Dear Friends and Benefactors,
For the beginning of Lent this year we enclose a flyer appealing for help for the Dominican Sisters in Idaho. These Sisters belong entirely within Catholic Tradition and work closely with the Society of St. Pius X here in the United States. As the flyer explains, they have already received a great deal of help — to all concerned, well done! — but they must finish the building. Occupancy permits are liable not to be granted until a new building is completely finished.
But why should the Seminary be intervening on the Sisters' behalf? Unselfishly, because we are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ, his Catholic Church, and one part must help another in need. Selfishly, because without good Catholic families we will hardly have steady vocations to the priesthood, and without good Catholic mothers we will hardly have good families.
Nor are the Dominican Sisters raising only future mothers. Mother Church also has an absolute need of good nuns, or Sisters, to nurse, teach and pray, in the way that only women can do, because of the maternal instinct rooted deep within their nature, upon which grace builds. Wherever the true Church flourishes, these feminine vocations also flourish, as an integral part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Woe to the Catholic who would think he only needs priests!
Thus when it comes to prayer, women who as mothers would be ready to die for their children, have a capacity for self-sacrifice beyond that of men, and so for instance the Carmels in which girls give away their whole lives for prayer, are power-houses of grace for the benefit of the whole Church. But the demands of the enclosed life inside the Carmel call for a spiritual health and a mental balance not often found in today's girls, despite all their good will, which is why the Traditional Carmel in the North-west of the U.S.A. already sets high hopes on vocations coming from the girls to be formed by the Dominican Sisters in Idaho.
As for nursing, it so obviously fits the nature of women that Mother Church has always had numerous Hospital Orders of Sisters. Vocations failing (or wanting to be priestesses!) in recent years, the State has had to take over from the Church a large number of her hospitals all over the world, but how many patients in their illness can honestly say they prefer as nurses paid laywomen — or laymen!? — to devoted Sisters? In today's Church crisis the nursing orders seem to be the slowest in re-appearing within Tradition, but if the crisis gees on for long enough, re-appear they will, with ex-pupils of the Dominican Sisters likely amongst the leading candidates.
As for teaching, women again by their motherly gifts are irreplaceable in schooling the little ones, and as the children grow older, it becomes as desirable and necessary that girls from age eight or nine be taught by women, as that boys from that age — if at all possible — be taught by men. For as men alone should show the virility that must be reared in boys, so women alone should have the (true) femininity that must be both put into and brought out in girls, especially in our feminist age.
Now one may hope most Catholics are immune to the madness of feminism at work in education today, whereby an adolescent girl's family recently threatened in Wisconsin to sue her public school for refusing to let her take part in the boys' wrestling! But Traditional Catholics might be tempted by an objection from the opposite side, namely, the girl's place being in the home, she needs at least no secondary education.
To this objection a great Catholic educatress of girls, founder of the Sacred Heart Nuns teaching Order, St. Madeleine-Sophie Barat, nearly 200 years ago replied (I would love to find the exact quotation): if the men were men, maybe we would not have to teach the girls, but since the men have turned liberal, we must build our schools to teach the girls how to make up - as best they can - for the lack of men. Now middle class liberalism is no less a problem in the late 20th century United States than it was in early 19th century France, on the contrary. So good Catholic girls' schools to form loyal wives to save the Faith and souls in their families by skillfully compensating for their husbands' lack of leadership, are more necessary than ever. Until the men pull themselves together, it is a choice, so to speak, between St. Madeleine-Sophie and feminism, because nature abhors that vacuum which will be filled not by the men playing macho sports, but only by their submitting to God. From my recent mail-bag: -
"You blame bad churchmen for the condition the world is in. I blame husbands. They are not the priests in their home that God intends them to be. They are unbelievably self-centered, not God-centered. A wife cannot follow where a husband will not lead. He does not value his wife in the home, so to earn his love she is out in the world trying to be a man. These husbands sire many a child with no intention of fathering them. The wife tries to compensate for the big gap that he is leaving void, and she throws the whole family off balance. Without God, the husband's capacity to love goes no further than what benefits himself ...."
We need the Dominicans to raise true mothers and true teaching and praying sisters in Idaho, and we need them urgently — the alarm-bells are ringing of the wall! Let me tell you briefly about a horrible protest film coming recently from Hollywood, not because of the horror but because of the protest: Oliver Stone's "Natural-born Killers". Films are only films, but they do hold up the mirror to their society.
A girl in her late teens in an oppressive suburban home falls in love with the young man delivering meat at the door. Deciding to hit the road together, they begin their joint liberation by murdering her molesting father and her spineless mother, with, as parting words to her younger brother, "Now you are free"! Themselves they proceed to cut loose with a caricatural series of senseless, cold-blooded murders of anybody who gets in their way, and she is just as murderous as he is. Finally they are caught and put in jail, where the jailors vie for vileness and incompetence with the police, and where the distraction caused by a mediaman interviewing them for national TV —"I guess, we are just natural-born killers", they tell the nation — enables them, in yet another shoot-out, with satirical dozens of corpses, to escape with the mediaman, who is their final victim out in the wilds. Law and order have not prevailed. All that is left is the two orphans of suburbanism, clinging to one another.
Obviously the film is satirical, but it is not enough to dismiss it as satire and/or as brilliant filmmaking, and/or as a product of that left-winger, Oliver Stone. Like his film "JFK", this film is a howl of pain and a shriek of protest at a society which stands by after its elected President is publicly assassinated, and which wallows in its vile media while youth is defiled and law and order are broken down. Oliver Stone does not have St. Madeleine-Sophie's answer, and the lack of answer is driving him mad, but at least he does square up to her problem, and not pretend that the hills are alive with the sound of music!
Today's hills are alive with the drive-by shootings of natural-born killers, because too many Catholics are still arranging God to suit themselves, somewhat in the style of the 1950's or 1960's, instead of arranging themselves to suit God, and that is why St. Madeleine-Sophie's answer is not getting out in the 1990's. Put the Dominican Sisters in Idaho are doing their best. Let us get behind them, to show God that we are grateful for His gifts and that we want His graces, that we want to do things His way and not ours. He will not let Himself be surpassed in generosity. He can save our youth. He can save everything. All He needs is our serious good will.
May we draw all profit from the holy season of Lent.
Most sincerely yours in Our Lord Jesus Christ,