‘Diocesan institute’ to be formed for Episcopal nuns joining Catholic Church

When 10 Episcopal nuns in Catonsville join the Roman Catholic Church in September, they hope to form the first “diocesan institute” in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“A diocesan institute is an institute of religious men or women who take vows and live in community and they are overseen directly by the diocesan bishop,” said Dr. Diane Barr, chancellor for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. “They have a special relationship with the bishop.”

Diocesan institutes differ from religious communities of “pontifical rite,” like Dominicans and other large orders, whose governance model is under the authority of the Congregation for Religious in Rome, Dr. Barr said.

Dr. Barr said the archdiocese is working with the Holy See to help the sisters become a diocesan institute. Discussions are also being held with Vatican officials about whether the sisters will retain their name, “Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor.”

The sisters will maintain ownership of their 88 acres of property in Catonsville after they enter the church, Dr. Barr said.

Archdiocesan leaders, including Anne Buening, Father Matthew T. Buening, Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Rosalie Murphy, Sister of St. Joseph Constance Gilder and Monsignor Robert J. Jaskot have worked closely with helping the sisters in their discernment. The nuns have undergone an education process similar to those enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

“This is a very sophisticated crowd,” Dr. Barr said. “They had done their homework before they got started, so they had good questions.”
Thanks be to God!  I went to college in Catonsville but I must confess I did not know of Episcopal nuns! Now, if only some of the hold-overs from St Timothy’s Epsicopal church in Catonsville would convert to the Catholic Church!

Background: St Timothy’s was a very conservative Episcopalian church in Catonsville. Their pastor at the time was more Catholic than most Catholics I know. He opposed the very liberal women-“bishop” of DC. He actually refused to let her into St Timothy’s on the grounds that a woman can not be a priest or a bishop. He also refused to marry 2 gay guys who asked to be married in the church. For these “horrible crimes” he got booted out of St Timothy’s. I had friends in college who went to St Timothy’s who were some of the best defenders of the Catholic Faith, even though they were Anglican! I used to tease them and call them closet Catholics!  After the shenanigans with the bishop, they split and joined something they refer to as the Anglican African mission. Please pray for them that these nuns will inspire them to join Holy Mother Church as well.

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