Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament

The Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament were founded by Venerable Jeanne Chezard de Matel in France. At the start, they were cloistered teachers. They became an active congregation in the wake of Vatican II. Their rule is based on the Beatitudes. Their habit, given in revelations to their foundress, is white, with crimson scapular, upon which is embroidered their distinctive symbol, and a black veil.

Victoria, TX:

Parma Heights, OH:

Corpus Christi, TX:

Houston, TX: (heads-up – opens with video)

Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (same spirituality, different founder):

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican

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I’ve done research in the archives of both CCVI communities. I remember the humor in the letters of Mother Pierre Cinquin, first superior of the San Antonio community. Despite the passage in their constitution (common in the 19th century) that sisters should not use nicknames for each other, she often signed her letters to her sisters as “Pete,” and called them by nicknames, too (Gabby, for Gabriel, for instance). I thought it was so endearing, and indicative of their true affection for each other.

Agreed. I can see the reason for not calling sisters by pet names, particularly for novitiate sisters toward their elders. However, the professed are sisters, and should be permitted pet names. If a sister doesn’t want one, her wishes should be respected, though.

My main point in mentioning this is that it is just one of many examples of how and why we should not assume that PREscriptive documents (customaries, constitutions, etc.) are necessarily and fully DEscriptive ones. The reality of religious life is always more complicated–and more interesting–than the didactic and official legalisms. And this is nothing new; it has always applied to the reality of religious life. In fact, the reason for so many repetitious prohibitions and prescriptions is to suggest that what they demand is in fact what religious (especially women religious) were NOT doing.

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