Women religious

Vatican issues new rules for communities of contemplative nuns

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican released an instruction with new norms for contemplative orders of nuns, encouraging cooperation among their monasteries and outlining procedures for communities left with only a few members.

The document, "Cor Orans" ("Praying Heart") is a follow-up instruction on implementing Pope Francis' 2016 document "Vultum Dei Quaerere" ("Seeking the Face of God"), which issued new rulings and mandates for monasteries of women around the world. According to the Vatican, safeguarding the identity and mission of contemplative women religious is the aim of both.

WINE encourages women to form a spiritual sisterhood in developing a relationship with Christ

Tina Coleman, from St. Gabriel the Archangel, and Sandy Hauser, from St. Justin Martyr Parish, prayed during The Gateway WINE (Women in the New Evangelization) Book Club April 4 at Pauline Books and Media. The group meets each week for spiritual discussions on the books they are reading.

On a Wednesday afternoon, about a dozen women spread out among several tables, embellished with purple tablecloths, bottles of wine and chocolate. The atmosphere was relaxed, almost retreat-like, as they discussed the lives of the saints and how to pray with them.

Sister of St. Joseph deliver gifts from 1896

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Discolored by oxidation, the copper box had been sealed within a time capsule since 1896 in the foundation of the chapel at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet's former Our Lady of Good Counsel Convent at 1849 Cass Avenue, popularly known as the Clemens House of Samuel Clemens fame — aka Hannibal's Mark Twain.

Now, it was about a half-mile to the west at 1421 Jefferson Avenue in the St. Louis Fire Department Headquarters' media center, sitting on a table covered with white paper and awaiting its grand reveal.

Pregame prayer, solid teamwork clinched win for Loyola, says Sister Jean

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 98, longtime chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team and campus icon, prayed with the team in October 2017. Sister Jean credited pregame prayer and the players’ solid teamwork for the Ramblers’ thrilling last-second 64-62 NCAA Tournament win over the University of Miami March 15.

DALLAS — A religious sister who is the longtime chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball team credited the pregame prayer and the players' solid teamwork for the Ramblers' thrilling, last-second 64-62 win over the University of Miami in the NCAA Tournament on March 15.

"Our team is so great and they don't care who makes the points as long as we win the game," Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 98, told a reporter with truTV.

‘Cornerstone’ of Marygrove helped children heal and grow

In 1983, Msgr. Robert Slattery, then president of Catholic Charities of St. Louis, recruited Sister Helen Negri to become the chief operating officer of Marygrove. She began with seven residents and built it to a multifaceted program of residential care for more than 200 children every day (with 1,300 served every year) with behavioral health problems.

The Sisters of the Good Shepherd had just relinquished the agency, and the staff had asked her where the other nuns were — she was it. She gave them her beeper number, and they used it liberally, Sister Helen said with a laugh.

From corn-husk shoes to old-time habits

Two Sisters of St. Mary (later Franciscan Sisters of Mary) worked in the pharmacy at St. Mary’s Infirmary in the 1900s. St. Mary’s Infirmary was the first hospital opened by the congregation in 1887.

By the time of the St. Louis Public Library's founding in 1865, Catholic sisters had already been at work for nearly a half-century in St. Louis.

Starting in 1818 with the Society of the Sacred Heart and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, women religious came from across the pond to educate immigrants' children and care for poor, ill or otherwise vulnerable members of society. Along with men religious, they arrived in such numbers that St. Louis became known as the "Rome of the West," reminiscent of the Vatican.

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