GUEST POST: “the sisters chose to put this out there for the public”

I received this from a reader, which I share now with minor edits and some emphases:

Fr. Z,
I appreciate your information about these nuns that publicly dissent from Church teaching. It is sometimes humorous but what lies at the core of the issue is the harm they have inflicted on Catholics for decades. I hope we can all keep that in mind.

It became a little more personal for me recently. I attended a Catholic girls’ school in Louisiana in the early 90s. I could have written extensively about problems with the death penalty, but I had no understanding at all of the evil of abortion. It just wasn’t brought up.

Since then, I have recalled those days as simply watered down teachings with the typical liberal emphasis. I have felt robbed of a proper education in the faith too, though I often wondered if I’ve possibly exaggerated the situation in my head. A few days ago I received validation, when I was able to simply click through an alum email to ultimately find the Congregation of St. Joseph website.

It is amazing what one can find now with three clicks of a mouse.

To me, what was more unbelievable than the content was the fact that the sisters chose to put this out there for the public. Maybe I’m still fighting some naivety.

Anyway, these sisters are into all the crazy stuff you tell us about.

There are new age ideas about inclusiveness, reiki, yoga, male oppression. They make four “Generous Promises” which include working for systematic change, getting rid of institutions in favor of inclusiveness, and taking care of “Earth,” who is dying. That was new to me. How have we not heard of that one from you? Apparently the earth is a person, and you can also find reference to revering “Earth” on their site. Maybe I’m just too young to understand. Is this idea a holdover from the 60’s or has it just “evolved” since then?

No word about abortion. That was no surprise. What was astonishing was a recent newsletter which applauded a ritual burning of a Papal Bull that they stated was rescinded in the 16th century, but that was still causing spiritual harm to the indigenous grandmothers in the US. Too outlandish for a movie script. Are these rituals common occurrences?

Back to my main point. The importance of this all is the harm they are doing. The harm is still there. On their site you can see the three high schools they run. I was easily able to find info online for my alma mater’s religion classes. They have become more sophisticated in getting out their ideas since I was there, though there are some traditional teachings mixed in, which makes it even more dangerous in my mind.

Last year alums were polled about changing the mission statement. Now it’s some nonsense like “Creating women leaders to be unifying members of the world community!” Here is the link to the sisters, though I’m sure it’s not news to you.

Just remember those poor schoolgirls when you defend Church teaching!

There it is.

Keep this in mind as you hear about Nuns On The Bus.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in HONORED GUESTS, Magisterium of Nuns, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Supertradmum says:

    This sad list of aberrations was happening in the seventies in the Midwest and is one reason I did not follow a religious vocation, as not only were the active orders, from at least 1970, falling away from Church teaching (NOW was on campus in my Catholic girls’ college in 1970, supported by the order of nuns who ran the college and I was asked to join–I did not), but also, sadly the contemplative orders, such as the Benedictines and Carmelites. So the rot is long in stewing.

    Thankfully, God protected me, and I finally chose my adult Faith knowing that the truth was in the Catholic Church, that the nuns and sisters were just plain wrong. However, the damage is still happening and those orders are still confusing people and worse, leading souls to hell, especially with false teaching, new age stuff, and disobedience. God has already forgiven them, as we all must.

  2. haribo says:

    Here’s an analogy. If an official of the ACLU started publicly defending racial segregation, would the organization be out of line in taking immediate action to correct that member for their stance? No, and if they waited 40 years to say anything, they would be blasted for not acting sooner. It the same thing with the nuns. Like the ACLU, the Catholic Church is a voluntary organization with a clearly defined mission. That includes promoting and defending it’s own faith, and people who chose to represent the Catholic Church in their daily lives should expect serious repercussions if they decide to attack the Catholic faith publicly. The only real question should be why this didn’t happen in 1970.

  3. TMKent says:

    How very sad and how very true.
    I could have written this about the Benedictine Sisters of Erie in the 70’s – little has changed for them and I pray they don’t inflict their lies on any more young people. Its taken me 32 years un-learn their indoctrination.

  4. mike cliffson says:

    Another good reply to the crossed up Catholic the good priest is fielding on video 2 posts below. It’s the mousetache mostly.

  5. Glen M says:

    “It is amazing what one can find now with three clicks of a mouse.”

    Precisely. The Internet is the Great Equalizer. The ‘spirit of Vatican II’ won’t happen again.

    About four years ago I heard some radio show talking about Facebook being so mainstream even the pope has a fan page. Clicking on the recommended sites commenced the catechesis deprived of me and my generation.

    It’s sad how many times I’ve read or heard from cradle Catholics who discovered the true Church in their adult life. Many wonder if they would have pursued a vocation if they knew then what they know now.

    Priests and religious like Fr Z who made it through the seminaries staying resilient to the heterodoxy simply amaze me. They are very special people; gifts from God.

    On the Internet every Catholic has the means to learn the faith whether it’s offered in their parish or not. Furthermore, they have a responsibility to extinguish heterodoxy. If something foul is going on in the local school, RCIA class, liturgy, etc, write an email. If no response then go up the ladder: pastor – bishop – nuncio – Vatican

  6. irishgirl says:

    How sad, how very sad indeed.
    The ‘sisters’ who are inflicting this nonsense on the minds, hearts, and [particularly] souls of young people are going to have a lot to answer for when they meet Our Lord!

  7. PA mom says:

    Agreed. Good bishops, keep the pedal to the metal on this issue for everyone’s sake!

  8. jkm210 says:

    I had no nuns in Catholic grade school, and of the three nuns in my Catholic high school, only one taught religion and I never had her for class. I don’t remember anything being heretical; only wishy-washy, especially at the high school level, where we would have been capable of delving in a bit more deeply.

    However, I was very happy to read an article written in my high school alumni newsletter by the president of the school, stating that the school is in the process of implementing a more orthodox set of religion textbooks. I think not coincidentally, President Hollowell is the father of Fr. John Hollowell.

  9. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It captures something important, and I hope the bishops are tuning in.

    This is exactly what I mean about allowing the weeds to grow with the wheat for so long that it chokes out the wheat. Some clerics will have to account for why they did not pull the more aggressive, visible weeds earlier, and may God have mercy on them.

    It underscores something else: The reason why so many ordinary Catholics are not true dissidents, but misinformed and malformed. The fact that traditional things are intermixed with namby-pamby is an example of a dangerous hybridization. Young people attending these schools have affection for the sisters and don’t want to believe they could be getting disinformation about the faith. They grow up and have hard feelings when the Church tries to rectify it, as we see now, and their ignorance of the faith is very clear in their arguments.

    I’m glad the CDF and Bishop Sartain and Bishop Blair are taking the LCWR reform very seriously, and not being “snowed.” I’m even more glad that they are allowing the rest of us to see that they are not being pushed over by the antics of LCWR and supporters.

  10. LisaP. says:

    I’ll see parents in the grocery or on the playground sometimes being just mean to their kids, and I wonder, how bad must it be at home if they are this nasty where there are witnesses?

    I visited my dad recently, he grew up in Catholic school and is 65. I was reading about the leper colony in Hawaii and he said, “Of course, Father Damien, didn’t they teach you all about that at Annunciation (the Catholic elementary I attended)?” Of course not, I told him. They didn’t tell us any of that stuff. I don’t think they ever mentioned saints. What amazes me is that he didn’t know it — he sent us to Catholic school, he just assumed we were learning the same Catholicism he learned.

  11. mrsschiavolin says:

    Pretty much my same experience. Is it any wonder my classmates are largely pro-abortion, pro-gay agenda, and not active Catholics?

  12. dans0622 says:

    I had only one sister as a teacher in grade school–second grade. I have nothing bad to say about Sr. Boniface. She was part of the “old guard” I suppose…evident by the fact that she kept her religious name.

  13. Jim says:

    This is my story too, except mine was an all boys Catholic school, run by priests (Salesians), in the late 90s and in a different part of the world(India).

    In my case I drank everything that was offered (especially the Hindu idea that “all religions are equally good and are only different paths to the same God”) and graduated from the school and out of the Church about the same time. After all we had a non Catholic altar boy for first Friday Masses who used to steal hosts (I hope they were not consecrated) and distribute to everyone. Ff course it was “uncool” to report something like that in an all boys school. Right ?

    It took a decade of aimless wandering in the desert of the world and extraordinarily immense grace to realize that the Church was right and I just happened to be with the wrong “Catholics”. Like the author of this piece, I feel for the souls of my “Catholic” former classmates – almost none of who believes anything anymore, except that abortion and gay “marriage” are rights and that Jesus was just a “good guy” like Buddha and Gandhi. I try speaking to them – but they just think I am nuts.

  14. Scarltherr says:

    Yes, you write about the experiences many of us have had. For some of us, this was motivation to home-school our children. For others, it is motivation to be active in the schools to which we send our children. Either way, it is about the immortal souls that have been misled by heretical religious men and women.

  15. Cathy says:

    Amen and Alleluia! This is why I don’t understand the complaint about the sisters being investigated. In reviewing some of the orders of consecrated life for women in my own Archdiocesan website, I kind of shake my head with wonder at what a conversation with the vocations director must be like. Father, I am called to protest that women can’t be ordained, gays can’t marry, the earth is overpopulated and poor people don’t have access to contraception and poor women don’t have jobs outside the home, is there a womens religious order for me? In my own Archdiocesan newspaper is a picture of a Mercy sister making her final profession. Three unhabited women at the altar, it just seems soooo wrong.

  16. AnnAsher says:

    I know I’ve said it before but I’m gonna say it again. This socialist personified earth deity non sense was my RCIA experience. When I began learning the truth (whiz-bang army Priest) I became spitting angry for several years. Then I was on a personally chosen often uncharitable mission to be sure no error went without correction in my presence. I can’t stress enough the damage these Nons and their cronies cause or how lengthy the recovery is.

  17. contrarian says:

    “…which makes it even more dangerous…”

    Exactly. If these nuns were teaching nothing but batty lies and nonsense, we could treat them like bag ladies screaming at traffic. The danger of their teaching is that they are promoting half and quarter truths to the young and eager and naive, and these quarter truths are mixed in with both total and complete truth taught admirably, along with some utter nonsense. But when this truth and half truth and nonsense is presented as a package, it looks palatable to those not in the know, and those swimming with the zeitgeist.
    That’s why it’s so dangerous. That’s why they have created so much harm.

    Try explaining THAT to a talking head on MSNBC, though. Fat chance.

  18. chantgirl says:

    I am a part of this generation. I went to high school in the 90s with sisters who wore no habits and a morality teacher priest who went to jail for raping a teenage boy. We were not taught the faith and most of my friends have fallen away from the faith one by one. I feel so much for this generation- if they were lucky enough to escape abortion or prevented from existing altogether via contraception, they then went on to have their childhood faith devoured by poor catechesis or outright heresy. I feel a great sense of anger watching my peers and friends being devoured by the culture of death, both inside and outside of the Church. One of the lasting problems of the last 40 years, though, and a sad one for me, is that my generation has lost touch with the cultural and spiritual devotions and traditions associated with our faith. We are quite ignorant of the beautiful traditions of our Catholic forbears because when we were in school, these were thrown out with the bathwater as people felt the need to create all sorts of new rituals and traditions that had little root in Catholicism. We have a great disconnect with the Catholic generations that went before us, and I fear that many beautiful things will be lost. Many of the young Catholic families I know are trying to start their own traditions for Catholic feasts and seasons, but they are patchwork, and I think that we needs traditions that unify us.

  19. Denis says:

    These sisters are clueless. They have no idea how unpopular they and their heresies are. The video is quite representative of the current state of the Church: a young, well-informed priest, beseiged by relics of the generation that valued tacky music and architecture, and false doctrines.

    Father Ted: “Do you have leather car seats?”
    Home ‘church’ lady: “Well, yes…”

  20. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The sisters at my school weren’t all that bad — probably pretty darned conservative for the Seventies and early Eighties. And even the super-liberal nuns in town aren’t as liberal as nuns in other towns.

    But why all this waste of time? Why do they love these crazy causes that will never love them? Why all this rushing after fashions that soon passed them by? So much trouble, and all for nothing!

  21. HyacinthClare says:

    Glen M, you are SO right. I am reading all the Michael O’Brien books about Children of the Last Days, and I realized that what he didn’t foresee was the internet. That doesn’t hurt all the good ideas and information in his books; but it would be MUCH harder today just to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes than he thought it would be, because of Fr. Z, and Breitbart, and Pewsitters, and PJM, and Creative Minority Report, and dozens more. God has given us a tool to learn all the things we didn’t learn in RCIA, or catechism class, or in college. We have to USE IT, and discern the wheat from the chaff, and there’s a lot of chaff. But it is OUT THERE, available to anybody with a computer. Blessed be God.

  22. JacobWall says:

    I took a look at their website. I know the writer was talking about the classroom curriculum when she said there was no mention of abortion; I find this upsetting, but what I find more disturbing is how little reference is made to Christ, God, the Trinity or the words of the Saints on their web-page, even in their “spirituality” section. When they make mention of God, it’s phrases like the “Trinitarian God of Inclusive Love … and Unioning Love” – which book of the Bible is that in? Which Saint said that? (By the way, what’s “Unioning Love?”)

    What about “prayer” and “Eucharist?” Where are those? I don’t think I saw them on the site. Or “Church?” I didn’t look through the whole site, but I’m not going to spend too much time looking.

    By the way, going back to a topic Fr. Z posted a couple of days ago, it’s very worthwhile taking note of, visiting and supporting nuns who are devoted to Christ and His Church. After looking at this CSJ page, and the LCWR page, I took another look at the webpage for some local discalced carmelite nuns near where I live; their page is full of references to the words of the Scriptures, the Prophets, the Saints and the Holy Father. Compare their page on “Charism” to the fluff from the CSJ page – It’s refreshing. “The prayer, work and entire life of the Carmelite is directed toward the service of the Church and the salvation of souls.” I don’t suppose the Sisters over at the Congregation of St. Joseph think that souls need saving. They just need “Unioning.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t think these Carmelite Sisters near my home are doing any work in education. I take my family to visit and go to mass there. I think I want to start a “Support your local nuns” program in support of nuns who devote themselves to Christ and the Church.

  23. JacobWall says:

    By the way, look at the pictures of how each group of sisters presents themselves – vs. the photo on Yes, the local Carmelites also have pictures of themselves in non-religious activity, but I think their context is made very clear. Website image isn’t everything, but especially combined with the words, I think it says something about intentions and focus, at the very least.

  24. Kenneth Jones says:

    JMJ : “I will trade you one hundred role model leaders for one who knows how to convene.”
    What the hell does this mean?

    Funny, I always thought Christ Jesus was The Role Model.

  25. wmeyer says:

    Some months ago, my wife inquired of one of the catechists in our parish about finding a spiritual director. She was referred to Sister Barbara Young, of the Cenacle Sisters in Atlanta. From their web site:
    Sister Barbara Young originally from Boston, MA. holds a B.A. and M.A. in Religious Studies from Windsor University, Canada, and has professional training in the Enneagram and Focusing. She is a seasoned spiritual director, retreat director, and facilitator of faith formation programs. For several years, she was formation director for her Congregation in the United States. She is an adjunct lecturer in Spring Hill College’s Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction. Her special interests are prayer, Scripture, and adult spiritual enrichment.
    (emphasis added)

    Really, can anyone doubt that correction is overdue?

  26. acardnal says:

    @wmeyer: Good point!

    fyi, i sent you an email re: the late Michael Davies and audio recordings.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    wmeyer, as you probably know, such things are condemned in the Vatican document, Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life. Here is one the condemned, warned against practices, so common is convents and retreat houses in the Midwest and in Canada. This stuff has been going on, as you note, for a long time…..

    Enneagram: (from the Greek ennéa = nine + gramma = sign) the name refers to a diagram composed of a circle with nine points on its circumference, connected within the circle by a triangle and a hexangle. It was originally used for divination, but has become known as the symbol for a system of personality typology consisting of nine standard character types. It became popular after the publication of Helen Palmer’s book The Enneagram,(97) but she recognises her indebtedness to the Russian esoteric thinker and practitioner G.I. Gurdjieff, the Chilean psychologist Claudio Naranjo and author Oscar Ichazo, founder of Arica. The origin of the enneagram remains shrouded in mystery, but some maintain that it comes from Sufi mysticism.

  28. OrthodoxChick says:

    As someone who was schooled by the RSM’s for elementary and high school (I went to public junior high), maybe I can add a thought to yours regarding what makes this dangerous.

    What makes it dangerous is that it is indoctrination in liberal “catholic” “theology”. I was never taught in my schooling that there are orthodox and liberal catholics and that there are differences between them (ie. their acceptance of Church doctrine or how they live out Church teaching). No position that was in opposition to liberal progressivism was ever even mentioned. Consequently, students like myself were raised to believe that there was only one way to be Catholic and that was the liberal progressive way. They teach it as being natural and correct – until it becomes second nature. My parents were children in the 1950’s but in immigrant neighborhood parishes which were traditional in doctrine. Their families were very traditionally religious as well. They learned their Catholic faith through osmosis. It was everywhere and most around them were living it. My mother was not a flower child in the sixties and she rejected that whole culture. And I think she was completely oblivious to the way it was taking hold of some religious orders.

    Consequently, my poor mother sent me off to the Sisters of Mercy assuming that they would teach me the same traditional Catholic faith that she had gained while a child in Catholic schools. Nothing could have been further from the truth and I ended up going down an extremly dark, desolate road as a result. I never formally left the Church but I went as far astray as one could possibly go. The “education” that I received can not be credited for bringing me back. I was rescued and brought back only by the Grace and direct intervention of God, and a few of the seeds of traditional Catholicism engrained in me by my mother.

    Souls are very definitely being lost because of the scandalous disobedience and rejection of Church teaching (being disguised as the “real” teaching) that these sisters spread. My own soul was very nearly lost permanently and that’s unfortunately not an exaggeration. I had to be absolved of excommunication in order to return. It wasn’t until I received that absolution that I realized with horror how close I came to losing the Sacraments and my soul permanently. Real Catholics are making horrendous decisions and being given permission to do so based on the liberal interpretations of Church doctrine that are being taught. In my case, when we did have the Sacrament of Confession at school, the liberal Sisters brought in liberal priests and of course, they gave liberal spiritual direction. The things I was given permission to do by liberal diocesan priests would make your skin crawl. But the point is: what’s more dangerous than a young teen being tempted to do something that they’re pretty sure is wrong, and being granted permission to give in to temptation when they ask a liberal priest about it in the Confessional?

    The scary thing is that the sisters I had aren’t teaching this way to deliberately undermine the Church. They believe their own spin to the very core of their being. They live this liberal crap and believe what they teach. Many of the rank and file in the liberal orders are just as indoctrinated as those they teach to will end up becoming.

    It’s a horrible, vicious cycle that I’m afraid will now require very bold, public action on the part of the Pope and Bishops in order to rectify it. Souls will be lost, but unfortunately, they probably belong to those who long ago chose to go past the point of no return. Only when there is a clear, public, consistent message of the need for reconciliation will those souls seeking to return be given a pathway to do so.

  29. Bea says:

    Thanks to my husband we became aware of the dangers of what was taught at the Catholic Schools.
    We taught our children the Baltimore Catechism at home.
    And they suffered much in their “Catholic” Elementary and “Catholic” High School (which they now refer to as “heresy high”).
    They graduated from high school in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
    Scoffed at and told “we no longer believe that anymore” they emerged stronger in their Faith by having to defend it from even nuns and teaching priests (not to mention many of their fellow students). We constantly reminded them that they were there for academic reasons NOT for religious purposes (Because academically the Catholic schools were superior to the other schools in our area.)
    They managed to survive that battleground but it should not have been that way.
    They were robbed of a carefree happy and tranquil youth. They grew up not trusting the very nuns and priests they should have trusted, but in the end they have learned to discern.

    I remember a quote by a couple of well-known nuns (don’t remember which ones)
    One Said “We’re nobody’s handmaid” (What a slap in the face to Our Lady’s words)
    Another said “We’re not the baby-sitters of the world” (on her choosing “administrative” positions over being a teacher in Catholic Schools/which was no doubt best for her future students)

    Fr Z . is there any way you can put all these above stories to the attention of Archbishop Sartain? These are precisely the stories he and Cardinal Levada should be hearing.

    The widespread defense of these nuns only shows how much harm they have done in the last 40-50 years.
    There is no sense of WHO has the keys of the Kingdom. I guess they think they are the keyholders.
    Keyholders to what? to the gates of ?????
    It’s scary to think of what they will have to answer for.
    Poor, poor, misguided nuns and those who have been misguided, too.
    I shudder for them

  30. Joseph-Mary says:

    Sadly there are millions who have not been taught the faith and have left it because of the corruption in the Orders. And we still see this in many places and there is the scandal of universities that call themselves Catholic and go about undermining teachings.

    Truly I am sad for the renegade nuns who were called to be Brides of Christ. I pray for their souls. And the male Orders too that give scandal. I am glad I was not called to the convent! I would have lost my soul. And I know ex-nuns who left because they did not want to lose their soul. I recall visiting a convent in 200 where the faithful sisters would gather in the basement to pray the rosary and the high powered feminist ‘nuns’ put them down. The beautiful mother house is now gone–of course, no vocations in modernism; no grace. It is truly beyond sad.

  31. Mary Bruno says:

    This is so disturbing. I went to the website and thought this cannot be the Sisters of St Joseph that taught me…but after clicking a few links I saw they are indeed the same Sisters and saw the all girls Catholic high school my daughter almost attended. Although, I am not sure the Franciscan high school she went to for 3 yrs was much better in their presentation of the faith.
    I went to a grade school in the 70’s and graduated high school (co-ed Catholic) in the early 80’s both were run by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and while I “suffered” the general lack of Catholic education it was definitely not as far out as what I read on the website.

    And it’s true abortion was never mentioned back in the day in high school.

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