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Is Anyone Familiar with the Carmelite Daughters of St. Elias?


Alison

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I think I might really like them, I just was wondering what their Marian devotion/spirituality looks like, as their website appears to be in its beginning stages! They do seem very sweet  and lovely though from what I have seen!

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According to the pictures on Facebook, they have one sister in vows (black veil). This is highly problematic. The overwhelming majority of such communities do not survive. 

Why are people so attracted to communities that seem to have existed for about 15 minutes when there are literally hundreds that have proven themselves over decades, if not centuries?

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Nunsuch—why so negative about new communities?  It seems to be a common theme with you.  Seems pretty clear the vast majority of communities have lost or jettisoned much of the religious life that has attracted young people throughout the ages.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  I pray for new communities everyday.  These Carmelite sisters are under the spiritual guidance of the Oratorian Community and others.  If it’s God’s Will, they will flourish.  God bless them and those seeking their religious vocation with them.

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I did think it was unusual that their was only one nun with a black veil. I can see the sppeal of those newly founded comminities. After all every community was new once. As long as they have approval. 

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The Sister in the black veil was an OCD nuns who was approved to live as a non-contemplative & found a new community. All the other Sisters are in formation. 

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Yes! They’re approved and the founding sister been officially given the title of Mother. On very good terms with the diocese. There’s two there now that are soon to receive the black veil as well (within the next year I believe). *very* active order! As for their Marian devotion… it’s not a vital part of their charism, and I’ve never heard them speak much of it when I spoke with them.
As for them being a new community… every community is new at some point, so why not give them a shot! You never know where the Lord plans for you to be. 

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I am not negative, but I do think there is some value in considering congregations that have been proven. All of the research on new communities is clear that most will not survive. It also takes a particular type of personality to be a founder, or even a founding member. 

As for what has attracted people to religious life historically, well, that is actually what I study. The "traditional" form of religious life that so many of these new groups seem to want to "recapture" actually existed for about 50-70 years (from Conditae and the 1901 Normae till Vatican II--or, more precisely, until Sister Formation). Nothing wrong with that, of course.

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23 hours ago, Nunsuch said:

According to the pictures on Facebook, they have one sister in vows (black veil). This is highly problematic. The overwhelming majority of such communities do not survive. 

Why are people so attracted to communities that seem to have existed for about 15 minutes when there are literally hundreds that have proven themselves over decades, if not centuries?

Because they offer a liturgical life according to the 1962 books, and young women aren't afraid that they will be the last one left when they become old.  It's no mystery. Let's face it, most communities that exist right now look like nursing homes, and the members are not willing to do what is necessary by recapturing their traditions to attract new members. They are failing to prove themselves in the here and now and are dying out.

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If you read the CARA research on new communities, which is ongoing and extensive, three things are clear:

1. Most new communities will not survive. While some older communities are coming to completion, many others are not. And there is no evidence that newer groups are more likely to persist.

2. As many people are entering communities affiliated with LCWR as with CMSWR. There are just far more of them. 

3. There is no evidence that aspirants to religious life are more attracted to the Tridentine forms of liturgy than to the Ordinary forms.

I won't persist in this, but what I say has nothing to do with what I might prefer, but rather with actual data, and not anecdote.

 

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On 1/3/2023 at 7:22 AM, JHFamily said:

Because they offer a liturgical life according to the 1962 books, and young women aren't afraid that they will be the last one left when they become old.  It's no mystery. Let's face it, most communities that exist right now look like nursing homes, and the members are not willing to do what is necessary by recapturing their traditions to attract new members. They are failing to prove themselves in the here and now and are dying out.

I agree.  I belonged to a large Franciscan community.  The end started with removing the habit rosary, then modifying the veil, then went to jumpers, and then street clothes.  They then went to living in apartments, wearing jewelry, and make up.  This community indeed does look like a nursing home with only aged members.  Got a notice that they were closing their nursing home for aged sisters, but no explanation as to why was given - probably financial.  In the last decade or so, 102 sisters have died, and no one enters to take their place.  I got a call from one of the sisters telling me that "the community is dying".  This is a community that had over 900 sisters in the early 60's.  

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2 hours ago, Totally Franciscan said:

I agree.  I belonged to a large Franciscan community.  The end started with removing the habit rosary, then modifying the veil, then went to jumpers, and then street clothes.  They then went to living in apartments, wearing jewelry, and make up.  This community indeed does look like a nursing home with only aged members.  Got a notice that they were closing their nursing home for aged sisters, but no explanation as to why was given - probably financial.  In the last decade or so, 102 sisters have died, and no one enters to take their place.  I got a call from one of the sisters telling me that "the community is dying".  This is a community that had over 900 sisters in the early 60's.  

This may well be true, but it is anecdote, not macrocosmic evidence. 

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"Let's face it, most communities that exist right now look like nursing homes."

"This community indeed does look like a nursing home with only aged members."

Wow.  Ageism, anyone?  How do you REALLY feel about the elderly?  Or those with disability? 

Pope Francis accurately described the above attitudes when he said:  "And we throw away the elderly, behind which are attitudes of hidden euthanasia, a form of euthanasia. They aren’t needed, and what isn’t needed gets thrown away. What doesn’t produce is discarded."

I can assure you, Totally Franciscan, that every single Sister in your former community will die as a religious Sister (unless she chooses to leave her congregation before she dies).  Unfortunately, as Nunsuch has pointed out (and repeated history and data indicate), that's not the case for most women who join start-up communities.  Unlike members of established congregations, members of start-up communities have very few canonical rights because they aren't members of formal canonical institutions.  The vast majority of start-up communities do not survive the death of their founders and the mid-life crises of their largest generation, meaning:  women who enter start-up communities are at disproportionate risk of being stranded/forced out of religious life.

Intergenerational living is not always easy--in fact, sometimes it can be downright difficult.  I also have serious questions about the motives--and concerns about the long-term viability--of those who actively shun it, since everyone eventually gets old (unless they die first).

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"Ageism, anyone?"

You totally missed the point. Egregiously so. It's not that they are not valued, but rather, that once they are gone (and gone they will be), there will be no one left when the young sisters grow old. So many times I've read on this forum "A community of one (or two or three) is not a community."  Seems like this wants to be thrown around for new communities but never acknowledged for ones that are dying out. The average age of a Catholic sister is close to 80... 80! Only 1% is below the age of 40! If I were a young discerning woman, I would want to enter somewhere that had sisters of similar age to me so that I know I have sisters to grow old with and hopefully younger sisters that could take care of me rather than being left in a nursing home, alone, in my old age.

The average number of women entering religious life is somewhat close to 200. So, let's analyze this a bit. Let's just pretend the DSMME, the Nashville Dominicans, the Benedictines of Mary, the JMJ Carmels, the PCCs all receive ten postulants in a year, which would be on the low side for each of them. That's already 50 accounted for.  Then, factor in the communities which almost always receive 2-5 each year... the Salesian sisters, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus, the Adorers of the Royal Heart, the Franciscans of the Renewal, the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa, the Norbertines, the Sisters of Life, just to name the ones I can name off the top of my head... let's just say another 50 to be on the low side again. That leaves 100 women among the 400 congregations ... approximately one entrance every four years. Am I going to choose the congregation in which there will be 12-60 enter within either side of the two years I enter? Or do I choose the community that has zero? 

Bury your head in the sand. But I know many congregations in large buildings that are losing members much faster than they are gaining them. No, I don't have the statistics at my fingertips. However, I know for a fact that it's the rule and not the exception, and so does everyone else.

As for the Tridentine Mass and Office, most may not be attracted to them, but a substantial percentage of those who are entering are entering communities that offer it. As it stands now, many young women must choose between their liturgical spirituality and charism. It's a very difficult decision to make. Better if they did not have to compromise.

Simply put, you ask the question why are young ladies attracted to the new congregations, and the answer is very simple. They would rather take the chance on something that may work out than to compromise. The young are always full of hope. Shame on us who try to douse it.

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