There is zero tolerance for saying things that are not CAtholic in these forums, so let me choose my words carefully.
I think it’s great that there is a branch of Franciscans dedicated to the Word of God and to the television ministry in particular.
I am irked by the calls to “pray for Mother Angelica” – really? She is the most-prayed-for person, by far, than anyone else on EWTN. There seems to be an effort to keep MA in the spotlight of the network, even though she has been retired for years, due to her declining health. For example, she is mentioned so often on the network: I get email with Mother Angelica’s sayings for the day, and there is a photo of her behind the guest on the EWTN Live program.
I for one person am saturated with praying for Mother Angelica and hearing about her. Her title of “mother” is that she is the head of her group of nuns, but does that make her our mother as well? People talk that way as if it were so.
Mother Angelica had to do the will of God, as all of us are called to, in our respective walks of life. Mother would have been sinning if she had not done what God was calling her to do.
I am disgusted to hear the frequent mentions of what SHE has done, instead of what God has done through her. For as the “eternal word” says, we cannot do anything or be anything that God does not will for us.
I concede that the strong emphasis on Mother Angelica is for marketing purposes. I heard someone say that Mother Angelica is “big” in Germany right now. But, I’m still uneasy with that and would like A WHOLE LOT MORE emphasis on “the eternal word” itself. There is, after all, only ONE name under heaven by which mankind is saved.
I believe averyone at EWTN knouws that God is the One that works with Mother Angelica’s hands, but when you love someone you pray for her each day and you wish all the people that love her pray with you.
Mother Angelica deserves our prayers and our gratitude for being able to follow what God wanted her to do. And we should do the same, work where God want us.
I know she prays for us.
Just a slight clarification here. The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word are not an order, it is a public association of the faithful. It cannot be an order, because to be so, it would have to have been founded by St. Francis or St. Clare. The Church closed off the founding of orders when the Jesuits were founded. The Jesuits is the youngest religious order in the Church. After that, there are congregations and associations. To become a congregation the local bishop must elevate you to that status. Then you become a diocesan congregation. After that, the Holy See elevates you to an institute of pontifical right. In some cases, such as the Franciscans of the Immaculate they began as an institute of pontifical right, because St. John Paul II overrode canon law, which is his right to do. The same is also true of the FSSP, even though it’s not a religious community. My own community, Franciscans of Life is religious, but not an order. We’re an association as well. We have the obligations of the vows, but not the obligations of an order. Having said this, a community can opt to take on those obligations. That’s a decision of the general chapter, not canon law.
The MFVA are religious, but not an order. They have neither the rights nor the duties of an order. They remain an association either as long as they wish to be or as long as the bishop wants them to be. The benefit of remaining an association is that the superior can disband it at any time without asking for the Church’s permission, but so can the bishop, because he is the major superior of any association in his diocese.
Maybe I can help you both with this discomfort. It is part of Franciscan tradition that a founder remains the father or mother of that which he founded, be it a house, a community, a TV network, school, etc. This was built into our system by Saint Francis himself who commanded that he and his successors be obeyed and venerate in perpetuity. Not only is a Franciscan superior the father or mother of the religious in the house, he or she is the father or mother of those whom they serve.
You will often hear laymen as well as religious who have any association with Franciscans refer to Our Holy Father Francis (the saint not the pope) or Our Seraphic Father or the Seraphic Father. In the Litany of the Saints, when it is sung in a place of worship run by Franciscans, even if the purpose is for the laity or the diocesan clergy, it’s always "Holy Father St. Francis . . . " “Pray for us.” And "Holy Mother St. Clare . . . " “Pray for us.”
Another combo that you may hear in a Franciscan or Dominican setting is "Holy Fathers Francis and Dominic . . . " “Pray for us.”
If you look at other projects begun by Franciscans, you will hear them refer to the founder or foundress as “father or mother”.
There is a moral obligation, under pain of grave sin, to pray for the founder while he or she is alive. It’s like the moral obligation to pray for the pope and the bishop at every mass. It binds every Catholic, not just the priest. The priest says the prayer on our behalf. But a superior must be prayed for while in life.
So what is the “group”: the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist? Is there such a thing as a “sub-order”? They are sisters, with all the vows, and they are Dominicans. Their foundress is Mother Assumpta. Or is my terminology all wrong?
Before responding to your question, let me emphasize that the MFVA are truly Franciscans. An institute need not be an order or part of the original order to be Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite, etc. One needs to follow the rule, vision and mission of the patriarch or matriarch. In this case, it would be St. Francis and St. Clare.
I don’t know the canonical status of the Dominican Sisters of Mary. They can be either a public association of the Christian Faithful, because it’s a rather new institute or it can be a diocesan congregation, because it’s rather large. Their numbers are a good proof of their stability, which the Church requires in order to move through the different stages. They may say something on their website. I wouldn’t know for sure. I’ve never been there.
They are truly Dominican, because the follow the Rule of St. Augustine, which St. Dominic gave to his sons and daughters. They live and work according to the vision and mission of St. Dominic. However, they are not an order. There are only three Dominican orders, the friars, the lay Dominicans and the cloistered Dominican nuns. All Dominican sisters are women religious, not nuns and they belong to congregations or associations.
Remember, members of associations do make real vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The difference between them and members of an order has to do with rights and duties, not with the vows themselves.
There are also associations that are secular, such as the Maryknoll, Vincentians, SOLT, FSSP and ICRSS. They are not religious; therefore, they do not make vows of any kind. They usually make some kind of commitment to live by the constitutions of the institute.
I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m very worn out. Thank you for having me. Pray for me.