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graciandelamadrededios

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a page on Loretto Carmel's site about their Externs, http://lorettocarmel.org/content/extern-sisters-guardians-enclosure

 

another thought after reading this page. another difference in monasteries that have Externs that I have heard of is that some have a separate places where the Externs live, apart from the cloistered Nuns, as they describe here on Loretto Carmel's site.

 

but I have heard of other Carmels that specifically say they have their Externs living in the same quarters as the cloistered Nuns.

 

so yeah, just another interesting observation/difference. I bet this decision also depends on the partcular building/layout of the monastery.

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They share differences with the lay sisters?

 

Yes, I mean that they share the fact they are both OCD within the Second Order as the cloistered Nuns are, but distinct from them. I mean comparing a current OCD Extern Sister with an OCD Lay Sister from the past (now a vocation not in existence anymore). yes, they seem to have only the difference now of geography as you say :) since the Lay Sisters were still cloistered, while Externs are not.

 

It's interesting to think also then that for a certain time (we are not sure how long since we aren't sure when exactly Externs were introduced) there were 3 different vocations being lived in an OCD nuns' monastery (& many other cloistered monasteries for that matter of course).

 

cloistered Choir Nuns, cloistered Lay Sisters & non-cloistered Third Order Externs

 

now it seems that Externs are a combination of the last two, being Second Order now and in full habit (depending on the specific community) as the Lay Sisters were, but keeping their non-cloistered status

 

then depending on the specific monastery, some live in the same quarters as the cloistered Nuns, while others are more separate still

 

anyway, just trying to get a good grasp of this, one reason being that I have a friend who made the observation that really the Extern Sister in Carmel is not something envisioned by St. Teresa and doesn't go back to her time.

 

but I like to see the Extern vocation in Carmel now as being like a descendant of the OCD Lay Sister that does go back to St. Teresa's first foundation (not right at the start, but soon after with Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, her personal secretary) 

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Sr Mary Catharine OP

Re: Lay and Externs with the Dominican Nuns. The Lay sister category was supressed by the Holy See in 1967. So, there was one class of nuns. Lay sisters always made solemn profession but weren't obliged to the Divine Office. They prayed the rosary or the Little Office of Our Lady in the vernacular. After 1967 lay sisters who could began praying the divine office, participating in chapter, voting, etc.

Externs were originally lay women associated to the monastery, then 3rd order tertiaries and then around 1964 became full religious with perpetual not solemn vows as is still the case. Around the mid 60's when the statutes for externs came out from the Holy See (and there haven't been any new statutes since!) monasteries may, if the chapter determines in their directory, allow externs to live inside. Our constitutions say that some externs may be included in the monastic family as determined by the monastery directory. Most vote for at least the prioress. Some vote for anything that comes up in chapter. Some may even be on the monastery council. Externs are not incorporated into the "2nd Order". There is no such thing as 2nd Order nuns. Simply Nuns of the Order of Preachers. So, externs are NOT Nuns but they do belong to the Nuns of the Order of Preachers. Their prayer, study, participation in Choir are all determined in the directories.

Some monasteries have something similiar--familiares--which aren't externs but are like oblates. They don't make vows but promises.

 

If you are confused, you're not alone! :unsure:

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graciandelamadrededios

Hi Chiqui,

 

Your questions made me checked all the documents I have regarding Extern Sisters.

 

The current Habit of PCC Rockford Extern Sisters are similar to the Cloistered Sisters except the knotted cords, the Cloistered Sisters has four while the Externs have three since Externs does not observed the fourth vow – enclosure.

 

The Pre-Vatican II Habit of both OSC and PCC Externs, however, are very different from their Cloistered Sisters.  Extern Sisters have scapulars since in the Franciscan Order Regular – Religious wore scapulars.  We have discussed in another thread, years ago perhaps, the scapulars of the Third Order Regular of the Fransican Order. 

 

The Rule and Constitutions of the Discalced Nuns of the Order of Our Blessed Lay of Mount Carmel printed in 1928 did not mention anything about the Extern Sisters.  From what I understood, they are not part of the Order – the Second Order of the Discalced Carmelites.  They are, however, attached to the monastery of their profession as Third Order Regular – serving the monastery and helping the nuns with their daily needs.  The extern goes out daily to beg for nun’s daily sustenance.  In Manila Carmel, Sr. Laurentia was a legend in her time.  Please find below, a short version of her Circular written by Manila Carmel:

 

 

SR. LAURENTIA OF ST. MICHAEL THE FIRST FILIPINA CARMELITE ESTERN SISTER

 

 

          On Our Lady’s day, Saturday, June 30, 1979, the Grand Little Lady of Carmel exploded into God’s arm.

 

          On several occasions Cardinal Sin was heard saying: “Who does not know Sr. Laurentia?”  She’s an instituion in Manila.”

 

          This is true.  In fact she can really be called the Beggar-Prayer-Queen of Manila.  Being the first and eldest Extern Carmelite Sister of the Philippines, Sr. Laurentia’s passing has been mourned by those whom the sight of this tiny, sweet, gentle, ever-smiling, indefatigable brown-clad Sister, seem like the very benediction from heaven.  A few stories, years ago, recount how Sr. Laurentia would have doors slammed to her face by some ill-mannered maids; or dogs set upon her on some of those rounds; but once safely distanced from both irated maids and ferocious dogs, she would smile just as sweetly and as gently say, “Thank you.  God reward you.  Charity covers a multitude of sins.  I will come back next month perhaps.”  This was of course years ago when the monastery was being built and it has no renenue at all except the alms given and collected.

 

          Born on October 8, 1906 and a native of Dumalag, Capiz, Fortunata Faigane escaped home to enter Carmel in Molo, Iloilo on August 10, 1925 at the age of seventeen.  As she herself loved to recount, “My father brought me to court because I escaped from home.  So I was taken by the police from the convent – and I had to face my father in court.  He was crying and was begging me to home with him.  But I refused.  The judge said I should be obedient to my father.  But I told him: “My father should be happy because God has chosen his daughter for his Beloved.”  The judge dismissed our case and I went back to Carmel.”  But during her ailing days, as the Sisters took her around for her needed exercise, she would talk fondly of her father and say that she was “a most spoiled child.”  Then she would playfully tell us” “Put me on your back, like the way my father carried me around – I slumped on his shoulders.”

 

          When Ma Mere (Mother Theresa of Jesus) received God’s summons to make a foundation in Manila in 1926, she took Sr. Laurentia with her.  On September 29, 1928, she made her first profession in Singalong, the temporary site of Manila Carmel.  She pronounced her Perpetual Vow exactly 6 years later at Gilmore when the monastery was still being contructed.  All during the war, with Manila fully occupied by Japanese, this tiny Sister, with her pushcard of market provisions (mostly gifts from market ventors and commiserating shoppers), would be seen walking on foot from
Gilmore to Divisoria, and back

 

With her Silver Jubilee in 1950 and her Ruby Jubilee on Septermber 29, 1968, it was anybody’s guess if this unritiring worker of the Lord would reach her 50th hear of Profession.  She did, to the great rejoicing of her numberless friends, in 1978.

 

          Never really healthy, she was nevertheless faithfully out in the streets to ask her favorite benefactors for their regular monthly help for Carmel.  During her last years, when she was already very sick, her one obsession was the thought that she could no longer help her Community.  She would beg permission from her Prioress to go out to help the Community which, of course, was impossible as she could no longer walk without help.

 

          She was never heard to complain even when she was in great pain.  Sweetly obliging all the time, she would sing, when requested, her favorites: “Ay, Kalisud”, complete with a brief dramatic sob; or Que sera, sera or the hymns of Little Therese.  She was always the picture of serenity.  She knew how to rest in God.  Greatly affectionate and extremely generous to her Community, she has all the Sisters vying for a chance to serve her during her lingering illness.

 

          Whenever there was a priest-visitor in the parlour, Sr. Laurentia would greet him with: “I entered Carmel only to pray for priests, for their sanctification.”  She would call Msgr. Artemio Casas “my hermanito”.  And whenever visitors would come from States or Europe, she had only one question: “How is Fr. Mark?”  You know, he wrote from England.”  Knowing that they had a saint in their midst, the Sisters would tell their visitors:  “If you want to be mentioned in the canonization proceedings of Sister Laurentia, write her a letter.”

 

          One of our dearest friends and benefactresses, Mrs. Josephine Murphy Cojuangco, was hard put to define just what was it in dear Sr. Laurentia that made her such a stand-out, so memorably and so originally herself.  “I guess one call call it her totality.  She had no thought of herself at all.  All she worked for was the Community.  She was totally given to supplying all the needs of her Sisters.”  Truly, our dear Sr. Laurentia was innoncence, simplicity, and generous incarnate.  As Shakespeare says: “Some are born great, others work for greatness, and still others have greatness thrust upon them.” 

 

          That last was true of Sr. Laurentia: greatness thrust upon her because her surrender to God through her vocation as an Extern Sister was tola and life-consuming.  It was a life-giving death like Christ’s.   

 

                                                                                                Manila Carmel

 

 

Source: The Roots of Teresa’s Nuns in the Philippines, Volume One by Sr. Mary Teresa Sideco, ocd, Lipa Carmel, 1993.  Published by the Association of Monasteries of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the Philippines.  I hope you will be able to read these books – volume one and two.  I have never read anything like it.  Its like being there, on the actual foundations of each Carmels in the Philippines. 

 

I checked my copy of the 1991 Rule and Constitutions of the Discalced Nuns of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and this will answer your questions Chiqui:

 

Extern Sisters

 

182.  If the Chapter so decides, a monastery may have some extern sisters aggregated to it.  These are religious engaged in the extern service of the monastery in order to allow the nuns to maintain an entirely contemplative way of life. 

 

          Externs are called by God to a special vocation.  By the profession of public simple vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, the consecrate themselves totally to the Lord and join the family of the Teresian Carmel, whose charism they share, by means of incorporation into the monastery in whose service they pledge themselves.

 

          Everything having to do with their admission and formation, their condition in law, and their rights and obligations will be set down in a special statute, approved by the Apostolic See5, with due regard for the norms established by universal law.

 

5See preamble, no. 3 to, the Instruction De sororibus externo monasterium servitio ddictis, 1961.

 

The erection and suppression of monasteries

 

205. The monastery or the monasteries which undertake a new foundation must have a sufficient number of nuns to provide for the new house without undermining their own strength and compromising their future.

 

          In order to proceed to proceed to erect a new monastery, there must be at least eight religious, not counting the postulants and extern sisters, of whom six must be chapter sisters.  They must have freely accepted the transfer to the new monastery and must be endowed with appropriate spiritual qualities and sufficiently prepared for the environmental and cultural conditions of the new foundation.

 

Election of the Prioress

 

 

228.  In the election of the Prioress, in addition to the chaptern nuns, by judgment of the Chapter of the monastery, the extern sisters in perpetual vows may have active voice.

 

*Active Voice – the right to vote

*Passive Voice – the right to be voted for (a position)

 

The Nuns of Carmel of St. Therese in Gilmore, Manila produced a commemorative book that chronicles the foundation of their monastery.  They celebrated their Diamond Jubilee last 2001.  The title of said book is:

 

Carmel of St. Therese

75 Years

1926 – November 24 – 2001

 

The following lines are dedicated to their beloved Extern Sisters:

 

Community: Extern Sisters

 

            We are a strictly enclosed Community meaning that, except for some justifiable reasons allowed by our Constitutions, we simply stay inside the main building of our Monastery.  We don’t even go out and attend Mass inside our very own chapel, but attend Mass in the Choir inside the enclosure!  Even for minor ailments not needing hospital care, we rely on our own infirmary and infirmarians.  You may therefore wonder how come you see some Carmelite Sisters outside of our enclosure.  You may also wonder how in the world we do some necessary temporal affairs like purchasing, running errands here and there, etc.  We may profess to live with our sights set on heaven but we are not angels and we still have to live by the rules and trades of the world.

 

            Well, for these reasons and more, we do have our Sister-angels!  They are called Extern Sisters (while those inside the enclosure can be referred to as the Cloistered Sisters).  We are not really different.  For all intents and purposes, both the Extern and Cloistered Sisters are Carmelite Sisters, monghas, in the strict and essential meaning of our vocation.  The only difference is one of geography:  Extern Sisters pay and work outside the enclosure while the Cloistered pray and work inside the enclosure.

 

            In a real sense, our Extern Sisters are our eyes and ears.  They are our connection with the rhythm of everyday living.  They are our lifeline with the goings-on of daily life outside our walls:  the horrendous traffic, the skyrocketing prices, the floods, and the hassles and bustles of life.  And during our first years, they were literally our breadwinners!  For you they are our front-liners, so to speak.  They are your more ready access of Sisters to talk with, of Sisters to ask for prayers, of Sisters to unburden your cares on.

 

There are no provisions for Extern Sisters in the 1990 Rule and Constitutions of the Discalced Nuns of the Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Hoever, the booklet printed by Bufflo Carmel entitled “Love Can Do All” tells us something about the Extern Sisters:

 

THE EXTERN SISTERS

 

Another special part of the Community is the Extern Sisters.  Their’s is a very unique calling.  An Extern Sister has a very similar schedule of prayer and manual labor; however, she does not live within the enclosure.  Her main responsibility and service of love is to take care of the exterior business connected with the monastery, thereby, enabling the cloistered Sisters to live their vocation of hidden immolation in solitude as Our Holy Mother St. Teresa envisioned for her reformed Carmels she founded.  An Extern Sister receives visitors to the monastery, takes care of their needs or relays their gifts or messages to the Cloister.  She also tends to the grounds around the monastery building: cutting the hedges, planting, watering and weeding the flowers, etc.  Though separate from the Community most of the time, an Extern Sister still remains very close to the Community under the guidance of and in obedience to the Mother Prioress.  She and her fellow Extern Sisters enter the Enclosure to take their main meals and they share in many acts of devotion and recreations with the Cloistered Sisters.  The Extern Sisters do not receite the Divine Office in the Choir with the Cloistered Sisters because of their separate schedule, but they do receipt it together in their own private Chaper before the Blessed Sacrament.  The greatest privilege of an Extern Sisters is to care for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, adorning His Altar with flowers and preparing His sanctuary and Chaper for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Their duties have won for them the fitting title of “Guardians of the Cloister” and “Guardians of the Tabernacle.”

 

The 1986 Constitutions of Poor Clare Nuns of the Federation of Mary Immaculate has similar tenor to 1991 Text of Discalced Carmelite Nuns – perpetually professed extern sisters may participate in the election of the Abbess and councilors of the monastery but she can not vote for herself for a position in the monastery.  My copy of General Constitutions of Poor Clare Sisters are buried somewhere and I cant locate them at the moment but I am sure it has similar provisions.

 

Based on those two approved texts, I am most sure that the articles referring to Extern Sisters were based on the New Code of Canon Law.  After all, once a New Code of Canon Law is enforce, all religious institutes, congregations and orders needs to revise their respective fundamental code – The Constitutions.  I have no copy of the Code of Canon Law, perhaps, you can locate the portion the stipulates the provisions on Extern Sisters.

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graciandelamadrededios

 

 

anyway, just trying to get a good grasp of this, one reason being that I have a friend who made the observation that really the Extern Sister in Carmel is not something envisioned by St. Teresa and doesn't go back to her time.

 

but I like to see the Extern vocation in Carmel now as being like a descendant of the OCD Lay Sister that does go back to St. Teresa's first foundation (not right at the start, but soon after with Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, her personal secretary) 

 

There are many practices and customs in Carmel nowadays (from her death until this present time) that St. Teresa has never introduced.  

 

During the time of St. Teresa, Extern Sisters were not common or was not yet customary among cloistered religious at that time, however, Lay Sisters are already in existence.  A lot of customs and practices of her Carmels are taken from the existing monastic houses in her region.  I assume that Extern Sisters were introduced when it became customer with other monastic houses and was permitted by the Holy See.  

 

As per Sr. Catherine's explanation - the orininal "Lay Sisters" were lay women connected to the monasteries of Nuns and later, became Third Order Regular.

 

Extern Sisters were also referred to as soeur tourière.

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graciandelamadrededios

The following was regurgitated by wikipedia when I searched for Second Order:

 

The Order is considered by the Church to be under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus has a strong Marian devotion. As in most of the orders dating to medieval times, the First Order is the friars (who are active/contemplative), the Second Order is the nuns (who are cloistered) and the Third Order consists of laypeople who continue to live in the world, and can be married, but participate in the charism of the order by liturgical prayers,apostolates, and contemplative prayer. There are also offshoots such as active Carmelite sisters.

 

I have read and encountered the same term for more than 10 years of my monastic research work.  For example, the Poor Clares, are considered the Second Order of St. Francis.

 

I assumed that same can be applied for Dominican Nuns and apparently, I was wrong.

 

In the 1930 Fundamental Code of the Dominican Nuns, it says "Constitutions of the Nuns of the Sacred Order of Preachers."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

oh yeah. okay, so you mean part of the Second Order, right? sorry I'm asking so many specific questions, I just want to clearly understand this :like:

 

I'm glad Extern Sisters are now part of the Second Order as well. I believe with this change, the Externs began wearing the full habit that the cloistered nuns wear, is this correct? Because all the preVII black and white pictures I have seen of Extern Sisters in Carmel has them in a different more simple habit like this one from Philadelphia, http://discalcedcarmelitesphila.org/topics/history/people/sr-teresita/

 

Sr.-Teresita.jpg

 

I have seen many pictures from different US Carmels before VII with a habit like this.

 

 

 

 

This is a very good photo of an Extern Sister, my dear Chiqui!  Thanks for sharing this!  I have seen photos of Extern Sisters like this too on the photos provided by one of the Philippine Carmels and on the two volume book "The Roots of St. Teresa's Nuns in the Philippines."

 

Before Vatican II, Sr. Laurentia of St. Michael, the saintly Extern Sister of Manila Carmel.

 

I am not sure of this but I thought I saw photos of Extern Sisters in slightly different habit than the above photo.  

 

Does Spanish line Carmel Externs wore similar habit before Vatican II?

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wow, some great posts here! thank you Gracian! I will have to read them more thoroughly tomorrow. and thank you very much to Sr. Mary Catharine too. I was really hoping you would post what you know on this as well.  :) very interesting indeed. 

 

one specific question that comes to mind for now. Gracian, I was also looking in my copy of those 1928 (actually 1926, and then translated into English in 1928, sorry, lol, just details!) anyway, I was looking through them as well, specifically looking to see if there was any disticntion made between the vows of Lay Sisters and Choir Nuns, as Sr. Mary Catharine said their Lay Sisters always took Solemn Vows. I couldn't find any distinction in the Constitutions, so I would assume they must have taken Solemn Vows as well. Do you know? Thanks! God bless and have a blessed Sunday! :pray:

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Sr Mary Catharine OP

There are many practices and customs in Carmel nowadays (from her death until this present time) that St. Teresa has never introduced.  

 

During the time of St. Teresa, Extern Sisters were not common or was not yet customary among cloistered religious at that time, however, Lay Sisters are already in existence.  A lot of customs and practices of her Carmels are taken from the existing monastic houses in her region.  I assume that Extern Sisters were introduced when it became customer with other monastic houses and was permitted by the Holy See.  

 

As per Sr. Catherine's explanation - the orininal "Lay Sisters" were lay women connected to the monasteries of Nuns and later, became Third Order Regular.

 

Extern Sisters were also referred to as soeur tourière.

 

You are a wealth of information! It's impressive!

 

Actually, I didn't say that the original lay sisters were lay women connected to the monastery and became 3rd Order regular. Lay sisters were just that, lay sisters. They always lived in the enclosure. They are not the same as extern sisters. Extern sisters were lay women connected to the monastery, not just for Dominicans, but for Carmelites and other Orders as well. Often they were widows, etc. This used to be very common in Europe. They often wore some sort of habit. Our externs didn't wear the Dominican habit until about the late 50's. Before they were some sort of black habit similar to the photo you have of the Carmelite extern.

 

Since externs weren't religious each monastery had different customs regarding their dress, etc. They really didn't have much of a regular religious life.

 

There is nothing in canon law regarding externs. The last norms from the Holy See are from 1961. These are the norms that monasteries follow when writing up constitutions and directories. These norms allow externs to live within the enclosure. Again, this is determined by the particular law of each monastery.

 

In 1931 the Holy See determined that extern sisters are religious with simple vows.

 

If you want the current (1961) norms in Latin go to http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/AAS%2053%20%5B1961%5D%20-%20ocr.pdf
It begins on page 371! :-)

 

God bless you!
 

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You are a wealth of information! It's impressive!

 

Actually, I didn't say that the original lay sisters were lay women connected to the monastery and became 3rd Order regular. Lay sisters were just that, lay sisters. They always lived in the enclosure. They are not the same as extern sisters. Extern sisters were lay women connected to the monastery, not just for Dominicans, but for Carmelites and other Orders as well. Often they were widows, etc. This used to be very common in Europe. They often wore some sort of habit. Our externs didn't wear the Dominican habit until about the late 50's. Before they were some sort of black habit similar to the photo you have of the Carmelite extern.

 

Since externs weren't religious each monastery had different customs regarding their dress, etc. They really didn't have much of a regular religious life.

 

There is nothing in canon law regarding externs. The last norms from the Holy See are from 1961. These are the norms that monasteries follow when writing up constitutions and directories. These norms allow externs to live within the enclosure. Again, this is determined by the particular law of each monastery.

 

In 1931 the Holy See determined that extern sisters are religious with simple vows.

 

If you want the current (1961) norms in Latin go to http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/AAS%2053%20%5B1961%5D%20-%20ocr.pdf
It begins on page 371! :-)

 

God bless you!
 

 

 

What you write here is more in line with my understanding of lay sisters and externs as well. In the Carmels where I have lived, prior to Vatican 2, lay sisters were still enclosed nuns but they were responsible for general household duties and did not participate in the choir duties, mainly because they were not educated and/or did not know the Latin required to participate in the Divine Office. Externs however, did not live within the enclosure, although they were allowed to enter, they usually had their own quarters located outside the enclosure.

 

After Vat 2, the division between lay and choir was removed and all sisters within the enclosure were considered choir nuns. In many Carmels, externs were eliminated completely although some convents did retain them, and others that tried to do without them, decided to start using them again.

 

At one monastery where I lived recently, the community had eliminated the use of extern sisters, but due to the circumstances of one particular choir sister who felt this was a better vocation for her, and because this met with the needs of the community, they allowed her to change her status from enclosed to extern. This also necessitated her changing from solemn vows to simple vows, which she did during a Mass at the convent. In her case, she continued to live within the enclosure but as an extern she was allowed to leave the enclosure as well, since she was no longer an enclosed nun. She often attended Mass in the chapel with the public and attended to other needs outside the enclosure as required.

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graciandelamadrededios

wow, some great posts here! thank you Gracian! I will have to read them more thoroughly tomorrow. and thank you very much to Sr. Mary Catharine too. I was really hoping you would post what you know on this as well.  :) very interesting indeed. 

 

one specific question that comes to mind for now. Gracian, I was also looking in my copy of those 1928 (actually 1926, and then translated into English in 1928, sorry, lol, just details!) anyway, I was looking through them as well, specifically looking to see if there was any disticntion made between the vows of Lay Sisters and Choir Nuns, as Sr. Mary Catharine said their Lay Sisters always took Solemn Vows. I couldn't find any distinction in the Constitutions, so I would assume they must have taken Solemn Vows as well. Do you know? Thanks! God bless and have a blessed Sunday! :pray:

 

I checked and have found nothing on Lay Sisters Vows but since they observed enclosure and all, except they were not required to recite the Divine Office and does not vote on Chapters, they profess the same vows as Choir Religious.

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graciandelamadrededios

Hi Chiqui, This is the latest Code of Canon Law that I found but there is nothing on Extern Sisters.

 

Thank you Sr. Catherine for the 1961 Code but I cant read Latin.

 

 

 

 

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