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Dsmme's Vs. Nashville Dominicans


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#41 DiscerningCatholic Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:12 PM

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Ah, yes. I knew that it was co-founded by one of the two; I couldn't remember which.

#42 TryingtobeaSaint Posted 17 September 2014 - 11:55 PM

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As a pro-life pro-family Catholic I have concerns about how some women's religious orders severely restrict contact with family. I know this will evoke a  lot of emotional response but the ongoing control and isolation from family and restrictions are not pro-family and if it were not the Catholic Church we were talking about we would call it cult like. Priest, at least Diocesan , do not have the same sort of restrictions. Also disturbing to me in my limited experience (cant' speak to all ) the vocation discernment retreats were more recruiting than discernment. No tough questions. 



#43 Lily May Gath Posted 18 September 2014 - 01:49 AM

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To be clear, both follow the same pattern; 4 family visits per year including profession days.

Fortnightly letters are sent and a home visit at end of Postulancy and at end of novitiate at the end of year 4.

If the family are unable to visit at visiting weekends, a 30 minute phonecall is made.

There are annual home visits after leaving the Novitiate.

Letters during Advent and Lent are saved until Christmas and Easter.

Letters until finally professed are read by novice mistress/superior according to the Rule and Constitution and the Directory.

There is little or no access to internet or e-mail during the first years, particularly during the canonical novitiate.

The purpose of this is to root the new sister in the new religious family, to help them live in the present, and to help then with the transition to religious life.

 

The vocation retreats and discernment are handled very differently by the two communities...



#44 TheresaThoma Posted 18 September 2014 - 09:24 AM

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TryingtobeaSaint. Think about it in terms of marriage. If your daughter were to get married you would obviously expect that her communication with her parents and siblings would change.I think you would agree that it would be unhealthy in the couple's relationship for them to constantly be confiding in their parents instead of in their spouse. In any change in life the level of communication changes. 

I have experienced this outside of religious life. When I went away to college I communicated much less with my parents. Partially because I was not living with them anymore but also because I had found a new community of friends. I would still call home periodically and I obviously went home for vacations. I also experienced this change in communication when I did a long term volunteer project (I was there for 8 months). I had basically unlimited internet access and my cell phone but my levels of communication still dropped. This was because I was concentrating on adjusting and adapting to the new community I was becoming a part of. I needed to be present to that community and I found sometimes that if I was calling home more often I would find myself withdrawing from the community. Putting limits on communication can help with clarity in discernment and adjustment.

 

As far as the discernment retreat experience I have not been on one with either community. However in my own discernment I found that the "tough questions" are ones that are dealt with in private AFTER the retreat. At the retreats they are working with a broad audience. I noticed this even on a very small retreat. There was one girl who was very seriously discerning and ended up entering the next year to a girl who was just starting out in discernment. The tough questions came out in one on one meetings and then phone calls after the retreat was over.

 

(Sorry about the rambling and if things didn't make sense I was trying to keep things concise while covering multiple points).



#45 marigold Posted 18 September 2014 - 01:22 PM

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Very well said on all points, TT. Makes perfect sense!

 

I would also suggest that an essential part of a vocation to a religious community is renunciation of natural attachments - to different degrees and expressed in different ways, certainly, but it is always there. I'd even say it's one of the essential components of such a life.

 

I'm reminded of a quote I read the other day, which is slightly off-topic but can make the same point, I think:

 

"... We need to turn Freud on his head. Instead of thinking of ‘God’ language as really being about sex (Freud’s reductive ploy), we need to understand sex as really about God, and about the deep desire that we feel for God - the clue that is woven into our existence about the final and ultimate union that we seek."

 

(Sarah Coakley)

 

In the same way, it is possible to see the love for and attachment to biological, social, ethnic etc. relationships as a clue about the greater love and attachment we are capable of fostering towards the Lord. Those who enter religious life choose to temporarily (in this life) limit such relationships in order to focus totally on fostering that one attachment, which is the only saving one. Priests don't have such restrictions because they are not usually in a religious community, their call is a different one, and so their lives look different. Nobody is saying that it is not painful for the families or for the religious themselves, but they are saying that it is worth it in the end.

 

I can't speak to your recruitment issues but I hope this clears up some of your thoughts, Tryingtobeasaint?



#46 SilentJoy Posted 19 September 2014 - 05:25 AM

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 Also disturbing to me in my limited experience (cant' speak to all ) the vocation discernment retreats were more recruiting than discernment. No tough questions. 

 

I went to a DSMME discernment retreat a few years ago. It was a way to get a "first glance" (other than TV appearances) at the community that would not otherwise have been possible. The women who attended had the option of adding their name to a list to schedule a discussion of any questions, discernment interest or concerns with the Vocation Directress privately over the weekend, so the "tough questions" part was in place, though it was optional. I did not sign up for this but many did. Also, if I remember right, a session of spiritual direction with their priests was available if necessary. I admire the Sisters but had no interest in pursuing a discernment relationship with the community. The retreat, although it was too large (140 women!) to have anything other than a very broad focus, helped somewhat in clarifying what I was and wasn't attracted to in religious life.
 



#47 veritasluxmea Posted 19 September 2014 - 06:16 PM

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To be clear, both follow the same pattern; 4 family visits per year including profession days.

Fortnightly letters are sent and a home visit at end of Postulancy and at end of novitiate at the end of year 4.

If the family are unable to visit at visiting weekends, a 30 minute phonecall is made.

There are annual home visits after leaving the Novitiate.

Letters during Advent and Lent are saved until Christmas and Easter.

Letters until finally professed are read by novice mistress/superior according to the Rule and Constitution and the Directory.

There is little or no access to internet or e-mail during the first years, particularly during the canonical novitiate.

The purpose of this is to root the new sister in the new religious family, to help them live in the present, and to help then with the transition to religious life.

 

The vocation retreats and discernment are handled very differently by the two communities...

Do they wear their postulant outfits when they visit home at the end of the postulancy? From what I've heard postulant outfits are more like a uniform and not a sacramental habit, so would they be required to wear it home? or am I wrong? 

 

Weird question, but what if someone doesn't want to visit home or doesn't have a home to visit? I suppose they would simply stay at the convent, right? 



#48 SilentJoy Posted 19 September 2014 - 06:34 PM

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Do they wear their postulant outfits when they visit home at the end of the postulancy? From what I've heard postulant outfits are more like a uniform and not a sacramental habit, so would they be required to wear it home? or am I wrong? 

 

 

I don't know if it is *required,* but I met a DSMME postulant/novice at my parish during one of her home visits, and she was wearing the outfit (that's how I knew who she was).
 



#49 Butterfly Posted 21 September 2014 - 05:59 AM

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Hi!

Thank you, Tryingtobeasaint, for your post. I must say that I have a similar opinion although I know that this perspective will create a lot of critical responses.

I agree that it is necessary to make a certain break with your family that you can really learn to live a consecrated life but my worry is much more that the young sisters aren’t able to find a good healthy adult relationship to their parents and families step by step. In my own experience it was a natural process to enter and to adjust to this way of life and not having so much contact with my parents. But it was not a rule which was opposed on me but much more a process. I wonder if this process is made if the contact is limited so hard.

For example: My Dad said one time that it was extremely important for him knowing that he can come and visit me and that I can call him, if I wouldn’t feel well. He didn’t come and I was well, but knowing for him, that I would have the possibility to contact him, was an important element for him in accepting my decision.

And I think being married it is a similar process but I don’t know any young couples who write only monthly a letter to their parents. So: Yes, a cut has to be there, but I agree with Tryingtobeasaint that it is not catholic to eliminate the loving relationship to their parents. Isolating like this sounds me much more like a cult.

Please don’t feel offended by my thoughts. I can’t understand this way of thinking and I try hard to understand why these communities handle this on such an extreme way. So it would be very nice if I get an answer.



#50 puellapaschalis Posted 21 September 2014 - 06:08 AM

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But an answer has been given. It's just one some people have trouble accepting.

#51 Sr. Dominica Posted 21 September 2014 - 06:23 AM

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Yes the Postulants do have to wear their postulant habits on home visits.
It is required by the rule and constitutions and directory of both communities.
It is part of slowly easing them into the religious life.
In the same way the sisters always have to wear their habits (unless dispensed for very special reasons) at all times.
The sisters also wear night caps and night scapulars once they receive the habit and enter the noviciate.

I think that for e Postulants to wear their habits is important as a sign to others, and also as a help and reminder to their families and friends of their vocation and all that means.

In cases of emergency, especially during the conaonical noviciate, families and sisters can contact each other through and with the permission of the Novice Mistress. Any compassionate leave of less than 15 days does not effect the validity of the noviciate and does not need to be made up.

#52 freedomreigns Posted 21 September 2014 - 07:34 AM

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For me when I left the convent one of the major challenges was that I left my entire support system because I had really detached from relationships with friends and family.  The sisters had become my support system.  It took a long time and a lot of sorrow to recover and also to begin again those relationships that had been so limited.  I do really understand that there have to be limits to family contact but God has also given our families to us, and us to our families.



#53 Butterfly Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:54 AM

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Dear Freedomreigns! I understand you completely and that is also one reason because I think that healthy limited contacts in the novitiate are good. Beside this I think as religious we have to give a testimony to the outside world. For me it was always a wonderful experience to talk to my old friends, to see how they live their vocation.. It also strengthened my own vocation and wasn't something that hinder me to grow into the community or to deepen my relationship with God.. 



#54 andibc Posted 23 September 2014 - 05:18 PM

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I can’t understand this way of thinking and I try hard to understand why these communities handle this on such an extreme way. So it would be very nice if I get an answer.

 

 

As the mother of a daughter in one of these orders, I understand what you are talking about, but you are  discounting the work of grace in the soul of the family members and the sister.  A family who accepts their daughter's invitation to be a bride of Christ and prays, will be given a super abundance of grace.  A family who resists their daughter's calling may not be open to that grace and would most likely cause their daughter to stumble if they were in frequent contact with her.  You can't imagine the degree of grace that comes to a family when they open their heart to their child's calling and willingly accept the separation unless you've been at the receiving end.  Trust me, these families are good to go if the are willing to do God's will.  The grace is there for those who reenter the world too, although what they do with that grace is up to them.  I've seen our Lord provide all kinds of different support systems to the girls if they continue to accept His will.  Love loves to suffer, and love is a choice.



#55 RoseOfGuadalupe Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:37 AM

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DSMME do more preaching stuff

#56 IgnatiusofLoyola Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:29 AM

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To be clear, both follow the same pattern; 4 family visits per year including profession days.

Fortnightly letters are sent and a home visit at end of Postulancy and at end of novitiate at the end of year 4.

If the family are unable to visit at visiting weekends, a 30 minute phonecall is made.

There are annual home visits after leaving the Novitiate.

Letters during Advent and Lent are saved until Christmas and Easter.

Letters until finally professed are read by novice mistress/superior according to the Rule and Constitution and the Directory.

There is little or no access to internet or e-mail during the first years, particularly during the canonical novitiate.

The purpose of this is to root the new sister in the new religious family, to help them live in the present, and to help then with the transition to religious life.

 

The vocation retreats and discernment are handled very differently by the two communities...

 

It'a been interesting to read about the similarities and differences between the Nashville Dominicans and the DSMME's. However, the highlighted paragraph above surprised me--namely that the letters of Sisters in formation are read by the Novice Mistress or Superior.

 

I know from experience that not all Orders/Communities read the letters of Sisters in formation, but I have no idea how common this practice is.

 

I'm sure there is a logical reason why this is done, but I haven't been able to come up with one.

 

The only possible reason that I have come up with is the privacy of other Sisters, not necessarily the Sister in formation. A Sister in formation might innocently give out personal information if/when they mention another Sister. But, this could be handled giving general instructions to Sisters in formation about the types of personal information they share with other Sisters.

 

Note: For those of you who don't know me, I am NOT making a value judgement. Since I have never discerned or been in formation myself, sometimes I don't understand things at first. But, when someone explains it to me, I then say to myself, "Oh, that makes sense." 

 

Side note: One reason why I still miss Laetitia Crucis (now Sister Mary Catherine of the Dominicans of St. Joseph in England--and not to be confused with Sister Mary Catharine of the Summit Dominican nuns who often takes the time to post here on VS, and from whom, I have learned a LOT) is that LC and I used to exchange PM's where I would ask a dumb question of "Why do they do this?" and she'd patiently and logically explain, and never take offense. I know much more now than I did when I first started posting on Phatmass, so the questions don't come up as often, but from time to time issues still come up.


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#57 andibc Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:05 AM

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Our ingoing and outgoing letters are not read and a friend whose daughter is in the other order (one of us has a daughter in Ann Arbor, the other Nashville) said their letters in and out are not read either.  We were given this information when they were postulants and it was confirmed just a few months ago by my daughter.  I have a daughter who is a Carmelite, and all letters are read.  It doesn't bother any of us one bit.



#58 IgnatiusofLoyola Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:23 AM

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Our ingoing and outgoing letters are not read and a friend whose daughter is in the other order (one of us has a daughter in Ann Arbor, the other Nashville) said their letters in and out are not read either.  We were given this information when they were postulants and it was confirmed just a few months ago by my daughter.  I have a daughter who is a Carmelite, and all letters are read.  It doesn't bother any of us one bit.

 

Thank-you for correcting the information about the Nashville Dominicans and the DSMME's--namely, that their letters are not read.

 

My question was not intended to spark a discussion of whether it bothered either the family or the Sisters/nuns that their letters were read, or a debate on whether this is a healthy practice. I assume that there are healthy Communities that read letters and healthy Communities that do not.

 

I was really interested in the reasoning behind reading letters, since I couldn't think of reasons. But, that is due to my own lack of knowledge, not due to any value judgement on my part about the practice of reading letters, particularly in a healthy Community. I hope that makes sense.



#59 truthfinder Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:11 AM

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I was really interested in the reasoning behind reading letters, since I couldn't think of reasons. But, that is due to my own lack of knowledge, not due to any value judgement on my part about the practice of reading letters, particularly in a healthy Community. I hope that makes sense.

Most often the reason for this was not about the imposing on the nun, but to understand what sort of influence was coming from the outside - to help her if there were any sad news from the outside.  It was also to help the nun if there were abusive or coercive sorts of letters coming from home (or maybe a suitor show up all of a sudden).  Obviously, some communities would have taken this too far, but it was to prevent new sisters from feeling like they had to silently deal with this sort of thing like a cross they couldn't tell anyone about.  (There will be of course differing ideas about whether or not this is even a good reason, and that it's the sisters own business who she tells. I have my opinion, but won't share unless someone asks, but I don't want WWIII going down in here :) )



#60 vee8 Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:40 AM

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We are waaay past WWIII in these parts!  big-machine-gun.gif

 

sorry I just had to use that emote






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