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#21 Lwangaman

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:32 AM

But if it's not technically official yet, is it okay that they still wear the habit and say they are a part of the Institute?


I think that's what Sr. Jessica was trying to point out. Mother Maria Elisabetta was always very strict on this point, she always told us brothers that we couldn't wear a habit until we had a definitive approval by the Church (and that was hard for us! I waited so many years to wear a real habit and never was able to do so... we even had the habit all worked out to combine Franciscan and Carmelite aspects...)

It seems like the new community that Mother M. Elisabetta is founding does wear a habit. So she seems to be contradicting her own principle... But in the end it's really up to the diocesan bishop whether a new community wears a habit or not, and I think that usually a bishop doesn't tell a new community that they can't or shouldn't wear a habit, because people get confused about all these distinctions.

As being a part of the Institute, if you refer to "Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate", well no the Franciscan Missionary Sisters are not a part of the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate... They're a new community, branched off from the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate.




#22 tnavarro61

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 03:19 AM

But if it's not technically official yet, is it okay that they still wear the habit and say they are a part of the Institute?


I could answer regarding the habits. The Former Intercessors of the Lamb was a Public association of the faithful prior to its suppression last OCtober. They wore the distinct teal habits, although they are not yet "of Diocesan right". I have read somewhere, when things about the Intercessors are still hot, that they are allowed to wear habits because it's part of discernment.

#23 FutureSister2009

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:27 AM

Well then is it wrong for me to want to be a part of them?

#24 Lisa

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:37 AM

Well then is it wrong for me to want to be a part of them?


No- but I think it is really important that you find out more about their history, their constitutions, foundress, etc, from them. They will be able to tell you what exactly caused the Mother to start this new community.

I think what a lot of people haven't mentioned is that (smarter people, correct me if I'm wrong) all communities start as a Association of the Faithful (either public or private). Especialy if it's public, that's a step that means they are on their way to being "all good" with the church- through Diocesan or Pontifical right. Most new communities stay a public association of the faithful for at least a few years.


When discerning the religious life, while you are acting on faith in God's will, you still need to know about them :) When you go to visit them, consider asking them at least some of TradMom's list of questions (search phatmass, you'll find them, they've been posted probably many times).

Edited by Lisa, 19 April 2011 - 08:37 AM.


#25 HopefulBride

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:56 AM

I just want to say that I am all confused again :topsy:

#26 CherieMadame

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 11:18 AM

No- but I think it is really important that you find out more about their history, their constitutions, foundress, etc, from them. They will be able to tell you what exactly caused the Mother to start this new community.

I think what a lot of people haven't mentioned is that (smarter people, correct me if I'm wrong) all communities start as a Association of the Faithful (either public or private). Especialy if it's public, that's a step that means they are on their way to being "all good" with the church- through Diocesan or Pontifical right. Most new communities stay a public association of the faithful for at least a few years.


When discerning the religious life, while you are acting on faith in God's will, you still need to know about them :) When you go to visit them, consider asking them at least some of TradMom's list of questions (search phatmass, you'll find them, they've been posted probably many times).


I'm quite sure they all start out as a Private Association of the Faithful, then move on to Public Association of the Faithful, then to Religious Institute of Diocesan Right, then to Religious Institute of Pontifical Right. It is my understanding that a community of religious women who are a private association of the faithful, since they are on the way to becoming a religious institute and have that end in mind, they are permitted to wear habits. This seems to depend on the bishop of the diocese in which they are founded, though. Some bishops will allow them to wear habits; others don't until they are at least a public association of the faithful or even a religious institute. Anyway, going from one step to another requires both steady growth and a specified number of years. For example, to go from Public Association of the Faithful to a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right, there must be at least 10 years. From Diocesan Right to Pontifical Right, it's even longer than that.

I'm not a canon lawyer, though. But I did work with one! ;)

#27 Lisa

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:43 PM

I'm quite sure they all start out as a Private Association of the Faithful, then move on to Public Association of the Faithful, then to Religious Institute of Diocesan Right, then to Religious Institute of Pontifical Right. It is my understanding that a community of religious women who are a private association of the faithful, since they are on the way to becoming a religious institute and have that end in mind, they are permitted to wear habits. This seems to depend on the bishop of the diocese in which they are founded, though. Some bishops will allow them to wear habits; others don't until they are at least a public association of the faithful or even a religious institute. Anyway, going from one step to another requires both steady growth and a specified number of years. For example, to go from Public Association of the Faithful to a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right, there must be at least 10 years. From Diocesan Right to Pontifical Right, it's even longer than that.

I'm not a canon lawyer, though. But I did work with one! ;)



Thanks CM for clearing that up!
So, FutureSister, don't feel like something's wrong just because they wear habits while they are a Public Association of the Faithful (I can think of several others that do the same). It would probably be good for you to ask these sorts of questions though, especially if you feel really called to enter there! If they know you are discerning with them and just asking for clarity, they will most likely be more than happy to explain the basics (when they were founded, the main idea of their new community, their charisms, etc). That's probably better than hearing people speculating about it on Phatmass.

#28 Lwangaman

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 08:18 AM

I can confirm the explanation by CherieMadame, she is canonically correct!

FutureSister 2009, I don't think I could say there is anything wrong with you wanting to join any community, as Lisa pointed out you just have to get to know more about the history, the background, the charism... And as long as a community is in the hands of the church you're fine.

The original Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate still have some houses in the United States in my understanding, if you are interested in getting to know them I can put you in touch with them.

#29 Lwangaman

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 08:41 AM

I just want to say that I am all confused again :topsy:



Oh no! What confused you?



#30 Ale

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:38 PM

Oh no! What confused you?


I think that this man in blue dress is a member of the new male community of franciscan brothers missionaries founded by mother Elisabetta Patrizi.
This photo was taken in the town of Recanati near Loreto:

Posted Image

Edited by Ale, 20 April 2011 - 01:39 PM.


#31 FutureSister2009

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:01 AM

I think the only thing I'm really not understanding is why Sr. Theresa didn't mention the SMMI's at the retreat. She never said she was a part of them or anything. I guess that's why I'm so taken aback by what I'm learning here. I'll have to talk to her about it next time I see her. However her mother is having serious health problems so she's been with her. Hopefully I'll see her after I get back from Rome

#32 Lwangaman

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:14 PM

I think that this man in blue dress is a member of the new male community of franciscan brothers missionaries founded by mother Elisabetta Patrizi.
This photo was taken in the town of Recanati near Loreto:

Posted Image


Yes I know him, he joined our fraternity when it was still "Brothers Minor of Mary Immaculate". He and a few other brothers stayed in the community, and they are no longer in Rome but in Recanati, and the community has a different name now. There were four of us "first" brothers, two of whom have gone on to this new community, while me and another have passed over to the diocese of Rome (which we were all 4 incardinated into already while in the "Brothers Minor of Mary Immaculate").
That is pretty much the habit we were thinking of all along and were never able to wear, we were approved by Cardinal Ruini as a "Public Clerical Association of the Faithful" of the diocese of Rome, but he and Mother Elisabetta preferred to wait until we were a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right before letting us wear the habit.

Edited by Lwangaman, 21 April 2011 - 06:14 PM.


#33 HopefulBride

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:17 PM

Oh no! What confused you?




The relationship between the SMMI and the FMI sisters (I think that is their accronym)

#34 Lwangaman

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:22 PM

I think the only thing I'm really not understanding is why Sr. Theresa didn't mention the SMMI's at the retreat. She never said she was a part of them or anything. I guess that's why I'm so taken aback by what I'm learning here. I'll have to talk to her about it next time I see her. However her mother is having serious health problems so she's been with her. Hopefully I'll see her after I get back from Rome


Well I suppose that if this was one of your first retreats Sr. Theresa wouldn't necessarily have gotten into details about the whole history, these things come with time. It's perhaps a little difficult for her too seeing the Institute has been living a pretty delicate situation that is not easy to explain to a newcomer... She herself perhaps would have some difficulty explaining why she was an SMMI for so many years and now she's in a community with a new name.

Are you coming to Rome? That's great! Are you on a pilgrimage with a group? When are you coming? I've been getting involved lately with the pilgrimage offices of the diocese of Rome, I just got back from another 8 days in the Holy Land.
My parish isn't too far from the Vatican, it's on a hill nearby and I can see the cupola of St. Peter's from the steps of my church.
Today I concelebrated the Chrism Mass together with the other priests of the diocese with Pope Benedict XVI. We are so blessed to have such a man leading the Church! He mentioned that in these difficult times in the Church there are still many witnesses of hope, and he cited John Paul II among these. Here in Rome we're getting things ready for the beatification. Are you going to be here for the beatification?

#35 Lwangaman

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:51 PM

The relationship between the SMMI and the FMI sisters (I think that is their accronym)



Ok I'll go ahead and share a little bit of history.

The Sisters Minor were founded in 1983 by Mother Maria Elisabetta in Rome, and erected as a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right in 1993.
Throughout the years Mother Maria Elisabetta felt that perhaps God was calling her to found a male branch to the Institute, but she wasn't sure about this right away because when she founded the SMMI she understood their calling to be a help to the Franciscan friars. So she wasn't sure whether there should be a male branch or not. But the time seemed ripe around 1996, and I was invited with a couple others for a personal retreat with her and Sr. Theresa Kovacs for Holy Week 1996. My brother was at this retreat too. My sister was already a member of the SMMI. At the end of this week I and two others decided to join in on this adventure of beginning a male branch. Mother Maria Elisabetta then went to Steubenville right after Easter (one of the young men that was with me on the retreat was from Steubenville; he also had a sister in the SMMI, who I believe is now the director for the SMMI in the United States, her name is Sr. Kathleen).
There at Steubenville Mother held a meeting with a few students who were discerning vocations, and from that meeting a few more decided to join in on the adventure.
In the summer of 1996 there were 6 of us that flew over to Rome to start out, and in the first few weeks another young man from New Zealand met us and decided to join.
We began our studies of philosophy and theology, and we lived in a small apartment right next door to "Casa Kolbe" at Via San Teodoro, right next to the Circus Maximus. That was really cool, and a real blessing, being able to live for so many years next door to where St. Maximilian Kolbe lived while he was studying in Rome.
At the end of 1996 only 4 of us continued in what we were calling a "divine adventure". Cardinal Ruini, the vicar for the Holy Father for the diocese of Rome, got to know us personally, and followed up very carefully on all of our community's development. He asked us to enter the roman seminary for our priestly formation, and we were in the roman seminary from 1997. The other three brothers were ordained after four years, because they had already done some philosophical and theological studies at Steubenville. I was ordained after 6 years because I had just come out of high-school.
We were all ordained by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica (that was such a blessing too!) together with the other seminarians of the diocese of Rome.
And we all celebrated our first Mass at the minor basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte where St. Maximilian Kolbe had celebrated his first Mass (and where Our Lady appeared to Ratisbonne converting him instantly after mockingly wearing the Miraculous Medal).
We served in the parishes of the diocese of Rome, and were always close to Mother Maria Elisabetta and the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate. We were erected by Cardinal Ruini as a Public Clerical Association of the Faithful, and Cardinal Ruini also erected our own "seminary" for the new vocations that were coming along. One of the brothers was appointed by Cardinal Ruini as fulltime rector of our college for the formation of the seminarians, and I was appointed as "economer" of our college even though I continued as pastoral assistant in the parishes of Rome.
In the past couple years the brother "rector" and myself have both passed over definitively to the diocese of Rome, and a number of the seminarians have gone back to the diocesan seminaries of their hometowns, while two of the "founding" brothers and a few of the seminarians have followed Mother Maria Elisabetta in her new foundation. They now live in Recanati and are no longer incardinated in Rome.

So basically, as of today, the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate still exist and are a Religious Institute in the diocese of Rome, but without Mother Maria Elisabetta, and there are no "Brothers Minor of Mary Immaculate". The remaining brothers have all followed Mother Maria Elisabetta in the new foundation.

I hope that helps!

Edited by Lwangaman, 21 April 2011 - 07:39 PM.


#36 HopefulBride

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 07:22 PM

Ok I'll go ahead and share a little bit of history.

The Sisters Minor were founded in 1983 by Mother Maria Elisabetta in Rome, and erected as a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right in 1993.
Throughout the years Mother Maria Elisabetta felt that perhaps God was calling her to found a male branch to the Institute, but she wasn't sure about this right away because when she founded the SMMI she understood their calling to be e help to the Franciscan friars. So she wasn't sure whether there should be a male branch or not. But the time seemed ripe around 1996, and I was invited with a couple others for a personal retreat with her and Sr. Theresa Kovacs for Holy Week 1996. My brother was at this retreat too. My sister was already a member of the SMMI. At the end of this week I and two others decided to join in on this adventure of beginning a male branch. Mother Maria Elisabetta then went to Steubenville right after Easter (one of the young men that was with me on the retreat was from Steubenville; he also had a sister in the SMMI, who I believe is now the director for the SMMI in the United States, her name is Sr. Kathleen).
There at Steubenville Mother held a meeting with a few students who were discerning vocations, and from that meeting a few more decided to join in on the adventure.
In the summer of 1996 there were 6 of us that flew over to Rome to start out, and in the first few weeks another young man from New Zealand met us and decided to join.
We began our studies of philosophy and theology, and we lived in a small apartment right next door to "Casa Kolbe" at Via San Teodoro, right next to the Circus Maximus. That was really cool, and a real blessing, being able to live for so many years next door to where St. Maximilian Kolbe lived while he was studying in Rome.
At the end of 1996 only 4 of us continued in what we were calling a "divine adventure". Cardinal Ruini, the vicar for the Holy Father for the diocese of Rome, got to know us personally, and followed up very carefully on all of our community's development. He asked us to enter the roman seminary for our priestly formation, and we were in the roman seminary from 1997. The other three brothers were ordained after four years, because they had already done some philosophical and theological studies at Steubenville. I was ordained after 6 years because I had just come out of high-school.
We were all ordained by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica (that was such a blessing too!) together with the other seminarians of the diocese of Rome.
And we all celebrated our first Mass at the minor basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte where St. Maximilian Kolbe had celebrated his first Mass (and where Our Lady appeared to Ratisbonne converting him instantly after mockingly wearing the Miraculous Medal).
We served in the parishes of the diocese of Rome, and were always close to Mother Maria Elisabetta and the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate. We were erected by Cardinal Ruini as a Public Clerical Association of the Faithful, and Cardinal Ruini also erected our own "seminary" for the new vocations that were coming along. One of the brothers was appointed by Cardinal Ruini as fulltime rector of our college for the formation of the seminarians, and I was appointed as "economer" of our college even though I continued as pastoral assistant in the parishes of Rome.
In the past couple years the brother "rector" and myself have both passed over definitively to the diocese of Rome, and a number of the seminarians have gone back to the diocesan seminaries of their hometowns, while two of the "founding" brothers and a few of the seminarians have followed Mother Maria Elisabetta in her new foundation. They now live in Recanati and are no longer incardinated in Rome.

So basically, as of today, the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate still exist and are a Religious Institute in the diocese of Rome, but without Mother Maria Elisabetta, and there are no "Brothers Minor of Mary Immaculate". The remaining brothers have all followed Mother Maria Elisabetta in the new foundation.

I hope that helps!


Yes this helped, so the new foundation is the FI (Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate) or are the FI sistersunrelated to SMMI?

#37 Lwangaman

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 07:31 PM

The relationship between the SMMI and the FMI sisters (I think that is their accronym)



Oh wait I got you wrong! I thought you meant the relationship between the SMMI sisters and the FMMI brothers! (In italian the brothers acronym stands for "Fratelli Minori di Maria Immaculata").

Instead you mean, between the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate and Mother Maria Elisabetta's new foundation,

It's not easy... But I'll do the best I can.

The SMMI were founded by Mother Maria Elisabetta. She was also Mother General up until a few years ago.
Sooner or later in every religious institute, another sister has to become Mother General. This usually happens when the founder or foundress is still alive. Which means that the founder / foundress is no longer "in charge" if you want to put it that way, even though a lot of respect is still due to any founder or foundress.
Well for many years the SMMI always felt too young to have one of them become Mother General, seeing also that Mother Maria Elisabetta was a very charismatic figure.
But for health reasons she herself asked more than once to be able to step down as Mother General, and finally Cardinal Ruini agreed that it was time that another sister become Mother General.
So in the SMMI's General Chapter they elected a new Mother General.

I'm not even sure I can explain all that happened, all I know is that there was friction, Mother Maria Elisabetta didn't give much room for the new Mother General... There began to be friction with some of us brothers also... At a certain point the Diocesan Offices, who had followed us all along, decided to step in to take a look. They sent a nun from another order to visit the communities. Mother Maria Elisabetta didn't want to accept this intervention from the Diocesan Offices, and decided to begin a new foundation. A number of the Sisters Minor, especially those that had been with Mother Elisabetta for a number of years, decided to follow her in the new foundation, and they found acceptance by the bishop of Loreto.

I don't know how else to explain it... It's not so easy to explain I guess. I'm not sure why it happened this way... But I have entrusted my own vocation to God's hands and to the Church, and I still entrust myself to the Church.

If you were to ask me whether the new foundation by Mother Maria Elisabetta in Loreto is authentic or not, I can't really say, that will be up to the Church to decide. Who is the Church? The diocesan offices in Rome, under the direction of the new vicar Cardinal Vallini are the church; the bishop of Loreto is also the church. So time will tell I guess. I suppose that the new foundation could bear fruit and grow into a healthy community in the church. In my personal opinion, I am a bit wary because of the fact that Mother Maria Elisabetta did not comply with the indications given by the church in Rome... Someone could say, there can be misunderstandings in the church, and where something doesn't work out in one diocese it might work out in another. That could be. Personally I am a little wary of Mother Maria Elisabetta now, because she is a very strong charismatic figure, but she tends to overwhelm and intimidate and she tends to want to be in charge all the time instead of sharing responsibilities.

I don't want to influence anyone's decisions... Just always keep the principles in mind: love for and docility to the Church in it's authentic representatives (Pope, bishops, Vatican offices and diocesan offices...)

It is very recommended, when discerning a vocation to have a good spiritual director to talk things over with. A good wise priest can help make wise decisions, and encourage those sparks of divine love that light up when approaching a religious vocation.

Edited by Lwangaman, 21 April 2011 - 07:34 PM.


#38 Lwangaman

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:26 PM

Yes this helped, so the new foundation is the FI (Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate) or are the FI sistersunrelated to SMMI?


Hmmm if you're asking me the name of Mother Maria Elisabetta's new foundation, I'm not so sure because I haven't been in touch since she started it. I've only been in touch with the SMMI. I'm sure Sr. Theresa Kovacs can tell you the precise name.

If you're wondering if these are Mother Maria Elisabetta's new foundation: http://marymediatrix.com/ (these sisters go by the name "Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate") then no, they are not related, either to the SMMI or to Mother Maria Elisabetta.

They (http://marymediatrix.com/) are also a fairly recent foundation, branched off from the conventual franciscans here in Italy. They were founded by Father Stefano Mannelli and they do service in the Basilica of St. Mary Major's in Rome. They also follow the charism of St. Maximilian Kolbe, but do not have a specific carmelite aspect in their charism. I have met them on a few occasions and have met some of Fr. Mannelli's relatives.

Are you interested in them (http://marymediatrix.com/)?

#39 HopefulBride

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:59 PM

Hmmm if you're asking me the name of Mother Maria Elisabetta's new foundation, I'm not so sure because I haven't been in touch since she started it. I've only been in touch with the SMMI. I'm sure Sr. Theresa Kovacs can tell you the precise name.

If you're wondering if these are Mother Maria Elisabetta's new foundation: http://marymediatrix.com/ (these sisters go by the name "Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate") then no, they are not related, either to the SMMI or to Mother Maria Elisabetta.

They (http://marymediatrix.com/) are also a fairly recent foundation, branched off from the conventual franciscans here in Italy. They were founded by Father Stefano Mannelli and they do service in the Basilica of St. Mary Major's in Rome. They also follow the charism of St. Maximilian Kolbe, but do not have a specific carmelite aspect in their charism. I have met them on a few occasions and have met some of Fr. Mannelli's relatives.

Are you interested in them (http://marymediatrix.com/)?



I definitely get it now. I was interested in them at one point but I have found my home :cloud9:

#40 FutureSister2009

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 11:45 AM

I just want to give an update on what's been going on with me and my discernment. First of all, we had a Sister from this community at my Parish this weekend who is stationed in Africa. She spoke on her work there. It was very sad but also very inspiring. She was so nice. I was glad she was here, especially since it was an eventful weekend at my Church. I had told one of my Sisters in February before I went on retreat with them that I wanted to meet more Sisters in their Order and then a week later, another one came. I was told she was only staying for a few days and I'm pretty sure she's still here! Every Sister that I've met so far has been a connection for me. This is why I want to keep meeting more of them. I also keep correspondence with another Sister as well. I hope sometime soon, God will have me enter with them. I want it more every single day.




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