Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Abundance of Graces

Have you noticed the seeming plethora of intensely devout, totally orthodox, new religious orders that seem to be springing up? I hope so. Here's a few. They are all deserving of our support -- both spiritual and material.

Institute of Christ the King
I came across this order when I was looking for a Mass in Green Bay, WI. I was there on business and it was a Holy Day of Obligation. Including the drive to and from the church, I figured I'd be gone about an hour. The Mass alone was an hour and forty-five minutes! -- but it was awesome. My co-workers were a little put out but I didn't care.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
I was on vacation in Florida last month and we went to a Mass held by a priest of this order. We got mixed up on the time and got there an hour early -- just in time to catch the second half of the "Kumbaya" Mass that preceded it (at the same church no less). The contrast between the Kumbaya Mass and the Tridentine Mass was striking -- to say the least!

Miles Christi
This relatively new order is dedicated to the "sanctification of the laity". One of the primary ways they do this is through Ignatian silent retreats. I've attended a couple and they are life-changing experiences. Don't go on one if you aren't interested in improving your spiritual life!

Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek
These monks haven't exactly started a new order -- they are Benedictines who go back a ways. :-) However, these Benedictines are affiliated with the great monastery, Fontgombault, in France. They've established a new monastery in rural Oklahoma and an awesome Catholic community is sprouting up around them. Well worth a visit if you happen to be in the Tulsa area.

Canons Regular of St. John Cantius
Dedicated to the "restortation of the sacred", the Canons are based here in Chicago and are doing a great job reversing some of the insanity that has gone on in the Church -- especially here in Chicago -- over the last couple of decades. Their focus is on beautiful and reverent liturgies. Based on the Masses I've been to, they are batting .1000. :-) (Full disclosure: At the request of Cardinal George, the Cantians have "taken over" my parish. What a blessing!!)

Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration
I'm not choosing favorites, but I would be hard pressed to disagree with anyone who said that I saved the 'best' for last. If you are anywhere near northern Alabama, you have got to go to Hanceville and check out the shrine that fronts the convent Mother Angelica built here. We stopped here on the way back from Florida last month and this place Blew. Me. Away. Moreover, the Poor Clares are bursting at the seams. The lady in the bookstore at the shrine told us that they turn away 200-300 girls each year because they can't accommodate them all! And the shrine itself -- difficult to put into words, it can only be experienced. It's like making a wrong turn and suddenly finding yourself in Assisi. Check this place out if at all possible.

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