Editorials

INDEX OF EDITORIAL REFLECTIONS

These editorials are shown i the  Index in a chronological order, but the articles are  displayed below the index  in the reverse order, i.e . the newest one first, oldest one last.

1. Thoughts on the Feast of Saint Stephan Protomartyr (12-26-2009)
2. Thoughts on New Year’s Eve (12-31-2009)
3. Let us join them in prayer! (4-26-2010)
4. Preparing for Pentecost (5-8-2010)
5. The Servitores abroad – a visit to England (10-1-2010)
6. Celebrating an Anniversary (1-14-2011)
7. Standing firm (10-22-2011)
8. On the Brigittine Path (1-6-2012)
9. A call to action (3-18-2012)
10. Alea iacta est (7-12-2012)
11. Guest editorial by Gloria Thiele: The Brigittine clothing ceremony of June 10, 2012 (8-6-2012)
12. Gaudeamus! (8-29-2012)
22. A memorable trip, full of graces  to England in January 2017(3-21-2017)

22. A memorable trip, full of graces  to England in January 2017(3-21-2017) 

Brompton Oratory, London.

This 10 day’s long visit  to England was wonderful in every possible way. I made all the contact which was planning to make.

The main aim of the trip was to spread the word about the Brigittine tradition in general and about the Brigittini Servitores, the Brigittine Brothers of Amity and Syon Abbey (now closed, but the last Lady Abbess, now called Sister Anne is still alive) in particular. The Brigittini Brothers of Amity and the Brigittini Servitores both were, and are drawing heavily on the traditions of Syon Abbey and are beholden to Sister Anne for her support, prayers and information provided. The highlight of the trip was my meeting with Sister Anne in Plymouth where she now resides. I shall give the details about the Plymouth trip in the last section of this account.

London is dearly familiar to me. I lived there for 10 years, wen to medical school there and before entering religious life, visited it frequently.

The setting during my stay was close to ideal. It also helped that with a cell phone with international roaming and the i-phone provided by the hotel free of charge, I was able to keep in touch with Rev. Father Chaplain of the Brigittini Servitores. I stayed at the Rembrandt Hotel, a very comfortable and well run English hotel, practically opposite to the Brompton Oratory where there was daily Tridentine Mass.

 

I spent some time with my cousins, visited a Hungarian social l gathering, where I had the chance to speak with the Hungarian Catholic Father assigned to England. Rather than the Brigittine project, the topic was mainly about liturgical tradition and Traditional Latin Mass in which Father was interested,

In contrast, the focus of conversations with the other three priests was about the Brigittini Servitores, and working toward a resurgence of Syon Abbey. An abbey closed can be reopened within 100 years. I shared information about Brigittines and about the Brigittini Servitores, offering to continue to supply material and expressing willingness to train interested British applicants either from a distance via mail and phone or on site for those who would be willing to travel to our USA base. I asked the Fathers for their prayers and to disseminate the information. The most what can be expected if that if they have vocational iniquity, they will mention the Brigittini Servitores The District Superiors of both FSSP and SPX were friendly, willing to talk about their missions – very busy indeed. They were somewhat interested in the Brigittine project. Compared to a. Father of the Brompton Oratory and Sister Anne, these two Fathers were relatively more pessimistic about the state of the Catholic faith in England. This is understandable, for although both Fathers are British, as members of international priestly societies, they are looking at it more from the outside. However, on one topic the views of all were the same – namely, Rome and the general trend emanating from it.

I also went to the Tyburn Chapel  maintained by Benedictine Sisters using the Novus Ordo Mass.

                                

There is perpetual adoration in the Tyburn  Chapel.

I saw and prayed at the Tyburn tree memorial which is on a traffic island near Marble Arch marking with a plaque the site of gallows where the many of the Holy English martyrs gave their lives for their faith.

                                     

When I set out for Plymouth by train, I broke off the journey at Reading to have coffee at the train station with Rev. Father District Superior of the FSSP. (With the Rev. Father District Superior of the SPX, we had lunch at an Italian restaurant in London on the day after my arrival).  We spoke for about an hour or so, then I took the train again, from the very same platform where Rev. Father Dominic Barberi, the Passionist Father who received Blessed Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church, had his fatal heart attack in 1849.

The highlight of the trip to England was my meeting with Sister Anne, the retired Abbess of Syon Abbey, now sadly closed.

Sister Anne became Abbess in 1976,  after the updating of the 60-es was already in place. The closure of Syon Abbey (part of the spiritual patrimony of England) was a tragedy for the Catholic Church and even the whole world, given the fact that contemplative orders are in the nature of power houses. We discussed in what way can be the tradition of Syon Abbey be kept alive. An abbey closed can be reopened within 100 years. However, for this British vocations are essential, so this may or may not happen soon, but it is worthwhile to save resources and practices for the hoped for resurgence. Sister Anne has placed the material from Syon Abbey in safekeeping at Exeter University where it is being made good use of in terms of research and articles. Sister Anne is in contact with them and is also taking part in any conferences related to the Brigittine tradition in England.  She is also very supportive of what Rev Father Allen Chaplain of the Brigittini Servitores, and I are aiming for – a Brigittine community following the original (i.e. before the updating in the 60-es) Syon tradition, including Brigittine Divine Office in the Latin traditional form (the propers of which I am already using). I was not sure of her stance on this, so I am absolutely delighted of her supportive attitude.

I spent most of the day with Sister Anne. We went for Holy Mass to the cathedral where Sister Anne was baptised and confirmed. Sister Anne asked the taxi driver to take us back from the cathedral to Sisters’ home the long way around so I could see some of the sights such as Mayflower point.

The home for elderly Sisters, where Sister Anne is living, is lovely. From Sister’s windows one can see the sea and part of the Cornish coast. We had a private lunch together, and talked until late afternoon when I returned to London.

I came back home strengthened and refreshed, ready to roll up my sleeves. Please pray that we shall  be given the graces to continue living the Brigittine life, praying and working  AMDG.

 

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On the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary we turn to Our Lady with increased confidence as we remember the victory over the Sultan at the naval battle of Lepanto by Christian princes led by Don John of Austria in  October of 1571, and the victory over countless hordes of Turks at Pétervárad in Hungary in the battle led by Prince Eugene of Savoy, 1716. Here is the story of the birth of this Feastday as it is told in the Lessons in the Breviary on the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy  Rosary (Amended text of the English text of the Officium Divinum)  (http://divinumofficium.com/cgi-bin/horas/officium.pl)

5th Lesson.

From this healthy exercise have grown up numberless good fruits in the Christian Commonwealth. Among these deserved to be named is that great victory over the Sultan of Turkey, which, and the Christian Princes, whom the most holy Pope Pius V. had roused, won at Lepanto, in  October 1571 The day whereon this victory was gained was the very one whereon brethren of the Guild of the most holy Rosary, throughout the whole world, were used to offer their accustomed prayers and appointed supplications, and the event therefore was not unnaturally connected therewith. This being the avowed opinion of Gregory XIII., he ordered that in all Churches where there was, or should be, an Altar of the Rosary, a Feast, in the form of a Greater Double, should be kept for ever upon the first Lord’s Day of the month of October, to give unceasing thanks to the Blessed Virgin, under her style of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, for that extraordinary mercy of God. Other Popes also have granted almost numberless indulgences to those who say the Rosary, and to those who join its Guilds.

6th Lesson, 1st part.

In the year 1716, Charles VI., Elect-Emperor of the Romans, won a famous victory over countless hordes of Turks, , in the kingdom of Hungary, upon the day when the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of St Mary of the Snows was being kept, and almost at the very moment when the brethren of the Guild of the most holy Rosary were moving through the streets of Rome in public and solemn procession, amid vast multitudes, all filled with the deepest enthusiasm, calling vehemently upon God for the defeat of the Turks, and entreating the Virgin Mother of God to bring the might of her succour to the help of the Christians. A few days later, (upon the Octave of the Feast of the Assumption,) the Turks raised the siege of Corfu. These mercies Clement XI. devoutly ascribed to the helpful prayers of the Blessed Virgin, and that the memory and the sweetness of such a blessing might for all time coming endure gloriously, he extended to the whole Church the observance of the Feast of the most holy Rosary, for the same day and of the same rank, as it had already been in the places before mentioned.

Our Lady of the Holy  Rosary, help us with our  prayers!

21. ON THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF A CLOTHING (9-8-2016)
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20. THE CANONISATION OF  SAINT  MARIA ELIZABETH  HESSELBLAD
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Let us rejoice  about having  one more  Saint of the Brigittine family to help us along in our sanctification and with our prayers and sacrifices of the sanctification of the world!!

The achievements of Saint Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad are close to the miraculous- such as getting back the house where Saint Brigitta lived in Rome into Brigittine hands, to bring the Brigittines back to Sweden after an absence several hundred years and to establish several houses of the now flourishing Roman branch.

As for ecumenism, Saint Maria Elizabeth prayed and sacrificed for the conversion of Sweden and her contacts with Swedish people had this aim, not the modern type of all religions are equally nice approach. .

As for saving Jewish lives, it was a noble act, but  not unique to her- many Catholic priests and religious risked  -or even gave – their lives for this.

Quotations from Saint Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad (1870-1957)

Source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7509

The story given in the source  is less than full, but  these quotations are wonderful.

 Prayer from  1904:

“Dear Lord, I do not ask to see the path. In darkness, in anguish and in fear, I will hang on tightly to Thy hand and I will close my eyes, so that Thou knowest how much trust I place in Thee, Spouse of my soul.”

She said (undated): “We must nourish a great love for God and our neighbors; a strong love, an ardent love, a love that burns away imperfections, a love that gently bears an act of impatience, or a bitter word, a love that lets an inadvertence or act of neglect pass without comment, a love that lends itself readily to an act of charity.”

Prayer for the intercession of Saint Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, O.Ss.S. (1870 – 1957)

Composed by the Rev. Father Chaplain of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute  in 2013 (to then  Blessed Maria Elizabeth )

O Saint Maria Elizabeth, who in the midst of thy own infirmities wonderfully hastened to the aid of those needy in body and soul, and who didst faithfully pursue thy  vocation as a daughter of Saint Birgitta of Sweden, obtain for us by thy gracious intercession

Your request goes here:

Almighty everlasting God, show forth Thy power by granting our petition through the intercession of Saint Maria Elizabeth so that all may  see how beloved she is in Thy sight.

We ask this for the increase of Thy glory and for the joyful exaltation of Our Lady, the angels, and all Thy Saints in the eyes of men.

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father.        Hail Mary.        Glory be.

19. THE HUNGARIAN  FRANCISCAN  MARTYRS

Rather than my own composition, I am sharing something inspiring.

Servants of God Bernát Károlyi And Six Companions (“Franciscan martyrs”)

Source for contents: http://www.mindszentyalapitvany.hu/products/servants-of-god-bernat-karolyi-and-six-companions-franciscan-martyrs/

Servant of God Father Bernát Károlyi

(Born in 1892)
Birth into heaven: 2 March 1954

Father Bernát Károlyi had come back to Hungary from a highly successful mission in China in 1938. For three years, he lived in different places in Hungary, and in 1941 he moved to the convent of the Franciscan order in Kecskemét. In 1945 he was appointed prior. As the Soviet front-line was approaching, he organized the management of the hospital, the treatment of the patients who had been left behind and the reception and food supply of the constantly arriving refugees. In 1945 he protested against the humiliating treatment of political prisoners, thus he was arrested. At that time, however, the charge against him was dropped. In 1946 and in spring 1949 he was tried again for “anti-democratic” preaching, but he received light punishment. On 26 November 1949 he was arrested again for “anti-democratic conspiracy against the people’s republic”. On 18 November 1950 he was sentenced to fifteen years of prison for conspiracy against the state.

In the prison, Father Bernát was tortured and deprived of food, but he did not lose his faith. According to the memories of his fellow prisoners, he continued to hear confessions and practice works of charity even under such circumstances. When he was taken to hospital he only weighed 35 kg. He passed away in the hospital on 2 March 1954.

The memory of his martyrdom has not faded; when his process of beatification was to be initiated, 700 Catholics of Kecskemét signed the petition.

Servant of God Father Rafael Kriszten

(Born in 1899)
Birth into heaven: 5 September 1952

Father Rafael Kriszten, who was known for his pastoral activity in the Franciscan convent at Margit körút from 1941 to 1946, was also carried away from Hatvan in 1950. During the war, he saved many persecuted people and helped the starving by giving them what was available in the kitchen of the convent. In August 1949 he was transferred to Hatvan, where the faithful treated the Franciscans with a lot of love and respect. At that time the persecution of the Church was quite overt. On 19 June 1950 the first group of religious was deported, and the Franciscan fathers were also prepared for their turn. However, on that day the trucks did not stop in front of the convent to take them away but to leave there the Piarists and the Salvatorian Sisters, who had been carried away from elsewhere. Nevertheless, people thought that the soldiers had come to carry away the Franciscan Fathers, therefore, the faithful gathered in front of the church in protest. The police called on Father Rafael to disperse the crowd, but he did not succeed. During the night, the political police dispersed the demonstration using violence, and they beat all the religious to pulp. The four Franciscan Fathers were taken to 60 Andrássy Street. On 26 May 1951, Father Rafael was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy against the democratic state. He served his sentence in the prison of Conti Street, where the inhumane conditions and treatment destroyed his already poor health. He passed away on 5 September 1952.

 

Servant of God Father Zénó Hajnal

(Born in 1900)
Birth into heaven:1 April 1945

In the last period of World War II, in March 1945, the village of Nagyatád (in Somogy County) lied in the front-line of the national socialist and Soviet troops. The inhabitants were trying to escape, led by Father Zénó Hajnal, Superior of the Franciscan convent. During the Holy Week of 1945 they reached Gyékényes, where Bulgarian and German troops were fighting each other. On Easter Sunday, the Bulgarian soldiers occupied the village and chased away the inhabitants. They made the parish priest, Father Pál Martincsevics and Father Zénó, who was staying in his house, join the group. When a Bulgarian soldier caught sight of the priests, one in habit and the other one in cassock, he called them and shot them without any reason. No one else was hurt. The soldier’s action was motivated by hatred for the faith.

Servant of God Father Krizosztom Körösztös

(Born in 1900)
Birth into heaven: 27 October 1944

Following the re-annexation of the Southern part of Hungary in 1942, the Franciscan Province of Saint John of Capistrano was asked to establish a convent in Novi Sad in order to provide spiritual care to the Hungarian inhabitants who had had to move there. The Franciscans organized the religious education and the popular missions, but in the autumn 1944 they had to face the sudden advance of Serbian guerrilla troops, who regarded the Catholic Church as their enemy.

Father Krizosztom Körösztös became Superior of the convent of Novi Sad after having returned from a mission in America and from the battles by the Don River. His Superiors offered him the possibility of returning to Hungary, but he wanted to stay with his faithful. The Serbian troops reached Novi Sad on 23 October 1944, feast of Saint John of Capistrano, they occupied the city and captured all the men. Father Krizosztom still had the chance to flee, but as the rest of the Franciscans did not have such a possibility, so he decided not to leave them. The religious and the rest of the captives were led to the barracks, where the Franciscans kept consoling their fellow prisoners and hearing their confessions for several days. In the morning of 27 October, Father Krizosztom and other men were taken to the neighbouring barrack, with the promise of being released that day. The next day they were beaten to death at the sound of music.

Servant of God Father Szaléz Kiss

(Born in 1904)
Birth into heaven: 10 December 1946

Father Szaléz Kiss was the spiritual director of the novices of the Franciscan convent of Gyöngyös from 1944, thus he was the superior when the Russian troops entered the town. In order to unite the youth of the town, in 1945 he organized the Christian Democratic Youth Association, which hindered the youth activity of the communists, who, therefore, strongly disapproved of it. Father Szaléz Kiss was arrested on 28 April 1946 with the feigned charge of leading an armed conspiracy and having instigated his students to kill Soviet soldiers, having promised them the absolution in advance. The documents of the process have revealed that the entire process was based on feigned charges and the majority of the testimonies were not given by Father Szaléz. The memories of his co-defendants, who were later released, point out that although the Franciscan father was beaten up terribly, he did not break the seal of confession. The trial was led by the Soviet officers, without interpreters, who sentenced Father Szaléz to death. He was executed on 10 December 1946 in Sopronkőhida. The Hungarian province of the Franciscan order has honoured Father Szaléz Kiss, since his death, as a martyr of the seal of confession.

Servant of God Father Kristóf Kovács

(Born in1914)
Birth into heaven: 1 November 1944

Another martyr of the convent of Novi Sad, Father Kristóf Kovács asked for being transferred to Vojvodina in 1944 because he wished to become a martyr for Christ. He was also arrested on 26 October 1944 and deported along with other captives. Father Kristóf consoled his fellow-prisoners, heard confessions during the night, after the tiresome marches, and he often administered the sacrament of penance to people who had not gone to confession for decades. The guards disapproved of the pastoral activity of Father Kristóf and other priests, thus they separated them from the crowd during the marches. He and Father Mihály Kamarás were constrained to run with heavy guns in their hands while the guards were beating them with iron rods and guns. One of the blows fell on his forehead, thus he was unable to go on. The soldiers put him on a truck and shot him just outside the village of Indijja.

Servant of God Father Pelbárt Lukács

(Born in 1916)
Birth into heaven: 18 April 1948

The legal proceeding of Father Pelbárt Lukács, a member of the Franciscan convent of Hatvan, was joined to the case of Father Szaléz Kiss. He was accused of acting as a liaison between the towns of Hatvan and Gyöngyös in the anti-Soviet conspiracy and of having had information about the preparations of the murder of soldiers in Gyöngyös. Father Pelbárt was arrested at the beginning of May 1946, and the Hungarian authorities handed him over to the Soviet military tribunal. His trial took place under unlawful circumstances; Father was sentenced to ten years of forced labour and was deported to the Soviet Union. In the work camp, his gastric disease became worse and he died of cancer of the larynx on 18 April 1948 amidst terrible suffering. He was rehabilitated by the Soviet authorities in 1993. His fellow Franciscans have always remembered him as a martyr.

Let us pray for their intercession and beatification !

Those who obtain favours through their intercession are asked to notify the
Office of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest

1014 Budapest, Úri u. 62.

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 18. THE BRIGITTINI  OBLATES –  STARTING  RELGIOUS LIFE AFTER 40
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  1. I. The idea behind the Brigittini Oblates

 We have received many applications from people over 40 years of age. We ourselves have been impressed by their strong desire of a deeper and more structured spiritual life than it is may be possible in the world.

In general, most religious orders encountered difficulties with more mature applicants on account of lack of flexibility, slower learning ability and high costs health care for age related infirmities. Thus, they usually establish an age limit.

However, there is much which more mature people can give. They can join in community prayers, including taking part in praying the Hours of the Divine Office. They can aid the Institute by sharing their insights born of experience. They can aid the Institute by putting their skills acquired during their secular career to good use.

Therefore in addition to fully professed Brigittini Servitores, the status of Brigittine Oblates has been established.

The Brigittini Oblates undertake to promote the mission of the Institute as defined in its Constitution and observe those precepts of religious life which are feasible in their circumstances.

Life as a Brigittini Oblate program could be the answer for persons of more mature age who feel that they are called to embrace religious life.

The excerpt from the rule of the Brigittini Oblates will give an idea what is asked of the oblates and what is offered by the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute.

If interested, send an e-mail to: servitores5@gmail.com

  1. II. Excerpts from the Rule of the Brigittini Oblates

 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

 THE NATURE OF THE COMMMITMENT OF THE OBLATES

 #1. The Oblates of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute are souls wishing to live a deeply spiritual life but because age, infirmity, outside commitments or uncertainty about their calling they are not able to embrace religious life in the full. As Oblates, they undertake to promote the mission of the Institute as defined in its Constitution and observe those precepts of religious life, which are feasible in their circumstances.

#2. The Oblate program could be the answer for persons of more mature age who feel that they are called to embrace religious life.

In general, most religious orders encountered difficulties with more mature applicants and therefore established an age limit for entrants.

However, we ourselves have been impressed by the strong desire in many of these souls for a more intense and structured spiritual life than it is possible in the world.

#3. The Oblates of the Brigittini Servitores do not take vows. Instead, they make a solemn promise in front of the altar to observe chastity in the celibate state, to live simply in the spirit of poverty and to obey the Rules for the Oblates. This promise is for one year and may be renewed yearly, without limitation as to the number of renewals.

#4. The authority for permission to make or renew this promise resides in the Chapter. The Chapter is also empowered to dismiss an Oblate in case of gross misconduct. The recommendation for making or renewing the promises or for dismissal rests with the appropriate Superior (e.g. Superior of men or of women) who will make the recommendation for action in writing and, presents the case orally at the Chapter meeting. The decision of the Chapter is made by majority vote.

#5. There is no postulancy, only a probationary year, during which  the Candidate will put on the attire of the oblates. During this probationary year the Oblates will start following the Rules under the guidance of the Master or Mistress of the Oblates.

#6. The probationary year for the Oblates can end in three possible ways:

  1. The Candidate becomes a fully-fledged Oblate.
  2. The Candidate petitions the Chapter for admission to the Novitiate of the Brigittini Servitores. The Chapter reviews the request and may and may not grant it.
  3. The Candidate leaves the program, either by her own desire or by the decision of the Chapter.

 WORK AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

 #7. The Oblates handle their own financial affairs. They maintain their own lodgings and provide their own meals. Oblates are also responsible to cover the costs of their health care and are expected to carry health insurance.

#8. The Oblates have access to the Residentia of the Brigittini Servitores at scheduled times for prayer in common, shared meals, conferences, use of the library and work.

#9. Lodgings should be within a 10 mile radius or less than 1 hour of driving distance from a church or chapel where a priest saying the Tridentine Mass is in residence. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is to be formally enthroned, within one month of taking up residence.  The lodgings should be simple.

#10. Neither TV nor Internet is permitted in the lodging of an Oblate. Access to internet once a week on a predetermined schedule can be obtained through the computer in the Residentia.

#11. Every Saturday, the Master or Mistress of the Oblates reviews with each Oblate the work done during the preceding week, paying particular attention to the amount of reading and studying done. After this, plans are made for the coming week. This plan must include details of reading, study, tasks done for the Brigittini Servitores and outside activities. Prior to this review, the Oblate prepares a written report of the work record of the previous week and the weekly plan of the coming week and presents this at the meeting.

  • COURSE OF STUDIES

 #12. Both during the probationary year and afterwards, the Master or Mistress of the Oblates will serve as instructor or preceptor.

 #13. During the probationary year the Oblates, with the aid of the Master or Mistress of the Oblates as instructor, will familiarise themselves with

  1. the Divine Office (the Latin breviary of 1962 and the Traditional Brigittine Office in Latin (1906 Breviary of Syon Abbey in England),
  2. the Constitution of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute, the Rule for the Residentia and the Rule of life for the Oblates.

#14. During the probationary year, the Oblate Probationers will begin and continue afterwards as Oblates under the preceptorship of the their study of Master or Mistress of the Oblates

  1. the catechism of the Catholic Church,
  2. the history of the Catholic Church,
  3. the works of the Church Fathers and spiritual writers,
  4. the history and spirituality of the Brigittine orders, including those of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute,
  5. the Latin language which is the language used for the prayers of the Tridentine  Mass and for the Latin traditional Divine Office.
  If interested, send an e-mail to: servitores5@gmail.com

17.THE SPIRIT OF  SAINT  BIRGITTA LIVES ON.

The year of 2011 was a year of crosses, for Syon Abbey has ceased to exist.

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The closure of the Syon Abbey in 2011 was sad news indeed.

However, as plans are unfolding for the celebrations of   the 600th anniversary of its foundation, there is hope that what it represented will live on.

Quietly in her corner, Sister Anne (previously Lady Abbess Anna Maria of Syon Abbey) has been and is busy working towards the preservation of the tradition of Syon Abbey. In the academic-historical level, she is aiding and is aided by scholars from the University of Exeter. The celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the foundation of Syon Abbey is one fruit

There will be celebrations at Syon Park, the site of the original Syon abbey in the 15th centenary.. For details please see

http://www.syonabbey600.org.uk/

Whilst admitting that ecumenical celebrations may be appropriate at times, I am rather cautious about them. Nevertheless, I am giving details about the events at Syon House to indicate the breadth of the anniversary celebrations.

The 4 days’ long academic program at Darlington Hall is excellent. For details, please see

http://syonat600.exeter.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dartington-programme.pdf/

Meanwhile as these celebrations are taking place in England, two Brigittine groups in the USA are also celebrating the Feastday of Saint Birgitta on July 23rd. Once again, we have been invited to the Monastery of the Brigittine Brothers of Amity to celebrate the Feastday altogether and to spend a few days with them. Both the Brigittini Brothers and Brigittini Servitores shall unite themselves with the celebrations in England, for both groups are indebted for the help given to them by Syon Abbey.

As Lady Abbess of Syon Abbey, Sister Anne has welcomed the birth of these two communities in the USA, rejoicing in their birth and aiding their growth. Sister Anne’s support, prayers and advice have been invaluable in the development of my own Brigittine vocation and in developing the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute. Neither did she cease to provide her generous help after the closure of Syon Abbey.

Please join me in my prayers that these celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean will be a source of graces for many and that by the mercy of God our communities will grow in numbers and holiness, thank you for your prayers and God bless you all!

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RE: SUPREME COURT DECISION OF JUNE 26TH 2015

Please see the summary of this event by “Zenith – the world seen from Rome” (zenit.org/) below this editorial. I have underlined in bold two salient points which seem to indicate that this decision could possibly be reversed.

We have until July 17th to effect reconsideration.

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Let us therefore learn from the past, when in response to prayer offensives (public and in common) disasters have been averted. The best reference is the victory at Lepanto after a rosary crusade, but it is easy to find innumerable examples of the same positive Divine response to the heartfelt plea of the faithful.

I am inviting my fellow Catholics to join me in putting our shoulders to the wheel and pray, pray and pray. I myself have spent the night of Thursday before 1st Friday in in prayer, planning to do the same next Thursday and praying earnestly for a good outcome each day.

I respectfully suggest to those in whose power is to arrange these things to mount prayer offensives, using extra prayers before or after Holy Masses, public rosaries and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,   with or without all night adoration.

Our Lady of Consolation, pray for us!

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In Christo

ARTICLE BY “ZENITH – THE WORLD SEEN FROM  ROME

US Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex “Marriage”

Mandating Marriage Redefinition “A Tragic Error” Says US Bishops Conference President

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Rome, June 26, 2015 (ZENIT.org)

The United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage” across the country today. Five of the Supreme Court justices ruled in favor, while four dissented. While the decision will overturn state bans on same-sex “marriages“, it allows opponents of the ruling three weeks to ask for reconsideration. 

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority ruling.

However, in his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the question of same-sex “marriage” had “nothing to do” with the Constitution.

“Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us,” he wrote. “Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”

“The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage,” he continued. “And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.”

Chief Justice Roberts went on to say that majority decision to legalize same-sex “marriage” was an “act of will not legal judgement”. He also questioned whether in a democratic republic, such a decision should be made by the people through their elected representatives “or with five lawyers who happen to hold commissions authorizing them to resolve legal disputes according to law.”

“The Constitution leaves no doubt about the answer,” he concluded.

“A Tragic Error”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that despite the Supreme Court’s decision, “the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable.”

“Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today,” he wrote. “Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail.”

Archbishop Kurtz called the Supreme Court’s decision “wrong” and immoral”, stressing that it is unjust for the US government “to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

Citing the Holy Father’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, the USCCB President said that protecting the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman “is a critical dimension of the ‘integral ecology’ that Pope Francis has called us to promote.”

“Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home,” he wrote.

Concluding his statement, Archbishop Kurtz encouraged Catholics in the US to continue to move forward in faith, hope and love.

“Faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions,” he wrote.

 15. A CLARION CALL TO PIONEERING SPIRITS (5-13-2013)

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This invitation is for sturdy, enterprising souls , delighting in challenges and interested to increase the glory of God to swell the numbers of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute, a religious institute with a central mission of liturgical prayer, so that it will grow enough to survive.

Yes, it is pioneering in terms of living as simply as the our American forefathers did, but not in attempting something brand new, but rather with the specific role of doing something which has been done in and for the Church throughout the ages.

There is nothing new about liturgical prayer. Indeed, it existed even before the birth of our Lord, at the time of King David. Some of songs of praise went on eat the earliest times of the Christian era, but the full blown praises through established forms of the Divine Office came into being  after the formation of religious orders in the 6th century. Since then, it has never completely faded, albeit the volume of public celebration has decreased in times of oppression of the Catholic Church such as the French revolution, Spanish civil war, Communist governments. Sadly, the volume of prayer winging its way from earth to heaven has also decreased in our times.. Yes, it is sad, because it was not  an external enemy which has done it, but those  inside the barque of Peter and even of ten with good will, but unduly influenced by the current secular philosophies. Some of this stemmed from misinterpreting the message of Vatican II.

In the wake of Vatican II there has been some rethinking of religious life. In the course of this urge to update, some orders modified themselves, others disappeared. New orders came into being; they usually were active. With the accent on external activities, liturgical prayers were shortened, simplified and the Latin was replaced by the vernacular. However, the very spirit of renewal gave the impetus for the religious attached to the traditional Latin liturgy not only to return to the traditional mode of liturgical prayer, but indeed to establish a form of religious life more contemplative in bent, with the liturgical prayer in its center. This group consists of both existing communities, which, after experimenting with new ways, returned to the traditional form and new foundations dedicated to amore contemplative form of life and using the traditional Latin liturgy, often referred to as the “Extraordinary Form”..

In God’s vineyard nothing is new. Later on, If time permits, a subsequent article will show how in different times, new religious orders were practically tailor-made to give effective help to correct particular current ills or deficiencies. In the same way, other traditional communities have come into being today with the aid of Divine Providence to reset the imbalance of our times. There are now Benedictine, Carmelite and Franciscan, Augustinian and Redemptorist communities besides others not so widely known, and in good standing within the Church which follow the traditional Latin liturgy. Many of them had a rough time when starting, in terms of resources or even candidates, but then invariably, expansion followed.

At present, the Brigittine Servitores is the only Brigittine group adhering to the traditional Latin liturgy. Of the two usual problems, resources and vocations, the vocations are more pressing. It is true that we do not own property and our present residence is a rented trailer in in a trailer park. However, there is space for two more candidates, heating and cooling systems are adequate.. A very great blessing is that the church is practically next door. As I see it, it is time to have more when we are bigger and if our own history and the history of others is any guide, God will always provide. This simple living may even be a good way to weed out those with no taste for truly embracing the vow of poverty and attract sturdy souls who can be moulded into religious capable of taking their part in building up the community.

There have been several inquiries and even some visits, but not such enthusiasm for this way of life that a commitment would result. My experience of visits remaining simply visits of interest is not very different from the experience of other Superiors with whom I am in contact. Those who come here are good souls and desirous of deepening their spiritual life , but given the fact that they often do not have access to daily – or sometimes even weekly – Tridentine Mass and regular spiritual direction means that they had no means at their disposal for a preliminary preparation. Of course it is not completely unheard of that in some cases the call to religious life is so clear that no prolonged discernment is necessary, but when this is necessary, a suitable, spiritually nourishing setting is an advantage. In our case, some of our visitors found such a setting for themselves either during our exploratory talks before their visit or after it. This is why we are encouraging visitors who give us much joy and add some spice to our life – but of course there is some preliminary checking to ensure that such a visit would be fruitful and not simply a waste of time for both parties.

So please come and see us! Furthermore, if you are already at the point that you are seriously considering entry, please do not worry about having to know Latin and having to be familiar with the Divine Office on entry. A formation program has already been set up and you will be able to progress step by step, rejoicing on the way of being already in God’s vineyard, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (for the greater glory of God:

The next letter will deal with some specifics of Brigittine life, explaining how it is I similar or different from .other, predominantly contemplative forms of religious life. Please pray that I shall find the time for it reasonably soon!

14. Reflections on a memorable visit (1–11-2014)

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It is customary to make resolutions when a new year knocks on our door, especially those which are most likely to advance further some project, existing or new. I, too, made some resolutions, but there is no question of a new project, just continuing on the Brigittine path, albeit with greater strides in terms of sharing with others. One tool for doing this is to tell you, dear readers of this WEB page, more about ourselves and more frequently. Please pray that this will happen!

What is on the horizon for this year?

In 2012 the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris was established in the diocese of Tyler as a public association of the Catholic faithful. In 2013 the move to a bigger Residentia was made, in order to provide adequate quarters for Postulants.  If God so wills, 2014 may see postulants taking up their abode in it, given the recent increased interest in the Brigittini Servitores. There were several inquiries and even two visits last year. However, let me put future aspirations aside and fulfil my promise of giving the highlights about our visit to The Brigittine Brothers of Amity in July 23rd.

Our Father Chaplain and I were privileged to share the life of the community for close to a whole week.

The central event was celebrating the Feast of Saint Birgitta in a grand style, with sung Mass celebrated by Archbishop Sample, who preached on the importance of contemplative religious orders for the Church.

The liturgical celebration was followed by festive dinner, with close to 200 people in attendance. The enthusiasm of the participants for the Brigittine Brothers was almost palpable.  After the celebrations were over, community life continued in its grove. We were invited to the community’s meals and recreation and had ample time to share spiritual insights and stories with each other. It was a truly blessed time, with the cohesion cemented together by praying in common.

In addition to the Novus Ordo Mass celebrated for the Brothers,  thanks to the presence of Father Chaplain, there was a Tridentine Mass daily, thanks to the presence of Father Chaplain.  The  schedule which made it possible for both groups to pray the Divine Office together as well as other community devotions, such as the daily  Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction, rosary and the nightly litany of the world. We were present and took part in all of this, praying after the joint prayers in the chapel the Hours of the 1962 Roman Divine Office either jointly or in private, without the Brothers.

Different liturgical forms, but the same Brigittini spirituality, creating a bond, with the bigger, more firmly established and thriving community encouraging and helping the fledgling Brigittini Servitores to press on, with both groups hoping and praying for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the other.

Attracting good vocations is a common concern for not only for the Brigittine Brothers and us, but is a challenge for of almost at all religious communities, and even more so for a fledgling community. On the other side of the coin, I came across many people, searching rather futilely, sometimes for a decade or more, for a religious community which would suit them, when time may be better spent in establishing  the framework for solid, devotional life in the world.. I shall address the question in my next article, suggesting ways and means  as how to find out what is God’s will for you, in terms of entering or not entering religious life and if it is entering, where you should enter. In the meantime, let us go on prying for each other!

Gaudeamus! (7-15-2013)

Life never stands still for the Brigittini Servitores!.  Something wonderful happens almost every year!  In 2011, the parent organisation of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris, the Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute, was erected into a public association of the Catholic faithful.  In 2012, the Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute became the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris, also retaining its status as a public association of the Catholic faithful.

 On July 23rd, 2013, the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris (both the Foundress and the chaplain of the Brigittini Servitores) are going to celebrate the feast of Saint Birgitta in style!  We have accepted the invitation of the Brigittine Monks at the Priory of our Lady of Consolation in Amity, Oregon, to celebrate this feast-day together with them.  (A photo of their priory is below.)

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The Brigittine family has several branches.  We are aware of each other, rejoice in the existence of each other, exchange information and even visit for time to time for our mutual edification and spiritual support.  Our closest bond and most frequent contact is with the Brothers in Amity, founded in the USA in 1976.  Their website address is brigittine.org.  They have been especially welcoming to when we came into being as Brigittines  and most helpful ever since in many ways.  You can see them in procession–Our Lady leading them, of course!–in the photo below.

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The Brothers are unique as the only Brigittine branch of men.   We Brigittine Servitores are also blessed to enjoy a unique characteristic among the communities comprising the religious family of Saint Birgitta today.  Our daily religious life revolves around the venerable and ancient traditional Latin liturgical rites universally in vigour in the Latin Church until the post-Vatican II era.

All of us in Saint Birgitta’s family, different branches on the same spiritual tree, rejoicing in our common heritage and spiritual orientation, look forward with holy anticipation to celebrating Saint Birgitta’s feast-day with equal fervour and delight.

Please pray that all will go well!   May our holy Mother Birgitta be delighted about the festivities in her honour and intercede for us to grow in graces and numbers!

A newsletter about the trip will follow.

In Christo

Sister Margarita OSsS
12.Gaudeamus! (8-29-2012)
 News about the canonical recognition granted to the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer at Papa Stronsay Island: www.papastronsay.com/
Below is an excerpt  from the webpage, with a brief history and nature of this island.
History of the island of Papa Stronsay
Over 1400 years ago St. Columba (521-597) met with Brude, the King of the Picts, and also the chief ruler of the Orkney islands. In that meeting, recorded for us by Saint Adomnán of Iona (627 – 704), (Vita Columbae Bk 2 Ch. 43). St. Columba said to King Brude: “Some of our brethren have lately set sail, and are anxious to discover a desert in the pathless sea; should they happen, after many wanderings, to come to the Orkney islands, do thou carefully instruct this chief, whose hostages are in thy hand, that no evil befall them within his dominions.” The Saint took care to give this direction, because he knew that after a few months St. Cormac would arrive in Orkney. So it afterwards came to pass, and to this advice of the holy man, Cormac owed his escape from impending death. These early monks — Papari — gave their name (From Latin, Papa via Old Irish, Papar – Fathers) to the islands where they set up their monastic settlements, their “deserts in the pathless sea”. Their islands were called Papey, there were three such Papey islands in Orkney although through the centuries we now know of only two: one called Papey meiri (or big Papey – big Priests’ Island – today known as Papa Westray) and one called Papey minni (or little Papey, — little Priests’ Island — known now as Papa Stronsay). For more than 1400 years this island of Papa Stronsay has been set apart from the other Orkney islands as a holy island. It is recorded in the Orkneyinga saga (Ch. 18) that there were still monks living here 955 years ago when, in 1045, the Viking Earl Rognvald came to Papey minni to collect malt for his Christmas ale. The monks apparently produced malt from barley and to this day the island’s small peninsular is called Corn Graand. The Earl in his viking barge, replete with shields covering its bulwarks, and a host of oarsmen did not return home alive. They were warmng themselves in the monastery when the house was surrounded by Rognvald’s rival, Earl Thorfinn whose men quickly set fire to the building. They let the religious escape but slaughtered Earl Rognvald and his men.
The island of Papa Stronsay:
Area: 74 ha (183 acres), Height: 43 ft (13 meters) above sea level. Location -Latitude: 59.15°N; Longitude: 2.58°W. National Grid Reference: HY 666 293
The island of Papa Stronsay is owned by the Monastery, which assures us the privacy and solitude that we need to live our life. Papa Stronsay is about 6 minutes by boat to the neighbouring Island of Stronsay. The Name “Papa Stronsay” means “Priests Island of Stronsay”. The name from the Papar monks, who inhabited the island, withstood even the Viking invaders who settled Orkney from the 8th century onwards, because of the community of priests – monks, most likely – on Papa Stronsay. There are no gas, electricity, phone or water lines coming to Papa Stronsay. Electricity is generated by a diesel generator.
Yes, indeed, this is worth celebrating with song or even dance, for lost ground on the northern tip of the British Isles is reclaimed for the faith, AMDG! Looking at the news, this good news is just part of the same process of Catholic tradition (Traditional religious life included) advancing. Let us therefor go forth with a thankful heart and renewed hope!
In Christo
Sister Margarita OSsS
11. Guest editorial  by  Gloria Thiele: The Brigittine clothing ceremony of June 10th, 2012 (8-6-2012)
God cannot be outdone in generosity, for more often than not, God give us what we needed, even without asking for it. Just as I was contemplating how to describe  the ceremony. This was the case with this guest editorial in which Gloria published a description (much better by an observant than a participant). Gloria submitted an account to an internet link (gloriainexcelsis says: In commenting to Father Z.), sent me a copy and generously permitted for me to use it on the webpage . How very like Gloria, to step in where needed! All I had to do is to copy it. Many thanks, Gloria!
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Guest editorial  by  Gloria Thiele: The Brigittine clothing ceremony of June 10th, 2012.
It was a particularly beautiful External Solemnity of Corpus Christi. We were graced at our small Latin Mass parish (about 35 families and growing), St. Joseph the Worker, in Tyler, Texas, by a visit from our Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese, now bishop of Mayguez, Puerto Rico. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Alvaro Corrada del Rio, S.J., was in attendance to confer the Brigittine habit on Sister Margarita Igriczi-Nagy, O.Ss.S (previously of Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute which now became Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute). We had a sung Mass, Rev. Scott Allen, FSSP, the Pastor, celebrating. After the Credo was chanted, the Bishop was seated in the middle of the sanctuary at the altar rail, Father Allen seated to his right. Sister, standing at the back of the church began chanting the first part of Psalm 44, in Latin) answered by the choir. As she proceeded to the sanctuary entrance to kneel before the Bishop, Father chanted the second half with the choir responding. The Psalm is one of Sister’s favourites and requested by her.  The first line of the Psalm is ( English translation) “My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King.”  The second half begins, “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear; and forget thy people and thy father’s house.” I’m in our little choir. I got all choked up and could hardly sing. The ceremony was so beautiful. Sister, kneeling on the hard floor – and she is 75 years old – begins, “Iube, Domne, benedicere!” (Pray, Lord Bishop, a blessing!)  The Bishop blessed her and inquired, “Quid vis, filia”(What do you ask, daughter?) And so from there she said that she wanted to follow the Brigittine path, and to direct the Servitores on the same path. The name of the Servitores is now changed to Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris, and she wears the Brigittine form of the habit, with crown.  Each part of the habit was blessed, one by one – sandals, tunic, belt, scapular, wimple, veil and crown. The crown is a white circlet of fabric, with a cross of white over the top of the head. It has red jewel like accents at each juncture. A picture of St. Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden, shows her wearing such a crown. As Sister went into the sacristy to change into her new habit, two of the choir members sang Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” in Latin, with all the proper words. It was permitted, since the vesting was not actually part of the Mass. Sister requested this particular “Ave Maria,” because it was played even during the Communist occupation of Hungary, Sister Margarita’s country of origin. It means a lot to her. There is so much more about the Brigittines, the charism, etc. Sister is dedicated to the Mass, the Divine Office, promoting the Office to the public, and Latin literacy. She is a wonder. Mass proceeded, followed by the Corpus Christi procession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It was a memorable day for all present. Luncheon followed to honour Bishop Corrada and further celebrate the day.  Bishop Corrada gave the homily, by the way. It was wonderful, strictly on the Eucharist, the gift of Himself that Christ left with us to be with us until the end of the world. He concentrated quite a bit on St. Paul’s Epistle of the day.
10. Alea iacta est (July 12th, 2012)
06-10-2012Tyler
Alea iacta est (“the die has been cast”), said Iulius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon. As you see form the changed name on the letterhead of the webpage, the Servitores also crossed a Rubicon of sorts.
On June 10th, our Bishop, Most Reverend Alvaro Corrada del Rio, SJ, has put the Brigittine veil and crown on me. In line with custom, man new foundations such as the Servitores sooner or later define their own spirituality and ally themselves with one of the existing religious families.  The other Brigittines are very welcoming towards the Servitores. We shall be the only branch, using the Latin Tridentine Mass and saying the Liturgical prayers in Latin. I am simply following a call on this.
More details will follow later. In the meantime, the history of our Brigittine aspirations is detailed in the editorial “On the Brigittine path”  of 1-6-2012. Please pray that the Brigittini Servitores shall grow and flourish for the greater glory of God!
In Christo
Sister Margarita OSsS
PS
Compare these two flags! One is one side of the flag of Hungarian army until 1945, the other is the Brigittine banner. Yes, I am a 1956 Hungarian, If God wants my prayers for Hungary on the Brigittine path on American soil, so be it!
Hungarian flag -until 1945-1Hungarianflag 1990-now
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9. A call to action (3-18-2012)
Every country in the world, including the United States of America, is beset by problems. We spend much time in thinking, speaking and writing about them, devising solutions. By all means, let us continue. Let us also make use of a powerful weapon in our problem solving, namely never omitting to pray for our country each day. Below is an example of efforts in this line. Let us not just ask in these prayers, but also give thanks to God for the good things what he has given to this land in His infinite mercy!
A CALL TO PRAYER – Translated from Hungarian to English.
On Feb. 22nd the Mária Rádió (Radio Maria) will launch a national prayer broadcast in all evenings at 8 p.m. from the Marian pilgrimage shrines in Hungary and in the annexed territories. With these prayers, people who feel a responsibility for the welfare of their nation, are turning to God together. Every family can join the prayer via the radio, with those praying also putting lighted candles in their windows, indicating that they joined the nationwide prayer.
The Radio Maria presents this prayer time every day, broadcasting from different locations, including Bodolló, Celldömölk, Doroszló, Máriapócs, Mátraverebély-Szentkút and Csíksomlyó. The Holy Bible says that if a person or a community is in big trouble, they need to cry out to the Lord with their full strength The people cried out to God when distressed by the enemy, when the community was languishing in captivity in Babylon, and the blind Bartimaeus cried out to Christ (cf. 3.9 Judges, 1 Kings 8.48 to 51; Mk 10.47). God heard these cries coming from the deep.
Our nation and the entire Western culture in many ways are going through an internal crisis. Many people are overtaken by despair and hopelessness. Many people do not have any ideals for which they could honestly be enthusiastic. Many people are haunted by internal emptiness, a feeling of being in the desert (cf. XVI. Pope Benedict: Ubicumque semper).
During the toughest years of Communist dictatorship the Paulist monks of Czestochowa launched an evening prayer, which was called ” Apel’ The prayer was said, quite specifically for Cardinal Wyszyński but also for the whole nation. The prayer session consisted of a hymn expressing faith and togetherness, of reading form the Holy Scriptures with a commentary on the reading, one decade of the rosary and a final blessing. The prayer was becoming widespread. After the regime change the televised broadcast of the Apel began. Many families at home in the evening are joining the Apelprayer of Czestochowa via TV, with the whole family calling out to God.
The Hungarian people too have an elementary need to cry out to God, so Radio Maria will launch these prayer broadcasts at eight p.m. every night from Hungarian pilgrimage shrines of Our Lady on Feb. 22 Ash Wednesday. As a sign of taking part in this prayer in common, we ask the participants to put a candle in the window, thus confirming that Christ, the Light of the World, is present in their home.
8. On the Brigittine Path (1-6-2012)
The Servitores is currently engaged in preserving and transmitting to future generations the Latin traditional Brigittine liturgy.
We began exploring the Brigittine path in 2002 and since then we have been touch with the Lady Abbess of Syon and received valuable help and guidance, including the very precious gift of the traditional Latin Brigittine Breviary. After the promulgation of Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum” it was considered feasible both by Lady Abbess and myself to work towards associating the Servitores with the Brigittine family, which has communities established in several countries and using for liturgical prayers the language appropriate for their country,. Since then, adherence to Latin traditional liturgy became respectable and legitimate.
Embracing the spirituality of old standing religious orders which updated themselves after Vatican II without the updating is not an unknown phenomenon. There are Benedictine, Carmelite, Franciscan and Redemptorists communities who are using the Latin traditional liturgy and continuing the traditional way of religious life.
In 2011 the Syon Abbey of the Brigittines in England closed its doors, essentially because of lack of new vocations. This abbey, established in 1415, survived the penal times of England during which it was in exile, two world wars and the post war social upheavals, but in a fashion similar to many other religious communities, has not done well in terms of attracting vocations in the wake of the changes imposed on their liturgy and way of life. However, the contact between the retired Lady Abbess and Servitores is continuing.
The essence of Brigittine spirituality is a focus on the Eucharist, the Passion of Our Lord in a Marian setting by means of liturgical prayers, drawing on the revelations of Saint Birgitta. In its original form, there was strong reliance on priestly support from priests also embracing the Brigittine spirituality. In the wake of the Reformation, the male branches dwindled away, whilst women’s communities weathered the storms a bit better. However, they did not continue using the Brigittine Office. Some of them switched to the use of the Roman Divine Office after the Council of Trent and all of them switched to the vernacular and modified the Office in the 70s when the Liturgy of the Hours was promulgated. The Brigittines of Syon Abbey started using the Roman Divine Office during their exile from England. The community returned to England in 1861. In 1906 with the approval of the Bishop of Plymouth, Syon Abbey returned to the use of the Brigittine Office and continued using it until the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms.
Given the central place of liturgical prayer in the Brigittine way of life, the starting point for embracing the Brigittine spirituality is praying in the Brigittine way, alongside with studying the Brigittine traditions in depth. The work has been going on in earnest for some time now.
In 2010 the Servitores started adding the Brigittine propers to the Hours of the 1962 Latin traditional breviary, used by priestly societies and communities adhering to the traditional Latin liturgy of the Church. This is a stepwise process, in order to prevent any dislocation due to sudden changes in liturgical prayers. The aim is to add the Brigittine propers to all Hours except ad Matutinum, where only the readings, consisting of the visions of Saint Brigitte are taken. At present, the Brigittine propers are added to 3 of the Horus on most days. On Our Lady’s Feastdays the propers are added to all Hours, except ad Matutinum.
At first sight, one may even wonder if this addition is advisable, given the already long periods spent in liturgical prayers with the full reception of the Divine Office. However, even with these additions, we spend less time in liturgical prayer than in the original form of Brigittine life established by Saint Birgitta. Originally, where there were male Brigittines as well, the Sisters were present during the recitation of the regular Divine Office by the Brigittine Fathers and Brothers. Immediately afterwards, the Sisters proceeded with the recitation of the Brigittine Office.
The Brigittine Office is essentially a version of the Little Office of Our Lady, expanded to the length of the regular Divine Office, with the unique Brigittine feature of the readings ad Matutinum. Adding the Brigittine propers to the regular Divine Office, it fleshes it out, putting it under Our Lady’s mantle so to speak, with its Marian orientation.
The Roman Divine Office was originally part of Brigittine form of liturgical prayer. Its retention also makes sense from the practical point of view. . A central activity of the Servitores is to help others to learn how to say the Divine Office. Since priestly societies adhering to the traditional Latin liturgy of the Church are using the Roman Divine Office, this is the form in which the faithful need to be familiar, in order to be able to take part in the Divine Office in their parishes and missions.
There it is, in a nutshell. If it is God’s will for us to succeed, it will help to preserve a precious treasure of Catholic religious life. Hereby I am also extending an invitation to those who feel called to religious life to explore this path, best suited for pioneering spirits ready to roll up their sleeves for AMDG.
Please remember us in your prayers, beseeching almighty God that we may be given the graces to persevere, the financial means to continue and vocations to ensure the future of the Servitores. Thank you and God bless you all!
In Christo.
7. Standing firm (10-22-2011)
On August 31 2011, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Álvaro Corrada del Rio, SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler TX, issued the decree of erection of the Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute as a public association of the Catholic faithful. This was done after a careful scrutiny of our Constitution and Rules which lays down the guiding principles for religious life with the traditional Latin liturgy of the Catholic Church at its center and its promotion as its primary external mission. Such wonderful things have happened to several other groups following the Latin traditional liturgy after the 2007 Motu Proprio of the Holy Father.
There have been very few times when the Catholic Church has not been beset by problems, often escalating to crisis level. Eventual, the crisis was resolved, often with the aid of groups which simply continued to profess and practice the faith, even in the face of opposition which came from powerful prelates within the Church. The attempts to suppress the Tridentine Mass after the introduction of the Novus Ordo Mass had created such a crisis-like situation.
In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum” clearly stated that the Tridentine Mass had never been suppressed and remains a valued form of the Holy Mass. This made attachment to the traditional Latin liturgy of the Catholic Church acceptable and a respectable Catholic stance… In the wake of this the Motu Proprio the several groups of religious attempted to come out from the cold, so to speak, by seeking full approbation, without being forced into unacceptable compromises in the name of fidelity to the Pope.
These efforts did not always succeed. Some groups simply were refused approval and so they remained in an irregular canonical status. Others were approved initially, but then slowly pushed into the compromise of abandoning exclusive adherence to the Tridentine Mass. In general, the stance of the bishop, based on understanding of the issues, was the key to success.
God in His infinite mercy has blessed the Servitores with a bishop who had a deep appreciation about the value of the traditional Latin liturgy for his diocese. His Excellency also had a strong determination to promote religious life within the diocese, supporting already established or emerging groups with viable apostolates, Servitores included. From time to time, The religious of the diocese are also getting together, to be aware of the different missions of other groups and to learn from the approaches of others. Many of us have a chance of meeting our bishop face to face on a regular basis, both to keep him up to date on our affairs, to receive valuable guidance and if needed, practical help.
So what else can I say beside Te Deum and Magnificat?
If you check the Prayers page, a new prayer, A prayer for our bishop, has been added.
In Christo.
6. Celebrating an Anniversary (1-14-2011)
The First Sunday of Advent is a major milestone in my life. It marks the 25th anniversary of my full recitation of the Traditional Latin 1962 Divine Office. I want to celebrate this by talking about the Divine Office, presenting some of its features whilst also sharing how its love shaped my personal Odyssey
On the Divine Office
The Divine Office is one part of the Holy Liturgy, the public prayer offered up by the Church on behalf of and for the needs of all the faithful
Its basic skeleton is the psalms. The use of psalms in liturgical prayer goes back for more than 3000 years. We know that King David (ca 1000 BC) composed a few psalms; the Holy Bible tells us that he sung some at the time of the transfer of the Ark.
The Divine Office not only comprises psalms, but many other elements such as hymns, verses, prayers and even lessons and short chapters for our edification. If one looks at the Hour of the Divine Office as a piece of a beautiful jewelry, say a necklace or a ring, the psalms are the gold framework, the other elements the precious jewels. It is a song, embodying many varieties of poetry. It is a loving protestation our love of God, recounting His goodness. It is a prayer in the time of need for ourselves and others. It is an epic poetry, recounting not only what God has done for us, but also the virtues and deeds of Our Lady and the Saints; and as most epics, it urges us to follow examples of noble deeds and noble sentiments. It is also a soldiers’ marching song, impelling us to greater efforts assuring us of the possibility of victory on the spiritual battlefront.
In the early Church, the Christian faithful gathered in the evening before Sundays and spent the night reciting prayers and hymns until the Holy Mass early morning. The Hours of ad Vesperas, ad Matutinum and ad Laudes were born this way. Later on with the development of monasticism it was felt that there should be more prayers during the day, and so the Hours of ad Tertiam, ad Sextam and ad Nonam were added. The morning prayer of ad Primam before the start of daily work and the night-time prayer of ad Completorium were the last two additions.
Since it is the public prayer of the Church, all priests and many religious are bound to the recitation of the Divine Office under pain of sin. By saying the Divine Office not only ensures that they work for the salvation of others, but doing so also sanctifies them to a greater degree than any other type of prayer.
All priests are bound to the full recitation at the Divine Office. Secular clergy may recite the Hours on their own, in private, but joining with others in common recitation also fulfills their obligation. For religious congregations, the number of Hours and the manner (i.e. whether in private or in common, and if in common, which Hours are to be chanted and which recited) is determined by their Constitution. In general, contemplative orders say the whole Office, active orders say only some of the Hours. Naturally, religious are permitted to go beyond the minimum obligation. In addition to priest and religious, devout faithful are also free to make the Divine Office part of their prayer life. In some Traditional parishes, the faithful join in some of the Hours; others recite the Divine Office on their own. This is a time hallowed custom, witness the many beautifully illustrated breviaries, often preserved in museums, which were made for specific people..
The Servitores are bound to the full recitation of the Divine Office. We take four vows, adding the obligation of full recitation of the Divine Office as the fourth vow besides the standard vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. A Servitor regards the Holy Liturgy as the fulcrum of our life, fitting in other duties and activities between the Holy Mass and the Hours of the Divine Office. Indeed, one may even say that the Servitores came into being because of the love of the Divine Office, the official praise of the Church, the Bride of Christ, to our Creator.
How the Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute was born.
It began in the mid-70s, when I came upon a volume of the Hours of the Divine Office in Latin and English, published by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1964. It opened a new window for me, so I quickly purchased the other two volumes. I read the introductory explanation about the nature of the Divine Office avidly; this was something new for me. I was also beginning to say some of the prayers from it, in a rather random fashion. My love for the Divine Office grew progressively and I was already praying a few of the Hours on a daily basis by the time of a pilgrimage to Lourdes. There, meeting with other people who were so attracted to the Divine Office that it was already a part of their regular prayer life, I experienced two things. First, I felt some disappointment when I realised that the Latin version of the Psalter in my book was not the one used by those reciting the traditional Divine Office, but a newer version of the psalms, approved by Pope Pius XII for private recitation. This was easy to remedy, I was able to obtain a volume of the Divine Office with the Vulgate version totally in Latin. I also discovered the joy resulting from recitation of the Hours in common. I came back from Lourdes, praying the Divine Office with such regularity that I could commit to its full recitation was not a rash assumption of an unmanageable burden.
God often pays back for our puny little efforts of reaching out towards Him with graces of desire to do more. By the time the Sacred Triduum of 1986 rolled around, I was able to follow the prayers with some understanding and even to take part in it with others. The beautiful lamentations of Jeremiah truly moved me. I offered up my profusely flowing tears to Our Lord, shed for His sufferings and for sufferings depicted so similar to the sufferings of people in Hungary, my native land where, compared to the largish flow of happier times, the songs of praise became just a trickle. Walking in the sunshine afterwards, I just knew with a certainty what I was called to do – to fill the gap with my voice.
At that time, Hungary, my native land, was still under Soviet occupation. In the 50s almost all religious orders were outlawed, their members forbidden to associate with each other. A few Franciscans and Benedictines were allowed to continue as teaching orders, but contemplative orders were absolutely illegal. This law was in force until the 90s. One could assume that once a vowed religious, their habit of prayers will survive, no matter what; however, it was not really possible to pray the Divine Office without any books or opportune occasions in camp or in prison, where many priests and religious were sent..
After that, I was led stepwise, not acting rashly, always acting in obedience to those who were directing my spiritual life. In the end, the Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute saw the day.
I started to beseech my confessor to permit me to be bound to the full recitation of the Divine Office under pain of sin. Father hesitated in the name of prudence, and then inexplicably, I obtained the sought after permission on August 14, which in Hungary is also the Feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
Next came the desire to present the flowers of praise in a nicely prepared bouquet, i.e., the need for a rule of life. With this in place, the time for the next step was ready – to set up the framework for a religious association to which other likeminded faithful could join. Hence the Servitores Reginae Apostolorum Institute was born. Our love of God overflows into charity towards others, reaching out to them so that we can pray for them and with them, to strengthen their faith, and understanding of it and also help them to make the Divine Office part of their prayer life. Where and how this is done will be the subject of the next article.
5. The Servitores abroad – a visit to England (10-1- 2010)
A case can be made out for a monthly editorial letter not only about the current preoccupations of the Servitores, but also about those things which are permanent in our lives.
As it is often the case, it is hard to start when one has so much to say. However, the recent visit of the Holy Father to Great Britain gave me a good starting point. With England so much in the news, It may be more interesting for our readers to hear more about my trip to England this summer. This trip had three highlights:
1. Traditional Solemn High Mass Saint James church of the Spanish Place in London
2. Daily visits to the Brompton Oratory for the Tridentine Mass and talking with Oratorian Fathers
3. Conference with the Lady Abbess at the Brigittine Abbey of Syon
1. Traditional Solemn High Mass Saint James Church of the Spanish Place in London
The first Solemn High Mass of Rev. Father S. Harkins FSSP in England was celebrated in Saint James Church of Spanish Place in London. This church, originally a Spanish embassy chapel, was a place of refuge to Catholics during the Penal Times. This was my first visit there. You can learn more about its history form this website:
Rev. Father S. Harkins had already celebrated a Solemn High Mass in Scotland, where the Primate of Scotland was in attendance, Through his generosity and the energetic organising ability of the English Region of the FSSP, those living south of Hadrian’s wall were also privileged to be present a this momentous occasion and also to receive Father’s first priestly blessing.
2. Daily visits to the Brompton Oratory for the Tridentine Mass and talking with Oratorian Fathers
The Brompton Oratory is the church of the London Oratorian Fathers. Blessed Cardinal Newman was also an Oratorian, but he established his base in Birmingham. The London Oratorian
community was established by Rev. Father W. Faber, one of the sanest Catholic priestly writers and also the composer of many beautiful hymns. The Fathers of the Brompton Oratory survived when so many religious commutes dwindled away and are doing magnificent work. The following article describes things as they stand for the Brompton Oratory (except that there is now a Tridentine Mass offered daily),and is worthwhile to read:
3. Conference with the Lady Abbess at the Brigittine Abbey of Syon
Compared to these two magnificent churches, the chapel of Syon Abbey of the Brigittine Order is very simple and yet infinitely precious because it too, breathes English Catholic history; for within it is a stone from the gatehouse of the original Syon Abbey, destroyed during the Reformation. When forced to flee, the Sisters carried this stone with themselves to exile and from country to country during their enforced wanderings. When they went back to England the stone came with them.
There is a good article with many pictures at http://www.kellerbook.com/today.htm. Both at Saint James Church at the Brompton Oratory, I had the privilege of talking with FSSP Fathers and the Oratorian Fathers. In essence, these were courtesy visits; however, with the Lady Abbess of Syon Abbey it had a definite purpose, namely, furthering the existing ties between Syon Abbey and the Servitores.
It has been realised as early as 2003 that there are many elements in the Servitores which are close to the Brigittine spirituality. I was accepted as a Sister of the Chapter of Syon Abbey in 2004 and since then we have been united in prayer. In general, in the wake of Vatican II Council the existing Brigittine communities updated their constitutions and Offices and are using the vernacular. The 2007 Motu Proprio of the Holy Father legitimised the use of Latin traditional liturgy by any community wishing to do so, so closer association between traditional and updated communities is not unusual, any more.
With the generous s help and guidance of the Lady Abbess and the assistance of Fathers guiding the Servitores, we are learning more and more about the Brigittine way of life. The process of adding step by step the Propers (i.e. parts other than the psalms) of the Brigittine Office to the end of the Hours of the regular 1952 Latin Divine Office has begun. Given the Marian orientation of the Brigittine Divine Office, it is fitting that the first Hours adapted were those of the Offices on the Feast-days of Our Lady.
In my next letter, I shall write about something very permanent in our lives, namely the central significance of the Traditional Latin Divine Office in the lives of the Servitores. The Divine Office is one of the two significant components of the Traditional Latin liturgy of the Catholic Church: The other component is the Traditional Latin Mass.
4. Preparing for Pentecost (5-8-2010)
It is a nice traditional custom to follow in the wake of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Apostles and spend the time between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost in prayer. I am therefore placing the Novena to the Holy Ghost on the “Prayers (Section of Devotions)” page.
The novena to the Holy Ghost is a novena for the 9 days, from Friday after Ascension Thursday, to the Vigil of Pentecost, inclusive. The meditations and prayers differ for each day, focusing on a particular gift of the Holy Ghost. However, the intentions should be the same for each day of this novena. In the copy provided, the prayer intentions and the intended recipients are in red letters. Feel free to substitute your recipient (which of course, can be you) and intentions!
Another prayerful custom to keep is to recite the Litany of all Saints on ever one of the Rogation Days (Monday-Wednesday inclusive, before Ascension Thursday.) by. In their fullest form, these litanies are sung during a procession. Naturally you can also say them in private.
3. Let us join them in prayer! (4-26-2010)
Prayer campaign – Mondjatok áldást! (Say a blessing!) – from May 1 to June 9, inclusive.
Source of information: Magyar Kurír http://www.magyarkurir.hu
In these days, when they are attacking and humiliating Pope Benedict XVI with untrue accusations from many sides, two Hungarian national Marian shrines are asking the Catholic faithful to join them with prayers and/or for sacrifices for 40 days.
The Rector of Máriapócs, Rev. Father István Kapics and the Rector of Mátraverebély–Szentkút, Rev. Father Peregrin Kálmán OFM are asking all men of goodwill and religious communities to join them by performing some form of sacrifice daily for 40 days. These sacrifices can be prayers, fasting or corporal works of mercy. The starting date is May 1.
This is how these 2 Fathers put it:
Let us jointly offer up these sacrifices for the Holy Father and for those attacking him, as Saint Peter urged us: ‘”Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing.” Saint Peter I, 3:9.
The prayer campaign and the name of participants will be forwarded to Rome by the Rectors of the two shrines. Let us show the flag from this side of the Atlantic as well!
The Servitores will say Psalm 6, one of the penitential psalms, daily during these 40 days.
How to join?
You can send your name and the nature of the sacrifice through the Servitores via e-mail write to the shrines directly:
Nemzeti Kegyhely
4326 Máriapócs, Kossuth tér 25.
Nemzeti Kegyhely
3077 Mátraverebély–Szentkút 14.
2.Thoughts on New Year’s Eve (12-31-2009)
One nice Catholic custom is to say a Te Deum for God’s gifts in 2009 just before retiring (or before midnight if we are still up) and a Veni Creator Spiritus on rising tomorrow, for the help of God in 2010.
Let us be profuse in our thanks, for the spiritual and temporal gifts and for the crosses, whether these are sufferings because of misfortunes affecting us, or the pain of witnessing the misfortunes of those who are near and dear to us.
Let us be bold in our request, without however, forgetting that the most precious gifts – both for ourselves and others – are spiritual, leading to our sanctification, However, whilst on this earthly pilgrimage, we have temporal needs as well and in the spirit of openness, let us not be diffident in laying our hopes, needs and wants at the foot of God’s heavenly throne.
To make things easier, I am putting the copies of these prayers ( taken from the Breviary section of http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/). On the “Prayers” page
Wishing you a blessed New Year and asking for your prayers –
In Christo: Sister Margarita
1. Thoughts on the Feast of Saint Stephen Protomartyr  (12-26-2009)
After months of prayerful deliberations, the website of the Servitores is born as the first fruit of very grace-filled Christmas.
This is also a fitting day for something noteworthy; for this is the anniversary of Cardinal Mindszenty’s arrest by the Communists in 1948. Sometimes dates are significant; for not only is this the Feast of Saint Stephen, the Protomartyr of the Church, but is also the namesake of Saint Stephen, King of Hungary.
Cardinal Mindszenty did not bend in the face of opposition and weakened as he was by his past sufferings, neither did he stop working for the welfare of souls and the glory of the Church.
Wishing to follow in his footsteps of ceaseless labour, I am humbly presenting to all readers my puny little offerings. Please help us with your prayers that we persevere and with your suggestions that this WEB-site would be an aid to all, but especially to those who deeply love the Tridentine Mass and the rational Latin liturgy of the Catholic Church.

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