Friday, 8 August 2008

Feast of Blessed Mary of the Cross (Mary McKillop)

Today we celebrate the feast day of Australia's hopefully soon to be first saint! Founder of the Josephites, hers was the typically hard path for the establishment of a completely new religious order from scratch, complete with a split with her co-founder, internal rebellions, and famously a period when she was ex-communicated. Despite all this, the order thrived and played an important role in educating catholics in Australia for many years.

You won't see a Josephites in a habit these days, and so like most religious orders they seem to be slowly dying, their only visible legacy the many convents and schools scattered all over regional Australia. But perhaps their time will yet come again!


9 comments:

Nemo said...

Sr Bede, God bless her, in Sydney still wears a habit.

Joshua said...

And I know two very old black Joeys who wear the habit, if they haven't yet reached their sainted reward. "Remove the habit? - What a stupid idea," said one of them! Old as she was, I'm sure Sr K. would have walked all the way to Rome, if summoned, and was one of those oldfashioned nuns who could be confidently appointed to run the Vatican AND the Pentagon, and do a fine job, too. But as for her driving, LOL!

Johnny said...

What about a new Traditional order of Josephites in this country - now that would be a miracle to get Blessed Mary cannonised !

CatholicConvert said...

Brown Josephite in a habit - taken about 2 months ago.

Your point is still valid - lots of orders have no (good) habits any more.

Joshua said...

My priest, Fr Rowe, has just returned from leading a pilgrimage to Penola in honour of Bl Mary - and found his was the only group of visitors there! So much for devotion to Australia's first saint...

(See the initial report at Psallite Sapienter.)

Terra said...

My comment on the lack of habits was largely sparked by viewing the video of the Pope at the shrine for Blessed Mary McKillop. Not a hbit to be seen amongst any of the superiors of the order - which seems to me a pretty blatant disregard of canon law aside from anything else. But its good to know that there are still some faithful sisters out there!

Peter said...

Don't forget that many of these (ageing) sisters are still obedient to their superiors. As I understand it the order has, at least within its own statutes (can't comment on how these relate to wider canon law), decided to NOT have a habit but other 'badges' of membership. I suspect that many of these older sisters would embrace a return to a habit if the superiors so decreed.

Also, imho, some of the latitude that was admitted in habit design and 'rubrics' after (before?) the 2nd Vatican council were practical and reasonable. Many of those habits were made for northern Europe or America. One must always consider the substance, not just the accidents.

Terra said...

I'm certainly not holding individual sisters responsible - although from the reports above, there does seem to be some element of individual discretion on this. But canon law 669 says "As a sign of thier consecration and as a witness to poverty, religious are to wear the abit of their institute..." A business suit cannot be construed as a habit!

Some latitude in habit design, certainly to ensure it is adapted to the climate, not overly expensive, and practical fine. Abandoning it altogether however is a sign of secularization - a habit in my view is not just an accidental, but equivalent to a priests vestments. We can debate vestment design, but not whether or not to have one.

Peter said...

Terra

I don't disagree, but I think that a closer inspection will find that the sisters, in their minds at least, believe that their 'leadership teams' have indeed chosen a 21st century habit (perhaps like the postulated ultimate development of the fiddleback chasuble to the necktie?, but I digress :-)), actual law notwithstanding. It is sad, but I think you will find that it has been occuring this way.