Sunday, March 02, 2014

These Were My People

Another historical post, which I am bringing over here from the archives of my other blog. This comes from July of 2007.

As I read the story of these sisters, I wept with joy.

Fifteen sisters of a sedevacantist community in Spokane, Washington have returned to the Church! If you're not familiar with the term "sedevacantist", it means "the seat is vacant". Sedevacantist proponents believe that there has been no valid Pope since Pope Pius XII in 1958. While some traditional Catholics have questioned some of the things that came out of Vatican II and some of the decisions of the Popes, most still recognize each current Pope as the Holy Father of the Church. But sedevacantists reject everything done by the Church from Pope Pius XII to the present as not being "Catholic".

If you have read my post "Color by Numbers - Not" about my religious journey, you may understand why I wept with joy when I read this story. I said in that post: "July 1971-October 1971-Fell into a cult, an ultra-traditional “Catholic” group, run by a man named Francis Schuckardt in Idaho. I was baptized Catholic, while there, by a retired, missionary priest who was just visiting. Left the cult (with the help of the prayers and explanations of the lady who instructed me in the Faith)…but regretfully left my best friend behind (though we are again close today)." The founder, Francis Schuckardt, left this group, decades ago, but the group has remained together and retained their sedevacantist beliefs.

I was only with this group for a couple of months and it was many years ago, but I spent at least a month living as a guest in the sisters’ convent. So these sisters were "my people"...if only for a short time. I don't know if any of the sisters who were there, then, are any of the ones who have been welcomed back into the Church, now, but it's all the same to me. I don't know whether any of them is the sister who told me that yes, I should hang onto my grandmother's quilt because we are supposed to take care of what we have (I was so relieved), or the sister who gave me a whole can of tuna when I had a day ahead of me up on "the hill" (I didn't yet know I had low blood sugar but she saved me that day), or the sister who made the little gift to me from the community when I was baptized: a holy water bottle made from a vanilla bottle, with a holy card of the Infant of Prague, lace, and a flower decopauged onto it (it sits on my dresser still). I don’t know if any of the sisters who is being received back into the Church is the one who held the door, as kindly as she could, to keep my new friend and me from entering their bookstore to tell the sisters why we left the organization (I'm sure she was “under obedience” to keep us out). I don’t know if any of them are the ones who put our things in the snowy yard when we came back to pick them up, so that they could keep the convent doors shut to us (again under obedience, and probably with heavy hearts). I don’t know if any of the sisters from that original, cultist regime are even still there. Probably many attitudes and customs had changed immensely over the past 36 years.

But I only know that when I read this article I rejoiced! I wept with joy. God moves mountains…in his own time.

Please pray for these sisters...and for the sisters they left behind.

Thank you, God, for waiting for these sisters, for bringing the people and messages into their lives that would bring them to this new joy. Your ways so mightily surpass ours.

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