Thursday, October 4, 2007

Three Little Nuns

The story of the nuns who were evicted from their convent in California reminds me of a similar incident that happened in my hometown in Maryland. Once upon a time there was a Visitation Monastery with a girls' boarding school attached to it. One day, without warning or provocation, the local ordinary suddenly announced his intention of closing the monastery, taking over the academy, and evicting the three elderly Visitation sisters.

Legally, all the property belonged to the nuns. Canonically, the monastery was an autonomous house, directly under the Pope. In spite of the intervention of canon lawyers to protect rights the nuns, the employees of the archdiocese pillaged the chapel and monastery in front of nuns and their charges, making off with anything valuable that could be moved, while putting labels and price tags on objects that were too large and heavy to pocket. The lay people who frequented the daily Mass and devotions at the nuns' chapel were distressed beyond words.

Everybody wrote letters, but to no avail. Pope John Paul II died and the local ordinary used the papal conclave as a means of gaining control of the monastery. The nuns were told to remove themselves from their home, under the threat of legal sanctions. They departed, humble, obedient, and resigned, true daughters of St. Francis de Sales.

There used to be two Masses every Sunday in the Visitation chapel, each crowded with lay people. They had beautiful First Friday devotions, with confessions and Holy Hour. But no more.... Share


Terry Nelson said...

This is astonishing! How sad and unjust!

Anonymous said...

Was this at Mt. de Sales Academy in Baltimore? I went to Archbishop Keough (now Seton-Keough) and my brothers to Mt. St. Joe's.

That's a sad story.

elena maria vidal said...

Actually, it was the Visitation Academy in Frederick, Maryland.

wendybirde said...

That is just horrific!