Fishwrap’s Litany of Sisters

There will be no end of sentimentality upon which the Fishwrap will play in support of the LCWR and the Magisterium of Nuns.

Someone sent this to my email and I had to post it.

Here is the – I promise you I am not making this up – Litany of St. Louis Sisters.   I suppose this is geographically focused, mentioning the communities that are in St. Louis (where the LCWR is supposed to meet later in the summer…. coincidence?)

The Fishwrap writer says:

I attended our local vigil in support of Catholic sisters on the last Tuesday in May. There were 100 people in front of the Basilica of St. Louis, young men and women and babies that I didn’t know, and older people who were friends of mine. It filled me with confidence that the church is in good hands.

Below is a litany to sisters’ communities prepared by Marie Andrews, who is a wife, mother and a vigorous activist.

In all of this, watch for a petition that asks God to help the women religious live more faithful lives as religious or live more authenically the evangelical counsels, or be more faithful to the teachings of the Church or be more forthcoming in teaching what the Church teaches, or be ready to obey whatever the Church asks of them. [NB: They may have a different notion of what “church” is!]

Here is just a taste:

Threshold of Life,
Bless the Adorers of the Blood of Christ,
may their roots in the Gospel of Jesus and community life
flourish in empowering others, fostering oneness,
celebrating life, forming right relationships,
and walking as compassionate companions.

WE pray: You are our Light [I think this is a prayer to God, for the sisters.  We are not supposed to be praying to the sisters. Are we?]

O God of other plans,
Bless the Daughters of Charity,
who honor our Lord [A masculine word got in there!] Jesus Christ
as the source and model of all charity,
serving Him corporally and spiritually in the person of the poor.

WE pray: You are our Light

Word Incarnate, [Avoiding masculine images again.]
Bless the Dominican Sisters,
joyous women of prayer and compassion
who proclaim the reign of God
through ministry for justice and reverence for all creation.

[WE INTERRUPT THIS LITANY FOR THE FOLLOWING: Does it seem to you that the sisters are really okay just the way the are?]

WE pray: You are our Light

O Beauty ever Ancient, O beauty ever New,
Bless, the Fransican Sisters of Mary [That “beauty” thing was Augustinian, but… hey!]
who are the presence
of the loving, serving, compassionate, healing Jesus.
Focus the power of their intention
on compassionate care of Creation in collaboration with others.

WE pray: You are our Light

Transforming Presence,
Bless, the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help,
who are a transforming presence in society
through witnessing Gospel values.
May they prophetically respond
to the needs of contemporary society,
As compassionate women, alive in the spirit,
Who enable and empower others to live
the Gospel with hope and joy.

WE pray: You are our Light

Unifying Force, [O electromagnetic and nuclear binding charges!]
Bless the School Sisters of Notre Dame,
who proclaim the Good News
by directing their entire lives toward
that oneness for which Jesus Christ was sent.

WE pray: You are our Light

O Simplicity,
Bless the Congregation of Divine Providence,
impel them by the Spirit of Jesus, [Simplicity might be … God the Father?]
to commit themselves to co-create [!]
a world of compassion, justice and peace.
Nurture in them and in others
a trust and confidence in God’s faithful presence.
Commit them to making God’s providence more visible in our world.  [Okay, that’s closer.]

WE pray: You are our Light

Our way, our truth our life, [That may be the incarnate Son of the Father.]
Bless the Loretto Community
as they continue to stand with Mary [and John]
at the foot of the cross.
Striving to bring
the healing Spirit of God into our world
and committing themselves to extend
the boundaries of learning and justice,
of human dignity and peace,
of active faith and pastoral concern,
and of efforts on behalf of the poor.

WE pray: You are our Light

God of my heart,
Bless the Sisters of Mercy,
who act in solidarity with the economically poor of the world,
especially women and children; [forget about men]
women seeking fullness of life
and equality in church and society;
and one another as they embrace
their multicultural and international reality. [What litany would be complete without a mention of multiculturalism?]

WE pray: You are our Light

Dear Neighbor, [who in cardigan sweaters sings a little song]
Bless the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet,
who rooted in prayer, community living
and the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
commit themselves to the mission of unity and reconciliation,
nonviolence and peacemaking
through concrete efforts toward their goal
of communion with the sacred,
with the Earth, with one another,
with the Church and with all whom we meet.

WE pray: You are our Light


It calls for commentary. No?

Though this is sort of fun, I think you get it.

How about something like the second part of the Litany of SAINTS?

Let’s review:

All ye holy Saints of God, (Make intercession for us.)
Be merciful, (Spare us, O Lord.)
Be merciful, (Graciously hear us, O Lord.)

From all evil, O Lord (Deliver us)
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From sudden and unlooked for death, [ ? REALLY IMPORTANT ONE]
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, and hatred, and every evil will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquakes,
From plague, famine and war,
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
Through Thy Coming,
Through Thy Birth,
Through Thy Baptism and holy Fasting,
Through Thy Cross and Passion,
Through Thy Death and Burial,
Through Thy holy Resurrection,
Through Thine admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
In the day of judgment.

We sinners, (beseech Thee, hear us)
That Thou wouldst spare us,
That Thou wouldst pardon us,
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to the whole Christian world,
That Thou wouldst call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from her fold, and to guide all unbelievers into the light of the Gospel
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,
That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,
That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors, from eternal damnation,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
Son of God,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us.)

Christ, (hear us.)
Christ, (graciously hear us.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)
Christ, have mercy, (Christ, have mercy.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)

Our Father [inaudibly] … And lead us not into temptation (but deliver us from evil.)

I think I’ll stick to praying the Litany of Saints when from time to time I also pray for the sisters.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Magisterium of Nuns and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Are they nuts?

    Here you’ve got a chance to ask God to _help_ your order, fulfill your charism, and carry out your work well and faithfully, and you give God a resume or a mission statement and some crazy title you made up, and then demand to be blessed?


    And what about the saints and blesseds and venerables of St. Louis and surrounding area? Aren’t you going to ask for their help? What are they, chopped liver on a stick?

  2. Supertradmum says:

    From the Adversary, O God deliver us
    From Belial, O God deliver us
    From the Deceiver, O God deliver us
    From the King of Babylon, O God deliver us
    From the Father of All Lies, O God deliver us
    From the god of this world, O God deliver us
    From gobbledygook, O God spare us

  3. EucharistLove says:

    Mystery Science Theater 3000!! Classic show! I miss it!

  4. jaykay says:

    [o electromagnetic and nuclear binding charges]

    I know this is yours, Father, although it’s not in red (yet), but it somehow seems so in keeping with the… umm… sentiments of the ‘oeuvre’.

    As for the “church [sic] being in good hands” bit, well yes, it is, but he’s in Rome. Somehow I don’t think that’s what was meant, though.

  5. Joe in Canada says:

    Inasmuch as this “litany” asks for good things from God (but not the Father) for the vowed religious women of the US, I agree. That having been said, the litany doesn’t really ask for anything, but rather extols the works of the women involved. And whenever I think of the good sisters and pray for them, first among equals I remember and pray for Sister Donna Quinn OP (Sinsinawa Dominicans), Nun for Choice.

  6. wmeyer says:

    Suburbanbanshee: Are they nuts?

    I assume that was rhetorical. ;)

  7. frjim4321 says:

    Seems like the text is a bit convoluted, lacking in beauty and marred by repetitive ideological themes.

    Could Vox Clara have assisted with this???

  8. acardnal says:

    A better prayer would be the Litany of Humility:

  9. jilly4ski says:

    Do you think if we tallied up the times they use the words “oneness,” “compassion(ate)” “(em)power” and the like, we could convince them that this is a really bad prayer?

  10. poohbear says:

    O God of other plans, Not sure I’m familiar with that one.

    I am embarrassed for them, and concerned for the souls of those who follow them.
    I am adding to my prayer list the intention that those who follow this group will be enlightened by the One, True God and see the errors.

  11. only 100? Gee Cleveland last week got in excess of 600 if one is to believe the Plain Dealer!

  12. jaykay says:

    Fr. Jim4321

    For all the factors you list, it’s much more akin to a 1969 ICEL product ;)

  13. DisturbedMary says:

    I was out in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the protest march on May 22. There were about 50 older women (nuns?), a few thin men with stubble beards, and a handful of “priests” (anybody can put on a Roman collar) — a very tired looking bunch carrying foolish hand-made signs and occasionally singing 60s anti-war melodies, or something. No “hell no, we won’t go” and no burning of draft cards. Nobody threw their miraculous medals into the Fifth Avenue traffic….this was a very pathetic group. Not a rosary in sight…

  14. Charivari Rob says:

    Dear Neighbor, [who in cardigan sweaters sings a little song]

    Let’s all leave Fred out of it – may he Rest in Peace.

  15. jaykay says:

    Anyway, I’m sure that when the Sisters send the original Latin version to Rome for approval any little infelicities will be swiftly ironed out. Yes.

    oh, wait…

  16. NoTambourines says:

    In all likelihood, Fishwrap & the mainstream media are all going to line up and plead for the Magisterium of Nuns’ right to do what?

    To follow their consciences.

    It’s a noticeably different ballgame out there when following your conscience happens to coincide with the teachings of the Church.

    As for how their consciences got that way and the mentality that took hold of some religious orders, the full interview with William Coulson about his and Carl Rogers’ experimentation on the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (and later, the Jesuits) is revealing:

  17. lh says:

    Embarrassed for them.

  18. Charles E Flynn says:

    The prayer allegedly written by Marie Andrews (to my knowledge, she has not been convicted) could be assigned as a penance.

  19. Kerry says:

    Homer: “Oh mother sea. Giver of fish, taker of boats. Toilet to the world. The Greeks call you Poseidon. The Romans, Aquaman. Look into thy starfish heart and protect thy soul so we may go tubing on you again.”

  20. Traductora says:

    Very upsetting. I know some (elderly) sisters who are in an order that was coopted by the LCWR and they feel powerless. A lot of the sisters in active orders who were somehow dragged into this by a few activist leaders hate it now but they don’t know how to escape. And of course since they haven’t had a vocation in 40 years, they don’t have anybody with the youth and smarts to be able to help them.

    So don’t blame all of the sisters in the orders that these flakes claim to represent. It’s not their fault – they were really just following orders and doing what they were told to do by various superiors and, in a few cases, priests and even bishops.

  21. ocarmphil says:

    The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a disgrace. They have “thrown” away their relics in their chapel. As the custodian of relics for our retreat houses, I was appalled to what they did to their chapel, disposing the relics of the saints.

    Although the Sisters of St. Joseph have a long and distinguished history in North America that started in St. Louis, Sister Charlene Sullivan, the order’s archivist, says with some irony that the saints in the chapel are what grabs the attention of visitors. “It’s the first thing that people go to when they enter the chapel,” Sullivan said. The nuns will answer any question about the martyrs, but they view the collection as part of Catholic history and their order’s history. There are no special annual celebrations.

    “The relics are lovely, but that’s the past, and we’re looking to the future,” said Sister Paulette Gladis, part of the order’s leadership team. “We revere them and want to provide a holy place for them as the bones of holy people, but we also have holy people walking around today.”

  22. mysticalrose says:

    Don’t hate on the cardigan, Fr. Z!

  23. JKnott says:

    Notice there is not one word in there about Mary,
    whose soul magnified the LORD
    whose spirit rejoiced in GOD her SAVIOR
    because HE regarded the HUMILITY of HIS HANDMAID

    Well, all generations may call these ladies …….. ridiculous.

  24. frjim4321 says:

    Charivari Rob –

    Agree. A very dear man.

    – Jim Blue

  25. amenamen says:

    Cumbersome, verbose, unusable.

    Even if the intent of the thing were orthodox, it would be unbearable to suffer through a reading of the litany, because the nun (I guess) who wrote it wants to give a sermonette instead of a brief invocation. The genre of a “litany” requires a certain brevity, and a certain rhythm of invocation and response. The effect is spoiled by the ideological “preachiness” and the laborious over-explaining of everything. If you strip the litany down to … an acutal litany, it would be something like this:

    God bless the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, (Lord have mercy)
    God bless the Daughters of Charity,
    God bless the Dominican Sisters,
    God bless the Fransican Sisters of Mary
    God bless the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help,
    God bless the School Sisters of Notre Dame,
    God bless the Congregation of Divine Providence,
    God bless the Loretto Community
    God bless the Sisters of Mercy,
    God bless the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet,

    Then it would actually be something you could use, without being bored to tears. And it would be drained of its ideological commentary. But it would be drained of its ideological commentary, which seems to be its real purpose.

  26. leonugent2005 says:

    They did a very liberal litany of the saints at my parish at the Easter vigil a couple of years ago and they replaced “pray for us” with “we pray” It kind of gets the communion of the saints all out of whack. I suspect that the “we pray” in this litany comes from that thinking.

  27. Peter in Canberra says:

    beyond parody
    surely they can see themselves ?
    but apparently not.

  28. Suburbanbanshee says:

    amenamen — And the sad thing is that the mere list of orders, with “pray for us”, is much more impressive than what they came up with. It speaks for itself.

  29. Cathy says:

    Call me stupidly confused, but are they praying to God or to the sisters?

  30. Cathy says:

    My apologies, you also asked the same question.

  31. mamajen says:

    Oh, how I miss MST3K.

  32. PostCatholic says:

    Litany for Casual Blog Readers:

    From hippy kooks with failed ideas, deliver us, oh please.
    From conservatives with no ideas, deliver us, oh please.
    From an all-male church ministry and not just priesthood, deliver us, oh please.
    From mixed metaphors as wells as mixed nuts, deliver us, oh please.
    From sisters in polyester with pagan rituals to slap around, deliver us, oh please.
    From sisters in wimples with yardsticks and orphans to slap around, deliver us, oh please.

    Wacko Gaia priestesses, have mercy on us and go the heck away.
    Nutbar NAMBLA-member priests, likewise and die.
    Outraged straight-laced doctrinaire laity, have mercy on yourself and like, get a massage or eat a cookie or take a walk around the block until you feel better.
    Writers of satiric parodies of litanies, you probably should have done the same so here’s a good point to ask for mercy instead.

    Deleter of red parenthetical insertions, graciously hear us.
    Calmer of angry commenters, graciously hear us.
    Ignorer of meaningless texts including this one, graciously hear us.
    Defender of the holy silence, we hope you graciously can’t hear us.

    Let us gripe:
    Pour forth, we beseech thee, each other, your toleration into our hearts that we to whom we are stuck with in this life might endure restraint, encourage respect, and undertake responsibility and thereby gain a modicum of doing our own thing whilst harming none.

  33. irishgirl says:

    This ‘litany’ is disgusting. Just a ‘brag list’.
    And then these ‘sisters’ whine about not getting any vocations.
    Well, it’s as plain as the nose on your face, ‘ladies’.
    I wouldn’t touch these communities with a ten-foot pole!

  34. Pingback: Fishwrap's Litany of Sisters – What Does The Prayer Really Say? | Nail It To The Cross

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