According to Amazon and other sources, many Schoenstatt books are out of print.

Well, actually, they aren’t. They are very much in print and available quite inexpensively.

Schoenstatt has not gone with the ISBN system, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

However, it makes the books fairly “invisible.”

You can order books like Mary Our Mother and Educator, Everyday Sanctity, God My Father, Marian Instrument Piety, The Marian Person, With Mary into the New Millennium, etc. from the Schoenstatt Sisters in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Click here to order books.

So, the mean Vatican is opposed to the religious sisters of the US! Isn’t this awful.

Well, that’s what a Time Magazine opinion article explains. But is this the whole story? Nope. This situation has been around a while now, and attempts to give a particular spin continue, but not all religious sisters are on the same page.

Or even planet, it seems. Universe?

I don’t think I need to go over the differences between the CMSWR and the LCWR and all that. I did in a previous post that has picked up some “hits” lately, probably due in part to the Time article.

Consider the Institute on Religious Life. This site is the antithesis of the Time article. Just look, and everything about it is the opposite of what the article says. Truly, this is a different universe. Take a look at the upcoming women’s retreats. No angst over Vatican investigations here. No Vatican investigations, in fact. These are CMSWR communities. Totally out of touch with the “times,” (and Time Magazine for that matter) but growing in real time (with a particular focus on eternity).

Carl Olson gave a response to the Time article, but really, all this digital ink doesn’t make a difference in particular communities. The battle lines were drawn long ago. The demographics continue to unfold (or unravel), and the reality, while being raged against on one side, is simply a matter of time.

Nancy Schreck, OSF, really did say something of the cold, harsh reality in many LCWR communities in her keynote address at the 2014 LCWR Assembly: “As a leader I believe that ‘God is doing something new,’ but what fills my days are: funerals, data on declining demographics, leadership team decisions to discontinue a precious ministry of the Congregation, worry about our sisters in Liberia and in North India, selling property, taking down buildings in trying to right size property and holdings. I believe that ‘God is doing something new,’ but when being called to address the congregation at Chapter I wonder what to say that can provide hope and encouragement.”

The encouragement is over at the Institute for Religious Life site with lots of young smiling faces, but it is a stinging rebuke to LCWR leaders. They never intended to die out, but based on the results, you would think that was the goal.

Certain prophets could see it coming a mile away. And among them is the famous Fr. Thomas Dubay, who said years ago “For religious, in their apostolates, giving a saintly example has a profound external impact. The best thing you religious can do for your community is to live a life of holiness. This is the problem with the lack of vocations. It is the elephant in our parlor, the problem we can’t address, but which is obviously there. We don’t discuss the main problems we have in our communities. Our communities are struggling and are not drawing new vocations, but we don’t discuss why!”

I think there are holy sisters in LCWR communities–sisters that have been completely ignored. They knew what to do and had the answers, but holiness (which includes piety) was seen as old fashioned. Activism–that was the most important thing. As the Time article points out, you don’t need to be a religious sister to be an activist. It was true 50 years ago, and it is definitely true today.

Purchase info: buy here.

This little book is worth its weight in gold. As a Marian of the Immaculate Conception (which is not related to the Schoenstatt movement, but we can certainly appreciate it), I am just blown away by the profound insights of Fr. Joseph Kentenich.

The book consists in conferences from 1924 and two sermons from 1965. They work together quite well. The key to this book is the definition Fr. Kentenich gives of the “Marian person:”

The Marian person is the person who understands as deeply as possible, in the spirit and light of faith, Mary’s role in the work of redemption, and allows her to permanently impact his practical life even to the last consequence, so as to become a holy apostle (pg. 21).

Anyone devoted to the Blessed Virgin should read this little book.

Purchase info: buy here.

I’ve just discovered the writings of Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt movement. Wow. He has some incredible insights. And, his Mariology is quite practical, focusing on Our Lady’s intercession today, here and now, with us, including the idea of her educating us.

This book is quite helpful, since it gives an overview of how Fr. Kentenich sees Mary working in our lives:

As a side note… Fr. Kentenich also has some profound thoughts on humility, including the humility of Our Lady in a short book called He Exalts the Lowly.

A meditation for Holy Saturday…
From Volume II of the book by Rev. Henry Coleridge. London: Burns and Oates, 1876.

Still there was no provision made for the solemn entombment of our Lord. The disciples were still scattered and in hiding. St. John alone was there, with our Blessed Lady, St. Mary Magdalene, and some others of the holy women. They had no influence to obtain the sacred Body, no strength or means for taking it down from the Cross. But now the power of the Cross, which had worked so wonderfully in the conversion of the penitent thief, began to show itself among the very classes which had been prominent in the plots against our Lord. Joseph of Arimathea, a man of noble birth and high position, who had taken no part in the condemnation of our Lord, though he had kept his faith in Him hidden for fear of excommunication, went courageously to Pilate and asked for the Body of our Lord. Pilate ascertained from the centurion that He was already dead, and then gave Joseph full leave. Another hidden disciple, Nicodemus, came forward with a large quantity of myrrh and aloes for the embalming. The sacred Body was reverently lowered from the Cross and
carefully washed. It rested first in the arms of His Blessed Mother, and then was wrapped in a long clean linen sheet with the aromatic herbs. This was not a regular embalmment, for which there was no time, but it was as much as could be done then, and our Lord had already said that [Mary of Bethany] had anointed His Body for His burial. Joseph had a small garden close at hand, in which he had made a new sepulchre for himself. No one had yet lain in it. It was an excavation in the rock, with a slab inside, on which the sacred Body was now laid. Joseph with the others rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the sepulchre, and then, as the sun was setting and the Sabbath beginning, he went home with the rest. The women lingered the last. Our Blessed Lady was conducted by St. John to the house of the Cenacle, which became, as it seems, the first home of the Church. Some of the other women went into the city and prepared some aromatic spices and unguents before the Sabbath began. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph sat down over against the sepulchre and watched it as night fell. They came back again on the following evening, after the Sabbath was over, and saw that all was as it had been left. But in the meanwhile, the priests, who were still full of alarm, begged of Pilate that a guard might be stationed around the spot until the third day came. They had heard of our Lord s prophecy that He would rise again the third day, and so, by the Providence of God, they set to work to secure the truth of the fulfillment of that prophecy against all possible cavil, thinking at the time that they were only preventing the possibility of the Body being removed by His disciples.

My commentary: When Jesus dies, there is no definite place to put the body. Just as there is no definite place that He will be born, there is no definite place that He will be buried, but Providence is at work in each case, and in each cave. He was born in a cave He “did not own” and was buried in a cave He “did not own,” although He really owned the whole universe.

This station, heard in the Pittsburgh area, is also available to listen to online. It has a unique approach to radio, particularly because it uses “dead air” as meditation time.

A number of priests (including yours truly) do hours of Scripture meditation, which are generally broadcast live at 8 PM and then repeated overnight and sometimes at other times during the day. Each hour generally consists of 4 scripture passages (usually a chapter each) and then some meditations after each one. The brief meditations then leave a minute of silence for the person listening to pray and meditate. These minutes of silence would be seen as terrible blunders at practically all radio stations, but not WAOB. I don’t know any other station that would attempt this. Sometimes the meditations are done by yours truly on Tuesday nights.

Also, there are half hour broadcasts of readings from various Doctors of the Church, with some brief meditations on the writings. I can be heard sometimes reading from the writings of St. Lawrence of Brindisi on Wednesdays at 1 PM Eastern.

Some folks at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN, came up with the idea of National Catholic Sisters Week. It’s this week. They had some sort of event to celebrate over the weekend. It was strictly LCWR. There’s been no mention on the CMSWR side of such a week or any events.

In honor of this, I thought I would put down some current stats concerning Facebook pages related to Catholic Sisters.

First, Imagine Sisters, which is essentially a CMSWR vocation/information site/Facebook page is, as I am writing this, at 19,999. Any second it will be over the 20,000 mark. ***Update on 3/27/2014: 21,154 up by 1,155

Concerning a few CMSWR communities, let’s look at their Facebook stats:
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist: 27,163 (update 4/20/14: 38,476)
Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R. of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother: 9,768 (update 4/20/14: 13,698)
Salesian Sisters – Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: 4,570 (update 4/20/14: 4,646)
Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis: 1,600 (update 4/20/14: 1,674)
Nashville Dominicans: 1,388 (update 4/20/14: 1,581)
Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ: 698 (update 4/20/14: 738)

Now, the LCWR has a Facebook page. It has 4,426 likes. ***Update on 3/27/2014: 4,444 likes up by 18. This type of growth could be called “less than substantial.”
A Nun’s Life (Podcasting, including visits to various LCWR convents): 4,132 likes.
Adrian Dominican Sisters: 1,415
Many communities have likes of less than 1,000.

But… the LCWR has the media giants on their side. Why aren’t they more popular?

Well, if you look further into the events of National Catholic Sisters Week, there was a showing of a movie called Radical Grace. In it, the Vatican Hierarchy is the enemy. They use clips from the media giants which portray the sisters as victims. This helps their point, of course.

The CMSWR sisters don’t consider the Vatican to be the enemy.

But, I think that since the term “National Catholic Sisters Week” is neutral, it really helps the CMSWR communities, even though they aren’t promoting it at all.

Here’s a list of some of these available.

Alice Sherwin: An Historical Tale in the Days of St. Thomas More by C.J.M.

Rosemary, or Life and Death by Dr. Huntington

Blind Agnese, or, The little spouse of the Blessed Sacrament by Cecilia M. Caddell

The Pearl of Antioch: A Picture of the East at the End of the Fourth Century by Marc Antoine Bayle

Also, The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia, a drama

St. Agnes has been the subject of great sermons and poetry down through the ages (not to mention a major character in Cardinal Wiseman’s novel Fabiola). An excellent book about here is available online: Life of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr by Aloysius Smith.

Here is a little from the introduction:

SAINT AGNESE FUORI LE MURA was in a ferment of excitement on the afternoon of Monday, November 25, 1901. News had reached the abbey that an important discovery might be made at any moment in the adjoining basilica. For many years the inmates of St. Agnes’s Abbey had desired to ascertain the exact spot where the relics of their beloved patroness had been deposited. But two revolutions, the French and the Italian, had utterly ruined the religious, and put
it out of their power to undertake the necessary excavations.

Catholic Germany came to the aid of the Koman Canons Regular. Cardinal Kopp, Prince-Bishop of Breslau, was created in 1893 a cardinal priest of the title of St. Agnes on the Nomentan Way. From the day when his Eminence took possession of his titular Church he graciously evinced a friendly and lively interest in the Order to which its clergy belong. Thanks to the Cardinal s generosity, the Canons were enabled to gratify their pious curiosity in respect to the Roman martyr’s resting-place.

Excavations were begun in October, 1901. The sanctuary of the ancient and beautiful basilica was selected for the field of operations, which were super intended by Monsignor Wilpert and Dom Augustus Bacci, C.R.L. The pavement behind the high altar covering, what is known as the retro sanctos, or vicinity of the saints, was broken through, and a long and careful search was made, with interesting results. At a depth of nearly 5 feet a gallery was discovered running parallel with the altar, containing arcosolia
and intact graves of Christians who had been buried as close as possible to the virgin martyr’s remains. Coins were found of the fourth and fifth centuries, and inscriptions of a great historical and archaeological value were brought to light.

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The story of St. Agnes in the book Fabiola takes many liberties, but still ends with her martyrdom and internment in the catacombs that now bear her name. While there have been at least 3 movies made based on the book, only one contains the martyrdom of St. Agnes (as described in the book) and the internment in the catacombs: the first one from 1918 (scenes at the end of the movie).

Can it be that this blog is now over 10 years old? Yes… but how could this be?

Ten years ago I was a brother in the Marians and student at the Dominican House of Studies blogging about the soon to-be-released movie The Passion of the Christ. There was a lot of controversy surrounding it even before it was released in theaters.

But, that’s already 10 years ago…

As an unusual aside (and total non sequitur), 70 years ago today, a radio program starring Groucho Marx called “Pabst Blue Ribbon Town” did a skit about what life might be like 100 years in the future (in other words, 2044). You can listen to said episode here: Groucho Marx on Pabst Blue Ribbon Town.

It’s hard to not want to promote this group. They are doing some incredible work. Yes, to give one decent meal to over 700,000 children a day–children that would otherwise struggle to get that meal, that often suffer from hunger–is quite an accomplishment. It’s a very simple program, yet it makes a huge impact. A number of videos explaining it are online. Here’s a 6 minute introductory video:

Mary’s Meals USA – The Difference A Meal Makes from Mary's Meals on Vimeo.

Here’s an interview on “The Choices We Face” with the founder. This gives lots of information.

Mary’s Meals – Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow from Renewal Ministries on Vimeo.

Here’s the complete movie done by Grassroots Films called “Child 31.” It’s quite powerful, although not as informative as the interview, so I recommend watching the interview first.

Finally, here’s the US website for Mary’s Meals: Mary’s Meals USA.

P.S. If you need some encouragement to learn more about this, perhaps a message from Celine Dion will help:

The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide was released in English as a series of books in the 19th century. He was a Flemish Jesuit who lived in from 1567 to 1637. These commentaries can be quite helpful with various passages, keeping in mind there may be some aspects to them that don’t work so well in the 21st century. The commentaries refer to Church Fathers often. I have included links to the commentaries on the Gospels here.

Matthew 1-9
Matthew 10-21
Matthew 22-28, Mark
Luke
John 1-11
John 12-21