Four New Bishops This Thursday?

That’s the rumor…

Pope Benedict’s Greeting to the United States

Interested in Returning to the Church?

This excellent web site will help you find the way back…and I think it will help you if your still considering “could I ever become a Catholic?” Catholics Come Home

Indianapolis Carmelites to Close Monastery

 They are perhaps best known in the post Vatican II church for producing an inclusive language Liturgy of the Hours, that was used by a number of women religious. But before then they were cloistered and the recipients a wealthy Lousiville’s family’s money whose daughter was the founding nun of this particular monastery. That led to the building of this very interesting monastery, of which you get a glimpse in the above picture. I visited them some years ago and prayed Vespers with them, they were miffed at a piece that Our Sunday Visitor had written against the inclusive version they had produced, but nice to me–something that would have been impossible if they were still cloistered. They were nice women–almost all from different communities that had closed after experimenting with similar reforms. Sadly, now another chapter closes on the failed reforms which led many to abandon the charisms that attracted them to their particular religious order in the first place. Brings to mind the Book of Revelation, “You have forgotten your first love.” From WTHR in Indianapolis:

The Carmelites of Indianapolis have called Indianapolis home for 75 years.  They’ve lived in a monastery on Cold Spring Road doing God’s work through prayer and contemplation.

The nine Catholic sisters, whose median age is in the mid-70s, are moving. This summer they’ll relocate to a building on the Franciscan sisters’ property in Oldenburg, Indiana.

Prioress Sister Jean Alice McGoff said of the decision, “It takes a lot to run a place like this. Even though we’ve been able to live a life of prayer, we felt it was better to make the transition when we could do it for ourselves, we have the energy and we’re well.”

Also key is the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ offer to buy their property for a seminary. The seminary will house men preparing for the priesthood at nearby Marian College.

Sister Jean Alice said,”The fact this building would continue to be a house of worship was important to us.  And we just felt it was a gift of God.”

She and the other sisters are no strangers to change. Until the early 60s, they were cloistered, living behind the thick stone walls of the monastery, which they themselves maintained.

“We were always faithful to our life of prayer, but we did a lot of work to save money,” Sister Jean Alice said. “I learned to push a wheelbarrow, dig up and cut down trees, transplant trees.  I learned to use all kinds of tools – hammers and saws.”

The sisters greeted visitors through a window with a thick screen, venturing out only for emergencies. That began to change in the mid-60s along with changes in the Catholic church.  The Carmelites gradually opened up, having face-to-face interactions with visitors. They also began watching TV and reading the newspaper.

While the sisters still lead simple, mostly private lives, they’re well read and, well connected thru their website, praythenews.org.

The sisters launched it as a way to introduce women to their way of life.

“Sometimes when you set out to do a goal, something else develops and that’s what happened,” Sister Jean Alice said.

While the website didn’t result in any new vocations, it did draw worldwide attention, which was a bit overwhelming for the publicity-shy sisters.

Sister Jean Alice laughed, recalling one of the media requests: “and now we were going to be on the Today Show and I just said, ‘Sisters, please don’t do this!'”

As they do every Sunday, the sisters invited friends and visitors to join them for Easter Mass, but this time there were special prayers for the sisters. Visiting priest Father Tom Widner noted their leaving and influence on the community.

“They’re just warm and affectionate and very considerate of people and loving. It’s a loss for the local church and Indianapolis,” he said.

Mary Ann Grogan, who’s known the sisters for years, talked about the monastery being “a quiet space…and we like to think we take some of their goodness into our busy world.”

Carolyn Fay agreed. “On a personal note, these sisters are my sisters and I’ll miss them very much. They’ve introduced me to so many ways of looking at spirituality and finding God in each other.”

Asked what message she wanted to share, Sister Jean Alice said, “There’s a reverence in me and I think all the sisters, for every human being no matter who they are, we are all God-bearers.”

She said while the sisters would take down their web site after moving, they would continue to do God’s work, just from a different house of prayer.

Message to the United States

From Pope Benedict XVI:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the United States of America,

The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you! In just a few days from now, I shall begin my apostolic visit to your beloved country. Before setting off, I would like to offer you a heartfelt greeting and an invitation to prayer. As you know, I shall only be able to visit two cities: Washington and New York. The intention behind my visit, though, is to reach out spiritually to all Catholics in the United States. At the same time, I earnestly hope that my presence among you will be seen as a fraternal gesture towards every ecclesial community, and a sign of friendship for members of other religious traditions and all men and women of good will. The risen Lord entrusted the Apostles and the Church with his Gospel of love and peace, and his intention in doing so was that the message should be passed on to all peoples.

At this point I should like to add some words of thanks, because I am conscious that many people have been working hard for a long time, both in Church circles and in the public services, to prepare for my journey. I am especially grateful to all who have been praying for the success of the visit, since prayer is the most important element of all. Dear friends, I say this because I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without that intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavours would achieve very little. Indeed this is what our faith teaches us. It is God who saves us, he saves the world, and all of history. He is the Shepherd of his people. I am coming, sent by Jesus Christ, to bring you his word of life.

Together with your Bishops, I have chosen as the theme of my journey three simple but essential words: “Christ our hope”. Following in the footsteps of my venerable predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II, I shall come to United States of America as Pope for the first time, to proclaim this great truth: Jesus Christ is hope for men and women of every language, race, culture and social condition. Yes, Christ is the face of God present among us. Through him, our lives reach fullness, and together, both as individuals and peoples, we can become a family united by fraternal love, according to the eternal plan of God the Father. I know how deeply rooted this Gospel message is in your country. I am coming to share it with you, in a series of celebrations and gatherings. I shall also bring the message of Christian hope to the great Assembly of the United Nations, to the representatives of all the peoples of the world. Indeed, the world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom, but this hope can never be fulfilled without obedience to the law of God, which Christ brought to fulfilment in the commandment to love one another. Do to others as you would have them do to you, and avoid doing what you would not want them to do. This “golden rule” is given in the Bible, but it is valid for all people, including non-believers. It is the law written on the human heart; on this we can all agree, so that when we come to address other matters we can do so in a positive and constructive manner for the entire human community.

Dirijo un cordial saludo a los católicos de lengua española y les manifiesto mi cercanía espiritual, en particular a los jóvenes, a los enfermos, a los ancianos y a los que pasan por dificultades o se sienten más necesitados. Les expreso mi vivo deseo de poder estar pronto con Ustedes en esa querida Nación. Mientras tanto, les aliento a orar intensamente por los frutos pastorales de mi inminente Viaje Apostólico y a mantener en alto la llama de la esperanza en Cristo Resucitado.

Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends in the United States, I am very much looking forward to being with you. I want you to know that, even if my itinerary is short, with just a few engagements, my heart is close to all of you, especially to the sick, the weak, and the lonely. I thank you once again for your prayerful support of my mission. I reach out to every one of you with affection, and I invoke upon you the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Que la Virgen María les acompañe y proteja. Que Dios les bendiga.

May God bless you all.

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