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Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns #343083 02/09/10 09:21 AM
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Otsheylnik Offline OP
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http://www.aliciapatterson.org/APF1904/Reed/Reed.html

Stumbled across this. It is rare to find the problems of modern day religious life, especially in an eastern rite context, discussed so candidly and insightfully.

Yes, people can and no doubt will quibble about nun's not wearing habits etc.

But for me the important message is when the Church (especially eastern) gets compassionate coverage, why does it take so long for me to find it, as against all the negative coverage?

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Otsheylnik] #343104 02/09/10 05:36 PM
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Fr David Straut Offline
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What I really don't understand is this: If Greek Catholics are simply Orthodox Christians in communion with the Pope, why would monastic life among Ukrainian Greek Catholics be so radically different from Orthodox Monasticism? These Sisters of Saint Basil look like Roman Rite Sisters right after Vatican II with the modified habits. They certainly seem to have much more in common with western religious than Orthodox monastics. Are there Greek Catholic sisters anywhere that look like real nuns?

Fr David Straut

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Fr David Straut] #343109 02/09/10 06:55 PM
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Herbigny Offline
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Touche!

Father Bless!

Yes, both you and Otsheylnik are quite right. They are not "Orthodox in Communion with Rome", nor apparently want to be. (I guess they're no fans of Archmandrite Robert Taft SJ. Pity...)

Unfortunately, from what I have seen, monasticism in Eastern Catholic Churches is one of the bastions of Latinization in the Eastern Churches - at least when we're talking about the old style so called "Religious Orders".

Thanks be to God there are wonderful (and growing) exceptions - like the monastic communities commonly referred to as the "Studites" (both men & women's monasteries) (cf. the stavropegial monastery at Univ, Ukraine and its foundations. Lots of klobuks and mantiyas there.) Cf. also the monasteries from Kolodivka, Ukraine.

Here in the new world, there is of course the very byzantine monastery of the Holy Resurrection in California and the women's monastery of the Holy Theophany in Washington state. Likewise monastic dress and life-style. These latter are new foundations.

Elsewhere, less so. much less so.

It is frustrating that when the monastic communities of the Byzantine Catholic Churches embarked upon the renewal of Vatican II, instead of actually reading the Document of the Council and following it (Orientalium Eccl.), they just seemed to have (once again) blindly imitated what the Latins did. When they quite rightly put off their pre-Vatican II Latinized habits, instead of dressing like real Byzantine monastics a la the Orthodox tradition that they are mandated to follow, they just (once again) slavishly copied the Latins.

Vatican II seemed not to have made much inroads in many Catholic monastic institutions of the Byzantine usage....alas.


Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Fr David Straut] #343110 02/09/10 06:56 PM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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Yes, there Greek-Catholic nuns who look credible and act accordingly - the Studites, mostly in Ukraine.

There is also a nice group of Russian Greek-Catholic nuns on Via della Pisana in Rome (in the phone book under Monastero Russo).

The "active" communities are best avoided.

Fr. Serge

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #343146 02/10/10 09:16 AM
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Irish Melkite Offline
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While I agree completely that latinization has taken a terrible toll on the Eastern concept of monasticism, I think we do a disservice if we fail to recognize that these religious fulfilled vital roles in education, caring for the orphaned, etc. We can and should pray for a return to more traditional Eastern monasticism but, in Christian charity, we owe respect and gratitude to the sisters for all they have accomplished in the decades past.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Irish Melkite] #343147 02/10/10 09:58 AM
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I'm a little disappointed that, as I somewhat feared, the bulk of posts turned into recriminations about Vatican II etc.

As Herbigny remarks accurately, I have little truck with the ecclesiology of the eastern churches post vatican II personally; I think that it is full of a whole bunch more problems and intricacies and fence-sitting than the old "Uniatism" ever was.

I do acknowledge though that Eastern Catholic sisterhoods are part of the wider Roman Church, and as a part of it, they have not been exempt from the post Vatican II changes and it seems to me that these sisters have made efforts to be a real part of that church and should at least be respected for the fact they are trying to remain part of that church and contribute to its life by renewing their order, unlike so many other orders of women who are closing up shop.

I have however learnt my lesson, and will never again post a pro-Catholic nun article on a Catholic forum thinking it might hearten some people. What I should have done is posted an anti-habitless nun article from whispers in the curia and everyone would have been happy.

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Otsheylnik] #343159 02/10/10 03:04 PM
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PeterPeter Offline
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What do you think about Chevetogne? Is it the most Orthodox-like monastery in communion with Rome?

http://www.monasterechevetogne.com/

Last edited by PeterPeter; 02/10/10 03:22 PM.
Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: PeterPeter] #343162 02/10/10 04:02 PM
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The young fogey Offline
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Interesting vintage website (takes me back 15 years when I sneaked into the basement of a college engineering building to surf) but more important, unsurprisingly with others here I see much of what's wrong with the modern Greek Catholic experience at least among the dwindling priests and nuns. The upstate parishes (old-school latinised; nice folks) and the few convert-driven ones of what I call high churchmen (liturgy by Orthodoxy, doctrine by the magisterium, respectable whether or not you agree with it and what Rome has always told the Greek Catholics to be) and their 'Orthodox in communion with Rome' cousins (dropping the magisterium but still nominally under Rome for whatever reason; orthodox but on their own terms not Rome's or Orthodoxy's) are less infected by this but as my priest said once of these Jenkintown nuns, 'they don't want to be Eastern'. Same mentality and same problems as the modern American Roman Rite: dying orders of old liberal nuns.

The Benedictines in Madison mentioned in this old article took this further: yes, they have Protestant women join. How they did this is the few surviving nuns formed a corporation so they could keep the property and then left the Catholic Church, which their website isn't clear about but it's true. I think a vagante priest is their chaplain, possibly co-chaplain with an Episcopal priest or some other Protestant minister.

It seems around here that the fall of Communism didn't give the Ukrainian Catholic Church the shot in the arm of immigration that a couple of the Russian Orthodox churches got (it saved St Andrew's Church in Philly which is now a thriving Russian church). The Ukrainian Catholic cathedral's rector is an imported married priest (not high-church let alone OicwR); AFAIK it's still declining.

Chevetogne is Roman Rite Benedictines who do the Byzantine Rite too. My guess is the most Orthodox-like (rarer than hen's teeth) Greek Catholic monastics are or at least include Holy Resurrection Monastery in the US.

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: The young fogey] #343176 02/10/10 09:32 PM
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Wow! Such negativism!

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Irish Melkite] #343207 02/11/10 04:09 AM
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sielos ilgesys Offline
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I thank God for the SSMIs and the OSBMs every day. Nothing's perfect in this world. Nobody ever said being Greek Catholic was going to be easy or politically correct. In fact it has had a history of tendencies toward martyrdom. Bl. Sr. Tarsykia Matskiv could tell all of us a LOT about that.

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: sielos ilgesys] #343215 02/11/10 06:13 AM
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I don't think BTW that it is correct to call moving away from the habit etc a latinization. It think if anything it is a vatican II'ism. And there are non-Catholic examples of such trends anyway.

The "lay sisters"/ "sisters of mercy" in ROCOR these days wear clothes very very similar to what many Catholic sisters in active orders wear. They were founded by Saint Elizabeth Grand Duchess of Russia and it would be a brave person to call them latinised.

Additionally the Copts have active orders of sisters who wear habits similar to Catholic nuns, and it is also remarked in the book "Contemporary Catholic nuns" that actually nuns in the Coptic east (even of the contemplative variety) were habitless until the nineteenth century - there was no such thing as a nun's habit, much like in the early Church. Saint Mary of Egypt didn't wear one (or indeed any clothes at all from what I recall of her hagiography).


WHile I am sure many will characterise her as a beacon of latinisation, it is worth remembering that Mother Catherine Abrikosova's lack of a habit and focus on good works rather than conventional monasticism did not prevent her being a martyr for her faith in Russia.

Pavloosh, I agree. Perhaps one reason for few vocations to religious life is that we prefer to bash it than build it up?

Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: The young fogey] #343225 02/11/10 08:31 AM
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Irish Melkite Offline
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Originally Posted by The young fogey
The Benedictines in Madison mentioned in this old article took this further: yes, they have Protestant women join. How they did this is the few surviving nuns formed a corporation so they could keep the property and then left the Catholic Church, which their website isn't clear about but it's true. I think a vagante priest is their chaplain, possibly co-chaplain with an Episcopal priest or some other Protestant minister.


Serge,

Let's keep it both factual and precise. I agree that the description of the community in question and its endeavors is strange; however, to state that they have 'left the Catholic Church' is a jump from anything definitive that I have been able to find. If you intended it to convey the fact that the women involved have sought release from canonical status and vows and that the 'monastery' is functioning as an entity that is not Church-sponsored, that is correct - but 'left the Catholic Church' suggests a personal and final separation of the individuals from Catholicism. While one could certainly question their relationship as individuals with the Church, it's not ours to proclaim them to no longer be Catholics.

Bishop Morlino, known for his orthodoxy, in his 2006 letter on the subject does not go that far, by any means, as cautionary as his words rightfully are:

Quote
Bishop's Letter
Sisters of St. Benedict dispensation

Dear Friends:

The Sisters of St. Benedict at the Benedictine Monastery have requested from the Holy See and subsequently been granted a dispensation from their vows as Religious Sisters of St. Benedict. They are currently engaged in building a non-canonical ecumenical community to be called "Benedictine Women of Madison," and have renamed their monastery "Holy Wisdom."

While this community fulfills our call for stronger efforts in ecumenical dialogue I must stress that this is an experimental community and will not necessarily be Roman Catholic in belief or practice.

To avoid the potential for confusion I have asked that Catholic Mass or a substantially similar liturgy no longer be celebrated at the St. Benedict Center. I have also requested that the Blessed Sacrament not be reserved on the property and that any tabernacles be removed. The Sisters have graciously agreed to my requests.

Such experimental endeavors can bear great fruit for the Church, such as the Monastery at Taize. But there are very few other success stories worldwide, and thus our prayers and good wishes are all the more important.

Participation in the activities at the Holy Wisdom Monastery would be suitable for Catholic adults with a clear understanding of the teachings of the Holy Father and the bishops with him, and a solid commitment to these teachings.

Participation in such activities would not be suitable for Catholic school religion classes, parish religious education classes for young people through the completion of high school, and surely not for catechumens and candidates in RCIA programs. Again, those being formed in the basics of the faith need the gift of that basic understanding lest the basics become confused in the complexity of this ecumenical setting.

The Sisters and I have committed to remain in conversation while they forge their way forward in this effort. I pray for the success of this endeavor and I ask all to pray with me for the unity of all Christians in the years ahead.

Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison


http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org/2006-07-20/bishop.html

I've not been able to find any subsequent, definitive statements by His Excellency on the matter.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Interesting article on Ukrainian sisters/ nuns [Re: Otsheylnik] #343229 02/11/10 02:35 PM
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sielos ilgesys Offline
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St. Mother Maria of Paris (Maria Skobstova) was an unconventional nun if ever there was was one; she wore a habit but aside from that, her brand of monasticism was most unusual.
And what a great and radiant light in darkness did she become. Thank God for people like her.
May we experience salvation through her intercessions.


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