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.
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)
There have been some positive developments here in Tyler, but once again, not in the way in which it was envisaged.
As you probably already know, the recitation of all 8 Hours of the Latin traditional Divine Office is a basic feature of the in the life of the Brigittini Servitores, whether in private if there is no one else available, or in pubic, if there are others. As far as the public recitation of the Divine Office goes, we lately gained a lot of ground. We now have ad Primam every day except on Sundays. In addition, the whole group recites the Brigittine hymn for ad Primam after ad Primam each day. Ad Vesperas is scheduled for 5 p.m. every day, except Friday, but since only one other person besides myself is seriously committed, there are days without it. For ad Completorium on Friday after the evening Holy Mass we have several parishioners and – most important – our beloved parish priest also takes part in this! The group reciting ad Sextam after the 10.a.m Holy Mass on Sundays has also swelled in size,
How this came about? On the heels of an apparent failure.
We have received several inquiries from people, whose age is above the age limit for regular entry in religious life, yet desirous for religious life. In order to meet their needs and also to have enough numbers for public excitation of the Divine Office, which in turn is likely to attract more vocations, we have experimentally started a program for Associate Sisters. They, follow a mitigated rule, associating with us for prayers and instructions, but are responsible for their own living arrangements and upkeep.
The experience with the first three candidates was disappointing, to put it mildly. The fourth one, N., moved here from another state. She already had some familiarity with the Divine Office, acquired through long distance communications prior to her arrival. Friday ad Completorium and Sunday ad Sextam existed before her arrival, after her arrival her presence resulted in the establishment of daily ad Primam and ad Vesperas. She likes the parish, and he opportunity for daily Holy Mass and the Divine Office. She has put aside her religious aspirations for the time being, but she wants to continue with the public recitation of the Divine Office. A second person bought two others to the Divine Office – an elderly ex-religious lady and a young man aspiring to religious life are there for ad Primam daily and for the Friday and Sunday Hours in public.
The program outlined in the article titled “18. The Brigittini Oblates – starting religious life after 40 (1-12-2016)” on this section is still in place, with two modifications. The name of Oblates has been changed to Associate Sisters and instead of promises, simple vows, renewable yearly are taken after the probationary period.
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.
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)
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!
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)
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”)
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
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.
- 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: email@example.com
- II. Excerpts from the Rule of the Brigittini Oblates
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:
- The Candidate becomes a fully-fledged Oblate.
- 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.
- 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
- the Divine Office (the Latin breviary of 1962 and the Traditional Brigittine Office in Latin (1906 Breviary of Syon Abbey in England),
- 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
- the catechism of the Catholic Church,
- the history of the Catholic Church,
- the works of the Church Fathers and spiritual writers,
- the history and spirituality of the Brigittine orders, including those of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute,
- the Latin language which is the language used for the prayers of the Tridentine Mass and for the Latin traditional Divine Office.
17.THE SPIRIT OF SAINT BIRGITTA LIVES ON.
The year of 2011 was a year of crosses, for Syon Abbey has ceased to exist.
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
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
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!
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.
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!
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)
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)
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!
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.)
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.
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.