The ‘Try-On’ Wife

A Short Story, by Beverly Desoto Stevens

After 15 years, they were breaking up. And it was Christmastime.

I stood in the spacious bedroom of the brick Mc Mansion, admiring my surroundings. The expensive furniture. The adjoining ‘master bath’ with every imaginable luxury, all in marble. The carefully-matched carpets and silk drapes — not too girly, but elegant, sober and respectable.

Just the kind of place that a successful St. Louis businessman might lay his head every night. And well he might, it seemed. He had earned every penny, as they say.

Drew would continue to sleep there, too. It was my sister who was moving out.

She was nineteen when she began working for Drew as a secretary. He was five years older, a fledgling builder in a real estate market poised on the brink of expansion. A year later, they’d moved in together, and proceeded to build a spectacularly successful business.

Megan is very pretty – slender, blonde, sweet-natured, she takes after my mother’s side of the family. I take after our dad – dark-haired, solid, hard-working. Mom tried to warn her about living together, but Megan wouldn’t hear a word of it.

Truth be told, we laughed about this in private. Bitter laughter, really. After all, our parents divorced when we were kids, so neither of them really had the right to say anything about our life choices.

As for Dad, he knew better. Never said a word.

After all, our parents divorced when we were kids, so neither of them really had the right to say anything about our life choices.

I stood at the window, looking at Megan’s brand-new Volvo SUV outside, gleaming in the winter sunlight. This was Megan’s ‘consolation prize,’ for her non-divorce.

“Pretty nice, right?” she asked, her voice heavy with the unaccustomed irony. She was packing, her matching Coach luggage overflowing with the loot of her 15-year relationship.  A dozen expensive handbags lay on her bed.

I picked one up, a $2000 beauty – all creamy beige luxury.

Megan snorted. “That was for Christmas last year. About the same time he started dating Gabriella.” She turned away from me then, but I thought I saw a tear gleaming in her eye.

I sighed.

Gabriella was pregnant. That happens pretty fast when you’re 23 years old, especially if you’ve been having sex regularly with some else’s boyfriend. Like Megan, Gabriella is a delicate blond.  Unlike my sister, Gabriella hasn’t been on the Pill for 15 years.

So, Drew and Gabriella will be married in a local mega-church next Saturday. Gabriella is barely showing, so her dewy youth will be resplendent in her strapless gown – a feast for the eyes of the 500 invited guests.  Their wedding photos would be taken against ‘a stunning backdrop of brilliantly-lighted holiday trees,’ too.

We knew this because Drew had inadvertently forwarded Gabriella’s breathless e-mail to my sister, in the chaos which had immediately ensued after his own email announcing his upcoming nuptials to his live-in girlfriend, my hapless sister.

This was uncharacteristic of the careful, business-like Drew. But he was so giddy with joy these days that Drew was making mistakes. This morning on the way out, he’d forgotten himself for a moment with Megan.

Would it be okay, he’d asked, if Gabriella’s gown could be delivered to the Mc Mansion that day?

My sister, normally the accommodating type, had drawn the line there.

No, she told Drew. Not until she moved out.

“Can you believe they’re going to use my dressing room as a nursery?” Megan said suddenly. I stood in the doorway of her pearwood-lined, ultimate luxury statement. The hushed lighting softly illuminated  the thick carpet, now heaped with a messy pile of designer shoes.

To be honest, I was awash in a sea of gut-wrenching emotions, myself. Rage at Drew for his callousness. Pity for Megan in her helplessness. Indignation at how this was how it had to be.

And something else, too. Something even more uncomfortable.

On the way over in her Volvo, Megan had said something uncharacteristically big-sister like.

“You don’t think this can happen to you, right?” she’d said, backing out of my condo driveway.

I was taken aback. Far more street-wise, I’d made sure I got my degree in finance. At 29, I had a good job and a stable relationship with Brendan. We were talking about moving in together, in fact. Though now obviously wasn’t the right time to discuss this with Megan.

“I was a ‘try-on’ wife, you know,” she’d continued quietly, as the beautiful car swept through the suburban streets decorated for Christmas. “Drew is a conservative guy. He wasn’t sure he could handle a wife and kids, so he used me to see whether he could do that.”

“And now he is. All ready, that is,” I replied bitterly. I hated conservative rich guys. Brendan wasn’t like that. He was a regular guy, proudly wearing his scruffy beard to his night job in a cubicle – answering IT questions for idiot baby-boomers.

“I thought about leaving him when I was your age,” she said simply. “I really wanted kids. And he didn’t.”

That sure has changed,” I snapped. Drew was positively glowing with pride when he’d stopped by the Mc Mansion.

How could a man change so much? It wouldn’t have been so bad for Megan now if she did have kids. At least she would have something, now, besides a pile of luxury goods.

“You know,” Megan said quietly, “I know three other women who this has happened to.”

Three other women stupid enough to become a rich man’s plaything, I thought. As if reading my thoughts, she smiled sadly and looked at me.

They didn’t even get a Volvo. Two of them had to pay for the movers themselves. All of them are in their mid-thirties…”

“You can have kids until you’re fifty now,” I said stoutly. “You have time.”

Megan had smiled sadly. “I’m thirty-six years old. The chances that I will find a man who wants kids in the next couple of years are pretty slim.”

“So, you don’t need a man,” I retorted. “You can get pregnant without one.”

Megan didn’t say anything. We drove in silence for a few minutes. When she finally spoke, her voice was choked with emotion.

Listen to me. I am in no shape to have kids on my own. I’ve been on the Pill for 15 years. It would take me months of hormone therapy to get pregnant now. I am a secretary looking for a job in a bad economy. A secretary that’s moving back in with her divorced mother. Get real. This sucks.”

“I know it does,” I said soothingly, trying to head her off at the pass. “You’re just upset now.”

No,” Megan replied sharply. “This is about you, too. Don’t tell me you’re not thinking of moving in with Brendan.”

“Brendan’s different,” I said shortly. The conversation was going in the wrong direction for me.

“You think so?”

“I know so.”

“You don’t know.”

“Mind your own business.”

Her breath drew in sharply at the rebuke. I was instantly apologetic.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s just that I don’t want to talk about Brendan now.”

She’d sighed, then, and said no more, as we pulled into the driveway of the Mc Mansion. The front door was beautifully decorated, by Megan, of course, who never failed to make a fuss over the holidays.

AD 1

Five stressful hours later, my sister burst into the library, where I was packing books.

“You think you can’t get him unless you let him move in with you, right?” Megan said suddenly, her arms full of linens.

“No,” I said reflexively. Though, of course she was right.

“And you think you’re better than me because you went to college, too.”

“No!” I replied heatedly. But Megan was too far gone to listen. She dropped the linens on the polished wooden floor. Her face was red.

“You think that because you and Brendan are ‘equals’ that none of this can happen to you. You think I’m just a dumb blond who got used by a rich guy. You think your college degree will protect you.

“Well, let me tell you something, little sister. Your job can disappear like that. Your man can, too. And you will be just like me. Middle-aged. Alone. No kids. Nothing.”

Mascaraed tears were coursing down her face, but Megan didn’t care. She wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand.

“You think you’re above all this, right? Smarter than me?”

I didn’t quite know what to say. Of course, she was right. I gulped, and took the plunge.

“So what should I do? Wait until he asks me to marry him? We’ve been together for a year…”

“… and if he hasn’t asked, then he’s not gonna just because you are living together! TRUST ME! I KNOW THIS!”

I looked at Megan, surrounded by the detritus of her life. It was true. The tears came to me, unbidden.

“What the hell am I SUPPOSED TO DO?” I shouted suddenly.

The question hung in the air between us.

Megan shook her head slowly. She sighed heavily.

“Listen, I know exactly how you feel. You think somehow your love will be different. That everything will work out. And you keep taking the Pill, because it’s the responsible thing to do. And you work, and you hope. .

“Well, lemme tell you. It’s NO GOOD. And Brendan is no different than Drew. They get married when they get to a point when they feel like they can support a family. IF they get to that point,” she looked at me meaningfully.

“Brendan works for a living!” I said hotly.

“Yes. But does he earn enough to support you and a baby?”

“No, but I’m not expecting him to.”

“So, you think that you’ll do it all, right? You’ll get pregnant when Brendan comes around to the idea. You’ll take the hormones. Endure the pregnancy. Have the baby. Then you’ll go out and support the baby – and maybe Brendan too, right?”

I knew she was right. But I really didn’t want to admit it. I stood there glaring at her defiantly, tears coursing down my own cheeks.

“Listen,” she began, more kindly. “I know you’re scared. You’re at a make-or-break point with Brendan now, right?”

“Y-yes,” I said, miserably.

“You think it’s time to get to the next stage, right?”

“He does, too,” I said helplessly. “It’s his idea. He says we can save money. And be together.”

“Right. This way he doesn’t have to worry about you going out on him. And his rent bill goes down by half.”

I looked down, ashamed.  Brendan had said almost these exact words.

“Plus, you’ll probably do his laundry, right?” she laughed humorlessly. “Look, I’m not saying Brendan is a bad guy. I’m saying he’s a baby. And he doesn’t want to step up to the plate.”

“H-his parents are divorced, too,” I mumbled.

Megan let out a sudden peal of laughter.  Shocked, I gaped at her.

Everybody’s parents are divorced!” she exclaimed, her eyes twinkling with merriment. “That’s no excuse for not growing up.”

Later, as we drove slowly through the dark, snowy streets, Christmas lights sparkling at every door, I found myself wondering aloud how many unhappy couples lived behind the facades of these Mc Mansions.

“Who knows?” Megan shrugged, carelessly.

“What are you going to do now?” I asked, curious.

“Now?” she echoed, sighing. “I’m going back to Mom’s. Back to where I started when I was nineteen years old. And I’m going to Mass.”

“Ch-church?!” I spluttered, taken aback. “W-why?”

“Because I want to. I’ve started going to a Latin Mass, downtown.”

“In downtown St Louis?” This was not normal for my suburban sister. I would’ve bet she could count the number of times she’d been downtown by herself on one hand. “Why there?”

“Because it’s beautiful,” she sighed. “And right now, I need some beauty in my life.”

I thought about that. I could understand how she was feeling.  The ugliness of the strip-malled road we had turned onto suddenly seemed oppressive.

“Why don’t you come with me?” she said quietly. “We could go, for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Bring Mom, too.”

Maybe I will. Though Brendan probably won’t want to come.

But maybe I will, anyway.

PHOTO CREDITS: YUME DELGADO

Christmas in Carmel

by Donna Sue Berry

They are monastic superstars for a growing following of devotees of their Mystic Monk Coffee — an innovative small business that sustains the monks and their dream of building a monastery in the wilds of America’s Wyoming.  But they are also cloistered Carmelites, who observe strict contemplative rules. In this fascinating look behind the scenes, Regina Magazine’s Donna Sue Berry takes you on a privileged visit to Christmas in Carmel, with the Mystic Monks.

Q. Father Prior, what do the words ‘Christmas in Carmel,’ mean to you? 

The Carmelite life is a hidden life of loving intercession for the church and for the world.  In Carmel, Advent is a time of even greater recollection as the monks spend yet more time in silence and solitude to prepare for the great mystery of Christmas.  As such, Christmas arrives in Carmel after much preparation and anticipation.  The joy a contemplative knows in his cloister at the birth of the Lord is difficult to clearly articulate as his entire vocation is one of waiting upon the Lord that the monk might “open when the Lord knocks” on his heart. Christmas in Carmel is a blessed time of tremendous joy and peace.

Christmas in Carmel is a blessed time of tremendous joy and peace.

The Order of Carmel has its roots in the Old Testament when our hermit fathers, the sons of the prophets, spent centuries waiting for the coming Messiah prior to Christ.  In some way, Carmelites today share in that waiting for Christ whether it be in the days of Advent leading to the celebration of Christmas, the Carmelite day where we wait to receive Jesus again the Blessed Sacrament at Holy Mass, or especially in our own lives where all is ordered towards attaining to mystical union with God and through prayer and penance assisting countless other souls towards this same union.

Families have traditions during Advent leading up to the great celebration of our Lord’s birth. Can you tell me what traditions are observed by you and the Monks at the Monastery?

In Carmel, dating from the time of our holy Mother St Teresa of Avila, the Carmelites observe what we affectionately call “the child Jesus days of recollection.”  This great and noble tradition has the entire community process in white mantles holding candles, with the prior carrying the child Jesus in a little manger, to a monk’s hermitage each evening that the father or brother may spend the next twenty-four hours in solitude and more intense prayer.  This time of retreat is so special as the monk, together with the Virgin Mary, contemplates how meek and humble our God truly is as manifested in his nativity.

 
The Carmelites observe what we affectionately call “the child Jesus days of recollection.” 

Another great tradition of our Carmel is that each evening, following mental prayer and before the evening collation (or small meal), the community gathers in the refectory for the chanting of the Veni, Veni Emmanuel around the burning Advent wreath.  Oh how great is our expectation and our desire to prepare ourselves to receive our divine King on Christmas night!

Q. On an individual basis, can you each have certain devotions or “traditions” from your past life that you may keep while in the Monastery?

As Carmelite monks in the great tradition of the discalced reform, we enter the monastery to imitate particularly the Blessed Mother, but all the great Carmelites down through the ages.  We do not seek to do anything new, or discover our own path to holiness; rather we joyfully embrace the glorious tradition of Carmel and its deep wellsprings of Marian spirituality and devotion.  That being said, we recognize in the order of Carmel, manifested through our many saints and blesseds, that there is a myriad of Carmelite devotions, each reflecting an aspect of our Lady’s spirituality. 

We do not seek to do anything new, or discover our own path to holiness; rather we joyfully embrace the glorious tradition of Carmel.

When we are clothed as novices, we take new names in religion such as “Fr Daniel Mary of Jesus Crucified.”  The second part of our religious name might be thought of as a window into each monk’s individual devotion.

Q. As out in the world there is always the exchange of gifts between loved ones, do you exchange gifts among each other in Carmel?

In Carmel we do not exchange gifts, as we are but poor religious. 

What we exchange at Christmas is our love for one another that manifests itself so beautifully when on Christmas Eve day, after the solemn chanting of the martyrology at prime announcing the birth of Christ on Christmas day, the monks warmly embrace one another wishing each other a truly Blessed and Merry Christmas.  Christmas and the following three days are known as recreation days when the silence is lifted in the monastery and the monks spend these days in beautiful liturgy and fraternal charity.

Q. What is Christmas Eve like in the Monastery?

Christmas Eve we like to call the “Day of the bells” as the day begins with merry procession throughout the monastery with rustic instruments.  After solemn prime, the monastery’s bells toll out announcing as it were to the whole world that Christ is to be born on Christmas night.  The rest of the day is spent in beautiful chanted liturgy and the final preparations of the crèche and Christmas tree.  As monks, we enter into the joy of Christmas most intimately by means of the sacred liturgy as we prepare through our hours of contemplation to welcome Christ into our hearts.  The beautiful and solemn three Masses of Christmas day, beginning with midnight mass, and continuing with the Mass of dawn and the conventual Mass, invite the monk to enter into Christmas with exuberant joy.  Indeed, praised be Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.

After midnight Mass, the community gathers before the Christmas crib singing carols to our divine Savior. 

In a lovely Carmelite tradition, there is a procession throughout our monastery even going into the monk’s cells, to the turn, to the parlors, and all the other monastic rooms where the prior carries Our Lady and the sub-prior carries St Joseph.  The monk kneels to kiss these holy images when they are brought into his cell and placed on his straw mattress. 

In this way, the monk’s very hermitage becomes a new Bethlehem where Christ is welcomed in obscurity but with great love and adoration.  Our holy mother St Teresa loved this custom and insisted upon its practice, being moved by her tremendous love for God that grieved her so deeply when she considered those who turned the Holy Virgin and good St Joseph away as there was no room in the inn. 

Q. And then on Christmas Day? Does it begin with Midnight Mass? More Masses said during the day? Is there a Feast…a dinner celebration?

In Carmel there is an ancient saying, “Carmelus totus Marianus est” (‘Carmel is totally Marian’). 

As above, there is indeed a delightful time of celebration following midnight Mass where the community gathers before the Christmas crib singing carols to our divine savior.  As the sleep comes into the monks’ eyes, the Father Prior concludes this celebration in the middle of the night by intoning the psalm, Laudate Dominum Omnes Gentes (O praise the lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.)

On Christmas day, the monks again share a delightful meal and joyful conversation in the recreation room, rejoicing in the divine infant born for the salvation of men. 

Q. Tell me a little about the Mystic Monk Coffee we so love. What’s in store for Christmas?

 Throughout the great tradition of monasticism, monks have always done monastic industry to be as self-supporting as possible.  Some monks have baked breads, others have brewed beer.  As monks who keep vigil in the middle of the night, we know a great deal about a good cup of coffee to keep us awake for our times of prayer. 

Moved by other coffee companies that openly supported the pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-death, atheistic agenda of our modern day, Mystic Monk coffee was born as a pro-life coffee company to support the building of our monastery here in the rocky mountains of Wyoming. 

Roasted by our monks during our times of daily work, Mystic Monk coffee is a true monastic industry.  For Christmas, we annually hand-craft our own signature Christmas blend that is a delightful holiday roast for those cold winter days of December.       

Q. Your web site says ‘The Carmelite monks of Wyoming seek to perpetuate the charism of the Blessed Virgin Mary by living the Marian life as prescribed by the primitive Carmelite Rule and the ancient monastic observance of Carmelite men.’   Can you tell us what that means?

In Carmel there is an ancient saying, “Carmelus totus Marianus est” (‘Carmel is totally Marian’).  Carmel has been hailed by the popes as the “preeminent order of Mary.” 

We are true Marian souls who seek to “perpetuate the charism” of holy Mary through our union with Christ, hidden here in the enclosure, where our obedience, chastity, and poverty are modeled after the Blessed Virgin and allow us to be transformed into spiritual fathers of countless souls.

 

How We Got Here

The Latin Mass in a Thoroughly Modern Parish

For the past two years, Father Philip Clement has been one of the parochial vicars of  Incarnation parish, near St. Petersburg, Florida. Father Clements studied philosophy at Christendom College and then attended St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He was ordained in 2008 and said his first Traditional Latin Mass on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. 

In this exclusive Regina Magazine interview, Father Clement recounts the story of how Incarnation Parish has become a beloved locale for the Latin Mass. The story of this parish shows us yet again how a thriving parish community with a strong future can grow, even against all expectations in a modern church, with an aging population.

Q. Tell us about Incarnation Parish.

Incarnation parish is located in the Town N Country area of Tampa, Florida, which is centrally located in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. It was created in 1962 and has roughly 3,200 families. The pastor is the Very Rev. Michael Suszynski, and he has been pastor of Incarnation parish for four years.

Q. How did you become involved with the TLM?

Early in 2011 I was asked by one of the three priests in our diocese who said the Latin Mass at that time if I could fill in for him while he was away on vacation. I did not know how to say the Latin Mass but had a deep interest in learning. This priest friend of mine instructed me on how to say the Mass, and with lots of study and practice, I was able to cover his parish’s Latin Mass while he was out of town. 

Thereafter, I made opportunities in my schedule to make the 35 minute drive to his parish to continue helping him with his Latin Masses. Since my first Mass on November 27th, I’ve been hooked.

Q. When did you introduce the TLM? 

Prior to 2012, Incarnation Parish did not have a Traditional Latin Mass. We also had a very unique situation, as our parish did not have a Sunday evening Mass on the schedule.

On February 20, 2012, I had dinner with the pastor, and at some point in the course of the conversation the fact that I had been saying the Traditional Latin Mass since the previous November came up, and he offered me the Sunday afternoon timeslot in which to offer the Latin Mass in our parish. Needless to say I was stunned, as that was not the purpose of our conversation, but he offered it anyway.  I took it to prayer, and two days later I informed him that I would love the opportunity.

By that point I was proficient in saying the Low Mass and had learned much about the history of the Mass in general. Since the Traditional Latin Mass was relatively new to me, I assumed it would be for our parishioners as well, except for the few who might have remembered it from their childhood.

Since my first Mass on November 27th, I’ve been hooked.

Q. How did you get parishioners interested?

I decided to offer the parishioners a three-part seminar on the Traditional Latin Mass, which covered preparation for Mass, the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. It was a great success and was attended by over 200 people.

Each part of the seminar was given in successive weeks and ended on the fourth week with our inaugural Mass, the very first Traditional Latin Mass offered in our fifty year old parish on May 6, 2012.

Our three- part parish seminar on the Latin Mass was a great success and was attended by over 200 people.

Q. So, the Mass just took from there?

Not really. Immediately after May 6th, administrative problems prevented us from continuing with the Latin Mass for a period of six months. By November 4, 2012, we were able to add the Traditional Latin Mass to the regular Mass schedule. At that time it was only me saying the Latin Mass in our parish, and my schedule would only allow me to offer the Mass twice per month, and I was content in moving forward as such.

However, the following month I met a Jesuit priest at the local Jesuit High School in Tampa who knew how to say not only the Low Mass but the High Mass and the Solemn High Mass, and this offered our Traditional Latin Mass community a huge opportunity. Fr. Patrick Hough, S.J. came aboard January 20, 2013 and said his first Latin Mass at Incarnation. Now that Fr. Hough was available to assist with the Latin Mass, we were able to start offering the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday, and we have been doing so since January of this year.

In addition to being able to offer the Latin Mass every Sunday, we were now able to start offering the High Mass and the Solemn High Mass as well. Incarnation had its first High Mass on February 24th of this year and our first Solemn High Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 19th.

Q. That is a lot of work! What is the current situation?

Since that time I have been able to learn the High Mass and the priest and sub-deacon’s parts for the Solemn High Mass, which allows us to have a very full Sunday schedule each month. Currently, the first Sunday of the month is a Low Mass, followed by two High Masses on the second and third Sundays, and a Solemn High Mass on the fourth Sunday.

All in all, I believe we have come a long way in just one year. This should encourage any parish considering starting the Traditional Latin Mass to follow the Spirit’s lead, bring it to the people, and have confidence that there is much support for the Ancient Mass of the Saints.

We have come a long way in just one year. This should encourage any parish considering starting the Traditional Latin Mass to follow the Spirit’s lead, bring it to the people, and have confidence that there is much support for the Ancient Mass of the Saints.

Q. How has sacred music played a part in the transformation of your parish?

Yes. Before we could offer the High Mass or Solemn High Mass in our parish, we first needed to explore the opportunity of starting a sacred music program. In the beginning, we invited a chant schola from a neighboring parish to come to sing the Mass parts for our first High Mass. We also invited them to continue singing motets and hymns at our Low Masses, and interest continued to develop.

Soon thereafter we were able to start our sacred music program, as we had just hired a new Director of Music in the parish who had experience playing and conducting chant choirs, as a well as a young man who volunteered to direct our schola. They have been working very hard to build the program and have done a wonderful job. Fr. Hough also is an accomplished musician and has a lot of experience directing sacred music. His influence and direction has been a tremendous benefit to the process, and we are happy to have him assist in our parish.

In addition to Fr. Hough’s direction for the schola, in February of this year, we invited Fr. Samuel Weber, O.S.B. an expert in Sacred Music to give us a seminar on sacred cantilation. He shared with us his love for sacred music and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Since beginning grade school in 1953, Fr. Weber has been studying and singing Gregorian chant.

In April 2008, he became the founder and first director of The Institute of Sacred Music in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. The Institute of Sacred Music was established by Archbishop Raymond E. Burke to promote the sacred liturgy and Gregorian Chant. In this seminar, Fr. Weber spoke about sacred cantilation and the primacy of place sacred music has in the liturgy. He also gave two sessions to train our schola and our altar servers, both of which were open to registrants who wished to sit in and learn more about how Gregorian Chant is sung and why the altar servers do what they do.

We were very blessed to have Fr. Weber visit and instruct us, and the results of that instruction can certainly be seen and heard in the voices of Incarnation’s schola.

The Institute of Sacred Music was established by Archbishop Raymond E. Burke to promote the sacred liturgy and Gregorian Chant.

Q. Have you introduced any other changes — more frequent confessions,  First Friday devotions, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or any others?

Only recently were we able to start our new monthly Mass schedule, where we are able to offer a Low Mass, two High Masses and one Solemn High Mass per month. Much of my time has been spent tending to the necessary details and to training our altar boys. Therefore, not many other changes have been implemented at this time.

We are working towards being able to offer Confession before every Mass and occasional Forty Hour Devotions during the year, but that is only in the planning stages at this time. Our parish has had First Friday devotions, including Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, for years so no major changes have to take place regarding those devotions.  However, we are planning to offer more hours of Exposition and Adoration in the near future.

Q. How are your CCD and RCIA programs? Well-attended? What catechetical materials do you use?

Our CCD and RCIA programs are very well attended. Even though the population growth rate has been stable in recent years due to the aging of the area, we are consistently welcoming new families into the parish and into the Faith through the sacraments of initiation. This year our CCD program switched resources, and we are now using the Faith and Life series from Ignatius Press. 

Even though the population growth rate has been stable in recent years due to the aging of the area, we are consistently welcoming new families into the parish and into the Faith through the sacraments of initiation.

Q. How does the Latin Mass work in your modern church building?

Our current church building is of typical modern design, complete with a resurrected Jesus behind the square, wooden, detached altar.

As is common with many churches today, there isn’t much within it to build upon for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. Even though the church is modern architecture, we were able to come up with a way to beautifully modify the current altar to make it acceptable for the Latin Mass.

Even though the church is modern architecture, we were able to come up with a way to beautifully modify the current altar to make it acceptable for the Latin Mass.

Q. How have these changes been received in your parish? 

Incarnation Parish has been in existence for fifty-one years, and for forty-six of those years, our parishioners have been used to the Novus Ordo. While our parishioners are wonderful, the modern influence has had an effect on some of them as well.

When the Latin Mass was first introduced in our parish, we received the typical type of resistance, and I learned that people either love the Latin Mass or they despise it. With that knowledge, my prayer to the Lord was that if He wanted the Latin Mass in our parish, then would He please provide the funding from the people rather than having to fund the Latin Mass from the general parish funds and risk more ridicule. 

He obviously heard this prayer, and in less than four weeks, we raised over $20,000 to outfit the altar and to purchase all the other necessaries. The people who are appreciative of the Mass have not ceased to be more than generous in their support, whether it be monetary, spiritual or both.

My prayer to the Lord was that if He wanted the Latin Mass in our parish, then would He please provide the funding from the people rather than having to fund the Latin Mass from the general parish funds and risk more ridicule. He obviously heard this prayer, and in less than four weeks, we raised over $20,000.

Q. Are you attracting people to your parish? Homeschoolers? Do you find that many people are getting more involved in parish life? Altar servers?

Yes. Our congregation has steadily grown to the point that we average 150 – 200 people per Mass. Ages range from infancy to the early 90’s. We have done baptisms and Masses for the dead, but we have not yet had a wedding. Many of the families are young with young children and are homeschooling families.

In my opinion, this has added to the supply of our fifteen-plus altar boys. These young men are eager to learn and excited to serve, and we already have one young man discerning entering the seminary.

In order to foster continued growth in the community and build relationships between the Latin Mass parishioners, we have periodic potluck dinners after our Solemn High Masses. God has truly blessed our parish.

 

Q. This will be your first year offering the TLM at Christmas. How do you think parishioners will react to this? What plans are you making, both to help people keep a holy Advent and Christmastide?

Although the Latin Mass had already begun by last Christmas, I was not able to offer a Christmas Latin Mass last year because of my personal schedule.

Our community is slowly stabilizing, we’ve been able to include all of the Holy Days of Obligation in our schedule, and in order to help the parishioners prepare for a holy Advent and Christmastide, we are attempting to implement regular Confessions before Mass by the beginning of Advent. Plans are also in development for a Forty Hours devotion.

Our community is slowly stabilizing, and I believe people are looking forward to the Traditional Latin Mass for those very special occasions like Christmas.

Q. How can people find your parish?

We welcome everyone! Our website  and we can be found on our Facebook

Today’s Singing Nuns

Catholic Chant Tops the Charts for Christmas 2013

Americans are snapping up surprising new Christmas gifts this year, judging by the chart-topping albums of Catholic chant by some new superstars — traditional Catholic sisters!

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in XYZ have released “Advent in Ephesus” to widespread acclaim…

…and the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Dominican Sisters of Mary have produced “Mater Eucharistiae

Both Orders’  albums have raced to the top of the classical Billboard charts. Both are up for Grammy awards.

In this exclusive Regina Magazine interview, Mother Cecilia, prioress of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles and Sr. Joseph Andrew, OP, Vicaress General, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist reveal what it takes to capture the top of the charts – and the hearts of many weary Americans.

Q. Can you tell us about the impetus for the creation of your album?

Mother Cecilia: We were hosting a very dear priest friend of ours here at the Priory, a priest who is now dying. He had recently heard our self-produced CDs. He turned to me and said, ‘You really need to make an Advent CD.’

We had been contemplating the theme for a new CD, and his words sealed it for us. We, too, could perceive a need to restore the lost season of Advent.

Benedictines hold up the Liturgy as the “work of God,” and our primary means of sanctification. Giving attention back to Advent necessarily entails a more spiritual approach to Christmas. Some of the loveliest chants and hymns of the liturgical year appear during the season of Advent.

Sister Joseph Andrew:  Music has always been a large part of our community and our daily prayer and life of praise. When we were approached about releasing the music, which was already such a special part of our community, we took it to prayer.  

On the whole, when it is clear that something is guided by the Holy Spirit, we will, as St. Paul says, “lean forward” and take that act of Faith. We always try to be open to whatever God asks of us.  As is often the case when we give our FIAT, like Our Lady, there are many fruits which we could never have imagined which have resulted.  But our original decision to allow the documentation of the music of our community was only a desire to share whatever gifts God has given to us generously, as He has been so generous with all of us.

Q. How many sisters participated?  Was it fun?

Sister Joseph Andrew:  Oh, my, yes, it was so much fun!  There were 23 sisters who participated in the choir, and then I played the organ and chimes and Sister Maria Miguel played the trumpet.  We had a wonderful producer who helped keep us on track and after 2.5 days we had completed all of the recording for what is now Mater Eucharistiae

Mother Cecilia: Twenty of the twenty-two Sisters sang.  Our dear Sr. Wilhelmina is eighty-nine, and a sister stayed back to take care of her. Sr. Wilhelmina is our professional in prayer, and we could not have made the recording without her spiritual support!

The practices are always especially enjoyable for the sisters, simply because we are always happy to be in each other’s company. Our voices are truly an extension of our hearts, which we strive to keep united to the Heart of Christ. He is the One who takes our very different voices and melds them together so they sound very much as one.

The recording went very, very smoothly. Recording here in our own chapel also kept us very focused. We were still able to chant the Office the eight prescribed times on each of the three recording days. Rather than give our voices a break, we continued with the praises of God, and He Himself renewed them for the next session!

Q. How many sisters do you currently have?  Novices?

Mother Cecilia: We have twenty-two sisters at present. Four of them are novices, with a total of thirteen in formation.

Sister Joseph Andrew:  We currently have 127 sisters, including 18 novices and 20 postulants.  God is generous and continues to send us many wonderful young women!

Q. What is your Order’s charism?

Sister Joseph Andrew:  As Dominicans, our primary apostolate is teaching.  As we engage in the new evangelization, we are open to new forms of handing down the faith, and in particular, the work of catechesis. We are very much formed first in the Chapel and in the cloister as contemplatives; we are able to bring the Truth.

So we very much try to meet the culture and engage the culture through primarily education first and foremost- but when and where possible, and as Pope Francis has been witnessing and encouraging, we always keep an open heart towards answering that call that Bl. Pope John II called “The New Evangelization.” For our community, this music and all of the media and outreach which stems from it would very much be in line with that call.

Mother Cecilia: Our charism is prayer and sacrifice for priests, who are the dispensers of Divine Grace. It is at their hands that the Sacrifice of Calvary is presented once more, and beauty is restored to our souls.

As Benedictines, we strive to enter the very heart of the Church in her prayer, the liturgy. Offering beauty back to God and hidden there, we ask the Lord to strengthen each priest, the alter Christi, so he may labor courageously and perseveringly for the salvation of souls. There is no better exemplar in this than Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, especially in her hidden life at Ephesus. (This is the city in modern-day Turkey to which St. John brought her to live out her last days after the Ascension of her Son.)

We have the privilege of manifesting this charism in a concrete way by making vestments and sacred linens to be used for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Q. Mother Cecilia, I see that you have many young women and much interest in your small Community. This seems to be part of a national trend in America. To what do you attribute all of this interest?

Mother Cecilia: Perhaps this is an illustration of what St. Paul says to the Romans, “Where sin abounded, grace did the more abound.” The Lord seems to be seeking hearts to console Him amidst the continuing decline in virtue within our nation.

There is most certainly a new generation of Catholics steadily growing in our country, who are true seekers of truth, goodness and beauty. They realize the culture of death and sin that is foisted on us from all sides is a dead end, and brings about only unhappiness and a false sense of peace.

We see this hopeful trend, especially in our many seminarians and newly ordained priests, and of course the young women who come to visit us as well. We have had around 100 vocation inquiries this year alone. Truly, this is the work of the Holy Spirit!

Q. Mother Cecilia, when young women come to your Community with a vocation, what feelings do they describe?

Nearly all describe their initial shock the first couple of days. They say it takes some time to stop “thinking,” as they get used to the absence of so much noise that is everywhere in this modern world. They see clearly that there is a definite rhythm to our life, and they begin to discern in the silence whether this rhythm will be the underpinning for the Lord to orchestrate their holiness, and their path to Him.

Other things that young women have repeatedly mentioned are their attraction to the traditional liturgy, how intently we follow the Rule of St. Benedict, and our closeness to one another as a religious family.

Q. What do you tell them, to help them to discern?

Firstly they are told to be faithful in their vocations as sisters and daughters in the context of a family. St. Benedict bases a monastery on the structure of a family. If something is wanting in the natural foundation, the spiritual edifice that we strive to build on its foundation will be impaired.

They are also encouraged to become more familiar with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. (The majority of aspirants already are, and feel called to offer themselves back to God through it.) In many ways the beauty of this Mass, at the center of our liturgical spirituality, speaks for itself. The rest of the Divine Office fits into it like spokes in the hub of a wheel.

Time must be set aside for silent prayer alone with God, in order to discern what it is He is asking in the depths of their hearts. Lastly, they must turn with steadfast prayer and fidelity to Our Lady, who always provides maternal strength and love for each vocation. She is our sure guide, as she will always counsel each soul to “do whatever He tells you.”

Q. Sr. Joseph Andrew, you oversaw all of the music and recording on “Mater Eucharistiae.” Your Order seems to garner a great deal of interest from the secular media. To what do you attribute this, in modern America? Is this part of the general thirst for the spiritual that seems so apparent?

We very much have been able to witness the thirst especially coming from the youth, for authenticity and meaning in life.  People want God, they want to have an encounter with Him in their lives.  

The arts through beauty are ways that Our Lord lovingly reveals Himself to souls.  When we recorded our songs, it was in our chapel with Jesus present in the Holy Eucharist.  There is something special in that relationship that shines forth from beauty, love and Truth, which evokes peace in any heart.  

We were all made by Him and for Him. Because this is authentically what the Sisters are experiencing as they are singing these songs, it truly has an effect on a world hungry for the contemplative and silence in the midst of all the noise and input.  

People have truly responded with great enthusiasm from all faith backgrounds.  The fact that the secular media has picked it up and covered our community is something only God could plan.  We just try to be as open as we can and always be ready to share our faith when called upon.  We have truly enjoyed these experiences engaging the media and so this music has been another opportunity for us to reach out to the culture.

The Lord seems to be seeking hearts to console Him amidst the continuing decline in virtue within our nation. There is most certainly a new generation of Catholics steadily growing in our country, who are true seekers of truth, goodness and beauty. 

Conversation with a Cloistered Nun

Sister Mary Catharine Tells It Like It Is

In this fascinating, candid interview, Sister Mary Catharine, OP, takes Regina Magazine on an intimate journey through the life of a thriving cloistered community of Dominican nuns.

Q. Where is your Order? How long has it been there?

Our Monastery of our Lady of the Rosary is in Summit, New Jersey, a bedroom community of New York City and a quick 52 minute train ride from the city.

Summit is a very Catholic city with a small town feel. We began our monastery 94 years ago in 1919. Summit was considered a healthy place to live away from New York. It was touted as the “Denver of the East” for its high altitude!

We began our monastery 94 years ago in 1919.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about its founding? About the Dominicans in general — brief history?

The Nuns of the Order of Preachers were founded by St. Dominic and his bishop, Bishop Diego in 1206, ten years before the friars. So, we are their elder sisters!

Actually, St. Dominic never planned to found anything. Stunned by the Albigensian heresy rampant in southern France he began preaching to bring the people back to the truth.

The Albigensian hersey was based on a dualist god: the god of spirit (the “good” god) and the god matter (the “evil” god). Because of their austere way of life the heretics attracted many people. Converting these people back to the Catholic Faith was not easy.

A group of women, used to living the austere life of the heretics, converted to the Faith through the preaching of St. Dominic.  A man of great compassion, St. Dominic saw that he now needed to take care of their physical needs.

Many of these women were disowned by their heretic families and had no place to live. So, he gathered them together at a little abandoned church, Notre Dame du Prouilhe and gave them a habit, rule of life, etc. They were desperately poor and St. Dominic would beg for them. 

From the very beginning these first moniales were associated with the Order through their prayer and penance. In fact, the first monastery itself was called “the Holy Preaching” which is a powerful testimony to the witness of monastic-cloistered life.

The early nuns were called the Sister Preacheresses although they were cloistered and never went out to preach! The vocation of a Nun of the Order of Preachers is unique because we are fully monastic and contemplative but part of an evangelical and apostolic Order. One has to have a deeply apostolic heart yet find its expression not in the apostolate but in a life of hidden prayer.

Many of the first Dominican nuns were disowned by their heretic families and had no place to live. So, he gathered them together at a little abandoned church, Notre Dame du Prouilhe, and gave them a habit, rule of life, etc. They were desperately poor and St. Dominic would beg for them. 

Q. Tell us about the famous St. Dominic.

For the first 10 years St. Dominic preached almost entirely alone in southern France. He had companions for a while but then they left. I’m sure he received great comfort in having the monastery as his “home base.”

St. Dominic would preach all day and pray all night. We know from the testimonies of the early friars that he wasn’t a quiet person when he prayed! He would groan and shed copious tears. He would cry out, “O Lord, what will become of sinners!”

His life of prayer and preaching is lived out in the Order by the Friars and Nuns in a complementary way: the friars go out to preach while the nuns carry within the innermost sanctuary of their compassion all sinners, the downtrodden and the afflicted. Like Esther, they go before the King pleading for the salvation of all. Like Moses, they raise their arms in prayer while the battle rages below.

What is commonly not known is that the friars and the nuns are united not just spiritually but juridically through our profession of obedience to the Master of the Order. Together we form the Order of Preachers. We have distinct but complimentary ways of expressing the Order’s mission to “preach for the salvation of souls”.

Q. What is a contemplative’s life like?


To answer this question fully would take several books and at the same time it can’t really be expressed!

I think the first word that comes to mind is JOY. Not that there aren’t hardships as in any vocation but through it all there is a deep abiding joy because I am totally consecrated to God to love and praise Him. The contemplative vocation is a gift beyond words and one for which I will be thanking God for all eternity!

For Dominican contemplative nuns the Word of God is primary. Our constitutions state that the monastery is to be a place where “the Word of God can dwell abundantly in the monastery.”

So, first we ponder the word through lectio divina and through theological study, we sing Mass and the entire Divine Office; we listen to God’s Word as it is expressed through our sisters.

To answer this question fully would take several books and at the same time it can’t really be expressed! I think the first word that comes to mind is JOY.

Q. How is your Order governed?

Our manner of government is ordered so that our fraternal life can be “one mind and heart in God”.  This means we come together as a chapter to discuss things so we can make a decision that is truly centered in God and not just what I want. This isn’t always easy. It requires that we listen to our sisters and that we be willing to be changed. We have to allow grace to be operative in us. The goal is not majority rule but consensus.

Q. What is your work and daily life like?



Our life is intensely liturgical. Holy Mass and the Office shape our day. Everything else is fitted in around it. So, with liturgical prayer, private prayer and our privileged hours of the “adoring Rosary, which is praying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance we have about 5 to 6 hours of prayer each day.

Our work is simple, like that of Our Lady at Nazareth. We do the cooking, cleaning, sacristy, laundry, answer the mail, pay the bills, the garden, soap department, etc. Young women are always surprised at how full our days are. You go to bed tired at night!

During recreation times we like to just be together to talk, play games, go for a walk. There is a lot of laughter. Someone once said that our recreations are “high energy!”

We like to just be together to talk, play games, go for a walk. There is a lot of laughter. Someone once said that our recreations are “high energy!”

Q. Many people, if asked, would probably guess that living in a cloister is very limiting. Is this true? 

The cloister frees us immensely! One of the biggest fears in those discerning a contemplative vocation is that the cloister is seen as squashing freedom but it is just the opposite.

The cloister broadens us. It frees us from so many cares and concerns, even something as simple as not minding a stain on my scapular! This freedom isn’t from things so much as for something, really for Someone!

The enclosure is the ‘Garden Enclosed’ of the Song of Songs. Our life is entirely centered on Christ our Spouse alone.  Papal enclosure is a great gift of the Church that allows us to live our contemplative life well.

When I have to leave the enclosure for something necessary I am always so glad to be back. The world is so noisy, both audibly and visually. I really don’t understand how people stay sane!

The cloister frees us immensely! One of the biggest fears in those discerning a contemplative vocation is that the cloister is seen as squashing freedom but it is just the opposite.

Q. Your Order never gave up their habits. Do you think this has affected your stability, as compared to other orders that did?

I entered long after the upheavals of the 60’s but I have never heard either the nuns or the friars even question whether we should give up the habit. The habit is our Blessed Mother’s gift to us and we treasure it dearly.

Actually Dominicans consider only the scapular as the habit and is the only part blessed. Well, the cloistered nuns also have their veil blessed during a beautiful part of the Solemn Profession rite called the Blessing and Imposition of the Veil. The veil is blessed and then the prioress solemnly veils the newly professed. It’s very beautiful.

Every nun in the world wears the habit! There might be slight variations of hem height, sleeve width, veil style but we all wear the habit. Get a group of nuns together at a meeting and eventually we’ll be asking each other the important question: “Where do you get your fabric from?” The habit is a non-issue.

I entered long after the upheavals of the 60’s but I have never heard either the nuns or the friars even question whether we should give up the habit. The habit is our Blessed Mother’s gift to us and we treasure it dearly.

Q. So where does the stability come from?

I think our Order’s stability comes first from a tremendous gift of God. We are nearly 800 years old and we have never had a division. We’ve come close but it hasn’t happened.  There is only one Order of Preachers. One constitution for the friars: one constitution for the nuns.

Do you realize what a gift of God’s love this is? In his address to the Poor Clare nuns at Assisi, Pope Francis emphasized that the devil wants to destroy a community by causing division. The Order of Preachers from the very beginning has had a great devotion to our Lady and I think it is her protection that has kept us united.

Although St. Dominic died just five years after the Order was founded he left us with such a remarkable charism and form of government that it has shaped the Order these 800 years. Our manner of government is crucial to our stability. And most of all the preaching mission of the Order is perennial for each generation and time. One of the wonderful things about being such an old Order is that we’ve made every mistake in the book but we trust in God’s mercy and that of our sisters and brothers.

One of the wonderful things about being such an old Order is that we’ve made every mistake in the book but we trust in God’s mercy and that of our sisters and brothers.

Q. How are your vocations doing?

In the past eight years we’ve had twelve postulants enter and seven have persevered so far. This is such a blessing. Our young sisters come from several countries and all over the USA. Each sister is so different!

We’ve received more vocations in the past 8 years than in the past 50!

Can you tell us some recent vocation stories?

Our Sr. Mary Magdalene of the Immaculate Conception, O.P. is a native of Kansas and in college was part of the party scene. One night she lay in bed and realized that if she continued along this path she would die. It was a moment of grace when she says she was given the opportunity to choose. Gradually, she began attending Mass at the Newman Center at college that had a holy and dynamic priest.

One day she told him she thought she had a religious vocation; an idea that terrified her. At his suggestion she visited a Carmelite monastery nearby to experience cloistered life which she didn’t even know existed. At the end of her weekend she said, “These nuns are crazy and I think I might be as crazy as they are!”

At the end of her weekend she said, “These nuns are crazy and I think I might be as crazy as they are!”

She began a 54 day rosary novena and made the total consecration to Our Lady according to St. Louis de Monfort which was a source of great grace as well. She wrote to many monasteries and became attracted to the Dominican charism. About the same time the Newman Center at college received the total 10 tickets for the state of Kansas for the Papal Mass of Pope Emeritus Benedict at Yankee Stadium, NYC. This was in 2008. Because this was considered the official Mass of the Holy Father’s visit to the United States every diocese in the country received a certain number of tickets. As you can imagine the further west, the fewer tickets!

She wrote to our monastery asking if she could visit and in her less than 24 hour visit and on the 57th Day of her Rosary Novena she knew that this was the place God was calling her. She is now preparing for Solemn Profession next year.

Another of our new sisters is Sr. Mary Cecilia of the Annunciation, O.P. She is an extern sister. The extern sisters have what you might call a vocation within a vocation. Externs are contemplatives but they are not bound by papal enclosure because their vocation is to serve the needs of the monastery in a way that makes it easier for the nuns to live their cloistered vocation. So, externs do the shopping, go to vocation events, represent the community at functions such as funerals or special Masses, fundraisers, etc. In many ways it is a demanding vocation. As much as possible the extern sisters live the same life as the nuns do but still fulfilling their responsibilities.

Sr. Mary Cecilia is from Saskatchewan, Canada and was a lay missionary with Catholic Christian Outreach in Ottawa. She attended some theology classes taught by Dominicans and learned of our monastery. She began emailing intrigued by what seemed a contradiction: fully contemplative yet belonging to an Order whose mission is to preach the Gospel! I had a hunch Janlyn had a vocation and perhaps even to contemplative life.

At one point I contacted her with the excuse that I needed her new address to send our newsletter and she responded telling me that she would be attending two vocation retreats in New York. I immediately invited her to come for a visit since we are a convenient 52 minute train ride from the city. She accepted because she thought it would be nice to meet me and because between retreats she had an extra day and needed a place to stay!

As she shared her lay missionary work with me, Janlyn tried to explain the value of her part of it which was in administration, working behind the scenes and not on campus working directly with students. I kept agreeing, nodding my head affirmatively.

Suddenly she looked at me, burst into tears and said, “Oh, no! I think I have a contemplative vocation!” She left us the next morning wondering why she was even going to the retreat with the Sisters of Life.

Suddenly she looked at me, burst into tears and said, “Oh, no! I think I have a contemplative vocation!”

A few months she was unexpectedly called into the office of the president of Catholic Christian Outreach who invited her to be part of a missionary group going to China during the summer Olympics. She loved everything about that trip but it also confirmed that her part was to be a hidden life of prayer. She has a special love for the Chinese people because of that trip.

 Q. How do you sustain your life, financially?

We are mendicant and dependent on Divine Providence. God always provides and we have many wonderful friends and benefactors. Whenever there is a needed repair the Lord provides with unexpected resources and it can be done! God is so good to His spouses!

We also have a small business selling the soaps, creams, lip balms, room sprays, candles, woodcraft we make and books we publish. Mostly this is through the internet and the monastery’s tiny gift shop although we have some wholesale customers as well, mostly Catholic gift shops, retreat centers, etc.

We also have a small business selling the soaps, creams, lip balms, room sprays, candles, woodcraft we make and books we publish.

Q. How did the idea for a soap and candle business come about?
We have a guild of about 70 volunteers who help us by serving as receptionist, drivers, etc. and every year we make a little Christmas gift for them. For some reason, lost in time, it’s the novice mistress’s responsibility to take care of this and someone suggested soap to me. Seven years ago, one Sunday afternoon in August I spent time searching the internet about how to make soap and learned a lot!

At about the same time our daily offerings were really down—sometimes receiving no more than $5 a day—and we had just received 4 postulants so our healthcare insurance really went up! We began selling our soap in the gift shop. We were going to have only 5 varieties. That lasted about 6 weeks. We now make hand crème and lip balms using our own formula, room sprays and now candles.

We are a relatively young community. I think our average age is about 47, so that means we have a large healthcare insurance expense. Since, unlike the active sisters, we don’t teach or bring in a paycheck, the small income from our Seignadou Soaps has proved to be very helpful toward meeting those costs.

At about the same time our daily offerings were really down—sometimes receiving no more than $5 a day—and we had just received 4 postulants so our healthcare insurance really went up!

Q. Who is your chief soap-maker?

Right now the novitiate sisters are assigned the work of the soap room. When a postulant enters she gradually learns all aspects of it. Although there may be sisters who are more “expert” than others, tomorrow another may be given the assignment of learning the craft while the “expert” is assigned to another job in the monastery.

It works out well because the soap room is only busy at certain times of the year. The sisters in the novitiate have formation classes and that is the priority.

Q. What kind of people come to pray at your chapel?

People from all walks of life come to our chapel. The doors are open from 6AM, when we pray Lauds, until about 7PM at night and everyone is welcome.  All day people come to be with our Lord. Some are regulars who come daily and spend hours. We have several “rosary groups” who use our chapel on certain days. For example, we have mother-daughter group that prays the Rosary every 1st Thursday of the month. Other groups schedule a time to visit our chapel.

 Some people come to our monastery to purchase our Seignadou Soap products and find that we have a chapel open all day long. Amazed, they ask, “You mean I can come and pray here?” We never thought of soap as a means of evangelization!

Q. Why else do they come?

We’re not only a monastery but a shrine, the first shrine in the USA to our Lady of the Rosary. But we’re not a touristy type shrine. The focus is on spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, which is exposed every day and three nights a week. 

We also have a replica of the Shroud of Turin that dates back to 1624. It was commissioned by the Duchess Maria Magdalena, the wife of Cosmo di Medici. It was laid on the real Shroud and the story goes that the stain on our shroud copy appeared when it was lifted up from the Shroud.

In 1988 a team of scientists did a “dry run” on our shroud copy in preparation for their testing on the real Shroud and they did some tests of the side wound stain on our copy. They said that the DNA was the same on both. Our shroud copy in our chapel is the source of much devotion for many people who visit and that is even more important.

Our replica was laid on the real Shroud and the story goes that the stain on our shroud copy appeared when it was lifted up from the Shroud.

Q. I’ve heard that the beauty of your liturgy is quite a draw.

Our liturgy draws people to our monastery. It’s not unusual for someone to call up to ask the times for when “the nuns do the singing”. Often someone else has told them about the beauty of our chant.

We have a dear friend who is Jewish and an artist. One evening she was worried about some family problems. She decided to visit the chapel on the advice of a Catholic friend. She heard us singing Vespers behind the grille and was so taken by the beauty of the chanting that she contacted us and eventually did a trilogy of books featuring the monastery as seen through her artwork.

Often, at Rosary and Sext at 11:30 PM or Office of Readings and None at 3:00 PM, it’s not unusual to see 10-15 people in the extern chapel. We’re happy they join us for the Office as we believe that this is the most important gift we can give to people—the opportunity to simply BE with Jesus who is here for us 24/7!

Our monastery is situated on a hill in a city called Summit. Like our father, St. Dominic we are meant to radiate the light of Christ. Not in words but in with our life. Eight hundred years later, we are still Sister Preacheresses, still a Holy Preaching!

Our liturgy draws people to our monastery. It’s not unusual for someone to call up to ask the times for when “the nuns do the singing”. Often someone else has told them about the beauty of our chant.

A Teen’s View on the Latin Mass

by Anya Proctor

A Teen’s View on the Latin Mass

I am nineteen years old. All my life I’ve known the Novus Ordo Mass, where, as a young teenager, my attention would often wander. I’d gaze around at people, at their outfits and personalities, or think about school, or what I’d eat for lunch.

Then I would snap back to reality, feeling guilty for not paying attention. I loved God, and understood the basics of my faith, but going to church was just sort of something I did every week. It wasn’t a fully spiritual experience. 

On top of that, homilies often got weird. Priests would drabble on about other religions, the gospel of Judas, funny stories in the newspaper, irrelevant anecdotes, and even blatant heresies.

When my family moved to a small town, the weird Masses just became intolerable. Our first Sunday in the new town involved a priest using props on the altar to demonstrate his homily—as if we were all five-year-olds.

Homilies often got weird. Priests would drabble on about other religions, the gospel of Judas, funny stories in the newspaper, irrelevant anecdotes, and even blatant heresies.

My First Latin Mass at the Cathedral

We decided to attend the traditional Latin Mass an hour away from home. Stepping into a Cathedral was impressive, but celebrating Mass with the images of Jesus, the apostles, and the angels beautifully crafted onto the walls and windows of a strong, awe-inspiring place offered me a spiritual experience I’d never had before.

I did not get to know the priest’s personality at this Mass. I came to know God. I got to fully experience Christ Incarnate in flesh and blood, on my knees, deep in silence and prayer — to meditate on his union with me as he was placed reverently on my tongue by his holy servant. I closed my eyes when I received Jesus. I felt physically, spiritually, and emotionally transformed. Many times in the Cathedral, tears have come to me as I have prayed and focused on Jesus’s love and sacrifice for me.

I felt physically, spiritually, and emotionally transformed. Many times in the Cathedral, tears have come to me as I have prayed and focused on Jesus’s love and sacrifice for me.

Why the Latin Mass?

At this Mass, I do not want to immediately leave church to dwell in the world with material things and selfish preoccupations. I want to dwell in that moment with Jesus forever. Not until I was 19 years old did I fully understand the spiritual gift of the Eucharist—this sacred cornerstone of the Catholic faith.

The Novus Ordo focuses on people: shaking hands, singing folksy songs, laughing at jokes, watching people participate in a nice little ceremony.

But Mass is not intended to celebrate people. That’s for luncheons, birthday parties, and maybe youth groups—but not Mass. The Mass is for the Lord. The Mass is where the priest is so reverent he faces the Lord, not the people, so that they don’t focus on him, but only on Christ.

The Mass is for kneeling, praying, meditating with silent hearts which bring us closer to God. The Mass is for uniting with our Savior, who became a human being so he could horribly suffer on our behalf—have his flesh nailed to a wooden cross and be humiliated in front of an entire nation so we might live forever.

Isn’t the least we could do show Him respect at the holiest point on Earth, where he meets us at the altar? Can we kneel down for Him? Close our eyes for Him? Realize that He is too sacred to touch with our sinful hands? Give up an hour of focusing on ourselves and instead focus all of our energy solely on Him? These ideas are lost and degraded in the new Mass.

A Catholic at College

So, as a college student, among people preoccupied with themselves and the things of the world, I find it difficult to connect with others about the way the Traditional Mass changed my life. Not even among Catholics.

I attend a medium-sized liberal arts university in Florida. We have one Catholic group on campus, which attends a Novus Ordo Mass. It’s so hard to participate in that Mass since being transformed by the Latin Mass, so now I drive every Sunday by myself to worship and receive the Lord.

I am lonely sometimes. Not just because I drive to Mass alone, but because I am largely alone here, period. I don’t know if anyone at my school really shares the same values as me. This is because the spirit of Latin Mass encourages a reverence which requires devout compliance. It’s hard to say Latin Mass and then hurt God by partying on Saturday nights, enjoying crude jokes, or devoting energy toward anything at all that doesn’t glorify Him.

Now, I’m no better than anyone and am a great sinner. But I no longer have the same desires as my fellow classmates. When I meditate so deeply on the Lord as the Latin Mass enables me, I feel so spiritually inclined to serve God and no one else—not money, possessions, or even self-satisfaction. These are all inferior to the fullness of serving God.

So although I might go to Mass alone, and be alone much of the time, I am never truly alone, because Christ is here with me when I pray at night, or say the rosary at my desk, or go to Mass on Sunday.

And that is enough.

I am lonely sometimes. Not just because I drive to Mass alone, but because I am largely alone here, period. I don’t know if anyone at my school really shares the same values as me.

Photo’s by Amy Proctor

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s feast day today.  Ora pro nobis.  With withered face and folded hands, her knees worn hard from prayer, She walked the streets of India amidst the death like stares. Her sari draped bent body always searching for the poor, No longer seeks the needy as Teresa stoops no more.   Born … Read more

Young Americans Today ‘Know What Emptiness Is’

The Franciscan Sisters Third Order Regular of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother

This growing new Community’s Motherhouse is in Toronto, Ohio. The Sisters also have two houses in Steubenville, Ohio and one in Gaming, Austria. In this exclusive interview, Mother Katherine Caldwell and Sister Della Marie Doyle, Director of Vocations, give Regina Magazine readers an intimate look inside their Community.

August 15th, 2013 is the 25th Anniversary of our founding as a religious community. We are so grateful to the Lord for creating us and sustaining us as a community these past 25 years! This video describes our history and a little bit about our life of prayer, fraternity, and ministry that the Lord has inspired for the Church and the world. It was put together during this 25th year with the help of a dear friend of the community, Stephanie Stewart, who did most of the filming and editing. Thank you Stephanie and thank you to all who have made our life possible! With Our Lady, our “souls proclaim the greatness of the Lord and our spirits rejoice in God our Savior”.

Mother Katherine Caldwell, you are a founding member of this new Community. What is your foundation and mission?

As a Franciscan contemplative-active religious community, established August 15, 1988, we were founded to renew the emphasis of prayer that was so central in the lives of St. Francis and his early followers, and is so essential for the renewal of our Christian culture and Catholic faith today.

From our life of prayer flows the heart of our mission to make known God’s merciful love to the poor, the sick and those in need of evangelization and to renew the fullness of Catholic life through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, thus following the pattern of Christ and His servant Francis in preaching by both word and deed.

Twenty years ago the  youth were formed by the culture of MTV, movies, television, and other distractions. This, coupled with poor faith formation, has led to a crisis of  faith and moral decay.  

Q. Tell us about the founding of your Community.

People often ask me why I was part of starting a new community.  I must admit that if I was not 100% convinced that this was God’s call and will for my life, I would have given up years ago for it would have been much easier to join an existing congregation.

I can still remember when I received this call.  While I had a love and desire to serve the poor, the grace of the contemplative life was so strong that I thought I was called to be a cloistered Poor Clare (given solely to a life of prayer), but God spoke so clearly in my heart that I was called to be a contemplative in the world that I could not doubt His call.

He then drew me to scriptures that confirmed this call.  Later, I realized that these were the same scriptures given to Francis when he was discerning whether to be purely contemplative or to also preach.

THE SISTERS PRAY a minimum of five hours each day.

Q. Can you tell us a little about the Community’s prayer life?

It is the combination of a fervent life of prayer, at least 5 hours of prayer each day, works of mercy and a vibrant and caring fraternal life that makes our life a wonderful gift not only to our sisters, but I believe for the Church and for the world.

While we are blessed to hear about many answered prayers, people being touched by our caring presence or the hope our joyful sisterhood brings, we will only know fully in heaven the difference our consecrated life has made for the salvation of souls, our spiritual children.

I recently had a friend of the community do a little math to point out to me in a concrete way the amount of prayer that we are offering to honor and praise God and to pray for others.  In one day our sisters (31 of us) offer 155 hours of prayer, 1085 hours per week, 4,659 hours per month, and 56,420 hours per year.  All to glorify God and to make known His Merciful love! (Editor’s Note: The sisters have since gained six more members.)

By embracing the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience—forsaking the treasures of this world—we strive to give witness to the abundant love of God.

Q. Sister Della Marie, what sort of work do your sisters perform?

Our ministry and work flow from our life of prayer. Prayer itself is an apostolate for us. Some of the ministries we are involved in are: Serving those in need through a thrift shop, emergency food bank and a soup kitchen. We also serve on college campuses in evangelization, women’s ministry, leadership training, retreats, talks, and spiritual direction. Our Sisters also visit residents at a nursing home. Periodically we give talks and retreats at parishes or church groups. Our Vocation outreach consists in giving talks about religious life, discernment retreats, and presence at vocation fairs, local colleges, and high schools.

Q. Mother, can you tell us a little about your Community’s spirituality?

With grateful hearts, we recognize our consecration as the initiative and gift of the Father, our response of love to Christ whose love has captured our hearts and the Holy Spirit who has graced us to give ourselves  to God who has given Himself totally to us.

By embracing the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience—forsaking the treasures of this world—we strive to give witness to the abundant love of God in this life, the priority of His kingdom, and the fullness of life and glory that awaits the faithful in heaven, when we will meet Christ our Bridegroom face to face.

Our life, rooted in our Catholic and Franciscan spirituality, flows from the dynamic love relationship within the three Persons of the Trinity, is centered in Christ, is animated and guided by the Holy Spirit, finds its source of strength in the Eucharist, and is modeled after Mary, especially under the title ‘Our Mother of Sorrows.’

"I believe what attracts women to our community is the authentic joy they see in our Sisters." The Community is growing -- and is in four locations, including one in Gaming, Austria.
“I believe what attracts women to our community is the authentic joy they see in our Sisters.” The Community is growing — and is in four locations, including one in Gaming, Austria.

“Despite our  culture that is far from Christian, there is hope.  The youth of our times  know what emptiness is and they long for love, meaning, purpose, and  truth.”

MOTHER KATHERINE CALDWELL: “I must admit that if I was not 100% convinced that this was God’s call and will for my life, I would have given up years ago.”

Q. Sister Della Marie, as Vocations Director, you are best placed to give us some perspective on vocations. What do you think draws  young women to your order?

We are experiencing gradual growth  and we are very grateful to the Lord’s generosity in blessing us with  vocations.  We are becoming more well known through social media especially  Facebook and this has increased vocational interest.  Also, I believe that  the construction of our chapel in our motherhouse has given our community greater  stability and space to welcome vocations.  The size of our candidate classes are beginning to increase.

I believe what attracts women to our  community is the authentic joy they see in our Sisters.  This joy is a  fruit of our life rooted in the Sacraments and in prayer, especially in daily  Eucharistic Adoration.   Our time of communal prayer brings unity and  shared vision to our life in community and from this flows the witness of joy  and the ability to see Christ and uphold the dignity of all those we  serve.

The youth of today with internet available 24/7  on their phones have far greater moral temptation than 20 years ago  especially in regards to pornography. Pornography is an epidemic that  extinguishes the capacity of persons to give of themselves  selflessly.   Therefore, many are incapable of being in relationship  with others; they are incapable of love, and they are incredibly lonely and  lost. 

Q. How would  you characterize the formation of young Catholics these days – as opposed to 20  years ago? Any reason for hope?

The youth of our times are much more formed by social media than the youth of 20 years ago. There has been poor catechesis for a long time. I think this is changing and this will make a difference for the youth of today. Twenty years ago the youth were formed by the culture of MTV,  movies, television, and other distractions. This, coupled with poor faith formation, has led to a crisis of faith and moral decay. The youth of today with internet available 24/7 on their phones have far greater moral temptation than 20 years ago especially in regards to pornography. Pornography is an epidemic that extinguishes the capacity of persons to give of themselves selflessly. Therefore, many are incapable of being in relationship with others; they are incapable of love, and they are incredibly lonely and lost.

Despite our culture that is far from Christian, there is hope. The youth of our times know what emptiness is and they long for love, meaning, purpose, and truth. There are many who are proclaiming truth to the youth and they are embracing it. The harvest is plenty and we need to continually pray for more laborers. Every Christian is called to be a witness and to labor for souls. The world needs Christians who are in love with Jesus and who are willing to lay down their lives for their neighbors. We need to be constantly in tune with the Holy Spirit, so we will know how to love in every circumstance and give witness to the Truth. The Truth will attract the youth of our times and will form them in Love.  

Q. Mother, how can young women with an interest in your community learn more?

A good first step might be to read about how other sisters found their way to us and of course, Sister Della Marie, our vocations director is always available to speak with! 

You can make a tax deductible donation to the sisters here

It is at the foot of the cross that we fully experience the love and mercy of our God flowing from the pierced Heart of Christ and find the strength to give ourselves totally to Him and His people in love.

 

The Fast-Growing Friars

The Eastern Province of the Dominicans

 

Q. Rumor has it that there are many new candidates joining the Eastern Province of the Dominicans. Is this true?

Our province covers the Northeastern part of the USA, as far South as Virginia, and as far West as Kentucky and Ohio. We have had a steady stream of novices from this region in recent years (see chart). In 2013, we had 18 men enter as novices.

 

A ‘novice’ is in the initial stage of entering religious life, lasting one year. After his first, simple vows, he becomes a student brother . Only after the friar has professed solemn vows (that is: “usque ad mortem” – until death), is he ordained a deacon and then a year later, a priest. Our formation is 7 years counting the novitiate year, and that is only after the man comes with a 4 year degree (which he would  have before he comes to us, unless he wishes to be a cooperator brother it would be shortened). A number of men come also with graduate or advanced degrees and have had significant work experience.

I would add that in 2009, our province added a significant extension to the Dominican House of Studies since we needed more room; this was being done even as other religious communities are closing/relocating and selling their houses around the vicinity of the Catholic University of America. 

 

in 2009, our province added a significant extension to the Dominican House of Studies since we needed more room; this was being done even as other religious communities are closing/relocating and selling their houses around the vicinity of the Catholic University of America.

Q. Could you sum up the key elements of the order’s strategy and the appeal to candidates?

Well, we don’t have much of a strategy. We generally try to be faithful to our charism and way of life; I think we do a relatively good job of it – but all of us are “a work in progress.” I think that despite our limitations, the Lord is sending us intelligent men to preach the Gospel in the way of St. Dominic.

Even back when I entered in in 1992 we were doing well with vocations. I was one of 8 men who entered our province.  Four of us persevered and were ordained to the priesthood. We also have a strong formation program for our student friars in our novitiate house and our House of Studies in Washington, DC. This formation includes intellectual, pastoral and spiritual elements that are part of traditional religious formation given by the Church and other elements that are unique to the Order of Preachers.  Our formation is guided by our Dominican constitutions.

I think the draw for men to the Dominicans is pretty simple.  Dominicans have a strong intellectual tradition, with the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas (our “all-star”) and men know they will need this strong, systematic approach to understand the world and the human person in order to preach the Gospel effectively today.

I think the draw for men to the Dominicans is pretty simple.  Dominicans have a strong intellectual tradition, with the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas (our “all-star”) and men know they will need this strong, systematic approach to understand the world and the human person in order to preach the Gospel effectively today.

As one of our friars noted a few years back, it seems that many young men who come to us have had the experience of arriving to the edge of an abyss in our culture with which there is no compromise if they are to follow Christ.  This is not to say they are running from the culture, but it seems it has radicalized them before they come to us.  If they are going to follow Christ in today’s environment something more rigorous is needed – something like a living tradition of 800 years of a life founded by St. Dominic that has produced many saints.  Anyone who reads the history of the Church knows Dominicans have played significant roles both intellectual and evangelical.  We are made to evangelize and to engage the culture – we do this as a community of friars (brothers).

 
Many young men who come to us have had the experience of arriving to the edge of an abyss in our culture with which there is no compromise if they are to follow Christ.  This is not to say they are running from the culture, but it seems it has radicalized them before they come to us.  If they are going to follow Christ in today’s environment something more rigorous is needed – something like a living tradition of 800 years of a life founded by St. Dominic that has produced many saints.

This corporate witness that goes out to the world, is attractive for young men today. When they see us trying to follow Christ in the way envisioned by St. Dominic, they want to be a part of it. It seems that a number of men are coming to visit us because they have heard we are having a “vocations boom” and they want to see what is happening. We do have a certain momentum going. If a young man thinking of a vocation comes to visit us, well it is impressive to see the sea of white in our chapel when our 85 friars gather for prayer four times a day at the Dominican House of Studies. Most young men who come to us very much want to be faithful to the Church and they are looking for a religious community that is “with” the Church – and not working against the Church.

 If a young man thinking of a vocation comes to visit us, well it is impressive to see the sea of white in our chapel when our 80+ friars gather for prayer four times a day at the Dominican House of Studies.

I think the media brutalizes the Church today. But the Dominicans live something that goes beyond the whim of the day or the politically correct agenda of Hollywood. The guys who come to us know this and they are ready to be counter-cultural to follow Christ. The men who come to us are not about to forego the good of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel only to join a community of men who subscribe to a version of Catholicism that fails to bear witness. The men who come to us today also know we are  entering into what might be called a cultural battle. I have no doubt the Dominicans will be on the forefront of that battle in presenting the Truth in a convincing way.  Our medieval dialectic way of engaging people and the ways that we preach, manage to take other perspectives into consideration and constantly search for the Truth who ultimately is Christ – this is attractive today to just about everyone.

The men who come to us are not about to forego the good of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel only to join a community of men who subscribe to a version of Catholicism that fails to bear witness. The men who come to us today also know we are  entering into what might be called a cultural battle. I have no doubt the Dominicans will be on the forefront of that battle in presenting the Truth in a convincing way.

When a young man comes to the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, he meets normal guys, who are pious, masculine, and faithful to the Church who are happy and ready to follow Christ, no matter the cost. I think it is true that young men take a look at us not only because of our intellectual approach, but also our orthodoxy or fidelity to the teachings of Jesus Christ found within the Church.  This is not a strategy though, it simply is who we are – Dominicans have a long tradition in helping people see the Truth of Jesus Christ.

If we have a strategy, it certainly includes the new media. We have various projects in which our friars are engaged: on-line video (Kindly Light Media) now changed to Blackfriar films), radio, websites, blogs, use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) just to get the word out of what our friars are doing.  We just started a new website that carries many stories of what is happening in our province: OPEast.org

And of course, our friars are doing the typical things Dominicans do as well: writing books (Philosophy and Theology), writing articles for scholarly journals, speaking and most importantly, PREACHING! Some are even involved in the sciences, like our friars that teach at Providence College. Most of our friars are not about to broadcast all the good they do each day – so this makes my job difficult.

 
When a young man comes to the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, he meets normal guys who are pious, masculine, and faithful to the Church– and who are happy and ready to follow Christ, no matter the cost.

Q. What is the demographic description of new candidates — what is the age range, occupations, etc.

Here you will see our current novices and their bios and ages.  The ages of the men are right out of college (22) all the way up to their early 30’s.

Q. What is the turnover — what percentage of people leave the order after joining?

In years past our attrition rate for those going all the way to solemn vows or priesthood was about 50% which is actually pretty good for men’s religious orders in the US.  What is notable now though, is that we have more men entering and we have lower attrition – in other words, more men are staying.  Why is that? Well, I think our screening process is perhaps more rigorous and careful. The majority of young men who enter our way of life are flourishing.

Right now our Province has 70 men in formation for the priesthood and cooperator brotherhood.

The majority of young men who enter our way of life are flourishing. Right now our Province has 70 men in formation for the priesthood and cooperator brotherhood.

Q.Dominicans talk about the importance of a clear identity and vibrant community to attract new candidates — such as the wearing of habits. Could you address that issue? Does it make a difference in recruitment?

I would say we don’t talk about the “wearing of habits” very often.  We, in fact, do wear the habit and it serves what we call the “common life” showing forth our brotherhood and the poverty we attempt to live in following Christ. But again, there is no grand “plan” to wear the habit and get vocations. We perhaps do wear the habit more than other men’s religious communities, but I am not sure about that.  For example if I am traveling to preach somewhere in the car I will wear it – even en route. But it is not rocket science, if we did not wear the habit, no one would know we are Dominicans, unless we had a conversation with them.  Occasionally our friars will also wear the clerical collar.

There is a desire among the young to recover a sense of the sacredness of liturgy and to give a public witness to their faith. This is a response in part to what they perceive as a kind of watering down of the splendors of the Catholic tradition in recent decades. So the visibility of the habit matters to them, and the integrity of life it is meant to suggest (no “time off from the vocation”).  As I said, it is a sign of poverty and a kind of visible witness to the importance of the religious liturgical element of culture to which our current age seems largely oblivious.

The habit is part of our common life and the wearing of it unifies us and does give us an identity to the world. We have a saying, “the habit does not make the monk.” And this is true, the witness of religious consecration to Christ must not simply be expressed in what we wear, but what is internal as well. I think for all of us, the habit simply says we are a work in progress.  “The habit does not make the monk” but it sure helps!

 
There is a desire among the young to recover a sense of the sacredness of liturgy and to give a public witness to their faith. This is a response in part to what they perceive as a kind of watering down of the splendors of the Catholic tradition in recent decades. So the visibility of the habit matters to them.

Q. Do economic hard times give candidates more space to think about joining the friars? In boom times would they not even consider such a choice?

People have asked me about this before. There might be some connection to the economy. I believe though something as serious as a vocation to the Dominicans might be distracted by the economy, but ultimately a man is not going to forego the good of wife and family simply because of the economy. That decision will most certainly come with a divine calling and a desire to follow Christ more radically in our world.

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FROM THE FRIARS OF THE EASTERN PROVINCE: The world is in desperate need of a Word that opens our eyes, and gives faith, hope, and charity.  It needs the Word Himself, Jesus Christ.  It also needs preachers who will proclaim the Word fully, faithfully, and effectively. God has blessed us with many vocations already, and many more are on the way! Thank you for your incredible generosity, and may the Lord bless you and your family abundantly.

PHOTO CREDIT: www.DominicanFriars.org

The Brothers

An American Renaissance

Beyond their individual histories and charisms, all of these growing men’s Orders in America have some common elements. They wear habits. They follow their Rule strictly. And they are orthodox in their views, quite loyal to the Magisterium.

 

Ten years ago, no one would have believed what we are witnessing today.

Back in 2002-2003, horrendous headlines blared across America and Catholics cringed. 

After wave upon wave of sex scandals cut a debilitating swath through the ranks of our priests and brothers, the US Catholic Church made more then $3.4 billion in payments to a few law firms. Most allegations were never proven, as most cases never came to trial.

Pundits predicted the imminent demise of the Church. Not many Catholics dared to disagree. No one, it seemed, would want to associate themselves with such perfidy.

A Surprising Trend

 

But the Barque of Peter is ever-buoyant. It may come as a surprise to the nay-sayers and the secular media, but the traditional male Catholic religious Orders in America are experiencing a renaissance. 

This is occurring regardless of the Form of the Mass celebrated by the Order. From the Benedictines at Clear Creek, Oklahoma who celebrate the Extraordinary Form to the Dominicans of the Eastern Province who celebrate a reverent Novus Ordo Mass, American young men are stepping forward to take vows in Religious Orders.

Some Common Elements

 

Beyond their individual histories and charisms, all of these growing Orders in America have some common elements.

They wear habits. They follow their Rule strictly.

And they are orthodox in their views, quite loyal to the Magisterium.

The Interviews

In this issue, Regina Magazine features a wide-ranging interview with American Dominicans. We also are privileged to have an intimate conversation with a brand-new novice entering The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest at their Oratory in South Saint Louis.

Stay tuned, though as Regina Magazine continues to cover this astonishing turnaround in future issues!