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Foundations of Religious Life - Revisiting the Vision

Item Number: 23393

Catalog Code: 9781594711985

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Foundations of Religious Life

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The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious has maintained the historical form of religious life, with sisters living in community and wearing the habit. While many religious orders are currently facing marked decline in novitiates and the aging of their members, the communities of the CMSWR are experiencing growth on a worldwide scale.

In this collection of foundational articles, the CMSWR articulates how its perspective is in keeping with the vision set forth by Vatican II, suggesting that its commitment to a more visibly countercultural life and ministry is what sustains its orders and attracts young women to the CMSWR communities.

The Foundations of Religious Life is ideal reading for sisters and those in formation, as well as their counterparts in men's communities.


Review - By Roxanne King of the Denver Catholic Register:

"While the last 40 years have seen an overall drop in the numbers of women entering religious life, the more visibly countercultural orders seem to be flourishing.

A new book by religious sisters, “The Foundations of Religious Life: Revisiting the Vision” (Ave Maria, 2009), explores why, as it looks at what Vatican II said about consecrated life, and how that vision is being lived out today by American religious sisters.

Sister Prudence Allen, a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, Mich., professor of philosophy at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver and author of the multi-volume work “The Concept of Woman” penned one of the chapters in the new work, which is a project of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

“We wanted to write something that says, ‘This is who we are and why we live this way,’” Sister Allen said.

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious is a canonically approved organization founded in 1992 to promote religious life in the United States. The council represents superiors of more than 100 religious communities of sisters in the active (not contemplative) apostolate, and whose members wear an identifiable religious habit and have common apostolates. The organization notes that the average age of sisters in CMSWR orders is under 35.

The book consists of essays written by six religious sisters representing five different orders. The topics they address are: religious consecration, the spousal bond, the threefold response to the vows, communion in community, and mission.

In addition to Sister Allen, who wrote the chapter on community life, the authors include Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, a founding member of the Sisters of Life; Sister Mary Elizabeth Wusinich, also a Sister of Life; Sister Paula Jean Miller, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist; Sister Mary Dominic Pitts, a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn.; and Sister M. Maximilia Um, a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.

The introduction and conclusion were written by canon lawyers Sister Mary Judith O’Brien, formerly of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, and Sister Mary Nika Schaumber, both Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mich.

“The book seeks to answer the question of why religious institutes are needed in today’s society,” explained Sister Allen. “We wanted to reflect on the essential components of religious life, the meaning of our life, the reality of the spousal bond, the necessity of the vows to live out this life, the call to be witness of the communion in the church, and the mission that springs from this communion.

“We’re hoping everyone will read it and love it,” she added with a gentle laugh."





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St. Cecilia

St. Cecilia Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 11/22
Tridentine Calendar - 11/22

Patron Of: Composers, Martyrs, Musicians, Poets, Singers, Throat, Vocalists

Cultivated young patrician woman whose ancestors loomed large in Rome's history. She vowed her virginity to God, but her parents married her to Valerian of Trastevere. Cecilia told her new husband that she was accompanied by an angel, but in order to see it, he must be purified. He agreed to the purification, and was baptised; returning from the ceremony, he found her in prayer accompanied by a praying angel. The angel placed a crown on each of their heads, and offered Valerian a favor; the new convert asked that his brother be baptised.

The two brothers developed a ministry of giving proper burial to martyred Christians. In their turn they were arrested and martyred for their faith. Cecilia buried them at her villa on the Apprian Way, and was arrested for the action. She was ordered to sacrifice to false gods; when she refused, she was martyred in her turn.

The Acta of Cecilia includes the following: "While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse." It was this phrase that led to her association with music, singers, musicians, etc.

martyred c.117; suffocated for a while, and when that didn't kill her, she was beheaded; her grave was discovered in 817, and her body removed to the church of Saint Cecilia in Rome; the tomb was opened in 1599, and her body found to be incorrupt

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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