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Servants of The Sacred Cross


BarbaraTherese

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Every now and then I access the SSC website HERE and on my latest access a few days ago was delighted to see that Mother Wendy has been received into The Church.  I emailed to her my love and warm congratulations and received a lengthy email in reply updating me.  Over the years we have corresponded now and then. The SSC is very much alive and well in every way - and Mother Wendy is in the process of fully updating the website.  Much has happened since the last newsletter in Advent 2011 and a couple of updates since then, including the pdf document on the History of The SSC and the SSC Divine Office available on Lulu...........links on the SSC website.

At some later point into this thread, I will be sharing some of what Mother Wendy has shared with me in her email to me yesterday,

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Interesting thread indeed. What has been of concern over the years has been the number of changes.apparently to gain recognition ( all I write is from personal experience). First she was totally and a

Well, if they're currently seeking diocesan approval, I expect these things will be corrected eventually. Or if not, then they will not receive diocesan approval. Or if they do receive it with no corr

The Servants of the Sacred Cross is not recognized or approved by either the Anglican or Roman Catholic Church. Yes, anyone can join a "defacto" Association but not ( according to a number of Catholic

Every now and then I access the SSC website HERE and on my latest access a few days ago was delighted to see that Mother Wendy has been received into The Church.  I emailed to her my love and warm congratulations and received a lengthy email in reply updating me.  Over the years we have corresponded now and then. The SSC is very much alive and well in every way - and Mother Wendy is in the process of fully updating the website.  Much has happened since the last newsletter in Advent 2011 and a couple of updates since then, including the pdf document on the History of The SSC and the SSC Divine Office available on Lulu...........links on the SSC website.

At some later point into this thread, I will be sharing some of what Mother Wendy has shared with me in her email to me yesterday,

​Barb, I don't want to start any gossip about this community but I do have a question about wether they have the approval of their Bishop? The state they are a 'de facto' private association of the faithful. I don't know what they mean by this. I know this is Open Mic and not Vocation Station so maybe the rule of being approved by the Diocese doesn't apply here, but as this is a very controversial community for many reasons, I guess I am curious as to whether or not we should promote it in any way here. dUSt might weigh in about it but then again he might not read this thread either. Do whatever you think is best. I just have reservations.

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Hi nunsense - insofar as I am aware, there is nothing to prevent a Catholic woman from joining the SSC.  Defacto in Canon Law is defined in the following including defacto private associations of the faithful http://www.catholiccanonlaw.com/associations.pdf  A defacto private association does not require the official or juridic approval of any diocesan authority  - but all is covered in the above link.

I certainly have heard nothing adverse from Church authorities re the SSC in Australia nor elsewhere.  I don't know what information you might have had access to, nor the source of that information.  Personally, I tend to only accept what Church authorities may state - anything else can be a concern but only a concern unless confirmed by Church authority.  Sometimes anything else can be merely internet gossip.

If dUSt should decide for some reason that this thread is in appropriate and lock or delete it, then as a member of Phatmass I would accept the decisions of his leadership as the authority on this site and as a member of the site.

 

_____________

Catholic Culture Review - St Joseph Foundation (source of the above pdf document) http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/reviews/view.cfm?recnum=1080

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It is 5.55pm here on Wednesday 11.3.15 and I am switching off the computer for the night.  Tomorrow I am up early for voluntary work and not home until around 3 - 4pm or even later sometimes, South Australian time.

 

PS I am not seeking to enter the SSC although I did discern quite some years ago now.  Since then I have had periodic (not often) correspondence with Mother Wendy and I have periodically followed the SSC website.

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Hi nunsense - insofar as I am aware, there is nothing to prevent a Catholic woman from joining the SSC.  Defacto in Canon Law is defined in the following including defacto private associations of the faithful http://www.catholiccanonlaw.com/associations.pdf  A defacto private association does not require the official or juridic approval of any diocesan authority  - but all is covered in the above link.

I certainly have heard nothing adverse from Church authorities re the SSC in Australia nor elsewhere.  I don't know what information you might have had access to, nor the source of that information.  Personally, I tend to only accept what Church authorities may state - anything else can be a concern but only a concern unless confirmed by Church authority.  Sometimes anything else can be merely internet gossip.

If dUSt should decide for some reason that this thread is in appropriate and lock or delete it, then as a member of Phatmass I would accept the decisions of his leadership as the authority on this site and as a member of the site.

 

_____________

Catholic Culture Review - St Joseph Foundation (source of the above pdf document) http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/reviews/view.cfm?recnum=1080

 

There are many de facto associations in the Church but not all of them have Diocesan approval. It is not what I have heard that concerns me but the fact (that they post on their website) that married women can enter and eventually become consecrated sisters. If you have some source that states it is ok for currently married women to become consecrated religious sisters, then I would be happy to read it. Otherwise, I doubt that this community will ever be approved as a religious community by the Church. I am also concerned that their Novitiate is done via distance formation. I doubt that this is in line with Vatican requirements for the canonical year either.

I don't want to make this a debate, but I do have concerns about promoting any community that makes claims that might not be true because it could affect those who are discerning and trust what is posted here on phatmass.

I have said my concerns but will leave it up to you to decide how you want to run with this.

 

Posted and pinned by dUSt in VS.

Phatmass shall only be used to promote vocations that have official diocesan approval. Any post that links to a website, community, or vocation that is not recognized by the Church shall result in a warning. Multiple warning shall result in a ban from phatmass.

http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/136246-introduction-to-vocation-station/ 

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Hi again nunsense and thank you for the post.  It has prompted me to cover points I may not have otherwise covered.
 
Insofar as what you quoted as being pinned by dUSt in Vocation Station stating that only diocesan approved communities etc. etc. are to be posted, I have taken that to apply to only Vocation Station.  Defacto Private Associations of The Faithful (PATF) do not require diocesan approval under Canon Law.  I have posted this into Open Mic and Open Mic is introduced by dUSt : “Talk about anything you want here. Don’t be afraid”.
 
But as I said, if dUSt decides to lock or delete this thread for some reason, I would accept his decision as the rightful authority on Phatmass, of which I am a member.
 
The SSC does not claim to be a form of Consecrated Life in The Church. 

What I would recommend is that anyone interested in having accurate information about the SSC, that they contact Mother Wendy. 
 
Discerning one's vocation in life, which is a discerning of God's Will, to my mind should always be done with spiritual direction. 
 
From the Home Page of the Servants of The Sacred Cross http://thesacredcross.org/main.htm :.........
 
A de facto Private Association of the Faithful
The Community of The Servants of the Sacred Cross, with prayerful intention, is currently seeking appropriate formal recognition within the Catholic Church according to the direction of Canon Lawyers and Ecclesiastical authorities. The Community is presently validly formed under Canon 215 and Canon 298ff of the Code of Canon Law of The Catholic Church.
 
While a Private Association of The Faithful does not of necessity require formal approval, some do seek it and it might be granted.  A Private Association of The Faithful can validly exist without any form of official diocesan approval and the site I quoted in my previous post is quite comprehensive on the subject.  Certainly, it would be recommended that the existence of such an association be brought to the attention of the diocesan authority and it seems that the SSC has done this and is seeking some form of approval (liaising with a Canon Lawyer), whether it is granted or not remains to be seen, while the SSC can exist as a defacto PATF without such formal approval.
 
The SSC are not a form of consecrated religious life, nor do they claim to be so.  They certainly are a FORM OF sisterhood in community and of religious living, which in no way states nor implies that they are religious sisters in terms of Canon Law and as generally understood in Catholic cultural consciousness as consecrated religious sisters. And the SSC make no such claim.
 
 
The SSC comes under those clauses of Canon Law stated on their Home Page, the second clause of which (Canon 298ff – see below) specifically states that THEY ARE NOT A FORM OF CONSECRATED LIFE, nor does the SSC claim to be a form of consecrated life.
 
 
Anyone seeking or discerning specifically consecrated religious life would not be/should not be discerning with the SSC as the association is at this point in time.
 
 
To find out what the SSC is all about, their website is very informative and quite clear.  Over and above that, corresponding with Mother Wendy would answer any and all questions.  I have always found her to be quite open and transparent, responds readily to questions – and she has a warm personality.  Her contact details are on the website.
 
 
Certainly as things stand in The Church now, married women would not be admitted to consecrated religious life.  Consecrated Religious Life asks celibate chastity.  Insofar as distant formation is concerned in the novitiate years, the SSC are not bound by Vatican requirements for the canonical year which applies to the consecrated state only.
 
 
As a Defacto Private Association of The Faithful, I think that the SSC are probably something quite new today in The Church.  There might be objections, misunderstandings and misconstrues for the SSC along the way – much as St Vincent de Paul had to face same re his religious sisters not being enclosed and moving about in the community with various ministries.  This was at a time in The Church when all religious had to be enclosed.
 
St Vincent’s sisters probably may have seemed quite scandalous to some even many at the time.  It might be that along the way in the SSC journey within The Church that the association might need to make adjustments.  This remains to be seen.
 
 
 
 
Canon 298 : In The Church there are associations which are distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.  In these associations, Christ’s faithful, whether clerics or laity, or clerics and laity together, strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life, or to promote public worship or Christian teaching.  They may also devote themselves to other works of the apostolate, such as initiatives for evangelization, works of piety or charity and those which animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit.
 
To read those Canons governing the SSC, go to : http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P13.HTM
 
 
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Nowhere on the SSC website is there a claim that  " the fact (that they post on their website) that married women can enter and eventually become consecrated sisters."  That would be a complete contradiction in terms.

I searched their website and the word "consecrated" only appears once - and I think that was in connection with marriage if memory serves. 

_________________

A comment only :  We need to understand that our Baptism is a formal consecration in The Church.  "Consecrated Life or State" are terms used in Canon Law with their own specific and unique definitions.  Consecrated Life or State determines how a person is to live out their Baptismal consecration.

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Barb

If you have information that their de facto community is indeed approved by the Diocese or local Bishop in Nova Scotia (I can't find them listed on the religious directory) then by all means continue to promote them and please do share this information with all of us. I however can't in all conscience promote an organization that implies that married women can do a long distance (canonical?) Novitiate, make Profession of Vows, wear habits and become religious sisters. I don't see how under current guidelines. If they are indeed not claiming that women can become consecrated, as you explain, then how can they become religious sisters who can wear habits? If they are a secular institute, then why not say so? I am not saying they don't have the best of intentions but until some of these issues are addressed in a way that complies with Vatican guidelines for religious entry and formation, then I will continue to have my own reservations about the community, simply because it might be confusing or misleading for some discerners. After all, anyone can put on a habit and claim to be a religious sister, but without Diocesan approval, it doesn't make it so. If they are simply at too early a stage to be able to obtain this approval, then I think they should make this clear on their website that women will be making Private Vows (not Public) and will not be living consecrated lives.And if they are married then they will not become religious sisters at any stage, but perhaps associates or oblates. If you can find anything in canon law that allows for currently married women to become consecrated religious, then I would be most interested to read about it. 

 

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With respect, nunsense, I don’t think you are reading my posts, or perhaps understanding or internalizing what I have already posted.  After this post, I intend to move on and share some of what Mother Wendy has shared with me, which is the purpose of this thread insofar as I am concerned.

 

If you have information that their de facto community is indeed approved by the Diocese or local Bishop in Nova Scotia (I can't find them listed on the religious directory) then by all means continue to promote them and please do share this information with all of us.  

I have already stated, as appears on the SSC website, that they are a defacto Association of The Faithful, which comes under Canon Law.  Of course they would not be listed in the religious directory!!! The relevant clause from Canon Law taken from their website, clearly states that they ARE NOT a consecrated state of life.

 

I however can't in all conscience promote an organization that implies that married women can do a long distance (canonical?) Novitiate, make Profession of Vows, wear habits and become religious sisters. I don't see how under current guidelines.

Then do not promote the SSC, however you define "promote".  They can indeed legitimately and validly do a long distance noviciate since they are not any form of Consecrated Life and therefore not bound by the Laws governing Consecrated Life.  They are NOT religious sisters in the consecrated state of life.  It could be said however that they are a FORM OF a community of sisters living a type of religious life as a defacto Private Association of The Faithful and nothing in The Church to prevent this.

As for making vows, this is all covered in Canon Law under Private Vows.  They do not make public vows as defined by Canon Law and public vows would put them into the Consecrated State of Life.

  Again, they are not religious sisters in Publicly Consecrated Religious Life.  As for wearing a religious habit, you would need to take this up with their local diocesan authority if you have objections to secular lay women wearing religious habits. 

If they are indeed not claiming that women can become consecrated, as you explain, then how can they become religious sisters who can wear habits?

  Nunsense, they are not a secular institute in Consecrated Life – must I say it again and then again and agin, they are a defacto Association of The Faithful as defined in Canon Law.  If you want to understand what they are in Church terms, I have already given links where it is fully explained.

If they are a secular institute, then why not say so?

The only Vatican guidelines that apply to the SSC are those in Canon Law that cover Associations of The Faithful.

 I am not saying they don't have the best of intentions but until some of these issues are addressed in a way that complies with Vatican guidelines for religious entry and formation, then I will continue to have my own reservations about the community, simply because it might be confusing or misleading for some discerners. [/quote0]

 

 

Again, and seems I must say it again.  I have already stated that those who feel they might be called by God to the vocation of Consecrated Life should not/would not be discerning with the SSC!!!  Why? BECAUSE THE SSC IS NOT A FORM OF CONSECRATED LIFE !!!All I can state, nunsense, is that you have not been reading or perhaps understanding and internalizing what I have already written – I have already covered your statements above which are inaccurate in understanding - and I don’t intend to keep going round in circles over the same ground again and again. I have already addressed your statements in your comments above. You obviously have objections to the SSC which is your opinion and fair enough.  We are all entitled to our opinions.

I don't intend to go round in any more circles, too time consuming, and my next post will be to share something of what Mother Wendy has shared with me.

 

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Ok - I accept all your points - and in the end they finally lead to what I have been trying to say all along, and what I think should be made VERY clear on their website and is not (in my opinion)... in your words:

 

 I have already stated that those who feel they might be called by God to the vocation of Consecrated Life should not/would not be discerning with the SSC!!!  Why? BECAUSE THE SSC IS NOT A FORM OF CONSECRATED LIFE !!!

 

I have no further issues than this and am happy to leave it there.

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As I promised, I am sharing here some of what Mother Wendy has written to me.
 
Certainly over the years she has had detractors/criticisms from one source or another for various reasons and this has been her (and her sisters’) particular cross, their difficulty - they have survived it all and persevered with God's Grace.  It is now over 11 years ago since I discerned and decided against it for myself, but I have consistently followed the SSC largely through their website, very interested in their journey.
 
It was truly wonderful to know that Mother Wendy has been received into The Church (3 years ago) and all Sisters are now Catholics, except for one Anglican member.  They no longer accept candidates from the Eastern Orthodox rite while retaining what I would term :  a restricted type of ecumenical focus.  Mother Wendy has felt an attraction to Catholicism since her childhood and the website sharing her entrance into The Church filled me with great Joy indeed.  In our communications now and then over the years, I have noted that God and His Will figures consistently quite largely in her thinking and therefore what she has to say – and this too has filled me with great Joy.  Certainly as I discerned through her, it was God's Will for me that remained her focus.  It was my decision however to cease discerning - but in the interim I had stopped smoking and for that alone, I will be forever grateful to Mother Wendy (she had advised me she would not accept a candidate who smoked).
 
When I accessed the SSC website a few days ago or so, I was happy to see that it had been at last been somewhat updated and Mother Wendy has advised me that there are more updates ‘on the drawing board’.   As can happen with all of us, time just runs away with one and what one had wanted to complete remains undone.
 
Since the last newsletter in 2011, Mother Wendy has had a difficult personal time -  both her mother and step-father passed away and there was a shift back to her childhood home which had asked many renovations.  She has also had health problems, now thankfully settled down.  Over and above this, her duties in the SSC including with new applicants has kept her busy, but sometime around Easter this year there should be a new newsletter, unless of course the unexpected does crop up. 
 
I think I have covered it.   The SSC is still alive and well!
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  • 5 months later...

Interesting thread indeed. What has been of concern over the years has been the number of changes.apparently to gain recognition ( all I write is from personal experience). First she was totally and avidly Anglican and there was no way she would ever even consider an ecumenical approach which was when I stopped any meaningful contact. Maybe phatmass is not aware of the numbers of these Anglican " orders" who dress up in a habit at weekends etc, are often married? Or boast of " new monasticism"..when they have little idea of religious life. She would have  fitted well into that scenario...Then she suddenly became ecumenical, then entered the Church and refuses Orthodox entrants. Over the years too there have been false news items that she has a convent for cotemplatives...( I have family in Canada who know this is not true) Just does not inspire trust  and she is treading a strange path, using the real and deep respect folk still thankfully have for the habit unjustifiably and to my mind manipulatively.  And doing so does great harm to religious life.Something very distasteful to read of children helping their mother dress for her " clothing" as a novice!  By all means wear something  distinctive but not the Holy Habit of religion when you are not living that life. And they are not. Reminds me of a market trader where I live now who wears a habit when she feels like it. It shows lack of real understanding of religious life and lack of respect for both it and the habit,  care needed indeed

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Well, if they're currently seeking diocesan approval, I expect these things will be corrected eventually. Or if not, then they will not receive diocesan approval. Or if they do receive it with no correction, then we will be corrected!

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I know some third Orders wore habits back in the day .. And I seem to remember that third Order Sisters didn't necessarily need to be unmarried if they had consent of their husband. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong). Today married people can't get any separation to be nuns and monks. But what about third Order? Not all of them take a vow of chastity. Are these like a third Order? I don't know if I'm off somewhere but that's what I thought of .. Maybe they're like third Order with a habit?

Well, if they're currently seeking diocesan approval, I expect these things will be corrected eventually. Or if not, then they will not receive diocesan approval. Or if they do receive it with no correction, then we will be corrected!

good summary :) 

Edited by MarysLittleFlower
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