Redemptorist nuns forced to vacate monastery


#1

Sister Hildegard of the Redemptorist Nuns in Espopus, NY has just informed the Yahoo! news group, The Religious Habit, that their community of 10 middle-aged and older nuns are being forced to vacate their monastery as of 1 June, 2012. They are in a monastery built in 2010 on 400 acres of land that they love. Apparently the property is owned by the Baltimore Redemptorist order that wishes to lease it.

I think that this action is completely heartless. The Baltimore congregation knows that the nuns will hate to leave their property, and will have a very hard time finding anything suitable for them, let alone anything comparable to their current monastery and land. Land is now very valuable and almost all of the old convents and monasteries are too large, obsolete and have been torn down. There is another branch in St. Louis whose members are even older, who may or may not be able to take the current group.

It may also be unnecessary to evict the nuns. A number of aging Carmels (Indianapolis, Mobile, Kensington CA) have closed or merged recently, selling their properties. The aging nuns simply cannot keep up their monasteries. In a few years, the Redemptorist nuns may be in the same situation, and will leave the property of their own free will. I am not aware of any recent vocations ,and the nuns in their photos appear middle-aged and older, mostly older.

I have e-mailed the communications link at the Redemptorists and suggest that others do the same.

E-mail to: [email]communications@redemptorists.net[/email]


#2

You say the B.Redemptorist’s wish to lease it.Maybe their are many more of them and they need that space.There may be many reasons which you haven’t mentioned that the B.R.feel this is the best idea.If you feel the B.R. are wrong give us all the details behind this action.400 acres of land(depending on where it is located)for just 10 nuns to occupy may be unsustainable that this time.


#3

I know this group of nuns. They sold their monastery here in Niagara because the nuns were all aged except for one novice who was in her 60s. They probably will be moved to Liguori at their other monastery. They have other ones also, like the Phillipines, Ireland, etc.


#4

The sole Carthusian Monastery in the US owns 7000 acres. The land doesn’t have to be worked or maintained. IT can be left wild, or made a conservation easement.

The key to this story is that the nuns don’t own their land or monastery. If they did, then *they *could make the decision to sell or lease it. It is especially difficult for older contemplative nuns to move from a home that many may have lived in for decades.

The moral of the story is that when considering a congregation, it is important to understand its financial and legal status. Who owns its buildings and land? Is the community in debt? Is it considering merging with another congregation, say, a much larger one with its own customs and ethos? Most people who apply to religious life like stability. They don’t like uncertainty. This is, I believe, one of the reasons the Nashville and Ann Arbor teaching Dominicans are attractive. They teach. They are a traditional order with the traditional habit. Contemplative nuns, too, are attracted to a stable life of prayer and work, often living out their lives in one place. These nuns are about to be uprooted, through no actions or decisions of their own.


#5

[quote="Shoshana, post:3, topic:244726"]
I know this group of nuns. They sold their monastery here in Niagara because the nuns were all aged except for one novice who was in her 60s. They probably will be moved to Liguori at their other monastery. They have other ones also, like the Phillipines, Ireland, etc.

[/quote]

Sr. Hildegard, their latest profession, was 60 when she made her final profession and maintains an active blog on the contemplative life. She is a brilliant woman. She is the one posting on The Religious Habit saying that they have to be out by 1 June, 2012 and are looking for a place to live. She made it very clear that this was not their decision or choice. Their monastery is new, was buiilt for them, is suited to their size, and they love it. It would be different if it were their own decision, like the Carmels in Indianapolis, Moline and Kensington CA, which have closed. It is bad enough for aging contemplative nuns to have to move, but to be forced out is unconscionable, especially because they might have made the decision themselves in a few years, like the Carmels did.


#6






I have helped the nuns here to move. I may find out what is happening. As I said, they have a monastery in Liguori, where the said novice now junior professed lives. But it is true that it would quite upsetting to say the least.


#7

During a transition period, the Redemptorists will continue to use the gatehouse. The Redemptoristines, a group of contemplative Catholic nuns, also will continue to occupy their convent, which is located on the property

monasticmusingsossr.blogspot.com/


#8

well what is so bad then.The nuns are up in years and probably can/t do a whole lot of physical llabor like growing crops ,ect.How are they supposed to provide for themselves?How are the able to maintain 400 acres of land?


#9

They never “grew crops”. They are contemplatives. They maintain their relatively small monastery, built in 2000, which was built for their small community. According to their website, they engage in library and computer work.

redemptoristinenunsofnewyork.org/Emblem_Words_9-5/Redemptoristine_Nuns_of_New_Yor.html

They were not able to discern and plan their move on their own. Apparently that 400 acres they live on is part, or maybe all, of the land owned by the Redemptorist Fathers, being leased to the Bruderhof–therefore the nuns must go.

The difference between deciding your future and having it decided for you is the difference between being an adult and being a child. Between having your own home, built for you and suited for you, and having it foreclosed. Between deciding on your own to move or being transferred, except in this case it is much worse.

Once again, for anyone discerning religious life, I think that the message is very clear. Know a lot about your community’s religious life, its works and community life, but know a lot about its* financial* life as well.

The least the Redemptorist fathers should do is find the nuns suitable places to live. From Sr. Hildegard’s plea, it doesn’t sound as if they have.


#10






Although they are autonomous, there are other monasteries…one of them is in Liguori, Missouri…truly not that desperate.


#11

No, rather like being forced out of your house to go and live with your brothers or sisters or cousins, whether you want to or not, whether they want you or not, and whether there is room.

I suspect that the Liguori nuns had nothing to say about this. They, too are old, if not older than the Esopus nuns. Maybe they welcome the company. Maybe not.


#12






We are thinking according to the world…these are religious with a religious mindset…old or not, they must surrender themselves to all circumstances. All of our saints had worse things happen to them. Their foundress would submit without blinking…:slight_smile:


#13

[quote="cara1, post:11, topic:244726"]
No, rather like being forced out of your house to go and live with your brothers or sisters or cousins, whether you want to or not, whether they want you or not, and whether there is room.

[/quote]

When you do not own the property you are at the whim of the one who actually owns the property,


#14

All of the above comments are true. However, these are facts that many discerners, and I suspect, young discerners, do not have in mind while they are discerning–and they should. Uncertainty. Having no control. Putting yourself in a position where you lose your ability to react to and control situations, especially in contemplative life, and gain the likelihood of needing it. You love that beautiful monastery–your community has lost it. Your community is dissolved. Your bedroom is now on the second floor. You are required to perform skills that you have long since lost. Your bedroom is now on the second floor. You can climb stairs only with great difficulty. Not only that, your community had no say in these decisions. Someone else decided for you. This is why it is important to find out the community’s financial status before you enter, and not twenty years down the road.


#15

[quote="cara1, post:14, topic:244726"]
All of the above comments are true. However, these are facts that many discerners, and I suspect, young discerners, do not have in mind while they are discerning--and they should. Uncertainty. Having no control. Putting yourself in a position where you lose your ability to react to and control situations, especially in contemplative life, and gain the likelihood of needing it. You love that beautiful monastery--your community has lost it. Your community is dissolved. Your bedroom is now on the second floor. You are required to perform skills that you have long since lost. Your bedroom is now on the second floor. You can climb stairs only with great difficulty. Not only that, your community had no say in these decisions. Someone else decided for you. This is why it is important to find out the community's financial status before you enter, and not twenty years down the road.

[/quote]







Forgive me, but you are still looking at it from a worldly view. You surrender your life to God....and if it is in the plans that you change monastery, well, you change monastery.Comfortable or not. Read up on the discacled carmelites nuns where the original foundress in Mexico was exiled from Mexico, went to Cuba, had to wear their habit than secular clothes on top of that they would not get killed, about food deprivations big time., etc etc etcI do not think those who entered the convent in Mexico had this in mind.

Anyone who follows the call from Christ will not, in my mind, look at the financial feasibility of the community they want to enter. They may enquire, pass it throught the Lord and Superiors, but when details you mention really do come to mind, I beg to differ to think whether there is truly a vocation in question or just a career....

Surrender to God's will is paramount....there is nothing else. He ordains all things. The convent that is secure last decade may not be when the postulant becomes fully professed. It is what it is....:shrug:


#16

I visited the chapel of the original monastery building in the late 1990s. I remember that it was a yellowish-colored brick on the outside, with 'old' stained-glass windows.

Then fast-forward, and I noticed that it was a modern-looking building, completely changed from what it was before.

I always liked passing through the town of Esopus-there were so many religious houses in that one stretch of highway, I dubbed it 'Monastery Row'! :o :blush:

Too bad about the nuns being forced to move. Is it the Redemptorists themselves who are forcing their female counterparts to do so? Or is someone 'from outside' eyeing the property for themselves?

All around, too sad. I remember there used to be a Redemptoristine monastery on a hill overlooking St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, Canada. I visited the chapel with my mother when my parents and sister went there in the early 1970s. Sadly, the nuns have gone-lack of vocations like everywhere else in French-speaking Canada-so now it's either vacant or being used for secular purposes. BIG SIGH....:(


#17

[quote="barb_finnegan, post:16, topic:244726"]
I visited the chapel of the original monastery building in the late 1990s. I remember that it was a yellowish-colored brick on the outside, with 'old' stained-glass windows.

Then fast-forward, and I noticed that it was a modern-looking building, completely changed from what it was before.

I always liked passing through the town of Esopus-there were so many religious houses in that one stretch of highway, I dubbed it 'Monastery Row'! :o :blush:

Too bad about the nuns being forced to move. Is it the Redemptorists themselves who are forcing their female counterparts to do so? Or is someone 'from outside' eyeing the property for themselves?

All around, too sad. I remember there used to be a Redemptoristine monastery on a hill overlooking St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, Canada. I visited the chapel with my mother when my parents and sister went there in the early 1970s. Sadly, the nuns have gone-lack of vocations like everywhere else in French-speaking Canada-so now it's either vacant or being used for secular purposes. BIG SIGH....:(

[/quote]

My source reports that The Bruderhof are leasing it from the nuns.

In French Canada there was a huge civil lawsuit years ago against the French-speaking archdiocese was filed on behalf of thousands of orphans and others who had experienced child abuse by priests, brothers and sisters.


#18

Well said indeed. We surrender to God and whatever He may ordain knowing that whatever He ordains is for our own spiritual benefit and that of all - as mysterious, even totally defeating, as it can be to human logic and understanding.


#19

[quote="cara1, post:17, topic:244726"]
My source reports that The Bruderhof are leasing it from the nuns.

In French Canada there was a huge civil lawsuit years ago against the French-speaking archdiocese was filed on behalf of thousands of orphans and others who had experienced child abuse by priests, brothers and sisters.

[/quote]

Who, or what is 'The Bruderhof'?

And what does the vacating of the Redemptoristine convent at St. Anne de Beaupre have to do with a lawsuit on behalf of orphans and other victims of sexual abuse [allegedly] by priests, brothers and sisters? The Redemptoristines are a cloistered communiity-the nuns don't have any apostolate outside the monastery. :confused:


#20

Re the Bruderhof, I suggest that you ‘google’ the term for more history. They are a communitarian pacifist Christian group related to the Hutterites.

My comment on the class action suite against religious communities in Quebec is simply a reflection on the long-standing feeling there against religious which might lead to a decrease in vocations. Apparently for a long time there were powerful lay Catholics in Quebec who put the running of schools and institutions exclusively in the hand of the church, where there was less supervision, may abused occurred which were not challenged. The uncovering of these abuse has apparently lead to a strong anti-Catholic feeling there.

It is true that nothing is certain, and that one must anticipate changes in the church and ones community which might force uprooting and leaving. One does not anticipate this coming from one’s own community. I think that it is a great pity that some accommodation couldn’t be made for the nuns’ sake.


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