Coadjutrix sisters

I’m not sure this distinction exists anymore but what are coadjutrix sisters ? It seems Sr Josefa Menendez (the mystic who wrote Way of Divine Love) was one in the Society of the Sacred Heart (a teaching order?). Thank you :slight_smile:

Oh my. There’s a title I haven’t heard in many years!

Prior to Vatican II, there were various distinctions in Religious Life, regarding different categories of incorporation.

A Coadjutrix Sister was a member of the Religious institute but she would likely have followed a somewhat mitigated rule as regards prayer obligation and would not have had a voice in chapter (in terms of the institute’s governance). Her assignments would have been more menial. There were also Coadjutor Brothers in various institutes.

By way of explanation…in monasteries of monks, for example, there was a distinction between choir monks, who had full choral obligation for chanting the Office, which of course was in Latin, and lay brothers who would have had a much different regimen for prayer and who would have been directed more toward manual work. These vocations were often filled by men either did not have the aptitude or the desire to be a choir monk.

In monasteries of nuns, there was a distinction between a choir nun who took solemn vows and an extern Sister…again with regard to sort of her work, the category of vows she took, and also regarding observance of the enclosure.

Among the active Religious, this vocation would have fulfilled more servile tasks. Typically, they would have had less education. They may have had less aptitude for study or simply less opportunity in life.

There would normally be an outward indication, some distinction in the habit that was worn.

These categories as they existed were abrogated after the Council…they had created a class system within Religious communities. No one in Religious Life, after life promises/definitive incorporation, would be left without voice today.

(I should add there are some places that still use these or similar titles to designate, for example, a male Religious who enters a clerical institute but with no intention of advancing to Holy Orders. He would, however, have voice in chapter today, unlike in the past. There are today other categories for a person who cannot assume the obligations of Religious life but are allowed to be part of the Community on an extended basis…such as a claustral oblate; s/he would not have various privileges of a professed Religious but neither would s/he have the corresponding obligations of a professed Religious either, which is the crucial distinction. In the former case, they had the obligations of profession without the corresponding rights and privileges.)

Thank you for the detailed reply Father!

Sr Josefa was in an active teaching order and now I understand why she mostly did things like sewing. She could have been assigned to this because she didn’t know the language of the country (French).

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