Vatican receives final report on US women religious

By Benjamin Mann

Hamden, Conn. (CNA/EWTN News) — A three-year survey of women’s religious life in the United States has concluded with the filing of a final report by the Vatican-appointed Apostolic Visitator, Mother Mary Clare Millea.

“Although there are concerns in religious life that warrant support and attention, the enduring reality is one of fidelity, joy, and hope,” Mother Millea said in a Jan. 9 release announcing the submission of her findings to the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. 

Along with her comprehensive report on women’s religious communities, Mother Millea is presenting individual reports on nearly 400 religious institutes to the congregation’s secretary, Archbishop Joseph Tobin. These reports are likely to be completed by the spring of 2012.

Cardinal Franc Rodé, the congregation’s former prefect, began the visitation in December 2008 to “look into the quality of life” of communities nationwide. Mother Millea, who is the Superior General of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and hails from the U.S., oversaw the process and conducted much of the research.

Her review of women’s religious institutes spanned 2009 and 2010, with a further year dedicated to compiling and summarizing the findings. Its first three stages involved meetings, questionnaires and other communications, along with visits to around a quarter of the groups nationwide.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has not yet set a date to announce its own conclusions from the report. But Mother Millea said the apostolic visitation had “generated widespread interest” and was already reaping “tangible benefits” in the U.S. Church.

“The attention to it has resulted in a renewed appreciation for the role of religious in the Church and society and has increased dialogue and mutual awareness among the various communities in the United States,” she noted.

Not all of the attention drawn by the visitation was positive, as some communities challenged its mandate and opted not to provide requested information.

However, Mother Millea called the three-year process “demanding, but equally refreshing” as a reminder of religious orders’ “history and vital role in the Church in the United States.”

“As I learned of and observed firsthand the perseverance of the religious in the United States in their vocations, in their ministries and in their faith… I have been both inspired and humbled,” she said after submitting her report to the Vatican congregation.




Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 12:37 AM By charlio
My aunt, Sr. Mary Laurentia, died on September 8th, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, during her 50 year anniversary Mass celebrating her final vows in the Sisters of Charity, BVM, after spending many years suffering in bed with MS. Looking at the faces in the order’s website, none allowed to wear the habit, (no mention of any pro-life work), one gets the sense that there are many sincere Sisters who had to go along with the radical changes that were dictated upon their heads from above. Who knows what gold lies buried in the wreckage of the shining city upon a hill that was once American Catholic women’s religious life.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 3:10 AM By Traditional Angelo
“Summorum Pontificum” was hijacked. The “Year of Faith will be hijacked. So the study on Religious life has been hijacked. All it takes are liberal sooth sayers and sweet sweet talk and all is OK. Maybe Catholics faithful to the Church should do the same. But its best not to, it would only please hell and not God. Let us continue on our course.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:42 AM By irene
Sadly, the ones who did not comply are the ones that should have been investigated. The gospel teaches us ‘by their fruits you shall know them’. This is so true when it comes to those religious orders who are flourishing with so many new vocations. If you look closer, you will see they are keeping their identity by living in community, praying together, wearing their habit, and staying away from all the trendy new age practices that are so popular these days at retreat houses. These communities are producing the true harvest of God’s kingdom on earth.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7:09 AM By JMJ
I knew that when Cardnial Rode stepped down, this would end up being a waste of time & money & of course, nothing positive will be done to correct the horrible situation of these so-called “nuns”. Lord have mercy on us. +JMJ+

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7:41 AM By Annasher
I wonder if the report will generate reform of ultra modernist houses filled with inhabited sisters working in careers meant for Priests? IE: hospital Chaplains, parish administrators ….

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:53 AM By Bud
One of the most direly needed investigations should be conducted of every JESUIT institution. They seem to operate under a different faith and not subject to faith as we know it! They can be guilty of so much error but worst of all, the scandalizing of the young minds they influence.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 9:36 AM By RB
All I need to hear and am waiting for is that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious(Feminist led group of religious sisters) approves of the report.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:16 AM By rosaryfixer
Not to worry. The religious orders of sisters who have continued to follow Christ, wear a habit, have prayers and Mass in common, are attracting hundreds of young women who want to be truly brides of Christ. The ones who decided to jettison every vestige of religious life after Vatican II are dying-most are in their 80’s and 90’s. The nun who led the fight against Cardinal McIntyre in the 1970’s, has finally passed into eternity, canonized by the few in the Order who are left. No vocations for decades. Their “non serviam” has gotten them nowhere, but the remnant who fled at the time, to begin anew is thriving in another state.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:18 AM By JLS
Religious ought to be freely allowed to quit one organization to join another; a freedom to associate would likely lead to strong groups with staying power and a withering of weak groups.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:34 AM By FrMichael
JMJ, you are right about Cardinal Rode: the fix was in once he was gone. Meanwhile the “Biological solution” continues apace.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:14 PM By Clinton
May Our Lord Bless the faithful women who proudly wear their habits as their sign of devotion to Our Lord and His Church. As for those who refuse to wear the habit and have retreat houses for new age mumbo jumbo, as Bud suggests, they seem to operate under a different faith.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 2:06 PM By Tod
God grants his gifts to all as he wills, and to the various orders. It’s our limited human understanding and acceptance of this gifting that lead us to this endless bickering in the church. Every nun, every order, is doing God’s work in one way or another. God bless each and every one of them.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:01 PM By JLS
Yes, of course, Tod, all is well; evil has departed this world; no one sins any more; all are saved; nothing to be concerned about.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:33 PM By Abeca Christian
Yes we all have gifts, the question is will they use it for good and to honor God or will they use it for evil.

Posted Thursday, January 12, 2012 2:31 AM By Traditional Angelo
Tod, Its a fact that God grants his gifts to all as he wills. Lets not forget our responsibilities. Remember the story of Christ, about the 3 men who were given talents. Christ was talking about each one of us. Among other matters in the Church, Religious Orders were given talents. Have they been fruitful? Which is what the talents are meant for. Many Religious trashed their talents, and now they are trying to lead us to believe all is fine. Sorry! For obvious reasons we don’t believe them anymore.

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 1:18 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Fr. Michael, I hope and pray that you are wrong about the fix; however I fear that you are right! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:36 PM By Janek
One should not be concerned about certain orders of “sisters” most of them who ditched their habits and started to become pagans, wiccans, social justice types, have passed on and most are in their 80’s and 90’s. On the other hand take a look at the new orders such as the Nashville Dominicans, Fransicans of the Immaculate, and others in FULL habits and loyal to Rome. The vast majority of whom are in there 20’s and the convents have waiting lists. Please pray for these young women of Christ!

Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 10:39 PM By Abeca Christian
Janek you are right. I have noticed that too. Thanks for making this article more positive with making note of those good facts.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 3:25 PM By Traditional Angelo
I remember in the 80’s after all the complaints from the Laity about our Seminaries. The Holy Father ordered an Apostolic Visitation of US Seminaries. Lo and behold the seminaries and seminarians acted on their best fake behavior. The Holy See found that US seminaries were in very good shape and they received a great deal of praise from Rome. After the Visitation was complete. It was business as usual. Then afterwards the priest sex abuse scandal broke out. Good Priests revealed all the misconduct of the seminaries. The seminaries sure fooled Rome. And now the Religious in the US have been exonerated. It won’t be long before Rome finds out they were duped again. California Catholic Daily is suffering at this point a sort of demise. For now it seems we are not able to speak freely. We have to be careful how we write our posts as it must be suitable to some moderator. I wish we had the opportunity to give our real opinions again. Thats what made this site great. But now it seems this site is waning.