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Religious life 2013: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

Suscipe me secundum eloquium tuum, et vivam, et non confundas me ab exspectatione mea. (Psalm 118)

abbot & monkEach year at about this time I have published a list of those who have risked everything to follow Jesus Christ more closely as a priest, deacon, monk, friars, nun, or sister. I think it is a good thing to keep this information in front of us, especially as it concerns how each of prays, fasts and financially support  vocations in the Church. Our Christian life helps us to see the need for such witnesses and each of us participates through our good example, by inviting others (even ourselves?) to consider serving the Lord and the Church in this “more excellent” way and by assisting by of the good works.

Let us pray with the psalmist, “The just grow tall like palm trees, majestic like the cedars of Lebanon. They flourish in God’s house, green and heavy with fruit” (Ps 92).

“What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life,” the Lord’s cross, Pope Francis said on July 7.

What follows is an imperfect collection of information; if there are updates, please zap me an email.


Monastic life


English Congregation

Swiss-American Congregation
Subiaco Congregation
American Cassinese Congregation
Other monastic foundations


The active life


  • Daylesford Abbey (the Norbertines): 1 professed simple vows, 1 entered the novitiate;
  • Dominican friars, Province of St Joseph: 6 friars ordained priests; 9 friars profess solemn vows; 8 professed simple vows and  18 entered the novitiate
  • Capuchin friars, Province of St Mary: 2 professed final vows, 4 professed simple vows, 4 invested as novices; 1 ordained to the Order of Deacon and 2 ordained for the Order of Priest
  • Opus Dei: ordained 31 to the priesthood
  • Fraternity of St Charles Borromeo: 1 ordained deacon, 8 ordained priests; -in Chile: 3 received the cassock at entrance
  • Conventual Franciscan friars (of several provinces): 7 professed simple vows; 5 entered the novitiate
  • Friars of the Atonement: 1 entered the novitiate
  • Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word: 2 professed simple vows, 1 entered the novitiate.
  • Order of Friars Minor, Immaculate Conception Province: 2 friars profess simple vows; 1 professed solemn vows; 2 ordained priests; 5 postulants entered
  • Franciscans of the Holy Name Province: 4 profess first vows; 1 novice entered; 1 ordained to the priesthood
  • The Society of Jesuit ordained 16 men to the priesthood for service in the whole USA; the NY-NEN-MD provinces professed 5 in simple perpetual vows; 5 men entered the novitiate.

Sister Marie-Zita –50 years of Benedictine monastic witness

The 6th century rule of life by Saint Benedict states that a monk (nun) vow stability, obedience and conversatio morum (fidelity to a monastic manner of life). A Benedictines’s “fidelity to a monastic manner of life” frequently spoken of as “conversion” instead of “fidelity,” so as to echo a centuries-long tradition of concept of conversio rather than conversatio. (Scholars have various opinions about the right word conveying what Benedict really meant and what was in the water at the time; conversatio means in our context monastic manner of life.)

Theologically for those who follow the Benedictine charism, conversatio means a person’s ongoing conversion to the Triune God lived in the monastic life which deepens virtue and extroverts grace. Conversatio, conversio, brings to mind that person seeks a return, a moral conversion, an upright moral life, an intense relationship with the Lord. The true conversatio is a recognizable sign of Christian maturity.

A sign of one’s maturity as a Christian is a life of generativity. That is, the adult Christian is going to be a witness to others of that particular union he or she has with the Trinity in a way that fruit is produced. The mature person does not live a life of reductions, but is filled with wonder and awe, and is willing to change even when it is difficult. Moreover, the mature Christian knows that he or she is not defined by the sins of youth, or the sins of the present. Grace in an a mature Christian, therefore, always is extroverted in some way.

The adult Christian comes his or her maturation in fidelity to the gospel, the sacraments, Church teaching and tradition, and mutual obedience by following (listening). The trouble is, most of us are asleep. We are converted when we can say with certitude that we are awake and that in Christ Jesus lives in me.

With outstretched hands the monk or nun sings the Suscipe (Psalm 118:116): Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum et vivam, et non confundas me ab expectatione mea. (Receive (or, sustain) me, O Lord, according to thy word and I shall live, let me not be disappointed in my hope.)

Today, a friend, Benedictine Sister Marie-Zita of the Heart of Jesus celebrated the 50th anniversary of professing her Benedictine vows as a nun of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified. Her stability is lived at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT. She gave thanks, we all gave thanks to God for a life of seeking the face of God in community. With hands held up in prayer Sister Zita stated her prayer to be sustained according to the Word.

Mass was offered by Dominican Father Jacob Restrick and the homily preached by Father Damien Schill with concelebrating priests Abbot Caedmon Holmes, OSB, of Portsmouth Abbey, Father David Borino, Father Robert Usenza and Father Gerry Masters. Deacon Sal assisted. About a 100 family and friends were in attendance.

I am grateful for the friendship I share with the nuns of this School of the Lord’s Service; I am elated that God has given Sister Zita the grace to mature in the monastic way of life.

Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus.

Religious life 2012: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

Heilengkreutz monks.jpgThe promise of the hundredfold of the Lord is evident in the lives we lead; how we live our Baptism ought to be evident and with those who have responded to the Lord’s call to follow Him more closely in the Christian life in which we live more intensely by through the consecrated life.

As Pope Benedict said, 
It is no less challenging to follow Christ today, It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to his. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life (48th World Day of Vocations, 2011).

Calling of St Matthew detail  Caravaggio.jpg

The key words for us ought to be “to follow,” “to keep our gaze,” “listening,” “conforming,” and “encountering.” The crux is, to whom do we belong? Of course, I would hope that we could easily say that we belong to Christ and to His Church. But we know that while we may honestly believe this fact, it is not so every day. We say one thing but we don’t always follow and keep our gaze on the Lord. May this be our prayer and our work today!
This is the third year that I have surveyed, in representative manner, some of the US monastic communities and religious orders who have had members profess simple and/or solemn vows, new members who received the habit or have receive ordination to the Order of Deacon or Priest. While the numbers may be sobering, the point is not about numbers as much as to recognize the many testimonies of grace, the rich living of the offer God has made to our sisters and brothers to love and serve Him in religious life. Corrections welcome.

Monastic life
  • St Vincent’s Archabbey: 4 profess simple vows; 4 profess solemn vows; 2 ordained deacons, 2 ordained priests
  • St John’s Abbey: 2 monks make a profession of solemn vows; 3 professed simple vows
  • St Benedict’s Abbey (Atchinson, KS): 1 monk solemn vows, 3 received as postulants, 1 postulant in Brazil
  • Belmont Abbey (Charlotte, NC): 1 novice entered; 2 monks profess solemn vows
  • St Martin’s Abbey: 1 entered as a novice

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Religious life 2011: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

Call of Peter and Andrew LVeneziano.jpgAbout this time of each year I look at the numbers of who professed vows, entered religious life and/or ordained of a select group of religious orders of the mixed, apostolic life and monasteries since Autumn 2010.

Locating the public vocation in Christ and therefore in the Church, we have to note what Pope Benedict has taught:
“The Eucharist is the source of that ecclesial unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his passion: “Father… that they also may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn  17:21). The intense communion favors the growth of generous vocations at the service of the Church: the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom” (World Day of Prayer for Vocation, 2007).
No vocation makes sense without the Eucharist and the ecclesial unity the Eucharist creates. All vocations, are therefore born from an intense desire for unity in Jesus Christ, the Eucharistic Lord.

This year’s vocation stats:
Monastic Life

St Meinrad Archabbey (St Meinrad, IN): 1 novice was given the habit.
Conception Abbey (Conception, MO): 1 monk was ordained to the Order of Deacon; 2 novices were invested.
St Joseph’s Abbey Covington, LA): 2 professed simple vows; 1 entered the novitiate.
Subiaco Abbey (Subiaco, AK): 2 monks professed simple vows; 2 entered the novitiate and 3 men entering the postulancy.
Our Lady of Glastonbury Abbey (Hingham, MA): 1 entered the novitiate.
Prince of Peace Abbey (Oceanside, CA): 1 monk professed solemn vows.
Mount Michael Abbey (Elkhorn, NE): 1 monk ordained to the Order of Deacon and 1 monk ordained to the Order of Priest.
Monastero di San Benedetto (Norcia, Italy): 1 monk professed solemn vows, one ordained to the Order of Deacon and is expected to be ordained to the Priesthood on September 24. The monastery now has 8 solemnly professed monks.
St Louis Abbey (St Louis, MO): 1 postulant entered. The monks also re-elected Abbot Thomas for a 3rd 8-year term of service.
St Vincent Archabbey (Latrobe, PA): 3 monks profess solemn vows; 4 profess simple vows; 7 junior monks renew their temporary vows; 2 monks were ordained deacons.
St John’s Abbey (Collegeville, MN): 1 monk professed solemn vows; 2 professed simple vows; 3 invested as novices; 13 monks in formation.
Belmont Abbey (Our Lady Help of Christians, Charlotte, NC): 1 monk solemnly professed vows.

Abbot Barnabas blessings postulants 2011.jpg

St Benedict’s Abbey (Atchison, KS): 1 monk professed solemn vows, 2 professed simple vows and 3 were admitted as postulants.
St Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ): 1 monk professed solemn vows, 3 professed simple vows; 1 novice entered.
St Bernard’s Abbey (Cullman, AL): 1 ordained a priest, 1 solemn vows, 1 made simple profession and 1 received into the postulancy.
St Martin’s Abbey (Lacey, WA): 1 monk professed solemn vows and 1 monk was ordained priest.
Abbey of Saint Walburga (Colorado): simply professed 2 nuns in 2011 who join 3 other junior nuns.
Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles (Kansas City-St Joseph, MO) had 3 profess first vows and 2 enter the novitiate. These sisters follow the traditional Liturgy.
St Dominic’s Monastery (Linden, VA): 4 novices, 3 postulants, 2 aspirants. This community is a very young community of women living the vocation of an enclosed Dominican Nun.
The Dominican nuns of Summit, NJ, the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, there are 8 nuns in formation: 3 temporary professed, 4 novices, 1 postulant.
The Carmelite Monks (Cody, WY) had 2 enter the novitiate, a perpetual profession and 2 professed temporary vows.
Daylesford Abbey (Paoli, PA): 1 ordained to the priesthood (December 2010) and 1 ordained priest (September 2011); 1 simple profession.
St Michael’s Abbey (Silverado, CA): 1 canon was ordained to the priesthood and 2 were ordained deacon; 1 professed solemn vows.
Holy Theophany Monastery (Olympia, WA): a novice will be invested with the habit in November. This is monastery is only a few years old and lives according to the Byzantine tradition.
Apostolic religious men
The Capuchin friars of St Mary’s Province (New York-New England) simply professed 2 friars; there will be 5 friars professing solemn vows; 3 were admitted to the novitiate and 4 to the postulancy.
The Capuchin Friars of the Saint Augustine Province simply professed 4 friars.
The Capuchin Friars of the Province of Saint Conrad (Mid-America) 2 novices entered, 1 friar was ordained a deacon and 1 friar was ordained a priest.

Investiture 2011.JPG

Conventual Franciscans: several provinces sponsor a common novitiate in Mishawaka, IN: 5 friars professed simple vows; 7 men received the habit.
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: 4 friars professed final vows; 5 professed simple vows and 5 postulants entered.
Franciscan Friars, Holy Name Province: 2 were ordained priests; 2 professed solemn vows, 3 entered the novitiate; 5 became postulants.
Congregation of Holy Cross (Notre Dame, IN): 1 professed final vows in the USA, 5 professed final vows in East Africa; 6 professed simple vows in the USA. The same American who professed final vows was ordained to the Order of Deacon.
The Dominicans of the Province of St Joseph: 16 professed simple vows, 9 friars professed solemn vows and 5 ordained priests, 13 entered the novitiate.
The Dominicans of the Province of St Albert the Great: 7 professed simple vows; 6 men were admitted to the novitiate.
Apostolic Women religious

Sr. Christine Ann Hoffner with Bp Michael Cote.jpg

Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Hamden, CT): 1 sister professed perptual vows; 2 entered the first year of the novitiate; joining 3 second year novices; and there are 3 junior professed sisters.
Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Clyde, MO): 1 sister was received who’s transferring from another Benedictine congregation of sisters.
Sisters of St Benedict (Ferdinand, IN): 2 professed solemn vows; there’s 1 novice and 1 postulant. You may want to read The Sisters’ blog.
The Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia (Nashville): 7 sisters professed perpetual profession; 15 novices made their first profession; 11 sisters renewed their vows for 2 years; 24 postulants were admitted to the novitiate. The sisters have a convent in Australia.

Mary Mother of the Eucharist novices 2011.jpg

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (Ann Arbor, MI): 4 sisters professed perpetual vows; 7 professed simple vow; 18 received the habit for the 1st year of novitiate with a total of 36 novices.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal had 3 sisters enter the postulancy.
Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (Meriden, CT) 1 sister professed final vows; 1 professed simple vows; there’s 1 novice; 1 sister transferred to the Congregation.
The Sisters of St Francis of the Martyr St George (Alton, IL) 23 junior sisters renewed their vows; 2 professed simple vows, 3 entered the postulant program, 3 entered the 1st year novitiate and 3 moved to the 2nd year novitiate.
Sisters of Life: 5 sisters profess first vows.
Previous blog post: September 9, 2010

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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