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Visitations of orders with the EF?


AVEBVM

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Hello,

Im wondering if anyone knows what’s going on with Valparaiso, NE Carmelites? I tried reaching Mother about a month ago asking to visit. But last Sunday at an FSSP parish in Omaha (I’m assuming those priests sometimes serve those Carmelites), Father announced to us that the nuns were under visitation at that time and they need prayers. 

I was set to enter a Novus Ordo Carmel October 7, but I held off because of my growing love of the traditional Liturgy. So I decided to restart discerning with Valparaiso. 
 And another thing, does anyone have any advice or guidance in regards to discernment with monasteries that have the EF?

Okay I wish I could delete this post now because I have come to the conclusion that it’s better for me to just ask Mother myself. But would it be annoying if I wrote her another letter?

I have sent more than one letter in the past because I got no reply after a month. But I know the monastery is busy, so would it be annoying for me to write or call again?

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The nuns at Fairfield who are also part of the JMJ Carmel’s have also had a Visitation so the community at Valparaiso may need time to process the results of this. You may not receive a reply for a while. Lots of prayers needed for these communities 

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Autocorrect gave ‘Carmel’s’ not Carmels ! Sorry! 
The reason I know about Fairfield is that I am on the Community mailing list and the Sisters asked for prayers for the Visitation. Blessings!

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Details have been vague, but most communities have ‘regular’ visitations every three years using same method described. But this could be a more ‘serious’ visitation. It’s always good to pray for a community, but without further information it’s hard to know where this one lands. 

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If they are conducting their daily activities as it is prescribed for their Carmelite rules, there should not be any concerns/ apprehensiveness among the community. None the less..feeling uneasy..is not a positive feeling. I hope and pray whatever they are experiancing, has a positive outcome for them! 

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As part of the community email I received from the Sisters there was another email sent from a friend of the Community who travelled to Rome with a couple of the Sisters to meet with the Body responsible for religious life at the Vatican to discuss the reasons for the Visitation. So I think it’s not just an ordinary visitation, as these Sisters keep strict enclosure and rarely leave their convent. If anyone is discerning there I would suggest getting in touch with the community and getting some sense of whether they are in a position to receive aspirants currently. 

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I am a scholar of religious life, and I have worked with numerous communities--all in the US and all women. Visitations are not "normal," and certainly don't happen every 3 years. Most communities never experience one.

There was a major visitation of active women's communities in the US about 10 years ago. While there was a lot of concern when it happened (mainly among the less traditional communities, most affiliated with LCWR, who seemed to be the main focus of it), the results were not particularly significant. 

If you want to know more about that, there is a book written by some sisters in leadership who were involved: 

The Power of Sisterhood: Women Religious Tell the Story of the Apostolic Visitation, ed. Margaret McCarthy and Mary Ann Zollmann (2014). 

There is other work that has been written about this, including a 2016 article in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion by Margaret Susan Thompson.

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Nunsuch,

you are well-versed in the modern orders; is this a difference between an apostolic visitation and an episcopal/'pastoral'/canonical visitation?

 

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1 hour ago, Nunsuch said:

I am a scholar of religious life, and I have worked with numerous communities--all in the US and all women. Visitations are not "normal," and certainly don't happen every 3 years. Most communities never experience one.

This actually isn't true, you may be confusing visitations with something else. I know that the Benedictine monasteries of the Solesmes Congregation have regular visitations every 2-4 years (don't remember which, sorry, it's not every year but not as  far apart as 5). These visitations,  which last about a week,  have 2 Visitors: for male monasteries,  2 monks from a different Solesmian monastery (both Abbots or their delegates); for convents, an abbot and an abbess ( both Solesmian as well). I'm not sure what goes on during a visitation,  but I know all the religious are interviewed by the Visitors. 

Actually, Cor Orans,  the document from 2018 implementing Pope Francis'  Vultum Dei Quaerere on Women's Contemplative Life actually requires such visitations.  I'm not at all surprised that the Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmels are receiving these visitations,  especially since the EF monasteries have largely or entirely ignored the instructions of Cor Orans, which is now 3 years old. None, for instance, have extended the length of formation from 5-6 years to the minimal 9 years required by Cor Orans. I expect the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles will also be receiving a similar visitation on this matter of formation as well.

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37 minutes ago, PaxCordisJesu said:

This actually isn't true, you may be confusing visitations with something else. I know that the Benedictine monasteries of the Solesmes Congregation have regular visitations every 2-4 years (don't remember which, sorry, it's not every year but not as  far apart as 5). These visitations,  which last about a week,  have 2 Visitors: for male monasteries,  2 monks from a different Solesmian monastery (both Abbots or their delegates); for convents, an abbot and an abbess ( both Solesmian as well). I'm not sure what goes on during a visitation,  but I know all the religious are interviewed by the Visitors. 

Actually, Cor Orans,  the document from 2018 implementing Pope Francis'  Vultum Dei Quaerere on Women's Contemplative Life actually requires such visitations.  I'm not at all surprised that the Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmels are receiving these visitations,  especially since the EF monasteries have largely or entirely ignored the instructions of Cor Orans, which is now 3 years old. None, for instance, have extended the length of formation from 5-6 years to the minimal 9 years required by Cor Orans. I expect the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles will also be receiving a similar visitation on this matter of formation as well.

This (Solesmes) is a visitation from a congregation's leadership. The one that is being discussed here is from the Vatican, from the Congregation for Religious. You are the one who is confusing things. Sorry. Visitations by Vatican authorities are rare, and usually when a problem is suspected. As with the American AV, they can of course result in a decision that nothing is wrong.  But if the communities in question are violating Vatican policies, that can be a problem. LCWR communities were not.

2 hours ago, truthfinder said:

Nunsuch,

you are well-versed in the modern orders; is this a difference between an apostolic visitation and an episcopal/'pastoral'/canonical visitation?

 

There are a variety of kinds of visitations, as PaxCordisJesu actually suggests. Members of larger congregations or orders may be "visited" by the congregation or order leadership. How often this might happen depends upon the order or congregation (and some do not do this). For example, women congregations of Dominicans are usually not "visited" by male authorities. Nor are members of most of the Carmelite monasteries in the US.  Diocesan communities may be visited by the local ordinary or his delegate (perhaps the VIcar for Religious)--often for pastoral reasons. But Apostolic Visitations from the Vatican are something quite different. And unusual. 

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21 minutes ago, Nunsuch said:

There are a variety of kinds of visitations, as PaxCordisJesu actually suggests. Members of larger congregations or orders may be "visited" by the congregation or order leadership. How often this might happen depends upon the order or congregation (and some do not do this). For example, women congregations of Dominicans are usually not "visited" by male authorities. Nor are members of most of the Carmelite monasteries in the US.  Diocesan communities may be visited by the local ordinary or his delegate (perhaps the VIcar for Religious)--often for pastoral reasons. But Apostolic Visitations from the Vatican are something quite different. And unusual. 

Thanks for the clarification. My first comment was in error with my brain conflating apostolic with episcopal. 
 

In my own sources, they typically refer to canonical visits or episcopal visits, but obviously from a very different temporal and legislative sphere. 

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This stuff can be pretty complicated. And generally not stuff that most Catholics need to know about. The Solesmes visitation referred to above is really an "internal" one, as it by members of a congregation to a house of the congregation. The term Apostolic Visitation usually refers to one under the authority or order of the Vatican. This may not be by a cleric. The person in charge of the American Apostolic Visitation of sisters was actually herself an American sister. She was apparently a remarkably diplomatic and wise woman, who was respected by all involved. I have this on the authority of two women who were presidents of LCWR during the time of that Visitation.

I only know what I have read about the Valparaiso Carmelite Visitation in a couple of news stories, which isn't much. It sounds like it may have something to do with the new Vatican document on contemplative life and whether or not these sisters are compliant. Or it may be something else. We should probably all just wait to see what happens. I'm sure we'll find out eventually.

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grammar
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16 hours ago, Nunsuch said:

I am a scholar of religious life, and I have worked with numerous communities--all in the US and all women. Visitations are not "normal," and certainly don't happen every 3 years. Most communities never experience one.

Actually, canon 628 talks about routine visitations. For larger pontifical communities, these regular visitations are carried out internally by members of the same institute with a frequency set out by the community's own law. However, can. 628 §2 talks about the diocesan bishop--so, an "outside" visitator--having this responsibility for autonomous monasteries (which would be the vast majority of Carmels) and diocesan right communities within his own diocese. 

Visitations from Rome are somewhat unusual, though, and usually they happen because there is something Rome feels they need to look into.

Still, even a special visitation from Rome isn't something sinister! It part of the process of communities receiving on-going guidance from the Church. It is entirely possible that Rome could visit and decide that everything is fine; or even if Rome recommends or mandates changes, the community may very well find such recommendations to be genuinely helpful. 

14 hours ago, PaxCordisJesu said:

Actually, Cor Orans,  the document from 2018 implementing Pope Francis'  Vultum Dei Quaerere on Women's Contemplative Life actually requires such visitations.  I'm not at all surprised that the Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmels are receiving these visitations,  especially since the EF monasteries have largely or entirely ignored the instructions of Cor Orans, which is now 3 years old. None, for instance, have extended the length of formation from 5-6 years to the minimal 9 years required by Cor Orans. I expect the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles will also be receiving a similar visitation on this matter of formation as well.

I hadn't heard or realized that a lot of EF monasteries had not implemented Cor Orans. If that is the case, then I wouldn't be surprised either if that's part of why a special visitation would be happen.

I wonder if the reasoning on the part of the EF monasteries was that Cor Orans didn't apply to them because they had been supervised by the Ecclesiae Dei commission rather than the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life? Of course, now Traditionis custodes has clarified that even EF communities are now under the Congregation for Consecrated Life, like any other community.

But overall, even though these issues are fascinating for me professionally as a canonist, at the end of the day the visitation is between a community and Rome. The nuns could benefit from our simple prayers far more than from our speculation! 

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10 minutes ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

Actually, canon 628 talks about routine visitations. For larger pontifical communities, these regular visitations are carried out internally by members of the same institute with a frequency set out by the community's own law. However, can. 628 §2 talks about the diocesan bishop--so, an "outside" visitator--having this responsibility for autonomous monasteries (which would be the vast majority of Carmels) and diocesan right communities within his own diocese. 

Visitations from Rome are somewhat unusual, though, and usually they happen because there is something Rome feels they need to look into.

Still, even a special visitation from Rome isn't something sinister! It part of the process of communities receiving on-going guidance from the Church. It is entirely possible that Rome could visit and decide that everything is fine; or even if Rome recommends or mandates changes, the community may very well find such recommendations to be genuinely helpful. 

I hadn't heard or realized that a lot of EF monasteries had not implemented Cor Orans. If that is the case, then I wouldn't be surprised either if that's part of why a special visitation would be happen.

I wonder if the reasoning on the part of the EF monasteries was that Cor Orans didn't apply to them because they had been supervised by the Ecclesiae Dei commission rather than the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life? Of course, now Traditionis custodes has clarified that even EF communities are now under the Congregation for Consecrated Life, like any other community.

But overall, even though these issues are fascinating for me professionally as a canonist, at the end of the day the visitation is between a community and Rome. The nuns could benefit from our simple prayers far more than from our speculation! 

Someone sent me this YouTube link. This is the confessor for the Fairfield, Carmelites. He seems to think something sinister is afoot, in fact he seems to fear for his life. I don’t know him, I’m not familiar with the particulars, but I I am just posting this because I thought it was interesting. I’m not trying to start anything controversial. You can draw your own conclusions. 

 

 

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