VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has an unusual dilemma on its hands after almost all the nuns in a small…
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has an unusual dilemma on its hands after almost all the nuns in a small French religious order threatened to refrain from their promises rather than accepting sacred decisions to remove their superior.
Sisters claim that Vatican commissioners sent to replace their superior general, who is also niche of the founder of the order, have no understanding of their lifestyle or spirituality. The Church’s conclusion – which is contained in a summary of its investigation, gave this week to The Associated Press – is that the little sisters of Marie, the Savior’s Mother live “under the tight grip” of an “authoritarian” superior and feel a “serious loyalty conflict “against her.
The sacrifice marks an extraordinary will between the Vatican hierarchy and the 39-nunts group, mostly in the 1
960s and 1970s, which home for the elderly in rural western and southern France. Their threat of walking comes in a time when the Catholic Church can hardly save them, with the number of sisters bothering in Europe and America.
The unlikely revolt had brew for years but was exploited in 2017, when the Vatican suspended the Little Sisters government and commanded the ruler, mother Marie de Saint Michel, removed. The Vatican says that it took action after local church investigations in 2010 and 2016 found an excessive authoritarianism in her regime and serious control problems.
Details of her alleged failure of authority have not been disclosed. But within two years after her election as superior in 2000, six sisters had left, says church officials.
“The tombs of mother Marie de Saint Michel are condemned and the sisters are called for religious and responsible conduct” the head of the Vatican Church for Religious, Cardinal Joao Braz di Aviz, wrote the nun in July.
By that time, Braz had already appointed a commissioner and two deputies to run the order. But the little sisters refused to accept them and kept Saint Michel in place in the mother house.
When the standoff was escalated, 34 out of 39 nuns issued an outstanding public declaration last month saying that they had no choice but to ask for liberation from their religious promises.
“We do not make this sacrifice easy,” they wrote. “We want to remain in total fellowship with the church, but we can not clearly indicate or more painfully either our inability to conscience to obey what we are commanded to do.”
Their suffering has given sympathy. A French support group, Marie’s Little sisters Support Association, claims that he has received 3,900 signatures for an online application requiring the government’s immediate restoration of Commissioners’ orders and removal.
“We are in a situation of blockage,” said Marcel Mignot, president of the support society.
The sisters face problems with their superiors and say the real dispute is over their local bishop’s decision to divide the management of their elderly care that merged in recent years. They say that the bishop used his authority to impose an unfair decision on them without taking into account their views or the financial consequences.
“It’s about power,” Mignot said, referring to the bishop’s authority over bishop orders.
The sisters have appealed to the Supreme Court of the Vatican City, “so that truth can be restored, but Roman justice takes its time”, the sisters wrote their followers earlier this year.
Their well-run community was founded in 1954 in Toulouse by Marie Nault, a woman who, according to legend, finished her formal education at the age of 11 to work on the family farm but had such spirituality that she developed stigma-the bleeding wounds that imitate the cross of Christ on the cross .  Nault was named Mer Marie de la Croix – Mother of the Cross – and opened four communities in western and southern France who in 1989 received approval from the bishop to become a bishops’ institute
Born in 1901, Mum killed Marie 1999 and her niece, the current ousted superior, took over a year later. She is left in the mother house of Saint-Aignan sur Roë, in western France. She was expected to go down after her mandate was up and a new superior was chosen, but the plans for the election are now in limbo, Mignot said.
The sacrifice of the little sisters is opposed to a continued free fall in the number of nuns around the world, as older sisters die and fewer young people take their place. The latest Vatican City from 2016 shows that the number of sisters was down 10,885 from the previous year to 659,445 globally. Ten years before, there were 753,400 nuns around the world, which means that the Catholic Church throws nearly 100,000 sisters for a decade.
Europe’s nuns regularly run the worst and see a decline of 8,370 sisters in 2016 above the previous year’s decline of 8,394, according to the Vatican City.
The Vatican, in its conclusions on the matter, said that it believed that the majority of the little sisters “really want to follow the Lord in a life of prayer and sacrifice”.  While the complaint has the superiority over them, the Vatican Assembly of Religious Orders told the AP that most sisters had been kept in the dark about the conflicts of management over elder care – details that Vatican commissioners have not fully realized because they have not been able to access Institute’s economy, mentioned the Vatican’s summary.
Previously, the Vatican has not been afraid of introducing war on religious orders, male or female, when they encounter problems, either for economic, disciplinary or other reasons.
St. John Paul II appointed his own superior, his own superiors, to run the Jesuits in 1981, about 200 years after Pope Clement XIV completely suppressed the order. Pope Benedict XVI introduced a yearlong reform process on the legion of the Order of Christ and its low branches after the founder was determined to be a pedophile. Later, the Vatican called a commissioner to take over a traditional order of priests and nuns, the Franciscan Freeman of the Immaculate.
Nevertheless, standoff with the little sisters is unusual, says Gabriella Zarri, senior professor of history and expert in women’s religious orders at the University of Florence.
“It’s serious, but it’s also serious that these nuns would do such a violent act that they threaten to leave religious life,” she said. “It’s hard to understand, except perhaps because of their connection with the founder’s charism” and her niece.
Sabina Pavone, Professor of Modern History at Macerata University, said Catholic archives – especially from inquisition tests – are full of cases of the Vatican to take action when religious superiors take “tyrannical” powers over their devoted followers.
While many cases refer to the period of tremendous growth of religious orders for women in the 19th century, she added, “We should not be surprised to find them today.”