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enitharmon

"Academic" Orders for Women?

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enitharmon    57
enitharmon

In conversation a female friend and academic mentioned that there were no Orders for women that pursued academic work, as you have with the Dominican Friars or many Jesuits, for example. I couldn't think of any either. Are there any?

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katherineH    264
katherineH

The Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, MI.  Most of their sisters are highly educated (MDs, JDs, PhDs) in order to provide the highest possible quality of care to those their serve.  It is basically an expectation that if you enter you will go to grad school. They serve as doctors, nurses, seminary professors, theologians, etc. 

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Luigi    3,349
Luigi

The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSCJ) have many highly educated members. They have traditionally been educators, so the fields of study may have been more limited to education, pedagogy, administration, and so forth. But they also had a couple of colleges, so I've known RSCJ's who had doctorates in everything from theology to criminal justice to English to any other collegiate subject.

The same can be said of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) of Carondelet, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas (RSM) (they run a number of hospitals, so their specialties include hospital administration and related fields), and probably a number of other orders.

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Nunsuch    388
Nunsuch

Look at the number of communities of sisters that have colleges--there are literally dozens in the US. The IHM Sisters, the RSCJs the RSCMs, Mercys, the Benedictines, some Dominicans, some Franciscans, Sisters of the Holy Cross, etc. Sisters in the US, at least, are generally better and more diversely educated than priests. Most sisters these days have at least an MA, and many have more than one MA or a PhD (or a professional degree). Of course, there are exceptions, but to say that women religious are not intellectually formed is simply not true. 

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Gabriela    3,074
Gabriela

What's the order that's involved with the campus ministry at Texas A&M? They educate to the terminal degree.

Also, the School Sisters of Notre Dame generally teach at university.

I agree with Nunsuch: It cannot be said that there are no American female orders that do not pursue academic work. I work with an RSCJ with a PhD, and that's common for them. The RSCJs were founded to be like a female version of the Jesuits, and their formation is of comparable length to the Jesuits' because of the educational requirement.

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Thijs    181
Thijs
1 hour ago, Gabriela said:

What's the order that's involved with the campus ministry at Texas A&M? They educate to the terminal degree.

That would be Apostles of the Interior Life.

There has been faithful religious congregations that encourage its members to go for higher degrees. Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, the IHM Sisters of Immaculata, PA or even those contemplative nuns like the Regina Laudis for example.

Sisters of Life almost has vocations who has great degrees. 

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Nunsuch    388
Nunsuch

Thijs, what do you mean by "faithful"? Are you suggesting that many of the congregations whose constitutions are approved by the Vatican are *not* "faithful"? I think all of those mentioned here are such.... For example, all three of the IHM congregations in the spirit of Theresa Maxis run colleges/universities.... Is only one "faithful"?  Please be careful of such usage. I'm not trying to start a controversy, but the implications of such usages are disturbing. Someone may prefer the approach to religious life of certain communities, but why implicitly cast aspersions on others?

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Gabriela    3,074
Gabriela

I don't think it's fair to accuse Thijs of casting aspersions when we all know exactly what he's talking about. Many of the congregations whose constitutions are approved by the Vatican are not faithful to the complete Magisterium of the Church. There are sisters who outspokenly support abortion "rights", contraception "rights", gay "marriage", etc. You know this better than any of us, @Nunsuch, so I don't think I need to cite the endless newspaper stories and quotes from bishops participating in the LCWR visitation, etc.

I understand that you're of another generation than most of the people in the VS, but to the younger generation of Catholicssupporting abortion, contraception, and homosexual unions is not faithfulness. And we all know that the Vatican can approve constitutions and then people can go rogue. Even the SSPX isn't technically in schism—are they "faithful"? Of course they're not, but the Vatican is exceedingly slow and patient in censuring communities, and always willing to forgive seventy times seven times, so it is perfectly possible to have one's constitutions approved but to not be truly faithful to the Church's teaching authority—as far too many sisters are (but probably not nearly as many as most young Catholics think!).

Thijs didn't say "...all those nuns not wearing habits who aren't faithful to the Church"—that would cast aspersions, because one cannot say that all nuns not in habit are unfaithful. I think, though, that that's what you understood from the list of examples he gave after his statement. Please correct me if I'm wrong about that, but it seems to me that was your interpretation of his comment, though it is not what Thijs said. We should remember also the sisters (whose name I have forgotten) on the West Coast who look extremely orthodox, are in full traditional habit, but who have actually left the Church in traditionalist protest.

I think most of us, if not all of us, can agree that in defending the truth about and good will (and good standing) of sisters who have laid aside the habit, it does no good to deny the truth of what some sisters are doing. That just makes it look like one is pushing one's own agenda about RL, or else defending pro-abortion/contraception/homosexual union positions as faithful, neither of which is good. The appearance of orthodoxy in a habit, the approval of constitutions, and all kinds of other standards by which one may attempt to judge faithfulness simply are really no good in the end: Only words and actions will tell a discerner where a community really stands.

@Thijs: I did mean the Apostles of Interior Life. Thank you! :) 

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Nunsuch    388
Nunsuch

For the record, I don't support abortion rights, etc. And while there may be individual sisters who do, I don't really know of any congregations that do, or even congregations in which the majority (actually, more than a small group) do. That is all I will say.  

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Gabriela    3,074
Gabriela
2 hours ago, Nunsuch said:

For the record, I don't support abortion rights, etc. And while there may be individual sisters who do, I don't really know of any congregations that do, or even congregations in which the majority (actually, more than a small group) do. That is all I will say.  

I didn't mean to imply that you support these things (but on looking at my previous post, I see how it could be read that I did—my apologies!). If you're willing, would you comment on the role of obedience in such communities where some sisters are publicly defying Church teaching, and the community does nothing to stop them?

Or maybe that would be hijacking the thread—not my intention.

Should we start a different thread on this? If so, here or in the Debate Table?

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Nunsuch    388
Nunsuch

I'm less familiar with procedures and rules here, Gabriela--so, if you want to start the thread here, or on Debate Table, please do so, and I will join in wherever you locate it. Just let me know. Many thanks. I'm not trying to start a brouhaha.....

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Gabriela    3,074
Gabriela

Okay, anyone wanting to continue the rogue sister/obedience discussion, go here: http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/141463-rogue-sisters-community-duty-to-enforce-obedience/

I figured the topic was too risky to put in the VS, so it's in the Debate Table.

This thread is now officially unhijacked! ;) 

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enitharmon    57
enitharmon

Thank you all for your input. I should perhaps clarify that I did not mean to imply that sisters or nuns are not educated, whether generally or in the field in which they work, but was rather wondering whether there were any orders for women that were predominantly concerned with academic work (like Dominican friars, for example).

The friend who raised the question showed me a book from the 1930s she owns about theological education for female religious. It consists of various contributions by male and female religious people (mostly Dominicans, as I recall) on the topic. The tone is, to modern ears, at times a bit odd. There is a general consensus that theological education could indeed be useful for sisters and nuns in so far that it could help them with their contemplative life, but there are also some contributions that state it is really not so important for them, "as they won't be able to do anything with that learning anyway". I thought things would have changed after Vatican II, but didn't know of any examples as there are no female "academic orders" active in the several university towns I've lived in in Europe, which is why I asked.

From the little research I did online on some of the orders mentioned, my suspicion seems confirmed. I get the impression that female religious orders only got involved in higher education (i.e. university) relatively recently (and particularly post Vatican II), and that most of the orders that have members involved in higher education are not exclusively focused on that (as an order). Of course, women in general did not play a very prominent role in academic life until relatively recently--the situation for female religious pre-VII is thus not atypical for women in general.
 

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josephine    63
josephine

Wait, she asked a question about the role and place of women (in religious life and in education) NOW based on....a book written in 1930???? :|

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enitharmon    57
enitharmon
56 minutes ago, josephine said:

Wait, she asked a question about the role and place of women (in religious life and in education) NOW based on....a book written in 1930???? :|

The book is what started a very long conversation about women and the study of theology. At some point in that conversation we briefly discussed female religious orders involved in academic work, but moved on quickly as neither of us knew of any (though we both know some individual female religious who are involved in academia, although the majority are Anglican). Sorry about the confusion.
 

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Nunsuch    388
Nunsuch

There were literally dozens of colleges in the US run by women religious before Vatican II. In fact, there are far fewer now than there were then, because some have closed, particularly as more colleges have become co-educational.

 

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Thijs    181
Thijs
On 14/04/2016, 7:15:46, Gabriela said:

I'm praying for them especially the 33 women currently discerning with them. Their apostolate is much needed nowadays.
 

@Thijs: I did mean the Apostles of Interior Life. Thank you! :) 

 

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