Guatemalan Franciscans Face Opposition in Embrace of Tradition – UPDATED October 4, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, mortification, persecution, religious, Restoration, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
UPDATE: Address for the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation updated below.
A friend of this blog wrote an article for the Remnant describing the transformation that has occurred among members of the Franciscans of the Assumption who began to embrace the traditional practice of the Faith several years ago. These Franciscan nuns were associated with a “Hogar,” or home, for severely disabled children in the city of Quetzaltenango. They were the principle care-givers to these children for many years. But because of their embrace of Tradition, which occurred under the guidance of a Franciscan priest who experienced a similar spiritual journey, some of the nuns have been forced, in a heart-rending process, to depart the Hogar and were scattered around the country to try to break their “pernicious” attachment to the traditional practice of the Faith. Now, these nuns are trying to establish a new convent on traditional grounds elsewhere and have taken up temporary abode in an SSPX priory. Land has been offered, but there are many obstacles remaining, the principle ones being related to distance from the Sacraments and lack of funds.
Some of the background from the article, telling the kind of tale we have all heard and experienced for ourselves so many times before: souls become discontented with the state of the Church, they learn about and embrace the traditional practice of the Faith, and then they are persecuted for having done so.
………It seems that Father Lazarro’s Ignatian Retreat was not a one-time thing. This retreat appears to have borne great fruit, and Father Lazarro, a zealous man by nature, returned to Quetzaltenango and his life’s work, and was soon offering a daily Latin Mass in the beautiful chapel of the Hogar. Over the previous years he had developed a following within the city of Quetzaltenango given his conservatism, and for most of those faithful who habitually attended his Masses at the Hogar it was an easy transition to the authentic liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Those residents of the Hogar who are physically able to be in attendance at Mass are also to be seen there on a daily basis, as are those employees who choose to do so. Three of the aforementioned Sisters made their first Ignatian retreat in November of 2010 and for the three of them there has been no turning back. Sor Emilia quietly and somewhat abashedly related some of their experiences in the types of retreats they had previously attended. There is no reason to repeat any of that here, for they are experiences that would surprise few readers. Suffice to say that these Sisters were edified by, and underwent a conversion as a result of, these Ignatian retreats.
As is consistently the case in these situations, love for authentic Catholicism flourished. A number of the religious sisters experienced a whole new and different understanding of and love for their vocations as a result. Soon they, too, were attending Ignatian retreats and Father Lazarro continued to make retreats as his busy schedule would permit. He also invited the Society priests to visit the Hogar on numerous occasions and they would naturally offer their own Masses there, to the delight and edification of the faithful. At one point Father Lazarro ceased to offer the Novus Ordo Missae and exclusively offered the perennial Mass of the Roman Church.
And, as unfortunately is also consistently the case in these situations, not everyone regarded this turn of events as something positive, including a portion of the religious sisters assigned to the Hogar as well as the local Ordinary, who prevailed upon Father Lazarro to offer at the least one novus ordo liturgy weekly and forbade the priests of the Society from offering Mass in his archdiocese. This seems to have had less effect on the priests of the Society, the three of whom are stretched across six countries, than it has upon the local faithful who are not at all disposed to returning to the novus ordo.
The most visible effect, however, has been and is upon those Franciscan sisters who have grown to love authentic Catholicism and have discovered a whole new dimension to their vocations and their Catholicism. Predictably, a rift developed at the Hogar between the sisters drawn to authentic Catholicism and those that had been steeped in the new religion and preferred it. And, as is also predictable, it became not a matter of respecting legitimate choice, but a matter of doing what was necessary to squelch this wildfire that threatened the “unity” of the community. The entire story contains numerous episodes and examples of organized overt persecution and nothing is to be gained by recounting any of that here, nor would such things come as any surprise to anyone who has tried over the years to cleave to a Catholicism dating back to a time prior to 1970. It is simply one more example of the ferocity of liberals who sense that their house of cards may be threatened.
In early 2012, Sor Emilia was removed from her position as Superior of the religious at the Hogar by her own superiors at the Mother House in San Marcos. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, this group of sisters made their first contact with Msgr. de Galaretta on 12 May of 2012 in order to begin to explore their options as a community under the protection of the Society. Finally, on October 24 of 2012, those sisters drawn to the traditional practice of the faith, including Sor Emilia, were separated from each other and reassigned by the Mother House to other apostolates in the country as a means of quelling the Catholic “uprising”. On that same date they contacted the former Prior of the Society of St. Pius X in Guatemala City, Father Gardet, to apprise him of their situation.
This detail is worth emphasizing. Having made a choice for Tradition, these particular nuns’ service at the Hogar was over, and not by their own choice. This is not a case of Franciscan religious abandoning their community in order to initiate a new community in a “traditional” venue. It is a case of these religious being expelled from their lives’ work and further separated from each other by being assigned to different and distant apostolates. Moreover, outside of the work at the Hogar, these religious’ apostolates consist largely in parish work, and now that they had come to the realization that things like Hell and Purgatory exist, that Our Lord indeed founded the One True Church, that receiving Communion in the hand is a questionable if not blasphemous practice, and a whole list of other simple truths not commonly conveyed within the novus ordo structure, they could not conscientiously deny any of these truths – something that would inevitably lead to conflict in any novus ordo parish to which they might be assigned. These nuns made the choice for authentic Catholicism and, having done so, their path was made clear, if not easy.
This group of religious briefly reported to their new assignments, but by November had moved as a group onto the grounds of Our Lady of Fatima Priory in Guatemala City. On December 12 of that year they were clothed in the traditional Franciscan habit for women. The novices who had opted for Catholic Tradition left the Hogar in May of 2012 and by November had already reported to the priory in anticipation of the arrival of the professed religious. By January of the following year, new postulants were in place at the priory and their current number was complete. [Making five professed, and four novices and postulants, I think]
So the nuns are now living in an SSPX priory in Guatemala City, the capital, and are seeking to somehow, by a miracle, raise sufficient funds to create a new Hogar for disabled children in the much more populous part of the country near the capital. This would also allow them access to priests who offer the Traditional Mass. The SSPX priory in Guatemala City is the only traditional parish in all of Central America, whether Ecclesia Dei/SSPX/religious or diocesan.
There are videos on the nun’s situation, experiences, and work below. The first discusses their process of transformation to the practice of more authentic Catholicism. The second shows the Hogar and the work that goes on there:
Contributions to these nuns can be made through the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation of Texas. Upon making a donation for this purpose please specify that the donation is for these nuns.
The website is http://svfonline.org/
The St. Vincent Ferrer Society of Texas can be contacted by:
Telephone: (915) 500-3025
Mail: 5628 Rosa Ave.
El Paso, TX 79905
The author of this article does not give endorsements lightly. He visits and gets to know a group before he gives his endorsement. That he has given such a ringing endorsement says a great deal to me. If my recommendations carry any weight, this has to be a really spectacular group of women to receive such glowing praise from Dr. Tim Brady.
I have been looking for an additional group of traditional women religious to support. I plan on supporting this group.