Dissecting a Hell’s Bible op-ed defense of the Magisterium of Nuns

From Hell’s Bible comes this op-ed:

Nuns on the Frontier
By ANNE M. BUTLER [professor emerita of history at Utah State University]
Fernandina Beach, Fla.

THE recent Vatican edict that reproached American nuns [Incorrect in point of facts: It was not an edict.  It was not a reproach of “American nuns”.  It was about the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a subsidiary of the Magisterium of Nuns.] for their liberal views on social and political issues [The writer is trying from the onset to make you think that the Holy See and by implication the US bishops are politically motivated.  That is not the case.] has put a spotlight on the practices of these Roman Catholic sisters. While the current debate has focused on the nuns’ progressive stances on birth control, abortion, homosexuality, [finally something closer to the truth… but wait! There’s more! . … ] the all-male priesthood [You knew it was coming, right?] and economic injustice, [The writer is implying that the sisters love the poor and help them and the bishops are meanies who don’t.] tension between American nuns and the church’s male hierarchy reaches much further back.

In the 19th century, Catholic nuns literally built the church in the American West, braving hardship and grueling circumstances to establish missions, set up classrooms and lead lives of calm in a chaotic world marked by corruption, criminality and illness. [And not a single man every helped them, either.  Not a single bishop or priests ever helped.  Right?] Their determination in the face of a male hierarchy [?!?] that, then as now, frequently exploited and disdained them was a demonstration of their resilient faith in a church struggling to adapt itself to change.  [Did the writer just make the dopey suggestion that the nuns did what they did without the help of any man and, indeed, against – in the face of – what the hierarchy wanted?  That the eeeevillll men did not want the sisters to build and staff classrooms and hospitals?  Is she barking mad?  Does she think you are that stupid?]

Like other settlers in the West, Catholic nuns were mostly migrants from Europe or the American East; the church had turned to them to create a Catholic presence across a seemingly limitless frontier. The region’s rocky mining camps, grassy plains and arid deserts did not appeal to many ordained men. As one disenchanted European priest, lamenting the lack of a good cook and the discomfort of frontier travel, grumbled, “I hate the long, dreary winters of Iowa.”  [There were no male missionaries?  No priests went where the women religious went?  What amazons!]

Bishops relentlessly recruited sisters for Western missions, [Ahhh… so it wasn’t exactly “in the face of” the hierarchy after all.] enticing them with images of Christian conversions, helpful local clergymen and charming convent cottages. If the sisters hesitated, the bishops mocked their timidity, scorned their selfishness and threatened heavenly retribution.  [Oooo they were so mean.  But what comes through here is that the women weren’t all bubbly with missionary zeal.  They weren’t yearning to get out there.  They were as inert as any other people might be. They had to be “enticed”.]

The sisters proved them wrong. [Because all men are always wrong.] By steamboat, train, stagecoach and canoe, on foot and on horseback, the nuns answered the call. In the 1840s, a half-dozen sisters from Notre Dame de Namur, a Belgian order, braved stormy seas and dense fog [SWELL MUSIC] to reach Oregon. In 1852, seven Daughters of Charity struggled on the backs of donkeys across the rain-soaked Isthmus of Panama toward California. In 1884, six Ursuline nuns stepped from a train in Montana, only to be left by the bishop at a raucous public rooming house, its unheated loft furnished only with wind and drifting snow. [And here I thought women wanted equal treatment as men.]

These nuns lived in filthy dugouts, barns and stables, [Sorry, but… were they waiting for a man to clean them?] hoped for donations of furniture, and survived on a daily ration of one slice of bread or a bowl of onion soup along with a cup of tea. They made their own way, worked endless hours, often walked miles to a Catholic chapel for services, and endured daunting privations in housing and nutrition. [Which pretty much describes everyone else’s lot out there in those days.  And, notice that there were priests out there.  But surely their conditions were more like The Ritz.]

There appeared to be no end to what was expected of the sisters. In 1874, two Sisters of the Holy Cross, at the direction of Edward Sorin, the founder of the University of Notre Dame, opened a Texas school and orphanage in a two-room shack with a leaky dormitory garret that the nuns affectionately labeled “The Ark.” The brother who managed the congregation’s large farm informed the sisters, who were barely able to feed and clothe the 80 boarders, that he could not give the school free produce — though they could buy it at a discount. [I guess the economic rules were suspended in the case of the priest and money just miraculously appeared for him.  He never had any bills to pay and therefore, rolling in dough, ought to have just given them everything gratis.] The sisters also did 18 years of unpaid housekeeping work on a farm run by the men.  [Unpaid? Was everything supposed to be free to them? St. Paul, I believe, made a connection about working and eating.]

Sisters adapted to these physical, spiritual and fiscal exploitations [So we are just supposed to accept what happened as “exploitations” just because she used the word.] with amazingly good humor. Still, they chafed against their male superiors’ unreasonable restrictions and harsh dictates.  [Ooo ooo!  Stop.  My eyes are starting to fill up.  gulp] When they directly questioned policy, [DING! There’s the magic word, friends.  You know that at a certain point “policy” would come in.  Now watch the writer conflate certain behaviors or decisions or true policies with the Church’s doctrine.  If the former was unjust and should have been different, then doctrine is unjust an ought to be changed as if it were a “policy”.] bishops and priests moved to silence them. [Booo! Meanies!] A single protest could draw draconian reprisals on an entire congregation.  [“I’m Spartaca!” “No, I’MMMM Spartaca!”  “I am Spartaca!”   SWELL MUSIC… ]


Good grief.  You can read the rest there.

Meanwhile, allow me to remind you of one of the Nuns Gone Wild:

Margaret Farley: over the years, she has taken positions favorable to abortion, same-sex “marriage,” sterilization of women, divorce and the “ordination” of women to the priesthood. Farley, who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, is well known for her radical feminist ideas and open dissent from Church teaching. In 1982, when the Sisters of Mercy sent a letter to all their hospitals recommending that tubal ligations be performed in violation of Church teaching against sterilization, Pope John Paul II gave the Sisters an ultimatum, causing them to withdraw their letter. Farley justified their “capitulation” on the ground that “material cooperation in evil for the sake of a ‘proportionate good’” was morally permissible. In other words, she declared that obedience to the Pope was tantamount to cooperation in evil, and that the Sisters were justified in doing it only because their obedience prevented “greater harm, namely the loss of the institutions that expressed the Mercy ministry.” In her presidential address to the Catholic Theological Society of America in 2000 she attacked the Vatican for its “overwhelming preoccupation” with abortion, calling its defense of babies “scandalous” and asking for an end to its “opposition to abortion” until the “credibility gap regarding women and the church” has been closed. In her book Just Love she offers a full-throated defense of homosexual relationships, including a defense of their right to marry. She admits that the Church “officially” endorses the morality of “the past,” but rejoices that moral theologians like Charles Curran and Richard McCormick embrace “pluralism” on the issues of premarital sex and homosexual acts. She says that sex and gender are “unstable, debatable categories,” which feminists like her see as “socially constructed.” She has nothing but disdain for traditional morality, as when she remarks that we already know the “dangers” and “ineffectiveness of moralism” and of “narrowly construed moral systems.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. heway says:

    Ms. Butler will probably go to work tomorrow – you might have a ‘stroke’…I felt like you were coming off the page!
    This morning I watched a piece about a nomad family in Tibet…very tough life. And the woman said, ‘the women have to do all the work when you live out here”.
    Age old complaint, Father.

  2. kab63 says:

    A pioneer is daring and courageous. I bet these nuns had a great story. Too bad this writer told only half of it. I doubt the nuns would appreciate their struggles against nature interpreted as mistreatment by the Church.

  3. benedetta says:

    How about pro-choice radio personality Sr. Camille D’Arienzo? Surely she should get a mention here.

    As for the Hell’s Bible piece, how tedious.

  4. digdigby says:

    Funny. I love to read old Indian Sentinel magazines (they are on line at Marquette University).
    The young priest in the 1920’s on a reservation. Two young and very proper Swiss nuns
    to help him teach and care for an orphanage of Indian children. Sixteen hour days. Every penny spent just to keep all of them alive. The conditions appalling beyond what we can imagine today. The priest says the only time he wept was when the two sisters – who were literally like sisters to him, went two months without even a bit of tea to brew. The one wretched little pleasure in their lives was to take a few minutes break in the afternoon and have a tea and chat.

    This vile, carping, divisive, spiritually insipid boiler-plate feminist is in the hell of her
    lovelessness and spite as she lies about the dead. God have mercy on such as her.

  5. Father K says:

    Sister looks like a very fulfilled and contented sister/woman…!

  6. JohnE says:

    So when she says the nuns of 1800’s did all these things like literally building the church in the American West, etc., she’s talking about unfaithful nuns like many in the LCWR??! I knew they were old, but…wow!

    I too have admiration for the nuns of the past — the FAITHFUL nuns of the past.

  7. jflare says:

    I must admit that I find this article actually offensive on several grounds!
    For one, I looked for a place to offer a comment there at the article; Ms. Butler simply stated so much rubbish, I felt the need to at least partly rebut a few concerns. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to do so.
    More importantly though, Ms. Butler seems moderately ignorant of the actual history of the nation AND of the Midwest. So the nuns struggled to establish themselves in various places? OK, I’m sure they did. Sooo….I guess we’re assuming then that French missionary priests who came to this same area BEFORE the Louisiana Purchase must have come on luxury cruise ships, stayed at the Ritz, and enjoyed the most luxurious accommodations in their efforts to spread the faith to the indian tribes here on the Plains? I think an honest look at history would demonstrate otherwise. She might be well advised to visit St. John’s church at Creighton University: There’s a stained glass window there that honors the PRIESTS who were martyred in their efforts to spread the faith here in the Midwest. And a thought-provoking fact: Those priests were JESUITS!
    (OK, this makes lots of sense because Creighton IS a Jesuit university. Still, the fact remains they were NOT nuns……)
    I wonder if Ms. Butler would be willing to address their trials? Best not ask….

    ..Actually, if she wants to howl about the trials of the faithful, I wonder if she’d be willing to offer any empathy to the priests in Western Nebraska? (Or elsewhere?) I wonder what she’d say if she knew that there’re less than 50 priests in the Grand Island Diocese to cover the area? Wonder what she’d say if she knew that many of these..cough..MEN..literally drive for up to 200 miles every weekend to do nothing more complex than..provide MASS?

    I do not wish to be disparaging toward the nuns who’re working hard to make things happen, but I’m REALLY weary of this attitude that the women of the Church have suffered severely at the hands of their fellow faithful.
    They aren’t the only ones…..!!

  8. Dies Irae says:

    I think Ms. Annie here got the nuns mixed up with the Native American squaws.
    Some people just need to read up on their history. Sheesh.

  9. ray from mn says:

    The foundress of the Benedictine order in Duluth set up what became the College of St. Scholastica and St. Mary’s hospital in Duluth and other hospitals in other cities in Minnesota and around the country. But if she hadn’t received a tremendous amount of money to finance land purchases and building construction from her father, who was a wealthy St. Paul contractor, and other men, not much would have happened.

    And over the years, the men on her advisory boards taught the sisters about business, including such simple things as recommending that they join the Social Security system when it began in the 1930’s. Yes, the nuns made almost no money for their labors, but when it came time for retirement, each of them became eligible for at least a minimum Social Security payment from the government. You multiply that by hundreds of retirees each month and it amounts to a significant amount of money that the order can use to have them all live comfortably. Not to mention Medicare and Medicaid.

    Many male and female religious orders did not do that and survive each year only by literally begging their bishops and U.S. Catholics for contributions to keep them going.

  10. PhilipNeri says:

    Geez. . .I can smell the stench of FishWrap’s desperation all the way down here in the Nawlin’s bayou.

    Sad, really.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  11. Dominicanes says:

    They aren’t nuns….

  12. mwk3 says:

    Dear Father, I am always surprised how you have the patience to deal with such drivel on a daily basis. I for one feel my blood pressure rising after reading the first sentence of some of these things. But the work you do is very important. Perhaps you have a special grace. Thanks for all you do. God bless you.

  13. Mrs. O says:

    I know the Church would never do this but what would be the “surplus” of their “fruits” if you added in the destruction of faith, promotion of killing of children, and the closing of monasteries, etc? I know how they harp about the clergy sex abuse scandal and payout, which they have yet to respond to accusations that I am aware of, but they would not come out in the black. I am glad they do not measure success nor God’s work that way. But when I look at the old pictures and what the Sisters did here, and I look to these new Sisters, I don’t make the connection. I figure, or pray, there are dormant seeds yet to spring up in their orders.

  14. SonofMonica says:

    I like how they try to gain sympathy off the supposed plight of others. As if these modern-day sisters ever suffered or wanted for anything.

  15. Michelle F says:

    19th century nuns “directly questioned policy.” Really? Which nuns? Which policies? Would any 19th century nun even know what this woman is talking about? (Never mind 19th century European immigrant nuns!)

    Oh yes, and the evil male hierarchy. Whoopee. Weren’t there Jesuits (males) all along the American frontier and elsewhere who faced equally harsh conditions? Didn’t some of them also become martyrs?

    Jesuits, other priests and brothers, nuns … all living and dying in harsh conditions in the missionary field of America. Sounds to me like the Church is pretty much “equal opportunity!”

  16. JKnott says:

    It would be interesting to count the number of times in the writings of St Teresa of Avila where she wrote about the importance of consulting priests and theologians who she referred to as “learned men”. Don’t suppose Ms Butler has read much of that great woman Teresa. It might be dangerous to her health: heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure.

  17. NoraLee9 says:

    I just get so bored with these old farts.

  18. One of those TNCs says:

    I find it telling that the author can make all of these claims without ONCE citing an authoritative source to back them up. Does she just assume that her readers will believe everything she says, lock, stock, and barrel?

    I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that the nuns she writes about would tell a far different story.

  19. Johnno says:

    I expect they’ll continue making more stuff up out of thin air to push their evil agendas… What did anyone expect? That such people who push abortion and immoral sexuality should actually have any kind of other ethics? What’s in a lie? Who’s gonna stop them? God? That’s pretty much how they think and live…

  20. Son of Trypho says:

    You have to chuckle when you think of what another historian might write about the nuns in 100 odd years…

    …The Vatican II Council called for a renewal of Catholic faith and identity and evangelisation of the People of God. The brave sisters of the LCWR of the 20th and 21st Century proved it wrong.

    By wheelchair, walking frame, stick, airconditioned coach, airline and green friendly-automobiles, the sisters bravely rejected the call to fidelity.

    Instead, spreading dissent by retreat, workshop, public rally, protest and abortion clinic escort duties, the sisters rejected the oppressive male patriarchy of the Church and its head, Jesus of Nazareth.

    Advocating abortion rights, gay marriage, redefinition of gender identity, female ordination, democratic Church governance and explorations of sexuality while staving off interference by the gentle counselling of the foreign bishop of Rome, (merely one of many and only one of the People of God besides) propelled the sisters of the LCWR to the most progressive fringes of the Catholic Church.

    Forced to suffer the privations of annual conferences in the frontier locations of Garden Grove and Anaheim, California, the courageous sisters pulled through with rousing calls to hope as prophets, artists, healers and lovers (2010), important initiatives likes resolving to collectively lower their carbon footprint (2009) and reflecting on the twilight of traditional institutions (2011).

    Conflicts with the male-dominated institutional Church was in part softened by the public support of the (later excommunicated) Catholic politicians, the public media, fellow dissenters amongst the clergy and theologians in most Catholic educational institutions.

    The last living member of the LCWR died in 2042 after a 60-odd year absence of vocations.

    Surviving nuns today are similar to those that existed in the early 20th Century and are identifiable primarily through their unique dress (known as a “habit”), communal living in convents, and their adherence to conservative forms of worship and ascetic practices.

  21. Cathy says:

    Somehow I get the feeling if those 19th century nuns were able to come back and visit LCWR, they would consider the CDF’s assessment and direction a game of patty cake compared to what the dear nuns might inflict upon them.

  22. pelerin says:

    So the nuns during the pioneering years had to be ‘enticed’ did they? What rubbish!

    Like many Bishops, Mgr Prosper Augouard, the first Bishop of the Congo returned to his native land many times to ‘entice’ nuns to join him out in that inhospitable land. After having set up Missions he soon realised that he needed the help of nuns to look after the children and women there. On his first visit back in France he gave a talk to sisters telling them exactly what perils they would find should they volunteer their services. He told them of the Cannibals still living there and the hardships and privations they would have to endure, the dangerous wild animals they would encounter, the hundreds of kilometres they would have to walk to reach their chosen Mission. The Mother Superior was surprised and told the good Bishop that by telling them all that, he was unlikely to get any volunteers at all. If I remember correctly I believe on his first trip he had hoped for ten nuns to accompany him back to the Congo and thirty volunteered after being told truthfully what life was like out there!

    If this is enticement then I’m a Dutchman!

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Interesting, the very first person in my family who immigrated to the United States was a missionary priest. He wrote back to Europe, and my ancestors came over to set up parishes and schools. No nuns, but priests, monks and lay people….

    This view of the old nuns as written is all a fiction, a “supreme fiction”, created in the imaginations of feminist ideologies. The nuns in my school as a child came because the bishop asked them to do so. This was the case in most areas. Bishops needed orders to teach, to be nurses, to take care of orphans and thousands of nuns and sisters responded graciously, generously, to the call of bringing Christ to the New World.

    I cannot believe the hubris of these women and I am ashamed for those who went before, the humble, nameless, forgotten nuns and sisters who helped me and my generation be Catholic.

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    The good professor forgot to mention that going to Mass, it was uphill, both ways….

    Not long ago, I would have said that article is so transparently biased that anyone would see right through it. Today I realize that many people would swallow that swill lock, stock, and barrel. What really to do, about the gullibility and lack of discernment, outright willingness, to read this drivel and believe it, champion it even. That is the question. With reasonable people, it is reasonable to believe they know the truth when they hear it, but, these people aren’t reasonable. They have a preexisting agenda, and they will fulfill it no matter what. They aren’t going to let the truth get in their way!
    My own little case in point, a discussion just had on facebook, which started out questionably, on the topic of same-sex marriage, but quickly and foolishly deteriorated into name calling (on their part) and Jesus being pulled into the discussion in a way I didn’t care for. I can’t debate fools.
    Conversation over.

    Father Z. You are a great source of consolation. Thank you for all you do to keep us informed and up to date. Thank you for being such a good priest and pastor of our little blog community. Thank you for your refreshing enthusiasm for our wonderful Catholic faith, your birds, and your cooking.

    If you post that picture again, please provide a warning. I haven’t seen my cat.

  25. Traductora says:

    If the eyes are the window of the soul, Sister is in serious trouble…

  26. pelerin says:

    I can’t help comparing the photo of the nun above with the serene and smiling faces of the nuns I saw and heard when attending Vespers at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Paris last weekend. They all looked like nuns too in full habits – Benedictine Sisters of the Sacre Coeur de Montmartre.

  27. Tominellay says:

    …thinking that in “Lilies of the Field”; those nuns really took advantage of Sidney Poitier…

  28. Tominellay says:

    …oops, bad punctuation…

  29. Titus says:

    It is certainly the case that the missionary work in the United States, like the work of the Church in most places and times, was at times marked or impaired by human frictions. Priests didn’t get along with other priests. Bishops perhaps didn’t get along with a religious congregation. Petty human squabbles and even divergent good-faith interpretations of laws or principles arose.

    But to paint those human disagreements as belonging to the present narrative of insurrection and heresy to which the Times and the LCWR belong is laughable. No one is claiming that women religious have not been invaluable to the Church’s mission. Nor would the nonsense that necessitated the CDF’s investigation have been acceptable under any circumstances or by any group, regardless of the contributions of its predecessors (however vaguely generalized). This abuse of history would make Boswell blush.

  30. Charivari Rob says:

    Ah, Tominellay – you beat me to the punch(line)!

    I was thinking of the exact same movie. Wait – it’s source material – let’s call it a documentary.

  31. Father K says:

    ‘veil’ is an anagram of ‘evil’…

  32. irishgirl says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of ‘red ink’ you’ve spilled there, Father Z!
    What drivel this so-called ‘professor’ wrote in The Slimes!
    And the picture of that so-called ‘sister’-she looks more like a man than a woman!
    @ pelerin: your comment at 1:55 am made me think of Mother Marianne Cope, who went to Hawaii to take care of the lepers on Molokai. The Provincial of the Sacred Hearts Congregation, Father Leonor Fousnel, wrote and visited several convents, asking for Sisters to come and help the lepers (he didn’t even mention Father Damien, who had arrived to work on Molokai in 1873 and was now afflicted with leprosy. The two priests did not get along very well). Mother Marianne’s Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse (now called ‘The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Comunities’) were the only Sisters to respond to Father Fousnel’s appeal. And Mother Marianne will join Father Damien in the ranks of the Saints in heaven this coming October.
    Take THAT, Ms. Butler! Read your Catholic history-the ‘true’ history, not some twisted feminist one!

  33. pfreddys says:

    But again, the nuns of today cannot claim credit for the achievements of the nuns of yesteryear {even such a false, revisionist rendering of their achievements}.

  34. snoozie says:

    That’s a woman??? Seriously, I’m not even trying to be snotty here…that picture is of a WOMAN???

  35. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Many nuns and sisters did have problems with priests or bishops that misunderstood their missions, or just had different goals. Many priests had problems with nuns and sisters who promised too much, or young women whose vocations failed in America and then needed to find a new way of life. (One of the first Ursulines or Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati (I forget which) ended up becoming the first organist and choir teacher after she lost her vocation. She lived a long useful life as a normal Catholic laywoman.) Everybody died young, pretty much.

    The only sister I know who reminds me of the LCWR crew was a German sister who ended up in up in frontier Northern Ohio with her family as a lone nun (I think after some Protestant persecution and convent breaking up). She became a sort of cantankerous Sister Tuck, feuding and helping with the priests sent out from Rochester and Cincinnati, and with the Missionary Priests and Sisters of the Precious Blood. Her concept of obedience and the Office was elastic. But she did a lot of good and died in good odor with Mother Church, as far as I can find out.

    As always, the answer is honest history teaching. If we knew more about the good and bad of the frontier and US Catholic history, we couldn’t be lied to.

  36. Father K says:

    ‘Many nuns and sisters did have problems with priests or bishops that misunderstood their missions, or just had different goals.’ Nowadays the reverse is true!

  37. Centristian says:

    Father K:

    “‘veil’ is an anagram of ‘evil’…”

    LOL. Careful…the mantillistas are apt to scorch you for that one!

  38. digdigby says:

    God rest the soul of Robert Louis Stevenson. This letter, written to a Presbyterian minister who gossiped and smeared Father Damien is one of the greatest masterpieces of ‘roasting hypocrisy on its own fire’ that I have ever read. Note that when RLS went to Molokai there were two sisters
    with him leaving the world FOREVER to take upon themselves unimaginable sufferings. If you are Catholic and have not read this famous letter…shame on you.

  39. Gaetano says:

    Serra. DeSmet. Marquette. de Brébeuf, Chabanel, Daniel, Garnier, Goupil, Jogues, de Lalande and Lalemant. And countless others.

  40. AnnAsher says:

    Yes, I do believe the author does think we are “that dumb”. Most Catholics are ignorant of the Faith and moreso their history. Most Americans are just plain ignorant; their critical thinking neutralized.
    It’s ok though because really were all just being controlled by intelligent alien dinosaur lizards! Ha! There are people who believe this and it is my scientific evidence of American ignorance.
    I think Padre Junipero Serra would request a point of order in the nuns building the Church in America. Just sayin’

  41. AnnAsher says:

    Since veil is an anagram of evil, I guess it’s a good thing I use a scarf to cover my head. My daughters use flowery snoods. You can get yours at : http://www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/

  42. Laura98 says:

    What a load of unmitigated tripe! I don’t even know where to begin!! What is her degree in – Women’s History instead of regular History?? I’m almost done with my History degree (2 classes to go – in non-history classes) and my area of study was US Southwest History. While I can’t speak for the all of the US, I did spend a lot of time studying the Spanish and Mexican eras of this part of our country.

    The Spanish Crown wanted this area colonized. They realized from previous experiences in Mexico and their South American Colonies, that the best way to do this was to start with Missionaries… so both Franciscan and Jesuit Missionaries were sent to what is now the SW United States. Two of the more well known are Fr. Junipero Serra (CA) and Fr. Eusebio Kino (AZ). Nuns or Sisters, or whatever you want to call them, would not have been sent, because the frontier was too wild and the Natives were too unpredictable. It would have been seen as irresponsible to send women out in that environment.

    Not until the Missions were established and Colonies begun would the Sisters be sent to educate and establish convents. The Sisters were very early settlers in many places, of that I have no doubts, but they would not go into untamed wilderness and set up new missions like Fr. Serra. Their role in helping shape our country should not be discounted or belittled. Nor should it be exaggerated. And we must remember that when we look back on the roles of people in history (i.e. women) that it was different than it is now… attitudes and view were vastly different than today.

  43. sedulus says:

    I particularly liked this op-ed piece. It needs greater dissemination! I was not taught by nuns but have great admiration for them when it comes to their commitment to social justice. My their
    example be an inspiration to the rest of us in the pews!

  44. digdigby says:

    I keep coming back to this vile (vile is also an anagram for evil) specimen in the Petri dish of Feminist ‘catholicism’. Maybe someone can help me. What is the sin of telling lies about the presumably holy dead, projecting one’s own arrogant ‘words and intentions’ upon them? Rarely does the hair on my arms stand on end for ‘no reason’ except in the face of the demonic. I am afraid to look at this woman. Sure, all the idiots, fellow travelers, dupes of her ilk I can shrug off but this gal SCARES me.

  45. Laura R. says:

    She scares me too, Digdigby.

  46. AnAmericanMother says:

    She has dead eyes.

  47. I had a good laugh over this part: “In 1884, six Ursuline nuns stepped from a train in Montana, only to be left by the bishop at a raucous public rooming house, its unheated loft furnished only with wind and drifting snow.” That story sounds familiar. Where did I hear it? Oh, yeah, in Miles City, MT, which happened to be my first assignment as a priest. You see, that’s where these Ursulines “stepped from the train”. Yes, they ended up in a very “raucous public rooming house”, though the Sacred Heart Parish School (which the sisters established, and still exists as a K-8 school) website states that they very quickly rented a house and set up shop there.

    You can read the full story — including the bishop’s reaction to the sisters’ arrival (travelling 400 miles over the course of 22 hours to greet them with great joy) — from the Sacred Heart School website: Sacred Heart Parish School History

    BTW, Bishop Brondel had responsibility over the entire Montana Territory, which became the State of Montana — all 147,000 square miles of it. I doubt he lived the life of luxury either.

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