a monastic context. Rest assured there are no idols, syncretism or heterodoxy to be found in Fairfield.

        • Here’s the thing.

          Take a look at LCWR. That is where you will find the creeping in if paganism and new age. But these religious are in the good books of pope Francis.

          And what are we to say of a Pope who thinks that it’s okay to pay homage to the Pachamama? Maybe the Vatican needs a visitation from faithful Catholics. Or simply just withdraw the money.

        • There is always, in any organization, the opportunity for error, and evil. Read Malachi Martin’s superb book, THE JESUITS. The Zeitgeist has swallowed up some orders. But it is utterly naive to think the Chief Jesuit, now ruling our Church is concerned for either truth or charity. And anyone who has followed the Vatican financial scandal cannot believe that any good will come from “Cor orans.” The traditional orders, who follow their Rule (often the wonderful gift from the founders) and use the Latin Mass, source of all evil, according to some in Rome, are growing faster than their facilities can provide. Meanwhile, the orders who play with New Age nonsense etc are fading away. Perhaps that is why they are being persecuted. All that piety! All those prayers! Obviously, the nuns ought to be out marching for “climate change.” We pray for them.

          • The scourge of the Jesuits upon other religious orders has been grave indeed. I’ve watched it in Carmel since the sixties and the Trappists have been severely compromised as well.
            The Society of Jesus requires suppression.

      • Perhaps you would find this illuminating. Informed sources have contributed a profile of what the reptiles in the Vatican have planned for communities of priests devoted to the ancient liturgy.
        https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2021/12/ex-ecclesia-dei-communities-facing.html#more
        The craft, the ill-will, manifested in this anticipated program is entirely characteristic of the tyranny employed for years by the “merciful” Bergoglian regime. Surely the same nefarious face is manifested in the attack on the Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmels — and indeed ultimately all the Carmels devoted to a faithful adherence to the Teresian charism.

        • James, thank you for this comment. It started me thinking, and I have just sent off this email to Mother Stella Marie at Fairfield:
          Dear Mother Stella-Marie, a comment on the CWR article gave me an idea which you may find helpful in the present situation. If I am not mistaken, at the time of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross all Carmelites followed the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre and it was only later that they changed over to the Roman Rite. Since you are trying to return to the Carmelite life as it was lived at Teresa’s time, it seems to me that it would be most fitting for you to follow the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre as she did. That would also solve any difficulty caused by Traditionis Custodes since that only concerns the Roman Rite. Blessed Advent!

          • If my memory serves me correctly there are a couple of communities of male Carmelite hermits who use the Rite of the Holy Sepulcher.
            Given what is transpiring I doubt anything can deflect the ire of the current pontificate against and facet of tradition — liturgical or otherwise. I read today that the hammer is to come down:
            https://www.gloria.tv/post/cCnpRKVZbAvb6QHZBBNYhUQu7
            Pope Francis met with Macron recently and appears to have missed the opportunity to object to the proposed desecration of Notre Dame — a proposal made with the approval of the Archdiocese of Paris by a priest. If Notre Dame can be metamorphosized why not Carmel? Turn it into a Mary Tyler Moore rooming house like the apostolic orders.
            The mask of the nice guy is being nixed. Perhaps Gabriela will get the memo at some point before eternity.

    • It is beyond explanation why Gabriella, a nun canonically enclosed, vowed to contemplative practice supported by prayerful silence, is either ordered by her prioress or her own volition spends her day as apologist for the attack on another monastery. Besides the obvious need for distraction what could be the motivation for her voluminous commentary and posts dished out with a passive-aggressive demeanor? Why the undermining faithful nuns who live in another monastery? On the Flemington Carmel website she launched a salvo against Archbishop Viganò. Why does her depth knowledge of all things ecclesiastical not extend itself to a blistering critique of heterodoxy among the rest of the episcopate and the aberrance found in her order? Why does she not share her analysis of Carmels where the Carmelite charism is a lost memory? Reno and Baltimore come to mind let alone the other spectrum of observances found in post-conciliar Carmel. She appeals to Saint Teresa of Jesus but conveniently lays aside the reality that Saint Teresa worked for an observance in accord with eremitical and penitential spirit of the Desert Fathers and the Rule of Saint Albert. Teresa of Jesus was adamantly against mitigation while the Vatican and Flemington are not merely for it but aggressively promote it. Appeals to “obedience” are empty during a pontificate where Scripture and the perennial Magisterium are conveniently laid aside with the justification they have lost a certain credence because of social progress and new academic insights.
      In all honesty “I’m only following orders” doesn’t sound so good at this point in history.
      The enclosed nun’s continual presence on the web is rather like someone who abstains from meat as part of religious practice while stuffing themselves with veggie burgers. It is all symptomatic of a nefarious ambiguity characteristic of the current mode held in esteem during the Bergoglian captivity. Having it “both ways” robs anyone of credence.

  2. I’ve heard it said that the contemplative orders and their life of prayer is the spiritual battery of the Church. Even St. Teresa of Calcutta and her Missionaries of Charity order has a contemplative branch. From what I’ve heard prayer has an important role in the daily life of the order. Prayer was a major part of Christ’s life during His earthly mission. You can’t give what you don’t have.

    • 8 Hours of devout prayer, living without electricity, building everything with their own hands, who can argue with their long-suffering lives for God’s glory and our salvation?

  3. “We believe there are those in leadership in Rome who believe that contemplative orders don’t have a place in the Church any longer. They believe the nuns’ assets would be better used for charitable ventures; the assets can be sold and the money given to the poor.”
    This seems to be a false accusation.
    In a letter to Vigano, Sr. Gabriela Hicks wrote: “Archbishop Viganò claimed to be defending cloistered religious and to speak on their behalf. He may indeed be speaking for the 25 Nuns at the Fairfield Carmel and the 41 Nuns at Valparaiso, but he is not speaking for me, nor for my Community, nor for our Association, nor for the thousands of other cloistered contemplative nuns who have quietly put the norms of Cor Orans into practice and who are reaping the rewards of their obedient trust in God. As the articles on our website show, we have found that Cor Orans is challenging and rewarding. We Carmelites are not the only ones. As Sr. Mary Catharine, O.P. of the Summit Dominicans, wrote, “We see CO as a blessing. It has provided so much of what we felt the lack of in the past 50 years.”

      • It’s Sunday. A day of rest. Third Commandment. Why are you, a Carmelite sister on the web today and posting comments? Can you not hold off until tomorrow?

        • Wait a minute, James – please don’t let the pot call the kettle black. The key word here is “civilized,” discussion and not personal attack. I am very concerned for this situation with the good Sisters just like you must be and pray they are treated justly, but we Traditionalists are so often tarred with the “nasty” brush.
          I am very grateful to James for posting this interview!

        • When I study the sisters’ comments, I see that they are not just commenting: they are correcting what they believe to be misconceptions. That corresponds to “instructing the ignorant” or “correcting the erring”, both of which are Spiritual Works of Mercy. You may think that their statements are incorrect, in which case you should correct them, but I think it is dangerous to limit any of the spiritual or corporal Works of Mercy only to weekdays.

        • Andrew, A comparison between the ‘workday’ activities of another contemplative order (Dominicans of Summit NJ) and the Fairfield Carmelites can be very revealing. The difference between communities and individuals within them is stark. Both communities have a solid internet presence. The blog of the Summit Dominican posts about once/week and contains many photos of their contemplative manner of life. One reasonably infers a difference in how each community spends its days of rest.

          IOW, a Sunday rest ‘rule’ may be broad or it may be strict. Hence, no one association fits all communities. The point seems to have been proven.

      • [C]larity and love of the truth, which is a hallmark of the Dominicans?” That, Sister, is not a premise, or fact, to support your argument, but a loose generalization or opinion. Nor, historically, is it true, because, for centuries the Dominicans were the order that uncharitably fought and vigorously opposed the truth of dogma of the Immaculate Conception. That is historic fact. It is a great historic
        Embarrassment for the Dominicans that their leader at the Council of Florence, Juan Torquemada (uncle of the more infamous Torquemada), demanded the Pope, in the presence of the Orthodox Greek delegation that the Franciscans be burned at the stake for advocating the Immaculate Conception. That, too, is a fact.

        Sister Gabriela, you are a Carmelite, so I respectfully suggest you look up what your own Bl. Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua, O. Carm., wrote of them in the Opus Aureum in Thomistas. What he wrote then is still applicable today.

        Sister, one of your argument against the Fairfield Carmelites’s position is premised on your faulty knowledge of Pennsylvania corporate law. Being a corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not prevent dissolution of said Fairfield Corporation. In fact, Cor Orans requirements would likely require a modification of the corporate charter of Fairfield. And, being a corporation does not prevent dissolution of the corporation, surrender, or attachment of the corporate assets to an outside party. All one has to do is look at some of the sex abuse cases filed against Catholic corporations in Pennsylvania for examples in the judicial context. And, by the agreement of the parties, it can be done in the transactional context.

        I would suggest that everyone watch the video of the Fairfield nun’s chaplain, Father Maximilian Dean for more context to understand the Fairfield nun’s position.

        And, it may be true that Cor Orans is good for some monasteries (30 suppressed so far in Italy under Cor Orans, Henry VIII would be proud), but anyone with a knowledge of monasticism in the Church, east and west, knows that a one size fits all approach never works.

        • Cor orans does not require any modification of any monastery’s incorporation statutes. The norms for dissolution of a corporation are set out in the corporation’s bylaws. When a Carmel is suppressed, the assets go to the Carmels which accept the nuns who were in the community when it was suppressed.

          • Glory to Jesus Christ, Sister! Thank you for the answer, but I think in all fairness it misleads the readership. First, if the particular monastery of nuns corporate charter was not in conformity with Cor Orans, it would have to amend its corporate charter to be in conformity with Cor Orans.
            An example of this would be the obligation to enter into a Federation of monasteries as required by Cor Orans chapter two.

            In your answer you also refer to Cor Orans Chapter One, #72 which states that what you said, but also (which you left out) that the Holy See may dispose of a portion of the assets to charity, the particular church (canonically, quite open ended) or to the female monastic congregation. Legally speaking, the suppressing authority under Cor Orans does not have to give ANY money to the monasteries where the nuns go. That is the plain language, Sister.
            Master Secretary Cromwell would certainly have approved such language, especially the vagueness of the term “charity.” That “charity” could, conceivably, be a NGO run by Jeffrey Sachs, for example.

            In any event. Sister, please understand that the sovereignty/autonomy bestowed by the corporate charter for a monastery under Pennsylvania law is no guarantee that the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life will not unduly adversely interfere/intervene in the life of a monastery.

          • James Ignatius, I can’t reply to your last comment since there is no button, so I am replying here. You don’t give any references to Cor orans, so I don’t know what you are referring to in your comments about it. Article #94 says “Once canonical erection has been obtained, the Federation seeks legal recognition also in the civil sphere and places its legal see in one of the monasteries belonging to it.” This only applies to the federation or association, not to the members of the federation or association. I was responsible for the incorporation of our St. Joseph’s Association, and that had nothing to do with the legal status of the member monasteries. In the future, please give the references to the passages of the document which you are discussing.

      • Without knowing anything about you, Sister, your intervention here simply rings false. I do not know ANY believing Catholics who are rejoicing over any aspect of this pontificate. Our sidling, flattering bishops are posturing for a red biretta. I don’t know what you are after, but I don’t believe a word of what you have posted.

        • You don’t have to believe anything I say. If you are interested in facts, I suggest that you study the documents. So far, virtually everyone who rejects Cor orans confuses Congregations (CO #12) and Associations/Federations (CO #110) There is a tremendous difference between an organization whose president is a major superior and an association whose president who is not a major superior.

  4. IOW, donations to the Carmelite Monastery in Fairfield are going to Francis?? If so, that is theft, according to the beautiful merciful rigidity of the Eighth and Tenth Commandments. Francis should make amends by returning all stolen and ill-begotten funds to the Fairfield Carmelites. Then may God have mercy. I will continue to donate to the Fairfield community. I will give more. God will repay us all.

      • You are hiding behind a pseudonym. Since you do not give your name nothing you say is credible or of value. Not even your existence.

          • Sister, what you say here is false as I noted above in regards to #72.

            Clause #94 – that particular clause to those who are seeking canonical recognition for a federation. I am speaking about religious entities, such as Faifield, who already have their own secular incorporation, and to comply with membership in/rules of the Federation, they would have to modify their corporate charter, to comy with secular law.

            To wrap it up, your sisters in Fairfield interpret the practcal application of Cor Orans with the loss of autonomy over formation as a negative. You see it as a positive. They see the Federation’s ability to interfere with their internal decisions as a negative, while you see it as a positive. You see the fact that Archbishop Vignano supports your sisters at Fairfield as an affont to Pope Francis. Your sisters in Fairfield do not see such support as Vignano gives as an affront to the Pope. They prefer the older form of the Roman liturgy, your house prefers the novus ordo.

            Sister, you are on the other side from these sister both as a matter of civil and canon law. I do understand your position, but the readership should understand that legally, your position is adverse to that of the Fairfield Carmel.

            Prayers for this to be resolved, and if need be, to let the Fairfield nuns be separated from the Federation. That might be in the best interests of everybody involved. A blessed Advent to you, sister!

          • I refer to what James Andrew wrote:
            Fairfield need not be “separated” from “the Federation” for the very simple reason that they do not belong to a Federation. They are resisting this. I thought that was quite clear.

        • “You are hiding behind a pseudonym. Since you do not give your name nothing you say is credible or of value. Not even your existence.”

          So, Lewis Carroll and George Orwell said nothing “credible or of value”? Who knew?

        • Fr. Bailey, I can vouch for Sr. Gabriela and if you had taken the time to read her various comments, you would have seen that she has pointed to the Where Peter Is site where her articles were published. Frankly as a Catholic I’m ashamed of your criticism of a cloistered nun that is only doing her duty as a Catholic. I’m also a member of WPI and you can find more information about me there. Try to reciprocate in humility.

      • So many who comment on here have no clue of what’s really going on. They need to educate themselves before commenting.
        Thanks for your comments.

    • Please do not believe this sensationalism. Our Holy Father is not out to steal funds. For these women, why imitate some of the externals of 16th Century Spain and fail to imitate the core values of St. Teresa: humility, obedience and love for the Church and her Hierarchy? You say, “The Nuns will not do this” which is equivalent to “Non Serviam.”
      If a community does not wish to accept what the Church is asking of them, then it seems they have a choice to make.” Please see the Home Page of the Loretto Carmelites:https://lorettocarmel.org/ They have an excellent Statement out and are true Daughters of the Church.

      • Thank you, Lucy, for posting about the Carmelite Nuns in Loretto, PA. I’ve been looking for one in PA that is faithful and not at variance with Rome. I had originally looked at Fairfield, but when I realized they and Ms. Bauer were defying the Holy Father and the laws of the Church (as this article makes clear), I wanted nothing more to do with them. I’ve been telling all my friends about their rebellion too. We need to stand with the Church and the Holy Father. St. Teresa was a Daughter of the Church after all.

        • With respect, your comment here about charging these sisters with “rebellion” suggests that you do not know how matters of policy and governance change even within one generation, generated by a “loyal opposition.” (The re-institution of the 1962 liturgical rites by Pope Benedict is probably the best recent example.)

          • Policy and governance may change, but religious vow obedience “according to the Rule and Constitutions.” Not according to any policy. I find it very odd that Catherine Bauer says there can be 30 nuns in the Fairfield Carmel when their Constitutions say there can be 21. 1990 Constitutions #14, note 6.

        • Don’t “true daughters of the Church” have a right to disagree with the Pope and hierarchy? Certainly I suppose there are many Catholics who believe “My Pope, right or wrong.” But it is surely naive and perhaps, very foolish to insist that anything the Holy Father says or does is “ex cathedra” and therefore infallible. He too is capable of sin, like the rest of us. Great power is a terrible thing, and great power over souls is even worse. Pray for him.

          • Kathleen Reeves, where have I said anything about other people disagreeing with the Pope? My Open Letter to Archbishop Vigano simply said that he was not speaking for me or for my Community or for all the other contemplative communities that are putting Cor orans into practice. What other people do is their business. As St. John Fisher said, “Their conscience may save them. Mine must save me.”
            Also where have I said anything about believing everything the Pope says? I have never tasted Mate, which apparently he enjoys, and I have no opinion about it, or about the San Lorenzo soccer team. On the other hand, he has the authority as the Vicar of Christ to regulate Church discipline concerning religious institutes, and I and thousands of other contemplatives accept what he does in that regard with the obedience of faith. In the future, if you disagree with anything I write, please be more specific.

      • Sorry Lucy but this is nonsense. Have you not read of the financial corruption in the Vatican? The people in the Vatican are largely money hungry, homosexual perverts.

        Very few are faithful to Jesus. Just think Pachamama.

        The Pope and his cohorts are out to persecute their own people.

        Why else would they want to meddle in a blossoming religious order. The kind their like are dying and so they should because they’ve traded Christ for the world. Meanwhile the traditional and conservative orders are thriving and the Pope and his cohorts hate them with a vengeance.

        Who was it who said to sell the precious oil and give the money to the poor? Yep, Judas.

    • Accusing the Pope of theft gets posted on this site? And other comments speaking the truth do not? Interesting. At least we know now where you all at CWR stand. Thanks for making it clear to all of us loyal Catholics. And thanks for making it even clearer that the “nuns” at Fairfield are in defiance to the Church. This article spells it out very succinctly. No donations from us!

  5. First of All, I would like to state that the Fairfield Carmel is a registered Corporation in the State of Pennsylvania, and no one can walk off with its assets.
    Secondly, Cor orans makes a clear distinction between Congregations and Associations, and Associations have no authority to interfere in the internal life of the members.
    Thirdly, the 60 monasteries which Miss Bauer refers to include the 15 here in the USA, and the 52 in Spain who belong to the Santa Teresa Association. You can read more about that here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ed81890998e9c2c86a69dba/t/619a3e5ecd592d4e10b2fd66/1637498462887/Joint+Letter+and+Reply+-+Dec.+14th%2C+2019.pdf
    Finally, I think it is only fair to let Archbishop Carballo speak for himself about Cor orans: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ed81890998e9c2c86a69dba/t/619a3fcaf11f7b42d6b3a408/1637498836933/Official+English+Translation+of+Archbishop+Carballo%27s+Letter+-+Nov.+1st%2C+2020.pdf
    Thank you.

  6. There is no need for anyone at Fairfield to “choose between their charism and the heart of the Church”, as Miss Bauer says. Cor orans only applies to cloistered religious, women who profess the 3 vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and who live in community under a Rule and constitutions. The nuns at Fairfield are free to leave the religious state and live as a pious union or some other form of community. This is being done at Halle: Three Nuns in Halle defy Vatican Over Convent Closure.
    Then, as St. Teresa said when her Reform was separated from the Calced Carmelites, “We can all live in peace.”

    • In other words, as I have heard among the Trappists in regard to an inconvenient monk, “…let him self-select.” An astonishing comment which reflects more on the community which contributes it rather than on the religious to whom it is addressed.
      Yours magnifies the reality of this situation and clarifies it amply. There is a degree of hostility thrown at the Fairfield community by those who regard themselves as preeminently “humble and obedient” which is really scandalous. You ride the moral high horse and you know what they say regarding the danger of the “high horse.” I have watched this behavior in decades past in other Carmels but to see it directed publically toward another Carmel which is thriving, and in public, is grossly inappropriate. It has the fragrance of jealousy.
      Exhibited here is a degree of arrogance and pride, delivered in an aria of passive-aggressiveness, which perfectly displays the catastrophic disorder presently consuming the wider Church.
      You know there are a wide spectrum of observances in the all the Carmels around the globe. Why does the one lived in Fairfield and Valparaiso elicit such scrutiny? Such venom? Would the critical eye not be best directed toward those which resemble more a Mary Tyler Moore rooming house?

      • I believe that it can be very challenging for a religious to keep her vow of obedience. I sympathize with the Fairfield nuns who feel that they have to choose between whom to obey: their charism or the Church. But laity don’t have to make that choice: a layperson can follow the charism that she feels she is called to. So I don’t see why you object to the idea of the nuns preferring their charism to the state of being a religious.

        • If you look closely you will notice by the indention that my comment was in response to Sr. Gabriella, not to the Fairfield Carmel for which I have the highest regard. You will also notice the absence of a response to my comment by Sister which is telling.

          • James, my response was to you. I think it is a very reasonable idea for the nuns to follow their charism if that is what they believe God is asking them to do even if they have to give up their vows. I believe that lay people can be just as holy as religious and priests.

  7. I have been reading these articles with great interest over the past week. Curious, I found the documents mentioned: Seeking the Face of God and Praying Heart. I read them and even asked the nuns where I go to adoration about them.
    I’m not a canon lawyer but it seems that the nuns and the people writing these articles are saying things that are opposite of what these documents are saying. It is very clear that the Church is retaining the autonomy of the nuns and that these Federations can’t just come in and kick out nuns or move them around or take their money. It even says that the nun training should take place in the monastery first of all.
    The nuns’ complaints remind me of my mother, God rest her soul. She was very devout, going to daily Mass, made a holy hour and did her spiritual reading. She would take us kids to Stations on Fridays. People would ask her if my dad died before she did if she would become a nun. She would say very forcefully, “Heck no! (Well, something else but I won’t write it.) I don’t need to become a nun to pray! I don’t want someone else telling me what to do.
    I don’t want to be disrespectful but it seems these nuns are saying the same thing. I thought they were supposed to be obedient to the Pope.
    From how they explain their lives it seems like, since they are living in Amish country they want to be Amish Nuns. I don’t think the Amish have nuns but maybe they could be the first. Then they could live their lives in their own way. Sounds like that would solve the problem.
    I will pray my rosary today that this problem will be solved.

  8. A curious situation indeed when flourishing communities such as Fairfield and Valparaiso attract the critical scrutiny of the episcopate while the vast majority of all religious communities – contemplative and apostolic, men and women – are fast facing extinction.
    One would think that communities rich in vocations would attract attention in order to employ facets of the model they provide to build up other communities – but that doesn’t appear operative, does it? Could it be we are observing a move to eradicate religious life and with the exception of a few situations the endeavor is succeeding — for the time being, anyway. While not a new phenomenon, observe well the dissolution of the monasteries in sixteenth century England [which was for the purpose of lucre over and above any “theological” motivation] – it surely is unheard of that the endeavor comes from within the Church itself. Unless, of course, a new model of priesthood and the eradication of religious life – contemplative and apostolic – is necessary for an unarticulated purpose.
    After all, if it ain’t broke you don’t “fix” it.
    Gamaliel’s admonition to the chief priests and the Pharisees regarding the Apostles recorded in Acts 5:38-39 comes to mind “…in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this understanding is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God.”
    Yes, you might even be found opposing God.
    Further analysis of this situation is to be found at Crisis Magazine this past week. Well worth the read.
    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/why-is-the-vatican-assailing-contemplative-life

  9. Do you suppose Bergolio would have commanded the Irish Monks of the middle ages – “How dare you live a life of seclusion and prayer, saying Mass in Latin and spending your days preserving and synthesizing new knowledge from the wisdom of the ages. Get out in the fields and help the peasants and the common people.” We would still all be grubbing in the mud, living to 40 – if the turnip crop didn’t fail all those decades, bringing cholera and plagues in the wake. And people throughout the world would still be stabbing each other with spears and endlessly fighting to the death over the most fertile patches of land because they don’t have anything better to do with their days. Yes of course he would’ve.

    • Why are people attacking the Holy Father? I don’t think i will ever understand such hatred for him, even from Catholics. Just because word came from the Vatican does not necessarily mean it comes from Pope Francis. I think i see the danger of CO but let us follow in the footsteps of our Lady and flood Heaven with prayer for the preservation of the Body of Christ, the Church.

      • As I recall Pope Francis has a track record of using ad hominems. There is a website titled “The Pope Francis Little/Bumper Book of Insults” that contains quite a long list of them. The quotes are clickable links to the articles where those quotes came from. It is quite the papal rock pile with which to verbally stone people who disagree with him.
        *
        http://popefrancisbookofinsults.blogspot.com/

  10. Obedience and humility to the Church was always seen by the saints as more important than their own willfulness and is the greatest sacrifice. This community needs to understand that and to live in communion with the Church. All the sacrifices in the world don’t amount to anything if one doesn’t understand this truth. Jesus said I want your love not your sacrifices.

  11. If the Catholic media support Fairfield, won’t that make the contemplative nuns who follow Cor orans, like Sr. Gabriela, look like victims of the press?

  12. Why isn’t someone proving Sr. Gabriela wrong??? She’s making all these statements, that Fairfield is a Corporation so no one can steal their money, that people are confusing congregations and associations when they read Cor orans, etc. etc. Why isn’t someone answering her and proving that what she says isn’t true?????

    • Maybe nobody is doing this because they can’t prove Sister wrong. I keep checking her facts and she’s pretty savvy. It’s making me look at this much more carefully than I have before. I’ve always been cautious about articles that assume readers can’t think for themselves. But I am still praying very much about this!

  13. Jesus Christ died to save the sinner. No rule of a Saint, nor following rules from Rome will save us. Be obedient to God’s law. Jesus went away to be alone and pray. There is a place for those who go away from others to pray- this is biblical. St. Teresa followed Christ and His Word, likewise, we too, should follow CHRIST and his Word. Just because St Teresa “ slept on her left side, doesn’t mean we should all sleep on our left”. She pointed us to Christ- same as Mary, “ Do whatever He tells you” were her last words in Scripture. Martha served, Mary sat at His feet! There is purpose and reason for both. How things are managed and by whom should not get in the way of me being on my knees. I don’t care whether they go to the bathroom in an outhouse or a toilet with heat and air. Christ lived in His Time And Place, but let the focus be on HIM, and obedience to the Father’s Will! Teresa was obedient. Let not our self-will get in the way of our time to pray. Fear is real! Self Will is real, but Jesus taught us to overcome all with His Grace! Turn it over and Do Whatever He tells You. I will be in continual prayer for you!

  14. As the sister of Carmelite nuns, what strikes me as rather strange is the nuns’ assertion regarding something coming from the highest authority in the Church: “The nuns will not do this.” How does this not constitute defiance?
    One of my sisters mentioned to me this quote from St. Teresa herself in the Way of Perfection: “It is to this duty of obedience that you must attach the greatest importance…I mean that, if anyone is under a vow of obedience and goes astray through not taking the greatest care to observe these vows with the highest degree of perfection, I do not know why she is in the convent.”
    If what the Church asks is difficult, is that any reason to abandon obedience?
    It almost seems as if many people are practically speed-reading Cor Orans to get it so wrongly interpreted – actually, my sister called these assertions, “lies about CO” – so, if this is how the nuns are bolstering up their argument for resisting the Church, what happens to the argument if one REALLY reads CO?
    Are they obedient to their idea of their charism, or to the Church, which alone is responsible for guarding the gift of the charisms in the Church?
    It seems to me that there is more in play here than perhaps personal dislike of the Holy Father in the posts so far published in CWR on this subject, but even that flavor does come through, and I would have hoped someone like Fr. Fessio would have avoided this.

    • Anna,your sisters are on the right track. We are greatly indebted to their steadfast fidelity to the Church. Everyone should listen to their advice to actually read the documents before posting comments. Many comments are just based on ignorance or inflammatory rhetoric. When the final results of these Visitations come out, many will finally see they based their anger and vitriol on wind and lies. The Church is responsible for oversight of all charisms and when the nuns in Fairfield and Valparaiso made their vows, they promised to obey and to accept that oversight. If they no longer wish to do this, they have a choice to make.

  15. “Pastor Aeternus” of the First Vatican Council while relatively short, waxed profusely on the authority and power of the papacy and the submission it was due, but it provided a linchpin toward the end: “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.” When the living Magisterium fails to thus perform does it exist? The Petrine Office is at the heart of the living Magisterium. Pope Francis promotes ideas which are contrary to the perennial Magisterium of the Church, albeit with calculated ambiguity, but persistently without any ambiguity fails to correct bold heresy emerging from the episcopate, the clergy and the theological academy. His peculiar exercise of the office he holds undermines the papacy and simultaneously undermines his own claim to papal authority when he duplicitously abandons the magisterium of his predecessors which was in conformity to the Gospel and the Apostolic Tradition. He can’t have it both ways and he knows it. Recall again his admonition to Archbishop Forte in regard to communion for the divorced and remarried – “…not too directly or it will make a mess. We’ll clarify it later…”
    The practice of evangelical obedience in such a context is as walking the razors edge. The unleashing of the whip upon religious who adhere to a classical expression of their founder’s charism has provided one scandal after another while Jesuits who promote homosexuality, for one example, are embraced with accolades.
    What does give here?
    It would do well to recall a statement of sixteenth century Bishop Melchior Cano, O.P., theologian at the Council of Trent: “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See – they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.” Above and beyond the situation addressed in this article Bergoglio and his syndicate weaponize the impulse to papolatry against which Cano warns in order to eviscerate the papacy and make Roman Catholicism prone to total deconstruction from within while maintaining the façade. Perks, pedigree and prestige assigned to a “new paradigm.”

      • Gabriella, the sum of your comments here is tantamount to hiding in the weeds. Undoubtedly you will correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that you yourself participated in the visitation of the Carmel of Fairfield in late September. Given that reality professional norms would suggest that you absent yourself from any insertion in this conversation. You are privy to confidential information and presently set yourself up as the prejudiced apologist for an intervention which remains very dubious. Polemics at this point serve only as a tool for self-justification.

        • James,as with much of the “information” put out regarding this visitation, your understanding of those involved is faulty. If you do substantial research, you will find that Sr. Gabriela was not one of the Visitators. Is she perhaps striking a nerve with her thorough investigation and that is why you want to exclude her from the conversation? I don’t recall seeing anywhere on this site a rule that sets you up as the one to decide who may comment. Ms. Bauer has had her say, now let’s let the real information be revealed and everyone will see where the truth lies.

          • Sister Gabriella’s response has been elicited by me more than once and I have received a couple — one even was a exhortation to courtesy but never was there engagement with issues. As noted by at least one other contributor it does appear hers is a text book case of technology interfering with the practice of contemplative life. It is a problem in more than one monastery. Fairfield’s perceived eccentricity of “life off the grid” does appear to serve the Teresian charism quite well. You would think our “green” pontificate would appreciate this facet of Fairfield’s practice.

          • Why the visitation at all is the question. Fr Martin is left alone to spew his heresy, the German bishops are let loose to corrupt the laity and yet a faithful religious order gets a visitation.

            How about revoking whatever permit or recognition is given to women orders who have ‘moved beyond Christ’, support homosexuality and abortion?

            But no, these people are close to the heart of the Holy Father

          • “…Sister Gabriela of the Incarnation of the Carmelites in Flemington, New Jersey. As LifeSiteNews has reliably learned, she has been charged with rewriting the traditional 1990 Discalced Carmelite Constitutions to conform with Cor Orans. Without disclaiming her prominent role in the Bergoglian reform of the Carmelite contemplative orders, she is now posting numerous articles critical of the Farifield nuns, trying to show them to be irrational and disobedient.”
            Can you possibly clarify why you are so deeply immersed in this and why you are not a little obscure as to the nature of your involvement? Have you been charged to intervene? Who charged you? Why you?
            I’ve tried to ferret out your motivation for your immersion in this situation but with craft you have avoided explaining.

          • James, with aver 180 comments on his article, I overlooked your question about that totally erroneous statement on the LifeSiteNews article, that I have been charged with re-writing the 1990 Constitutions according to Cor orans. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE. I have not been charged with any duties from the Vatican. I am involved with this situation because I am a Councilor of the St. Joseph’s Association to which the Philadelphia Carmel belongs. Period. If you have any other questions, please add them at the bottom of the comment page. I will be more likely to notice them, just as I noticed’ Merion’s mistakenly confusing the Flemington and the Morristown Carmels. Have a blessed Advent!

        • Dear James, as you purport respect for religious, at least call Sr. Gabriela by her title, “Sister,” and stop the “gorilla” tactics (and try to correct your spelling as well). You are gaining nobody to your point of view by this behavior, but making the rest of us look bad for trying to bring truth to this matter. You have great gifts of expounding ideas, and I pray for you – don’t waste your talents!
          And before you maintain that Sister (“it is my understanding”) took part in that mysterious Visitation and is privy to confidential information – how did you come upon that particular piece of confidential information yourself? Your last sentence can reflect as well on you as on her.

          • Several weeks back there were a number of reports regarding the visitation. Within that context Gabriella’s named was mentioned. It is not my preoccupation to maintain a legal brief on this topic and have to rely on simple recall, thus my request for a correction which appear to have arrived in abundance. I believe that report said there were two nuns on the team from the Federation of St. Joseph — one from Loretto and another from Flemington. Whether they were officially “on the team” or simply accompanying them I do not know.
            As for your characterization of my contribution here I suggest you examine your own attitude. It is defensive and bespeaks an unfamiliarity with the reality of religious life and ecclesiastical terrain. Rose colored glasses are not helpful in these situations and reflect an aversion to reality.

          • James, to the best of my ability, I have always treated you with courtesy. If at any time I have failed in this, I sincerely beg your pardon.
            As far as my actions go, I am a religious under obedience, and I am acting with full permission of my Prioress. God will judge me on how I live my religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. If you have any complaints to make of me in those areas, i would be very grateful to hear them. As for the rest, I am in no way obliged to do what you want, since you are not my religious superior. You are perfectly free to write to my Prioress about anything in which you believe I have failed in “the reality of religious life and ecclesiastical terrain.” You will find her address on our website, http://www.flemingtoncarmel.org
            As for where the Visitators came from, your information is incorrect.
            God bless you!

    • Anyway, do not fear. It is our Lord’s Church, and it is in very safe hands. Millions of Catholics all over the world pray for our Pope and our brothers and sisters everywhere.

  16. Vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, freely made after a long period of time for reflection and prayer. This is intended to give the person more than enough time to freely decide to fulfill the vows or not. If a person decided it can no longer fulfill any of the vows, it is a personal decision hat cannot be blamed on a valid decision by the Church.

  17. Could the source of the Rome attack on these nuns be this sentence:
    “But also, as beautiful as the Novus Ordo Mass can be, the Latin Mass has a history and meaning they find more beneficial. And, many of their vocations are coming from traditional families, so many sisters would have had the Latin Mass as part of their upbringing.”

    Pope Francis hates the Latin Mass, detests it. Are his cronies dong this to eliminate this celebration of the Extraordinary Form?

      • Pope Francis acts with calculated ambiguity but persistently fails to correct bold heresy emerging from the episcopate, the clergy and the theological academy. Such exercise of the papal office undermines the papacy itself and simultaneously undermines his own claim to papal authority. He duplicitously abandons the magisterium of his predecessors which was in conformity to the Gospel and the Apostolic Tradition. He can’t have it both ways and he knows it so connivance and sleight of hand continue to be employed. As I cited above in an earlier comment recall his admonition to Archbishop Forte in regard to communion for the divorced and remarried – “…not too directly or it will make a mess. We’ll clarify it later…” For publicizing that statement Archbishop Forte was shortly thereafter cut loose.
        Pope Francis practices a “court duplicity.” He avoids direct attack while chastising unnamed rigorists and implements policy without articulating a statement contrary to the Perennial Magisterium. There is no doubt as to his contempt for the celebration of the Mass of the ages, nor for classical practice of religious life and for any and all tradition unless it serves his purpose to radically alter the nature and character of Roman Catholicism. One could also cite here his obvious contempt for the United States and his sympathy for Marxism. Double-talk and taking refuge behind traditional understandings of obedience and canon law which serve to preserve his credibility while simultaneously neglecting his own obligation to act in accord with Apostolic Tradition is unethical at best. Those who appeal to the practice of evangelical obedience while taking self-satisfaction in Bergoglian praxis will one day have the credence of those who “only followed orders” in the last century.

      • Mal, I certainly cannot speak to what Pope Francis’ hates or doesn’t hate but if he doesn’t hate the TLM then he has a curious way of treating it by seemingly doing everything in his power to suppress it via Traditionis Custodes.

          • Twaddle. Cutting the Church from all of Her past worship is emphatically not “fostering unity.” Nor, come to think of it, is making each country use a different language for the Mass noticeably unifying.

          • Mal, out of respect I read the America Magazine article you cited and I disagree completely with the rational that the TLM movement since Summorum Pontificum has been a rejection or betrayal of VII. I also reject out of hand that the faithful would be better served by the Novus Ordo. After 46 years of non-lapsing attendance at the Novus Ordo I could never escape the belief that something was missing. When the Holy Spirit (because it surely wasn’t Satan!) called me to the TLM I found that which was missing. For me the TLM is the best expression of praising God. The Novus Ordo does not answer the mail for me. That in no way implies that I reject VII. May I suggest that you read Quo Primam? Quo Primam makes it abundantly clear that no one has the right to eradicate or suppress the Mass of the Ages. I submit that Quo Primam renders Pope Francis’ TC invalid. The TLM is not the personal property of Pope Francis to do with as he will. Just my layman’s opinion.

          • Mal, when Pope Francis mocked “herméneutique of continuity” and exclaimed “this is rupture” it was the most shocking yet honest statement. Popes do not proceed via underground Marxist Catacombe pacts… Two Bishops in white. Only one holds the Munus and detains the contemplative grace of office. The other, doesn’t appear to.

      • Where have you been? He is working to suppress it beginning with Traditions Custodes which is quite a ridicous title considering that the content is pretty much doing away with Custodes

      • Not my assertion, but how about actions speak louder than words? He smashed Kolbe’s the Immaculatae’s Friars for using TLM to gain massive growth in vocations to Real Deal Catholicism – which produces saints and martyrs rather than compromised creeps. Then he penned Traditionis Custodes which does the inverse of its stated title: typical freemasonic inversion.

        • The emphasis on the TLM is the work of anti-Francis radtrads. Concerning the move, Fr Lombardi said that the “life and governance of the congregation as a whole and not just liturgical questions.”

    • Deacon Stragg, I cannot speak for the Carmels of Valparaiso and Fairfield, but I can speak for the Carmel of Philadelphia. When the nuns returned to Valparaiso on April 9th, there were a lot of comments, mostly on Non Veni Pacem, that they were leaving because they wanted the Latin Mass and liturgy and were being obstructed in this matter. I have done a careful study of the documents, and there were no restrictions whatever on their having the Latin Mass. They were requested – note: requested, not ordered – to have the Latin Mass once a month in their chapel for the benefit of the laity. That is all. The nuns themselves never said in any way that they were blocked from celebrating the Latin Mass. You can study my account here: https://flemingtoncarmel.org/posts/you-shall-know-the-truth God bless you.

      • Correction: The Nuns at the Philadelphia Carmel were requested to have the NOVUS ORDO Mass celebrated once a week for the sake of the laity. And Traditiones Custodes does not apply to religious institutes: Art. 6. Institutes of consecrated life and Societies of apostolic life, erected by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, fall under the competence of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies for Apostolic Life. (Trad. Cust.)

          • It came from the Prioress of the Philadelphia Carmel, Mother Barbara, and the Delegate for Religious of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Many people have visited the Philadelphia Carmel before the Valparaiso Nuns arrived, and they were used to the Novus Ordo Mass. It was for their sake that the nuns were asked to have a Novus Ordo Mass once a month.

          • Yes, we know the absence of opportunity to assist at the Novus Ordo particularly in Catholic Philadelphia! You can hardly find it anywhere! Is it not astonishing how contrarians in both Church and society boldly turn reality inside out?
            This is the caliber of the defensive comments offered by the actual rigorists who are bent on suppressing not only the Fairfield Carmel but any ecclesial current where tradition and the perennial Magisterium are held in reverence. The attack on Fairfield is symptomatic of what is happening across the ecclesial landscape. Witness the “synodal path.” We are engaged in a sort of self-extinction. Luther would be delighted were it possible.

  18. Mary Cuff falls into the same mistake of confusing a congregation, which has a Major Superior at its head with authority over the members, and an association/federation whose president is NOT a major superior and who has no authority over the member monasteries. The president of our St. Joseph’s Association was called upon to stop me from writing but she has no authority to do so. Only my Prioress can do that, and she encourages me to write. Please see my latest article at https://wherepeteris.com/the-mice-that-roar-an-open-letter-to-archbishop-vigano/
    Of course, since Mary Cuff makes such a fundamental mistake in her understanding of the situation, it greatly weakens all the rest of her article.Furthermore, her statement that Archbishop Carballo hates contemplative orders is totally contradicted by his own letter which I mentioned in an earlier comment. See https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ed81890998e9c2c86a69dba/t/619a3fcaf11f7b42d6b3a408/1637498836933/Official+English+Translation+of+Archbishop+Carballo%27s+Letter+-+Nov.+1st%2C+2020.pdf

  19. Although this may seem far afield there’s interest in my Dad’s hometown of Licata Sicily and a Carmelite friar, Sant’Angelo Muxaro. Commonly known here as San Angelo. Angelo born Jerusalem 1185 was a Jewish convert. He was also a missionary who came to Sicily to preach [it’s held there was a Jewish diaspora in Sicily that eventually melded in]. He preached a sermon on sexual morals and spoke harshly of the sin of incest, aware of a well known person sitting in the pews who was known to have relations with his sister. The man, enraged, stabbed Saint Angelo to death on the steps of the pulpit 1220.
    Most are aware that Teresa of Avila decided the Carmelites required reform to live the contemplative life in accord with Church tradition. She convinced newly ordained priest Juan de Yepes y Álvarez, later John of the Cross who was intent on becoming a Carthusian to instead reform the Carmelite friars. A remarkable coincidence many are not aware of. Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Saint John were descendants of Marranos, Jewish converts. Perhaps added incentive, Marranos were subject to inquisition, passed on to progeny to comprehensively study the heart of faith in Jesus of Nazareth.
    Now back to San Angelo, later the name of Licata’s cathedral where he was martyred. As a boy my father, poorer than a churchmouse once crashed through the doors in anger at God for his want. He loudly castigated Our Lord stormed out and slammed the doors. He frequently used to nostalgically after a satisfying dinner smoking his stucchino, recount this story [along with countless others]. Always ending with the finish line, And since that day God took care of me. I wonder if that morally perspicacious Jew who became a missionary for Christ had part.

    • Thank you, Father, for sharing. I too have a story of God’s grace, working through a conversion prodded by some good sisters of Carmel. John, Teresa, Therese, and Edith look out for so very many of us, I do believe and would so swear. To you, too, a daughter of the saints of Carmel, sends another rose from my garden; it survived this winter’s first frost.

      • Mal. For a more complete sense of justice in the Discalced Carmelite controversy you might consider that controversial samesex friendly communities in Italy, Our Lady of Montevergine in the Campania, its offshoot in Naples its artisans who provided the scandalous homoerotic body builder naked man 2017 Good Samaritan Vatican Nativity creche and other like communities.
        In the N promotion of the ancient Greek philosophy of the greater nobility of man’s sexual relationship with other men practiced by clergy and known to the Vatican. Why are they not suppressed? Why are inhibitive requirements placed on contemplative communities such as a nine year requirement of ‘discernment’ prior to vows for Discalced Carmelite nuns? Why does Pope Francis surround himself with and place in significant positions practicing homosexuals and advocates? Why is a liturgy pronounced by previous pontiffs as perennial and inviolable suddenly considered detrimental to Christian practice? Why is the Catholic Church mandated by Francis to enter into and remain in a never ending journey in search for truth, absent of submission to the Magisterium of findings left to deal with “surprises of the Holy Spirit” when the Gospels and Verbum Dei recently affirmed we our to look for no other revelation than that revealed by Jesus Christ?
        Is this direction Christlike of Antichrist? Above the relatively menial issues discussed here this is the heart of the issue.

        • Exactly!!!!!

          Only those faithful to Jesus Christ are persecuted.

          But then again, He did say that that will be the lot of His disciples. What is hard to take is that his supposed Vicar is the one doing the persecution.

        • You are a master of hitting the nail on the head, Father.
          The absence of consistent and universal correction of gross public aberrance in ecclesiastical life undermines all authority. It simply extinguishes the credibility of superiors. Why would, why should, anyone give an ear to a system which flagrantly ignores timeless Catholic norms and lays the lash on those who are found unpleasant and inconvenient to the prevailing taste of those who hold the reins?
          If and when correction is required it can only be realized when those attempting to achieve it are themselves speaking the truth in love and administering their authority without prejudice. I see very little of that in this particular situation or more broadly in ecclesiastical existence.
          The perennial Magisterium is the contract which exists between all the members of the Body of Christ. The contract shattered — trust abused — is not easily reestablished.

        • Father Peter, I did respond to your post but, unfortunately, it appears further down. I gave an explanation for the near-naked man and also asked a few questions.

          • Found your response Mal. We’re nearing Christmas and anticipate more dreadful depictions of the Nativity. Reaching out and identification with perversity differ. Faith requires evidence of what we’ve been gifted with, not what we deign.

          • Actually Mal. This year’s creche is quite acceptable. Rather than the grotesque, Christmas 2002 has depictions of real humans, indigenous Peruvians, Lamas. Conscious of virtual universal disgust for previous displays the organizers may have developed a moral conscience.

      • The letter describing spiritual abuse makes sad reading. We need to be concerned about all forms of abuse, not only sexual abuse. Spiritual abuse is an attack on the very soul of a person. Thank you, Sister, for standing up for the truth, and for abused nuns.

      • Sr. Gabriela, the “formation” described in your article belongs in a cult. Hopefully, Rome will intervene and put an end to this behavior.

    • This is Sister Gabriela’s position. The article is rambling and disjuntive with lurid tales that do not have anything to do with this situation at Fairfield, but are given to imply that such exists at Fairfield, or as a justification to the readers for the interference with Fairfield. Plenty of red herrings for the reader’s entertainment!

      The readership needs to understand that Sister Gabriela’s position is adverse to those at Fairfield.

      It is my fair understanding from reading the article that that Father Maximilian Dean is lying or misinformed. I know Father Max and he would not loosely make the statements he has made in the video without evidence.

      • But, James, you will accept that the very Catholic Pope Francis and the Vatican are after the assets, as claimed by Catherine. I stand with all these nuns who have written here.

      • OK, perhaps somebody can explain some facts that don’t add up:
        A short while ago, the visitation at Valparaiso Carmel was characterized online as “abusive.” My Carmelite sister’s monastery got a form letter last month from the Valparaiso Carmel that described this visitation as “the meetings went smoothly in an atmosphere of fraternal charity.” You can’t have it both ways.
        Now I am reading online (wherepeteris.org, 11/23) that the two nuns and the priest who made the visitation were threatened with arrest by the bishop of Lincoln (where Valparaiso is) – what kind of bishop in this country threatens two nuns and a priest with arrest? Maybe in the Soviet Union, in China, but here? Was it a bluff? Was the threat ever withdrawn? Does he even know what he is doing, causing this kind of scandal?
        A short time ago, the Fairfield nuns called the visitation “a distressing and taxing trial.” (churchmilitant.org, 10/15) – now we have Catherine Bauer writing here on CWR that “when the three visitors left, they assured the Fairfield Carmelites that they were living a good life, and all was in order.” Again, you can’t have it both ways.
        So if the visitors assured them all was in order, why the media campaign against the visitors, the Order, the Congregation, the Pope and the Church?
        And that is a very striking thing to claim that Fr. Max is not misinformed about the statements of the Carmelite General in 2017 when my sister told me that she was among the over 100 nuns at that gathering who heard what he said, and it did not include a ranting attack against enclosure, such as Fr. Max claims. Neither were there any nuns in tears! Was Fr. Max there? Where did his information come from?
        What exactly is going on?

        • Anna, these are excellent questions that really need answers. Way too many contradictions are swirling around. It’s good to hear from your Carmelite sisters how things really are instead of all the lies that are being put out as facts.

        • Or James Anthony, for that matter, dear Sister. Maybe he did not get his information falsely accusing you of being one of the visitors from a “document”…or did he?

    • NOTHING at “wherepeteris.com” can be believed. They have consistently excused the most abusive maneuvers and heterodox statements and actions of Bergoglio.

  20. Where have you been? He is working to suppress it beginning with Traditions Custodes which is quite a ridicous title considering that the content is pretty much doing away with Custodes

  21. Since orders with a traditional bent are flourishing, what is the need for Cor Orans? It’s pretty much the need for Traditiones Custodes.

  22. I just sent this email to Mother Stella-Marie at the Fairfield Carmel: Dear Mother Stella Marie, I read Sr.Gabriela’s latest article which includes a description of the formation of the young nuns who were in the Philadelphia Carmel in 2018. It appears to be a credible allegation of psychological abuse apparently confirmed by a witness. You need to prove that this allegation is false, but it has to be a matter of proof. There have been too many cover-ups in the Church for people to believe it when someone says “It’s not true,” or to take refuge in silence. If you do not disprove it, people will always wonder if Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmels “brainwash” their novices. Is there anything I can do to help disprove it?
    This is a serious business. It is all very good to give donations to the Carmel, but what we need to do is to disprove the allegations. Otherwise, as I wrote, people will always be wondering if they are true.

    • “ You need to prove that this allegation is false”

      Shouldn’t it be the person making the allegation who is required to prove that it is true?

      • Wasn’t that why Rome set up the apostolic visitation? To find out what the facts are? Since the nuns who were in Philadelphia are now in Valparaiso, and Valparaiso threatened to have the visitators arrested, there was no way to prove anything. So the whole question is still up in the air. And Ama is right: until the nuns can prove that the allegation is not true, there will always be a question in people’s minds. And that is where they real problem is. Who will want to enter a place where they may be brainswashed?

      • Leslie, you are right, of course, as far as the law goes, but people don’t think like that. How many good priests have been accused of abuse, and acquitted, and still live under a cloud in people’s minds? That’s what is so terrible!!!

      • From the depths of good common sense your words have come, Leslie. Shrieks, shouts, accusations, insults, and contradictory ‘evidence’ do not suffice to convince and convict. New storms will follow the old, yet they all look, act, and bore alike.

        Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

      • Leslie, you are absolutely correct. In a court of law the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. But do any of us want this situation to end up in a courtroom? The truth needs to be established without coming to that.

        • The problem is proving a negative.

          If there’s a specific accusation – “At 12:30 pm on June 4, the accused stole a car from Main Street in Walla Walla” – then it’s easy to disprove it by pointing out that the accused was, at 12:30 pm on June 4, undergoing an emergency appendectomy in Schenectady. But something more generalized – “The accused stole cars” – cant be disproven.

          • Yes, that is the difficulty with proving abuse. And unfortunately, if you don’t prove the negative, there is always the suspicion in people’s minds. Cardinal Pell was very fortunate in that the accusation was stupid: it was too obviously impossible for him to have done what they accused him of. Most abuse is in ordinary situations, and harder to prove.

  23. I want to share the comments I have posted on Non Veni Pacem:
    “Mark, you don’t realize how serious this is. It isn’t a matter of whether the Philadelphia nuns were immature or not. It’s a matter of the Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmels reputations. If they don’t prove that the allegations are false, people will lump them in their minds with Theodore McCarrick as abusers. If it is a smear campaign it should be simple matter to prove their innocence, even if they have to get an independent agency to investigate. Otherwise there is no future for the Carmels. No one will want to enter a carmel if they might get brainwashed.”

  24. With regards to Sr. Gabriela’s piece, my sister was at the Elysburg Carmel for several years. I can personally confirm the detail about opening and censoring the nuns mail. I can’t speak to the “permission to breathe” thing which is more alarming. In any case, I definitely agree that Mother Stella needs to respond to these claims in public.

    • Opening and reading all mail is harsh, but it’s within the spectrum of normal practices in traditional cloistered monasteries. Same for Sisters in formation not conversing with fully professed Sisters. The “permission to breathe” thing is NOT in the same category as those! That sounds like a cult-like practice.

      • Houghton, I tend to agree. I’ve always thought opening their mail was weird and extreme, perhaps evincing a more domineering and controlling mindset, but it’s not necessarily a red flag indicating abuse. I would be curious to know if anyone is aware of other communities that do this, though. As far as the breathing thing, I agree that’s a whole different ballgame… which makes it all the more imperative to get to the bottom of this.

        • Concerning the permission to breathe, I heard that one Prioress on hearing about it asked, “What happens if the Superior says, ‘No.'” Does that mean that the nuns has to hold her breath until given permission to breathe again?

          • Doubtless the Martyrs of Compiègne really annoy you.

            “ The crowd became quiet[20] as each sister approached Mother Teresa, kissed the statue of the Virgin Mary she held in her hands, and asked her for permission to die. After watching each sister die, she was the last one to place her head under the guillotine.[1] ”.

            Would the Prioress you mention cavil about those Carmelites, too?

          • Leslie, Do you mean that the Fairfield nuns beg leave to die 4 times a day as well as to breathe? That’s incredible!

          • Oh, what a pity, Leslie. It sounded so pious. After all, didn’t St. Paul say we die daily? So it seems to me that if you’re supposed to as permission to breathe then you should also ask permission to die. Don’t the two go together? I mean, it you have to stop breathing, then you’ll die. So shouldn’t you have permission to die? Just in case the superior says No, about the breathing?

          • Leslie, I’m not an intellectual like you. I just try to love God and I do think it’s a beautiful thought to have permission to die, like St. Paul said.

  25. Popes only see the Nativity scenes on New Year’s Eve. This particular one you are, for whatever reason, now bringing to our attention was prepared by the Abbey shrine of Montevergine. This abbey also has an image of Mary which has been embraced by the LGBT people. In that year, the Year of Mercy, this Nativity scene had a semi-naked man who was in need of clothes. I suppose it was in keeping with the year’s theme. But, having said that, I would like to say that I prefer the old crib scenes, even though it has three Kings.
    Again you jump to another topic, namely, the Pope’s relationship with non-Catholics. Okay, I have some questions for you. Why did Jesus talk to non-Jews? Why did he use a “pagan” Samaritan to demonstrate what Christian or divine love is all about? Did Jesus establish a religion? If so, when? Why did God use Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham and Moses? Why was Jesus, the Founder of our Church, interested in those who were lost?

      • This is true, Thomas, but they rejected the writings of the prophets. The ignorance resulting from this rejection, coupled with the corrupting influence of partly-pagan ancestry, conditioned their beliefs and their concept of God. This is why Jesus told the Samaritan woman that they did not know the God they worshipped.

    • “Popes only see the Nativity scenes on New Year’s Eve.”
      Is this by canon law or by mere tradition?
      Are you familiar with the photograph? With the responsible delegation of authority? Nothing is done in the South American Vatican police state without being confidently designed according to his taste or by his nod. There are consequences for transgressing his mercifulness, you know. Archbishop Forte got the axe for talking to much. Mueller, Sarah, Burke, et al. You can hold your breath forever around there. If you don’t get the nod your out.

      • Quite a few assumptions in your post. I saw the photograph. Not my idea of a crib, but it did reflect the year of mercy. I must say that I do not agree with your views. Mueller was reappointed by Pope Francis to an influential position but was not extended for another term. Sarah resigned when he reached the age of 75.

        • Mueller could have easily been reappointed and Sarah’s resignation at 75 [unlike many others] was accepted immediately…voila!…”Traditiones Custodes.”
          The South American Jesuit is running a shell game and the rest of us observe in horror or are willing deceived for the purpose of self-consolation.
          Self-deceit has nasty consequences.

          • Ed Pentin at NCRegister backs your assertion. And yes, a shell game describes the essence of the hard-hearted soul of a Jesuit disorder who hails from S. America. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/venerable-vatican

            Praise God. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, in his good providence, knows all. He will Save His beloved from eternal harm. He will render Justice. We faithful are patient and humble, brave and full of hope.

          • Yes, Mueller good have been given another term, but there might have been a good reason for not granting another extension. So also with Sarah. But you, along with some dedicated Pope-haters, can make your assumptions.
            Pentin has his views but I do not share them. I make up my own mind after checking original sources.

          • James, I don’t think that is quite correct. Cardinal Sarah stayed in office for about nine months after his resignation.

  26. To whom it may concern,

    My name is Fr. Stephen Arabadjis. I am a member of the Society of St. Pius X. But I am in my 7th year of Sabbatical.
    Therefore I was hoping your group could do a 54 day rosary novena for my intentions. But any prayers and sacrifices would be greatly appreciated. I know Our Lady will reward you generously for this.

    In Our Lady,
    Fr. Arabadjis

    P.S. Thanking you in advance, since I don’t always get all my communications.

  27. A book is being published in Italy about abuse of women religious:
    https://www.edizionisanpaolo.it/varie_1/attualita/attualita–e-storia/libro/il-velo-del-silenzio.aspx
    From the Preface: “In the name of that transparency invoked so often by Pope Francis for the Church, the book opens glimpses of light on a serious problem within the consecrated life of women: the abuses of power, of conscience or sexual within orders, monasteries and institutes, that lead women and girls to put out the fire of their vocation and abandon the religious path they have undertaken, even after years.

    It is they themselves, nuns or former nuns, who are about to leave or have already left what for years was their “home”, to tell what they have suffered: mobbing, blackmail, manipulation, discrimination on the basis of nationality, violation of internal forum (i.e. the secrets of one’s conscience), health problems that are underestimated or used as a pretext for marginalization.

    The volume collects – in an absolutely anonymous form – the testimonies of women from all over the world and of different ages who, after years of silence, out of fear or under strong psychological pressure, have decided to make their voices heard, so that they can help those who still do not have the courage to react. A “veil”, like the one removed from one’s head, which now falls to reveal otherwise hidden stories.

    For this reason, the book also offers ideas on the paths of “rebirth”, therefore on the tools of Canon Law or psychotherapy in support and protection of consecrated women or on the initiatives within the Church that help these women to regain life in hand and to go forward, sometimes even restarting the religious journey.

    I want to pay tribute to these women who have courageously agreed to speak out and give their authentic witness. We must listen to them, feel them and become aware that consecrated life, in its diversity, like other ecclesial realities, can generate both the best and the worst.

    From the preface by Sister Nathalie Becquart

    • No amount of ecclesiastical legislation is going to eradicate the abuse any human being perpetrates upon another. If the Decalogue and the Gospel do not do it what will? The pathetic behaviors described in your comment are sin. It is not the monopoly of women’s congregations and orders, it is amply found in men’s communities and the diocesan priesthood. It is boldly on public display with the consequences endured by those presently in the public eye and known as “canceled priests.” The Bergoglian episcopate has no hesitancy in employing the whip abusively — neither do his fan club of female papal idolaters in consecrated life. It serves to lift their profile and self-esteem.
      The tyranny attributed to traditional congregations has not been excised from the tool box of the “progressives” in the Church and it is used all the time. I once lived under the heel of an abbot who proudly boasted of being regarded a “left wing brat” by the other abbots in the order. It was quite sad to observe.
      Tyranny is an exhibition of the vice of pride. Authentic Christian existence is a serious engagement with uprooting the vices in our lives. Practices employed in religious formation to assist in this process can smart — a rebuke of any sort usually does until you see the agency of it. The process is a walk along the razor’s edge. It must always be engaged with common sense and a respect of the individual — each vocation is a call from God and is to be reverenced as such. When it is not, by anyone, there is a great sin. Modern sensibilities, ascetical ignorance and firmly held ideological positions make it all quite hazardous.

      • Marxism according to Ignatius Press’ “Fatima Mysteries” is simply the demonic inversion of the decalogue. Terrific book. Terrifying Papacy we are witnesses to after reading it. Best book I read this year.

  28. Thanks Anne Marie for this post. There obviously needs to be a shakeup along with procedures to help disillusioned, disaffected women to renew their lives – physically, mentally and spiritually.

    • Rest of us observe in horror. Are you including the millions who faithfully accept Pope Francis in the “us”? Another assumption, as are the reasons you resume for not again extending Mueller’s position and the acceptance of Sarah’s resignation. Live in your make-believe world.

  29. Agnes Johnsson, you were told to make “coherence, clarity, and reading comprehension” your friends. Well, that’s fine, but never let them corrupt your dedication to simplicity, honesty and faithfulness to our Lord’s Church and to his faithful Vicar.

  30. Comments suggesting that exposing abusive behavior is tantamount to persecution of holy nuns, reminds me of the story about Franciscan Sr. Magdalena of the Cross:

    “Not even the great Saint Teresa of Avila would ever have as much prestige across Spain in her lifetime as Sr. Magdalena of the Cross! Her (apparent) outstanding piety and the miracles that she performed were known throughout Spain, and even much of Europe…

    And so it is that during Confession the sisters, by hypocrisy or fear of too difficult penances, now usually only accuse themselves of small faults. Hearing of this, Mother Magdalena enters into holy wrath which soon causes unspeakable fear into her sisters. She orders them to admit to more severe sins, and the poor nuns become frightened by the severity of the abbess. Some burst into tears, and there are a couple of others who astonishingly go into a sort of semi-possession, rolling on the floor and arching their bodies, before slowly returning back to normal.

    To reprimand the more guilty ones for their alleged spiritual weaknesses, the Abbess orders some to crawl on their knees in the refectory and make the sign of the cross with their tongues on the shoes of all the assembled nuns.”

    https://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2011/12/sister-magdalena-of-cross-nun-who-made.html

  31. On November 21, James posted a comment with the link to Mary Cuff’s article at Crisis Magazine. I am posting the contents of the email which I recently sent to Ms. Cuff:

    Dear Mary Cuff,
    Praised be Jesus Christ!
    I am writing to you about your article in Crisis Magazine about contemplative life: https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/why-is-the-vatican-assailing-contemplative-life. Your article appeared online at about the same time as a similar article by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski. https://onepeterfive.com/when-nuns-are-persecuted-lessons-from-the-russian-underground/. Dr. Kwasniewski is a friend of our Carmel in Flemington,, New Jersey, and I emailed him to clarify some misconceptions which he seemed to have about the present situation of contemplative orders in the Church. We had a gracious and enlightening exchange, and he kindly gave me your email address so that I could share what I wrote to him also with you.

    “I am well aware of the various articles that have appeared in recent weeks about an “attack” by the Vatican on communities of cloistered contemplative nuns. They are not anything new and they usually repeat the same accusations:
    • The Vatican is closing down small cloistered communities, even though they are financially viable.
    • The Vatican is depriving cloistered communities of their autonomy by subjecting them to the authority of a president of an association
    • The Vatican is forcibly modernizing communities of nuns who are dedicated to solitude and silence.
    • The Vatican is invading the privacy of cloistered nuns by the institution of co-visitators.

    There are other similar accusations but these seem to be the main thrusts of the articles I have read. One thing that has struck me is that very few articles are written by cloistered nuns themselves. That is a pity. Life within the cloister looks very different from the descriptions made by people living outside. To take the first accusation: the Vatican is closing down small communities. It is true that when a community dwindles below a certain number, the viability of that community needs to be evaluated and dealt with. There have recently been two communities in our association which faced this situation. One is being closed because the community was reduced to 4 nuns, with no sign of any applicants. The other was in a similar condition but is now slowly growing and there is good hope for new members. Therefore there is no question of shutting it down.

    By the way, you probably have no idea how much work there is in keeping a monastery even decently clean, while at the same time cooking the meals and doing the laundry. The only way a small community of, say 5 nuns, can manage this is to have outside people come into the cloister to do the work so that the nuns can have some time for praying. I have seen this in action. But people don’t seem to think of this.

    Concerning the question of depriving cloistered communities of their autonomy by subjecting them to the authority of the president of an association or federations, I have yet to read one article where the author points out the difference between a congregation and an association/federation. In fact, no one seems to be aware that Congregations are mentioned in Cor orans. All the discussions are about associations and federations., and the president of an association or federation has no authority over the members of the association. The president of a Congregation, being a Major Superior, does have authority over the members, but only according to the Statutes of the Congregation. The president of an association/federation is not a major superior, and has no authority to intervene in any way in the internal life of any community.

    That the Vatican is “modernizing” cloistered communities is a very odd accusation. We have had telephones for decades, and there have always been rules about who can use them, and when. We have the internet, and the same prudent decisions apply. The community decides who uses it and when and how. I need it to deposit checks; the post office can’t be trusted, and the only alternative is to go down to the bank every other week. Please tell me if you consider that preferable for a cloistered nun.

    Finally, as far as the accusation that the Vatican is invading the privacy of the nuns by the institution of co-visitators, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Your article is a bit late, for we have already posted our experiences in this matter online, and you can read them here: https://flemingtoncarmel.org/posts/glimpses-into-the-present and https://flemingtoncarmel.org/posts/a-wonderful-teresian-time.”

    Dear Mary, as I wrote to Dr. Kwasiewski, As a follower of the Truth Incarnate, I believe that you seek that Truth, and I have tried to share with you some glimpses of the truth which I and others with me have lived.

    I assure you of my prayers and of those of my Community. May Our Lord lead you into all Truth where we are one with Him and His Father in the Holy Spirit, and may you enjoy a blessed and peaceful Adven.
    Sr. Gabriela of the Incarnation, O.C.D.
    Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St.Mary Magdalen
    Flemington, New Jersey

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Fairfield and Vatican document Cor Orans – Via Nova Media
  2. Traditional nuns in Pennsylvania will ‘stand up and fight’ Vatican’s attack on contemplative life – LifeSite – The Old Roman
  3. Weekly News Roundup: Papal Updates, Status of Trad Carmelites, Notre Dame de Paris Renovation Plans - Catholic Family News

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