Religious Communities in our Diocese
St. Joseph Province
The Vincentian Congregation was founded in Karala, India, on November 20, 1904, modeled after the Congregation of the Mission founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Members of the Vincentian Congregation, all natives of India, follow the charism and spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, our heavenly Patron. The Congrgation has taken as a motto “He has sent me to the program the Good News to the poorest of the poor.” St. Joseph Province is one of the three Provinces of the Vincentian Congregation. Our priests are engaged in mission work in mission dioceses in India and in other parts of the world.
While preaching the Gospel to the peoples and areas where Gospel has not taken deep roots according to the mission “Ad Gentes”, we are promoting the New evangelization in the State of Kerala and other areas in India where the Church is strong and flourishing. These are two aspects of the one mission of the Church. Through our New Evangelization Ministry as well as Popular Mission Retreats, Bible Conventions and Residential Retreats, we have been able to bring joy and enthusiasm for the Faith.
We serve Christ’s poor in our ministries of preaching, teaching, seminary formation and missionary work, wherever the Lord calls. We serve in India, North and South America, Africa, Europe and Australia. God has provided our community with faith filled priests to bring Jesus’ Good News of God’s unconditional love to all people, especially the poor.
Franciscan Poor Clare Nuns, Sauk Rapids
The charism of the Poor Clare Order since the time of its founding by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi in the 13th century, and continuing today, is to live in poverty, mutual love and enclosure.
Poverty implies not destruction but monastic frugality; not to own but merely to use the things of this world, simply and plainly. This rules out consumerism or ownership. It is very freeing not to be burdened with an overload of things. To live together in mutual love asks us to rejoice in the uniqueness of each person. We rejoice in the joys of each sister and, through empathy, we share her pains, sufferings or set backs, ever trying to lesson them by sisterly concern, reaching out to her in prayer and service.
Living in enclosure invites us to live simply. This removed the inner pressures of hearing or knowing all the happenings and events prevalent in today’s world and makes it possible to live simply, fostering a spirit of inner stillness, and to live quietly with and in God. Thus, ongoing prayer allows us to grow in an ever-deepening awareness of others, resulting in intercessory prayer for the world and its needs. It allows a sister to proceed on her monastic journey with serenity and freedom.
The Crosier Community of Onamia
The Crosier Fathers and Brothers have served the Diocese of St. Cloud for 105 years. They arrived in Butler Minnesota, in 1910, and in 1922 the first Crosier priory in the United States was established in Onamia. At present, there are 31 members living at the priory in Onamia, including four young men in initial formation. They follow the Rule of St. Augustine, living together for God alone as they bear their gifts to the Church and world. Community life, fidelity to public celebration of the liturgy of the Church, a rich contemplative prayer life form a substantial part of their ministry.
The Crosiers are dedicated to the spirituality of the glorious Cross and minister to people to help them find hope in suffering and joy in life’s struggles. Their pastoral work includes education and religious formation, chaplaincy and spiritual care, parish leadership, multicultural ministry, spiritual direction, retreats, service to youth, prison ministry, foreign missions, service to the poor, and elder care. Since 1952, they have hosted the National Shrine of St. Odilia—patroness of the blind and afflicted, and patron saint of the Crosier order—in their priory church.
From their beginnings in 1891, the Franciscan Sisters have attended to people in need. As soon as their motherhouse in Little Falls was completed, it immediately served also as a hospital, a home for the elderly and an orphanage.
The sisters quickly started many more hospitals, homes and even schools of nursing. In 1926, they established St. Francis High School in Little Falls. In 1928, they began serving in parish catechetical schools. In 1943, they took on elementary education, eventually staffing 12 parochial schools in the St. Cloud Diocese. In the 1960s, at the call of the pope, they began missions in South America and eventually served in Central America, Africa, the Far East and Mexico. Gradually they also spread their services throughout the United States.
Today, the community is smaller, it members older and its traditional instructions have passed into the hands of others. However, with its associates and supported by generous donors, it continues to serve human needs both materially and spiritually. The sisters are frequently described as simple, joyful and hospitable, qualities that have characterized them from their humble beginnings. Today, as then, they unceasingly strive to promote Gospel values in the spirit of SS.
Francis and Clare of Assisi.
Benedictines were not founded for a specific work in the life of the church. The monasteries founded by St. Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century were to be places of prayer, self-sustaining work and of service to people in the surrounding locale. However, throughout the Middle Ages and well into the 20th century Benedictines responded to the ever-present need for education.
To teach the children of German immigrants and to spread the Benedictine Order in North America was the two-fold goal that brought Benedictine Sisters from St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstatt, Bavaria, to central Minnesota , the members of St. Benedicts Monastery served primarily in the fields of education and health care.
By the middle of the 20th century Catholic schools and hospitals were well-established in the Diocese of St. Cloud. Other unmet needs of the people of God were surfacing, and the sisters began to branch out into different areas of service. Within the last 50 years educational and health care ministries have continued alongside new ministries, such as pastoral ministry, spiritual ministries (retreats, spiritual direction, adult formation workshops and programs), social justice ministries, research and writing, the arts and liturgical renewal.
St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville
Bishop Joseph Cretin of St. Paul needed German-speaking priests for new settlers in central Minnesota Territory in 1856. Five Benedictines were sent from Pennsylvania in answer to his call—three priests and two brothers. Upon arrival the five of them embodied a double charism. The three priests, by themselves, embodied the ancient monastic charism of evangelization, fanning out through the woods on foot to bring the sacraments to new immigrant settlements. Add the two brothers and you get the Benedictine charism of community, the formation of a stable group united in work and prayer to be as self sufficient as possible in a place they made their own in mutual dependence and charity for a lifetime. The charism of community has not changed although the community grew rapidly after St. John’s settled at its permanent location in 1865 and later spawned several foundations elsewhere. The number of priests and some brothers involved in pastoral work in Minnesota and elsewhere grew to be large and continues on a limited scale. Scarcely visible in the beginning but outstanding in present-day, St. John’s is the charism of education at the prep school and university level including the college and School of Theology Seminary.
Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life
O GOD, throughout the ages you have
called women and men to pursue lives of
perfect charity through the evangelical
counsels of poverty, chastity, and
obedience. During this Year of Consecrated Life,
we give you thanks for these
courageous witnesses of Faith and models
of inspiration. Their pursuit of holy lives
teaches us to make a more perfect offering
of ourselves to you. Continue to enrich your
Church by calling forth sons and daughters
who, having found the pearl of great price,
treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all
things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your
Son, who lives and reigns with you in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever
and ever. Amen
SECRETARIAT OF CLERGY, CONSECRATED LIFE AND VOCATIONS
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.