Showing posts with label Sisters of St. John and St. Dominick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sisters of St. John and St. Dominick. Show all posts

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Father Luc of Brothers of St. John: Reproach Doesn't Correspond to Reality

Edit: I'm guessing we're still not any closer to knowing why these steps were taken.

The crisis of the Sisters of St. John -- The Prior of Marchegg takes issue with's statement and makes some reproaches against the sisters.

Vienna (  The article about the tragic developments with the Sisters of St. John has led to some reactions.  Father Luc, the Prior of the Johannine Brothers, would like a word, as he has written some reproaches of the sisters, which would refute statements  mentioned in the article.  Fr. Luc clearly states that he calls upon the same founder, Fr. Marie-Dominque Philippe OP.   Not withstanding the two branches work as two "autonomous congregations with their own superiors, their own constitutions and statutes."  The brothers then also don't want to reveal the internal difficulties of the sisters.  The Prior explains to that the Cloister of the Sisters in Marchegg, Austria, is empty at present.  "We take care of it it however and use it in any case as a prayer and guest place, in the expectation that our sisters will return."

As to the reproach the sisters make that the General Prior of the Brothers want to have the highest authority over all three branches of the Johannine family, Fr. Luc imparted clarifying to  "Each of the three congregations in the family of St. John, that means the brothers, the contemplative sisters and also the apostolic sisters, have their  own leadership structure.  Our founder desired this from the beginning. Some years before a "council of the Johannine family" was founded with the three general priors ("Conseil de Famille"),  in order to strengthen cooperation between the three congregations.  It was never the case of a 'highest authority': as attempt to reduce this complex crisis to a power struggle is really very theatrical, but it doesn't correspond to reality.  God knows, how much all of the brothers pray for and support their sisters and to carry this consequences of this crisis with patience.  We have the secure hope that better times must come, and each will recognize the clear will of God."

Link to

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Tragedy of the Sisters of St. John and St.Dominic

A big storm around the contemplative women's branch of the Community of St. John.  In the background there was a struggle about changes in the charism and questions of power.   There are vocations of young women still in the drive way.

Vienna (  The Community of the Sisters of St. John, the de facto women's branch of the Community of St. John, has been stuck in a deep crisis for years.  The Community has recently revealed this information.  The Community of Contemplative Sisters of St. John was founded on the 8th of December 1982 by P. Marie-Donique Philippe.   The Archbishop of Lyon established it as a Congregation of Diocesan Right, among others there is a Cloister in Austria, that after years of preparation, large charitable gifts and yet even now stands empty.

In essence it happened that the responsible Bishop proposed reforms, these which the majority of the sisters refused, because these were considered to be against their fundamental charism. In order to manage this crisis, a Papal delegate was named, which clearly accomplished little.  Affected, according to information from were clearly more than 230 sisters, who in the mean time have even struggled to undertake a new foundation in Spain.  The Institute of "Sisters of St. John and of St. Dominic" was de facto banned.

The reforms, which from reasons not completely clear were imposed from outside, were endorsed only by a minority of the sisters, which led to a tremendous crisis.  Almost all the Austrian sisters of the Community have rejected the "Reforms".  The situation has been so tense and drastic over the years, that many of the younger sisters are now hanging in the air and don't know how they should continue. spoke with a sister concerned, from Austria, who entered the Order with much enthusiasm.  Sr. N.N. explained in the interview that the disunity over the charism began after the death of the founder (2006).  Originally there were many vocations and Bishops around the entire world worked to get them for their Diocese.  According to this sister, who waited years to make her solemn vows, also desired, along with a small minority of the sisters and the men's branch of the Community to "reform" the Contemplative Sisters of St. John. As to the question which "reforms" were meant,  the sister disclosed that the open attitude for interested parties will be limited.  The sisters are contemplative, but not cloistered.  There has always been an openness to receive new people or also to be active outside, for example for perpetual adoration during a youth meeting.  "The youth of today need the witness of sisters, who have given everything to Jesus and are full of joy over it."

According to sister then there were also significant structural issues.  Obviously it was at the wish of the brothers, that the General Prior of the brothers had the highest authority over all three branches of the Johannine family.  Most of the contemplative sisters wanted, however,  to maintain their autonomy and to live the united of the Johannine family on a spiritual level.  The crisis has been growing since 2009 and began concretely with the dismissal of Sr. Alix, the foundress of the contemplative sisters, by Cardinal Barbarin of Lyon.  It was from outside that new leadership was initiated, which in any case was, according to Sr. N.N., not recognized by the majority of the contemplative sisters.

In the Summer of 2012 there were then a lot of sisters, who were not bound by vows (Novices and sisters on the end of their simple vows) who left and founded the sisters of St. John and of St. Dominic, a community, formed under the authority of the Spanish Bishop, Don Demetrio Fernandez and quickly received 150 young sisters between 25 and 30 years of age.  Actually, on the 19th of January 2013 the Institute was suppressed again on the 19th of January, 2013 by Roman authorities, according to Sr. N.N. the sisters there were never party to, visited or asked.  "I would like to make clear, that we love the Church and would like to remain true to the Holy Father.  So we will obey and give up our habits.  We pray, and don't know,  what the future will bring us, but we place our trust in Jesus and it's all we can do now", said Sister N.N. sadly.

Link to

Foto: ©

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pope Benedict Dissolves Dissident Branch of St. John Sisters

(Vatican)  The Secretary of State of the Holy See has announced in a decree of January 10, 2013 that Pope Benedict has abolished the association of the faithful with the name Sisters of St John and of St. Dominick.  This dealt with a dissident branch of the Johannites.  A part of the Soeurs contemplatives de Saint-Jean, the contemplative sisters of St. John, which is a branch of the Johannine Community, had separated themselves from the community.

The contemplative female branch of St. John was founded on the 8th December, 1982 by P. Marie-Dominique Philippe.  The Archbishop of Lyon established it on March 25th, 1994 as a Diocesan Congregation of Right.  It shoujld not be confused with the Apostolic Sisters of St. John, the other female branch of the Community of St. John.

In 2007 the contemplative sisters had 342 members, of which 98 had taken solemn vows and 134 temporary vows.  The order numbers 40 establishments in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.  In the German speaking areas there is one house in Marchegg in Austria.

The decree of dissolution proceeded from years of internal conflicts about the founding charism.  The Church's expected reforms were not accepted by part of the Sisters.  The conflict escalated and led to a break of a  part of the Sisters from the Order. Because of this, the cloister in Marchegg has stood empty since the summer of 2012.  The dissident sisters founded a new order in Spanish Cordoba with the name of the Sisters of St. John and St. Dominick.

On February 24th, 2012 Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Henri Brincard as the Papal delegate for the sisters.  With that the Holy See undertook the direct leadership of the community.  Shortly after the Papal delegate reached his concluding report and was received by the Pope in a personal audience, Pope Benedict XVI dissolved the Sisters of Saint John and St. Dominick because of serious offenses against Church Order "with immediate effect".  The community may not then constitute itself in any new form.

The Johannine Community has published a statement on the decision of the Pope on January 25th:
Given the difficult situation, which is taking place with the community of the Contemplative Sisters of St John, inform you, about the brothers of St John, in accordance with the Superior General of the other two congregations of the family of St. John, that the Holy Father, which wants to preserve the unity of the family of St. John, in an audience transcript tells you that he has decided to dissolve the institution of the "Sisters of Saint John and the Saint Dominic," which was brought into life in June 2012 in Cordoba, Spain. Its members came mostly out of the community of contemplative sisters of St. John. 
The Community of the Brothers of Saint John wants to affirm, through its Superior General, Father Thomas,  in humble obedience, its communion with the Holy Father. The Brothers of St. John in close community of contemplative sisters continue in their prayers. They invite the Oblates and friends of the community to work together with them to trust the Holy Father, united to the intercession of the Virgin Mary.
Link to katholisches...