The Religious Habit

The Religious Habit


Ever wonder what the big deal is about Sisters and Nuns wearing a full Habit? You might even think, what difference does it make? Well, first of all, it is an outward sign of that individual’s self-giving to their Spouse, renouncing all that the world offers. There is no longer need of makeup, jewelry, worries about hair styles and fashions. Being a Sister, nun, monk or friar is a life time commitment to Christ alone. That being said, it seems these days that that has been tossed by the wayside by many Orders, not even being able distinguish the members of their Orders from the common laity. Personally, I miss seeing the different beautiful habits of the many Orders. It’s like when a child, I could tell one car from another and now they all look the same or indistinguishable to make or model.

Each Habit has a meaning, a history and the desire of the founders that the Habit be worn by the members until the end of time.

Below are some of different Orders , male and female, that still wear the traditional Habit and you will see each and every article has a meaning.

Handmaids of the Precious Blood


“The Precious Blood of Jesus is your wedding garment, dear Handmaids, treasure it for it speaks to you of love.”

– Father Gerald, s.P. Founder



Why is our apparel red?

Why do the Handmaids wear red? Precisely, why do they wear wine-red? And white veils?

What do the symbols of the habit and veil mean?

When their Founder, Father Gerald, penned his poem, “Crimson Robes” , he had in mind both the crimson robes worn by the Crucified Christ as well as the garment he had in mind for his spiritual daughters, the Handmaids of the Precious Blood. Father Gerald stipulated that he desired his Handmaids to dress in the wine-red color symbolic of the Precious Blood of Christ shed for our salvation and the white veil symbolizing the white Host of the Eucharist.

Although slight variations have occurred in over the past 70 years plus history, Handmaids have always worn a full habit and full white veil. All Handmaids, novices and professed, wear a white veil.


First professed Sisters receive a triangular emblem over the heart on the scapular. The scapular emblem, designed by Father Gerald, pays tribute to the Blessed Trinity in its three sided shape, Our Lady in the blue outline, and the Priesthood in the Holy Spirit being called down upon a golden chalice.


Finally professed Sisters receive a simple silver ring depicting two hearts on each side of a chalice of the Precious Blood.


Handmaids also wear a full length side Rosary and cincture.

Handmaids of the Precious Blood




Carmelite Monks


The Carmelite monk, like a soldier, is clothed in the armor of the habit as he bravely does battle for God and for souls. Although the Holy Scapular is the habit properly speaking, each article of the monk’s clothing has been entrusted by Holy Mother Church with a significance that urges him on to the heights of holiness: mystical union with God.

The habit of the Carmelite monk is made of durable brown wool as woven after the manner St. Teresa of Jesus first taught her daughters. Brown like the cross and the soil of the earth, the Carmelite wears a robe of brown, since he is called to carry the Cross of Our Lord, Jesus Christ and to imitate the humility of the Blessed Virgin.



The monastic tunic, commonly known as a monk’s robe, clothes the monk in modesty. Although not commonly known, tunics were the garments worn by men throughout history until modern times. Now however, the tunic stands as a sign of contradiction to modern fashion and the vanity of the world that the monk leaves behind when he enters the monastery.

When a monk is clothed in the tunic at the time of his Investiture in the Holy Habit, the suit coat is taken off and in its place the prior invests him in the tunic. While doing so, the prior prays, “May the Lord clothe you a new man, who is created according to God in justice and holiness of truth.” Indeed, the tunic is ultimately this: a sign of the new man who has renounced the world that he might be united to God and bring God to the world through his life of prayer and penance.



Ss. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila when instituting the Discalced Reform of Carmel in the sixteenth century prescribed a return to the poverty of the original hermits on Mount Carmel. This poverty was manifested in many ways, but one of the best-known ways was that the Discalced Carmelites did not wear shoes. The word “discalced” actually means “barefooted” or “shoeless.” Although originally the Discalced Fathers did not wear shoes and went about barefoot, St. Teresa of Jesus moderated their austerity by urging them to wear poor sandals.

The Carmelite monks in seeking to imitate the purity and wisdom of the Carmelite life, prescribed by these great saints, wear poor leather sandals crafted by their own Brother Cobbler. Through the winter and cold months, the sandals are especially a reminder of the poor, and those in our society who are truly cold and without protection from the harshness of winter. The Carmelite Monks are conformed more perfectly still unto Our Lord whose poverty in this world was real and chosen.



The Scapular is truly the “garment of salvation”, although it is humble even in its appearance. The scapular can best be recognized as the brown rectangular piece of fabric that hangs down the monk’s front and back, covering the tunic and hiding the monk’s hands folded beneath. Until Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock in 1251, the scapular was worn by many and varied religious orders as an apron to protect the tunic when working. It can be said that the scapular was the least important garment of the habit, a garment of work, a garment of a slave. And yet, the Blessed Mother offered the Scapular to St. Simon Stock in response to his prayer for a privilege and as a sign of Her particular love for the Order of Carmel. In the gift of the Holy Scapular, we see Our Lady’s humility: she is truly the Handmaid of the Lord, so how appropriate it is that she gave to Her Carmelites the garment of a slave as their privilege.

At the reception of the Scapular, which is simply the making of a Carmelite, the prior urges, “Take up the sweet yoke of Christ, and his light burden.” The Scapular is a constant reminder of the Cross borne by Our Blessed Lord for it shares its brown color and both are borne upon the shoulders. In this conformity to our Savior, we first conform ourselves to Mary and the “burden” becomes utter sweetness. The Scapular, long venerated and upheld by pope after pope, is indulgenced and its promise is protection from hell’s flames. The Carmelite monks, seeking to distinguish themselves from other Carmelite religious, wear the Scapular over the cowl. It is interesting to note that St. Teresa had her daughters wear the Scapular as the top vestment worn by her daughters as well, centralizing the role of the Brown Scapular in the Carmelite Habit.


The Cowl

The cowl (sometimes known as a capuche, especially for friars) is the hood worn by the Carmelite monks. The monk wears a monastic cowl that hangs over his upper back and is used to cover his head during the winter months. Although the cowl serves a practical purpose in keeping the monk’s shaven head warm, the cowl is more importantly a sign of mourning. The word “monk” is derived from Greek words meaning “one who mourns in solitude.” So what does a monk mourn? The Carmelite monks mourn for their own sins and the sins of others, begging for God’s mercy and justice. The cowl is a reminder of Christ’s Dolorous Passion on Calvary for sinners, a death that He would have endured had there been but one poor sinner.

The Holy Rule exhorts the Carmelite to “place the helmet of salvation on [his] head,” and this is what the Carmelite does every time he covers his head with the cowl. His head being covered in the brown wool and his face hidden unless you look directly at him, the monastic cowl also serves to hide the monk so that God alone might know his countenance.


The Monastic Tonsure

A shaven bald head has been continually identified as a sign of a man’s consecration to God and complete offering of himself to the service of Christ and His Church. We read in the Fourth Book of Kings that forty-two young boys of Bethel who had been raised with a prejudice against the true religion and its ministers mocked St. Elisha, the disciple of St. Elijah. And how was he identified and mocked? The boys said, “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.” Here we see that a bald head was a contradiction even in those days before Our Lord’s life on earth. And still today the bald-head is a contradiction to the world’s fashion and haircuts. The Carmelite monks wear the tonsure as yet another reminder that they have confounded the wisdom of the world and chosen instead the wisdom of the saints. The tonsure is a penance, too. In the cold of winter a bald head, like feet without shoes, is a penance. The monks embrace this opportunity to show obedience to the Church and the monastic tradition.

The priests and seminarians of the monastery have a thin crown of hair however, commonly called a corona that circles their heads as a reminder of the priestly dignity and duty.



In a vision, Blessed Angela de Arena saw Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the saints dedicated to Her during their lives, but Bl. Angela saw no Carmelites. Asking the Blessed Mother where the Carmelites were, the Queen of Heaven pulled back Her white mantle and hidden below were Her Carmelite saints appearing as roses. The white mantle worn by Carmelites is an extension of the mantle of Mary where she protects and hides souls that have recourse to Her.

The white mantle worn by the Carmelite monks for Holy Mass and the Divine Office on major feast days covers the brown tunic, scapular and cowl below, clothing the monk in white. This mantle is a “sign of [the] internal purity” which the monk aspires to in imitation of Our Lady; it is therefore most fitting that the mantle is worn at these times as a

reminder not only of the purity with which the monk should approach God, but also that the monk should approach God clothed in the virtues of the Immaculate Mother.

A monk when making his temporary profession receives the Profession Crucifix, which is worn upon the heart by being attached to a buttonhole on the tunic. The Profession Crucifix with its cross of wood and metal corpus is an outward sign of the conformity to Christ, which is sealed in the profession of the Vows of Obedience, Chastity and Poverty. Worn over the heart, the Profession Crucifix is also a reminder that the monk has nowgiven his heart to Christ in immolating himself for the love of God and the salvation of souls.


As one hymn proclaims, “Hail, O Cross, our only hope.” Indeed it is this very cry that must gush forth from the professed monk’s heart as his prayers challenge the world to embrace the Cross of Christ and to stand at the foot of that infamous gibbet with theBlessed Mother, St. John, St. Mary Magdalene and the others gazing up at Him whom we have pierced.

More marvelous still, the Profession Crucifix is hidden below the Scapular and not outwardly visible; this too ought to inspire the Carmelite to hide his sufferings, his little crosses, that God alone might know them.

In order to safeguard the poverty of the monastic life, each monk is permitted to two choir habits, a work habit, and a modified work habit to be worn as needed. It is permissible in hot and humid places to allow another brown material to be substituted for wool.


Work Habit

It is our charism that all the monks should be engaged in manual labor according to the Holy Rule, ” you must do some kind of work, so that the devil will always find you occupied.” As much as we love our woolen habits, they are not durable enough to withstand the abrasiveness of hard manual labor. To combat this, monks and nuns have always had a specific habit for work that looks similar to their choir habits. Following this very practical tradition we have designed a work habit of our own. In our work habit we have retained the capuche and scapular but have replaced the wool tunic with one made of a canvas material similar to Carhartt. This canvas material is much more durable and holds up well as the brothers carry out the chores of the monastery. Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus always taught her daughters to keep their habits neat and clean. The brothers therefore, by having work habits, keep their choir habits in a condition suited for Mass and the Divine Office.


For more serious work like running equipment or branding cattle, the brothers wear overalls with the monastic capuche. This garb is dubbed the “extraordinary work habit” and it serves as a protection for the brothers’ safety during serious work.

The work habit serves as a powerful reminder to the monk that his work too is consecrated to God through the vows. This reality keeps the monk focused on the spiritual realities always before him and reminds him continually of his mission to generate love within the heart of the Church. Thus the monk strives to sanctify the entire day, even at work periods, by uniting his labor with prayer.


“But the hand of the LORD was on Elijah. He girded up his clothing and ran before Ahab as far as the approaches to Jezreel.” Kgs 18:46


The Belt or cincture

St. Albert, the legislator of the Carmelite Rule, prescribes that the monk’s “loins must be girt with the belt of chastity.” The cincture is just that, a leather belt that the monk ties over the tunic at the waist. How prophetic are the words spoken by the prior when the monk receives the cincture, “When you were younger, you would gird yourself, and would walk where you willed; but since you will be older, another will gird thee.” This mysterious “another” is the Blessed Virgin whom the monk takes not only as his Heavenly Mother, but also mystically as his sister and greatest love among men.

In imitation of Our Lady’s virginal purity and that of St. Joseph, the monk girds his loins in chastity. The Carmelite does not marry or have natural children that he might have instead as spiritual children all the souls whom God places before him, both known and unknown.

The Carmelite monk’s cincture hangs on the right to the bottom hem of his tunic. On the left from the cincture hangs the Most Holy Rosary. The monk has his spiritual weapons around his waist; like a cowboy or a soldier, the Carmelite monk must always be prepared for spiritual warfare with the virtue of holy purity and the power of the Rosary of the Virgin Mother.

The belt around the waist represents binding in the virtues together with love, which makes them perfect. It also represents chastity, mortifying and subduing the selfish desires of the flesh and heart, and integrity and self-control.

The biblical phrase “gird up your loins” refers to pulling and tying up the lower portion ofa garment to prepare for action. A Carmelite should always be ready to take action in the name of the Lord.



The scapular is a cloth that hangs over the shoulders, covering the chest and back, it represents work and being a handmaid of the Lord. Carmelites should always be ready to serve the Lord.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Lk 1:38

The Blessed Virgin Mary is our example of a servant of the Lord in her great hidden work of raising Jesus. Originally the scapular was a work garment, like a smock or an apron. Carmelites should be prompt in carrying out the Lord’s work, give themselves to work of some kind, and never be idle.

Since the earliest days of the Order, Carmelites have been devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The habit, particularly the scapular, is a symbol of Mary’s special protection and desire to clothe us in Christ. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is usually depicted wearing the Carmelite Habit. It is truly a privilege to wear the Carmelite Scapular. Devotion to the Carmelite Scapular is very popular among the laity, and there are many scapular confraternities.

Carmelite Monks


Benedictine Habit


“The belt reminds us that Christ wore chains,” referring to his obedience. “The scapular represents our commitment to conversion—to take on the yoke of the Lord, which is sweet. A yoke is usually carried by two: we carry half and Christ carries the other half.”

The veil is the sign of the nun’s consecration. “You put the veil on and you know you belong to (God), You are not your own.” The veil and coif cover the nun’s hair, which the Scriptures call a woman’s “adornment,” to protect her from vanity and to remind her that she is given fully to God.

“You act as you wear. If people wear jeans and T-shirts they act differently than if they are dressed up in a suit. There is a certain dignity that goes along with wearing the habit … a certain nobility you are expected to carry. Clothing does express your heart.”

Benedictines wear black tunics, both as a sign of penitence and because it was the cheapest fabric in the fifth century, when the Italian St. Benedict founded the order, the oldest in the Church.

“Wearing the habit is also a sign of poverty, you get a habit and that’s all you’re wearing.”


The Capuchin habit



Hooded robe: brown for poverty and penance; shaped like a cross

Cord: tied at the waist with three knots symbolizing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience

In 12th century Italy, when St. Francis of Assisi left his life of privilege for one of poverty and preaching and established the Order of Friars Minor, he took on the clothes of a penitent: a hooded brown robe in the shape of a cross tied with a cord around the waist.

Capuchin Franciscans who reformed the order 300 years later to return to the ideals of simplicity and prayer that had been lost over the years, continue to wear this same habit today.

“Our hood helped to give us our name. In Italian, the word capuche means hood. People would see the giant hoods and would call them capuchins—‘the ones who wear the big hoods.’”

A Capuchin’s cord,  is tied with three knots that symbolize their vows to observe the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Religious life is an eschatological sign, it is pointing us to the fulfillment, the coming of the kingdom. It’s important that we make that visible by our action, our ministry, our prayer, and by what we wear.


In conclusion


Here are just a few examples of the major Orders and what their Habits mean in their religious life. People just don’t understand the gravity of the religious “hidden” life. Some Orders have modified habits and some don’t wear habits at all. If you were to see some of them walking down the sidewalk, what would give you any indication that they are even a Sister? They dress like office personnel or lumberjacks. Maybe they wear a lapel pin or a little cross on a chain. Those in religious life are to stand out, like a Zebra in a pack of Cheetahs. Sisters, nuns, monks or friars should have an aire of nobility because they are the Brides of Christ. Their lives are prayer and sacrifice, which this world and Church are in desperate need of despite what Bergolio says.

I was day dreaming one day about all the different religious habits and how wonderful it would be, if the habits were able move about as if occupied by a human body. Every time a habit would pass by, there would be a beautiful smell that would linger in the air, the aroma of pure sanctity, ahhh, what a wondrous thing that would be.




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The Problems of False Obedience

The Problems of False Obedience


The following excerpt was written by Fr. Nicholas Gruner in the Fall of 2010 for The Fatima Crusader. It is a very timely message that we all need to listen to, and pay close attention to his explanation regarding “False Obedience”, especially with the current condition of the Church and the World. “As goes the Church, so goes the world”, and both are in chaos.


The Role of False Obedience in the Post-Concilliar Crisis


Since Vatican II there has been an unprecedented division of the Church into warring camps that hoist their respective flags behind impenetrable fortifications. The emergence of these camps is the direct result of the supposed “new orientation” of the Church since the Council – a mirage, of course, but one that has provoked terrible damage in the Church. The very existence of a previously unheard-of distinction between Novus Ordo and “traditionalist” Catholics tells us that the “refoms” of Vatican II have caused a disastrous quasi-schism within the Church itself.

Now, the “traditionalists” are simply the Catholics who did not change, whereas the leaders of the Novus Ordo constituency defend the novelties of the past forty years as though they were defined dogmas of the Faith, even though Pope Benedict has exposed the utter fraudulence of this posture by declaring that the ancient Mass was “never abrogated” and that its use by every priest in the Church was “always permitted.”

The imposition of these novelties upon the Church – and with it, “official” opposition to the Message of Fatima – has depended precisely on a false notion of obedience to ecclesiastical authority. None other than the present Pope himself (Benedict XVI) exposed this false notion when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger.

“The pope is not an absolute monarch whose will is law, but is the guardian of the authentic Tradition, and thereby the premier guarantor of obedience.

That is why, with respect to the Liturgy, he has the task of a gardener, not that of a technician who builds new machines and throws the old ones onto the junk pile. …”

Here Cardinal Ratzinger was commenting on what even the new Catechism declares: that “even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the Liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the Liturgy.” (CCC, No 1125, p.256)

And what is true of the Pope – that his power and authority are limited by the obedience of faith – is all the more true of his subordinates. Yet, in their ranks, the obedience of faith has widely been replaced in the post-conciliar epoch by obedience to their authority for its own sake. Positivism (my will is law) and nominalism (what I will is good because I will it) have invaded the Church, cloaking their abuses in the virtue of obedience, which seems to have become the only virtue insisted upon by ecclesiastical authority.

It is no coincidence that this invasion of the Church by positivism and nominalism coincides with “the invasion of the Church by worldly thinking” that Paul VI lamented – but too late, for the “opening to the world” had already begun to inflict its incalculable damage, and the “smoke of Satan” he also belatedly lamented had already entered the Church through the “fissures” he noticed only after the smoke had entered.

True Obedience: The Obedience of Faith


Of course, what is true of the Liturgy is true of everything else in the Church: there is an obedience of faith higher even than obedience to men, higher even than obedience to the Pope, as the reigning Pope (Benedict XVI) has observed, “We ought to obey God, rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

Indeed, all authority is derived from divine authority, for if there were no God, there would be no ground on which any man could stand to assert authority over another, but only various “social contracts” resting on “consent.” All authority on earth, both temporal and spiritual – from the parent to the policeman to the politician, from the priest to the prelate to the pope – is ultimately derived from divine authority. All those who exercise authority of whatsoever kind, even papal authority, must exercise that authority in conformity with the divine will. And all who obey authority of whatsoever kind must obey divine authority first.

The failure to recognize and acknowledge the obedience which is absolutely due to God above all human authority is what is wrong with the modern notion of authority. It accounts for the moral, political, and social chaos of our time. And that same chaos, as Paul VI lamented too late, has infected even the human element of the Church, producing the paradoxical situation of demands to respect “authority” that contravenes the very basis of all true authority: the divine will for man.

Now, since all authority comes from God, we obey men because – and only because – their authority ultimately is based upon God’s authority. And this obedience, where it does not contravene God’s law, is actually an act of justice – of giving to another, and ultimately to God, what is due. But God does not give any man the authority to command, nor anyone the right to obey a command, that contravenes the commands He has given us, including the Decalogue and the law of the Gospel, which is the “positive law” of Christ the King. Moreover, all authority on earth is limited by God’s decree. Not even the Pope has unlimited authority. We know the limitation of the Pope’s authority by Revelation, Scripture, Tradition, and the teachings of the authentic Magisterium, both Ordinary and Universal, as well as the Extraordinary Magisterium in its dogmatic definitions.

The Obedience of Faith and the Message of Fatima


As St. Augustine says, “God is order”. Therefore, there is a hierarchy of authority. The command of the higher authority – when he is within the ambit of his jurisdiction – supersedes the command of the lower authority. There is a hierarchy of angels, a hierarchy of being in nature and a hierarchy of authority in the Church. Our Lady’s authority after that of Her Divine Son, is the highest authority in the Church and the world. It must be noted that the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Queen of Heaven and Earth and Mother of all the living, has real maternal and royal authority over each one of us, every member of the human race, and particularly every Catholic, including each and every priest, bishop, and Cardinal, and finally the Pope himself.

On October 13, 1917, the Queen of Heaven and Earth commanded the sun, and even the sun obeyed Her. So must all Her children, no matter what their rank in the Church. The Message of Fatima, with its prescriptions for the Church, is precisely an exercise of Her authority over the entire Church, the Pope included. It is impossible for the sinless and ever Virgin Mother of God, possessed of the Beatific Vision in a unique and unequalled way, to abuse or exceed Her authority. Therefore, when She commands, we must obey. Even the Pope must obey Her. Hence obedience to the Message of Fatima, which means obedience to the Mother of God, is subsumed under the concept of obedience of faith binding even the Pope to act for the faith, for the salvation of souls, above all else. Which brings me to the question of the Third Secret in particular and its relation to the problem of false obedience.

Faith Versus Obedience Regarding the Third Secret


Now, we know with certainty that the missing text of the Secret-the one that is “well hidden” in the Vatican-involves the famous words of Our Lady recorded in Sister Lucia’s Fourth Memoir: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.” And we know that an Austrian Jesuit, Father Joseph Schweigl, went on a mission by Pius XII to interrogate Sister Lucia concerning the contents of the Secret in 1952, revealed that the Secret,

“has two parts:  One concerns the Pope. The other, logically – although I must say nothing – would have to be the continuation of the words: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved’.”

Thus, we know that the text comprising the missing second part of the Third Secret records precious words of the Virgin for which Sister Lucia held the place with her “etc.”

But the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, continues to maintain the fiction that the “not easy to decipher” vision of the “Bishop dressed in White,” which has received a welter of conflicting interpretations, is all there is to the Third Secret of Fatima. He steadfastly and most tellingly refused to inquire of Sister Lucia regarding the momentous “etc” even though he had every opportunity to do so over the five years of controversy that raged from the time the vision was published in 2000 – to widespread skepticism about the completeness of the Vatican’s disclosure – until Sister Lucia’s death in 2005. Or perhaps he did inquire and is in possession of information he has deemed expedient not to reveal.

Now, however, the partisans of a false and blind obedience to authority counsel us to forget the very words of the Mother of God because a Vatican functionary has deemed them dispensable. One such spokesman, Antonio Borelli of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), who professes to be a champion of Our Lady of Fatima, declares that the words embraced by that telltale “etc” “will remain forever an inexplicable mystery” and that “It is a great disappointment that it has not been possible to resolve the question of the ‘etc,’ but we have to work with that concrete unavoidable fact.” Really? And why is

According to Mr. Borelli the answer is: simply and only because a human authority will have it so. And a human authority, moreover, who has no authority in the matter, as the Vatican Secretariat of State is a creation of men not God, and is in no way part of the divine constitution of the Church. Indeed, Pius XII dispensed with the office during his pontificate.

It was when he was serving as Secretary of State under Pius XI that the future Pius XII made the startling and prophetic statement:

“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to little Lucia of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the faith, in her
liturgy, her theology and her soul
…. I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical

A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping
before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?”

 It seems more than probable that the very catastrophe the future Pius XII foresaw is predicted in great detail by the words of the Virgin of Fatima to be found within that troublesome “etc.” But the partisans of false obedience argue that we must put the matter out of our minds to suit the wishes of Cardinal Bertone and all those who have no authority to conceal any part of the Message of Fatima.

The Fatima Crusader, Issue 119, page 35 (Summer 2017)

In Conclusion


Doesn’t Father Gruner explain quite well the concept of False Obedience? Do you see the correlation of what he said and what’s happening in the Church today? It seems those who have no authority have taken upon them ALL AUTHORITY to suit themselves. This seems to be true from John XXIII to Pope Benedict XVI, allowing for a second pope, (Bergolio), who makes new rules, names new sins that are in no way mortal sins, removing sins that have always been sins, creating a new (his) magisterium. These things all go against God’s law that He has set down and Christ established when He founded His Church. There is no obedience of faith, only obedience to the man who has stated his own law and that’s all that matters at that time. Obedience to the Blessed Virgin doesn’t matter to those who follow their own ideas and wants.

A completely new church has been established with Vatican II. It is a false church, an ape church, and definitely not the CATHOLIC CHURCH. It adheres to “false obedience” usurping the true traditions and dogmas. Oh yes, and those of the hierarchy and clergy like to think they are speaking in Catholic terms, but they are not, deceiving leading more and more souls away from God down a path that leads straight to hell. It’s like a pile of dung covered with whipped cream and colorful sprinkles; it may looking very inviting, but underneath, it is still a pile of dung. Members of the clergy need our prayers, some for total conversion, others to be rescued, and courage for the many who are trying desperately to hold on to the Truth.

Don’t you think it is about time that we who want to stay close to God in all things, should start being obedient to Our Queen: pray, fast and sacrifice – in order to bring about the request of consecrating Russia to Her Immaculate Heart? We have nothing to lose – oh, but we do, our very souls and those of our neighbor. It’s like choosing life or death. Think about it. Do you choose to be obedient to the true teachings of the Catholic Church (to gain eternal life), or do you just want to go along with the “ape church” (to gain eternal death)? It’s that serious! This is a real life and death situation we have here and you have to choose. The Blessed Virgin is not going to hold back the Hand of God much longer. The chastisement is going to come and many souls will be lost forever. She has warned us and has tried to help us. Listen to Her, be obedient and pray, pray, pray the Rosary every day, fast, make sacrifices. Your soul matters doesn’t it? What about the souls of your family and friends, don’t they matter as well? Encourage them to pray, fast and sacrifice too!

Buckle up and hold on tight, the ride is going get very rough.

Here are two articles that are a must read and deal with the current situation in the Church, and, they also help explain even more about this “false obedience”. Both of these articles are well worth the read.

The Big Ugly

“Conservatives tend to obey” so bad men can do anything they want to them

Leaving you with this REFLECTION:

Life is short and death is sure, the hour of death remains obscure.
A soul you have and only one, if that be lost all hope is gone.
Waste not your time while time shall last.
For after death ’tis ever past.
The all-seeing God your Judge will be,
Or heaven or hell your destiny.
All earthly things will fleet away,
Eternity will ever stay



Helping Hand

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Increase your Faith and Understanding of Being Catholic

There is a new Catholic web site that I would strongly encourage everyone to
visit.It is a web site of homilies, probably, like you’ve never heard before. Take time and visit
Have your entire family gather around and listen.

I will not provide the name of the priest(s) for their protection and so as not to destroy their "hidden in the Garden" as religious so like to remain.

Posted in From the Pulpit | 1 Comment

Father Ernest André and Our Lady of Holy Hope

Father Ernest André and Our Lady of Holy Hope

[O]n July 5, 1852, Father
Ernest André, a young parish priest in Mesnil-Saint-Loup, a poor village in the
diocese of Troyes, France, was received in a private audience by Blessed Pius
IX. Kneeling at his feet, he asked, “Most Holy Father, would you grant the name
of Our Lady of Holy Hope to the Blessed Virgin honored in our church?” At these
words, the Pope raised his head, then, after a moment of recollection, seemed
full of joy, and said with a marked note of satisfaction, “Our Lady of Holy

Under the impetus of the pastor, in just a few short years
Our Lady of Holy Hope would not only transform the parish of Mesnil-Saint-Loup,
but also spread her graces far beyond the village.

Ernest André, who would later be known as Father Emmanuel,
was born on October 17, 1826, in Bagbeux-la-Fosse, in the Aube. At the age of
nine, the child contracted typhoid fever, which brought him to death’s door.
After forty days of near-unconsciousness, he was cured as though by a miracle.
Shortly thereafter, he expressed the desire to become a priest. In 1839, Ernest
entered the minor seminary. The sacrament of Confirmation, which he received at
the end of the first year, marked him profoundly. Later, in his teachings, he
would often emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
His years of formation at the major seminary took place at a time when a
missionary spirit permeated French Catholicism. Some of Father André’s
classmates left the seminary to enter the Marist Brothers or the Picpus Fathers
to evangelize distant lands. He too felt the fervor. Nevertheless, in the end he
dedicated himself to the more traditional mission of parish priest in his
diocese. After the dark years of the Revolution, did not Christianity need to be
rebuilt in France itself?

“He won’t stay with us”

[O]rdained a priest on December 22, 1849, Father André then
twenty-three years old, was appointed pastor of Mesnil-Saint-Loup, a parish of
three hundred fifty souls, twenty kilometers west of Troyes. On December 24th,
the new pastor arrived in Mesnil. Catching sight of the village, he asked a man
the way to the church. As he accompanied him there, the man naively made his and
the entire region’s confession: “You see, sir, we are not very devout here. Oh,
we don’t miss Sunday Mass, but afterwards, we are fond of going for a drink.”
Hearing him chant the Midnight Mass, the parishioners said to each other: “This
one sings too well—he won’t stay with us.” But in fact, he would remain at
Mesnil-Saint-Loup fifty-three years. In this village where the people were poor,
religious practice was a regular part of life, at least if one considered the
number of people attending Sunday Mass and Vespers. But it was only women who
fulfilled the obligation of receiving Communion at Easter. In the intensity of
his faith and the passion of his pastoral zeal, Father André could not be
content with the minimum. He wanted more, and above all better—fervent
Christians eager to drink from the spring of the sacraments, who were nourished
on the word of God and gave a real place to prayer in their daily lives. The
young pastor immediately set to work—visiting parishioners, especially the sick,
catechism, and preparation for first Holy Communion. His good humor, spirit, and
easy laugh were already warming hearts. His entire being showed an exuberance
for life that wished only to expend itself for the salvation of souls. But
Father André quickly understood the the harvest does not come the day after
sowing. He noted that, among the communicants prepared by his predecessor the
year before, few had persevered in the sacramental life. Would he have better
success in 1850? He deployed all his zeal: “Committing one’s life,” he said, “is
a serious matter. You belong to Jesus Christ.” Nevertheless, several boys left.
The young priest’s repeated exhortations, and joining in their games, won some
of them back. But it all remained precarious.

In June 1852, Father André embarked on a pilgrimage to
Rome. Along the way, as he said his Rosary, he was seized interiorly by a
thought that filled him with joy and excitement—Mary is the Mother of Holy Hope,
according to the Biblical expression (I am the mother of fair love, and fear,
and knowledge, and holy hope: I therefore, being eternal, am given to all my
children which are named of him
cf. Sir. 24:18). At that moment, he received
the certainty that once he reached Rome, he must ask the Pope’s permission to
give the name of “Our Lady of Holy Hope” to the statue of the Virgin in his
church, and to institute a feast in her honor. The Pope’s consent, he rightly
thought, would be the sign that this inspiration came from Heaven. Against all
expectations, he immediately received permission from Pius IX to celebrate a
liturgical feast in honor of Our Lady of Holy Hope on the fourth Sunday of
October. In 1854, this feast would be accompanied by a plenary indulgence. The
fact that it was Pius IX who instituted the devotion of Our Lady of Holy Hope
was not mere chance—it was extremely significant. The Holy Father personally
gave Our Lady of Holy Hope to the parish of Mesnil-Saint-Loup. He himself had
had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary since his earliest childhood. On the
very day of his birth and baptism, on May 13, 1792, Giovanni Maria Masai
Ferretti had been consecrated by his parents to a Madonna called Our Lady of
Hope. Pius IX would also be the Pope of the Immaculate Conception, proclaiming
that dogma in 1854.

“Crying the little prayer”

[O]n his return to his parish, Father André initially kept
secret the favors he had just obtained from the Holy Father, waiting to announce
them on the Solemnity of the Assumption. During a memorable sermon in which he
let his joy and filial confidence in Mary burst forth, Father André addressed a
series of invocations to the Virgin Mary, one of which touched his parishioners
more than the others: Our Lady of Holy Hope, convert us! It was a simple
expression that grabbed the faithful’s piety. They would say it, praying and
crying, to the point that the expression “crying the little prayer” was coined.
Father André did not ask his parishioners to convert, but asked Mary to obtain
their conversion from her son. The Christian life is a continual conversion, a
gift we receive through prayer.

The first conversion was that of Ernest André himself, who
was transformed into an inspired and effective worker: “Before the Holy Hope,”
he would later say, “I was directionless. I knew nothing. With it, I became
focused, I saw, I understood.” In the school of Mary, Father André would become
a pastor and incomparable former of Christians. From that day on, the Blessed
Virgin’s immense power to convert omnipotentia supplex (the
all-powerful suppliant,
an expression used by the Fathers of the Church)
manifested itself in a sensational way. On Sunday, October 22, 1852, the first
feat of Our Lady of Holy Hope was celebrated very simply, but with great joy.
The parishioners did not typically receive Communion on an ordinary Sunday, but
Father André insisted. The women went without much difficulty, but would the
young men he had brought together have the courage to publicly approach the
sacraments? Most of them came to confession at a rather late hour—human respect
still held them back. But the next day, they received Communion at the High Mass
in front of everyone. It was the first victory of Our Lady of Holy Hope. A new
wind, the Holy Spirit, was blowing through Mesnil-Saint-Loup. The grace of
baptism buried in their hearts reappeared in all its freshness and strength.

Reestablishing true notions

[F]ather André commented, “For Christian behavior to be
reestablished, true notions of Christianity must first be reestablished in
people’s minds. All of Christianity consists of knowing and recognizing in
practice what we lost in Adam and what we have received in Jesus Christ; the
doctrine on original sin and its consequences on one hand, and on grace and its
necessity on the other.” And later on, he would specify what conversion consists
of: “The work of Our Lady of Hope in Mesnil-Saint-Loup was simply to reestablish
Christianity among the baptized. Here as elsewhere, almost everything had been
invaded by a cold and base naturalism that does not allow man to elevate his
thoughts above his feelings. Here as elsewhere, human reason—and what
reason!—prevailed over divine reason, that is to say, over faith. The grace of
Our Lord Jesus Christ was a sublime unknown. … All the Christian virtues were
unknown, replaced by an easy and universal virtue the world calls honesty. From
the moment Our Lady of Holy Hope arrived, every soul understood that great
change was absolutely necessary. The external practices of religion would be
found inadequate, the interior motives for action would have to undergo
fundamental modifications; the love of God would have to stop being just an
expression. The Spirit of the Lord was going to breathe into dried bones and
raise up a new people (cf. Fz. 17).”

In his catecheses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope
Francis, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, explains the role of the Holy Spirit and
the importance of the gift of fear, which is connected with the virtue of hope:
“Filial fear does not mean that we are afraid that we will fail to obtain what
we seek from divine help, but rather that we are afraid that we will separate
ourselves from this help. This is why filial fear and hope are united, and each
perfects the other (Summa Theologiae, (IIa-IIae, 19,9, ad 1um)

“When the Holy Spirit, the Pope continues, “comes to dwell
in our hearts. He infuses us with consolation and peace, and He leads us to the
awareness of how small we are, with that attitude—strongly recommended by Jesus
in the Gospel—of one who places his every care and expectation in God and feels
enfolded and sustained by His warmth and protection, exactly as a small child
with his father! This is what the Holy Spirit does in our hearts. He makes us
feel like small children in the arms of our father. In this sense, then, we
understand how fear of the Lord in us takes on the form of docility, gratitude
and praise, by filling our hearts with hope. Indeed, we frequently fail to grasp
the plan of God, and we realize that we are not capable of assuring ourselves of
happiness and eternal life. It is precisely in experiencing our own limitations
and our poverty, however, that the Holy Spirit comforts us and lets us perceive
that the only important thing is to allow ourselves to be led by Jesus into the
Father’s arms. This is why we need this gift of the Holy Spirit so much. Fear of
the Lord allows us to be aware that everything comes from grace and that our
true strength lies solely in following the Lord Jesus and in allowing the Father
to bestow upon us His goodness and His mercy. To open the heart, so that the
goodness and mercy of God may come to us: this is what the Holy Spirit does
through the gift of fear of the Lord. He opens hearts. The heart opens so that
forgiveness, mercy, goodness and the caress of the Father may come to us, for as
children we are infinitely loved” (General audience, June 11th, 2014)

The confraternity of Perpetual Prayers

[F]rom 1852 to 1860, not a single feast or feast of Our
Lady of Holy Hope passed without real conversions taking place, which led souls
to God by radically separating them from worldly life. Participation in the
sacraments increased, and more men joined the women in saying the Rosary. In
1853, despite the opposition of some of the parishioners, an altar to Our Lady
of Holy Hope was erected in the church. The same year, a confraternity to say
the little prayer was established. So that the little prayer might be extended
over the course of the day as a perpetual prayer, the members, in sets of
twelve, committed to saying each at a set hour, a Hail Mary with the
invocation Our Lady of Holy Hope, convert us! Before and after it.

Father André cared more about the fidelity and fervor of
the members than their number. Nevertheless, the confraternity grew rapidly. At
the end of 1854, there were just 272 members, but a year later there were more
than 4,000. In 1856, Father Desgenettes, the pastor of Our Lady of Victories in
Paris, spoke of the initiative of Our Lady of Holy Hope saying: “All these
storms are stirred up against the effort only because it is well planted on the
rock of Saint Peter. It is a young tree that will become great and strong,
because its roots have penetrated the rock to draw Catholic vigor from its
source.” In fact, the Perpetual Prayer quickly spread beyond the parish. Members
came from all of France and even from abroad. Encouraged by several briefs from
the Holy See, the Perpetual Prayer would be established as an archconfraternity
on August 27, 1869. Less than ten years later, the association would number
100,000 members. On March 25, 1877, the monthly Bulletin of Our Lady of
Holy Hope would begin to be published.

The transformation of the parish in Mesnil was the work of
Our Lady, but the pastor cooperated with it with great zeal. He said, “I need
Christians as Baptism made them. They exist in seed; I will cultivate them and
obtain them, and I am collaborating with His grace. I will not tolerate the
mixing in of the spirit of the world that deforms, diminishes, and even
sometimes under religious pretenses kills, the Christian. 100% Christians,
Christians of the Gospel, Christians who, far from cloaking themselves in
deliberate ignorance, seek the light in order to be wholly one with the
light—that is my aim.”

To accomplish this, Father André began Sunday afternoon
classes; his constant concern was to instruct his faithful, to enlighten their
faith. He taught on the books of Holy Scripture, the liturgy, the sacraments. He
even went so far as to teach them the rudiments of Latin, so they could
understand the chants of the Mass and the Psalms—for on Sunday and feast days,
many came to the church to chant a part of the Divine Office (Lauds, Vespers and
Compline). The instruction was intermingled with games on the town square, and
Sundays concluded with evening prayer, with the express aim of putting an end to
dances and the influence of cabarets. Within a few years, cabarets and dances
had disappeared from Mesnil. Conversion was also reflected in modesty of dress.
The pastor waged war against vanity and immodest attire. “Modesty,” he said “is
one of the signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a soul. In general men do
not know how to be chaste if women are not modest.” In 1878, he would gather
together the most committed women in the “Society of Jesus Crowned with Thorns”.

Mary’s “vengeance”

[N]evertheless, it would be wrong to think that this
movement did not meet with opposition. Some in the village did not want Our Lady
of Holy Hope. Young libertines created a “second parish” in a stable that had
been transformed into a dance hall, where the parodied religious ceremonies. Our
Lady had her revenge in her own way: one Sunday in the month of Mary in 1854,
while these young people were going out on a pleasure excursion, the leader
stopped cold and decided to go home. His companions’ mockery had no effect on
him. He would later say, “It was as though the medal of the Blessed Virgin had
fallen on my head.” He began to say the Rosary, then, in October, he went to
confession. In the end, he became a monk at the Abby of La pierre-qui-Vire.

Despite these signs, Father André apparently did not win
the unanimous support of his parishioners. Nevertheless, from throughout the
diocese and even beyond, people flocked in, drawn by the renown of Our Lady of
Holy Hope, by the atmosphere of prayer that surrounded her, by the beauty of the
celebration of her feast. Gradually the fest on the fourth Sunday of October
became the object of pilgrimages, and registrations to join the Perpetual Prayer
flooded in. In his newsletter of November 1878, Father André wrote, “People go
on pilgrimage to where there is a spring, a miraculous spring. Several weeks
ago, a poor man came. He had come from far away, on two crutches. He asked for
our charity and shared a few thoughts. ‘Oh, so people do you have a spring?’ Do
you have a spring! Here is the true explanation for the pilgrimage to Our Lady
of Holy Hope. How many souls who are thirsting for God’s grace, for consolations
from Heaven, come here believing to find a spring. And of all those who have
come here, not one has ever said: I was deceived. Yes, there is a spring in Our
Lady of Holy Hope, in her whom the Church calls Mater, fons amoris: Mary
is Mother, Mother and Spring of Love.” At the feet of Our Lady, pilgrims lay
votive offerings. “Thank you to Our Lady of Holy Hope, who converted me.”—“She
freed me from vanity”…Such is indeed the grace of this devotion: in it, Mary
reveals herself as the all-powerful converter, the queen of hearts.

Monastic life

[T]he crowds of pilgrims and the poor condition of the
parish church led to the decision to build a new one. The project would take ten
years. The Blessed Virgin did not stop there—she also fulfilled Father André’s
dearest desires. He had always been attracted to monastic life. In 1864, he
succeeded in founding a small monastery in the village, and took the name Father
Emmanuel. In 1886, the monastery attached itself to the Italian Benedictine
congregation of Mount Olivet, and in 1899 Father Emmanuel was released from his
parish duties. In 1901 he witnessed with profound sorrow the dissolution of his
religious community, which, like so many others, was the victim of severe
secularist measures. When he died on March 31, 1903, the monastery was
juridically liquidated. A community reformed there in 1920. In 1948, the monks
would leave to give new life to the abbey of Bec-Hellouin, in Normandy. A group
of monks returned to Mesnil in 1976. If the life of Father Emmanuel ended in
being stripped of everything, devotion to Our Lady of Holy Hope, the pilgrimage,
and the parish nevertheless remained very much alive.

In 1923, Rome granted the diocese of Troyes permission to
celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Holy Hope throughout the diocese every
October 23rd. The archconfraternity counted more than 150,000
members, and the bishop affirmed that the Perpetual Prayer continued to do much
good. One can still today, enroll in the archconfraternity of Perpetual Prayer
by applying to the parish house (Place du Pere-Emmanuel, 10190 Mesnil-Saint-Loup,

On July 1952, in Mesnil-Saint-Loup, several bishops
commemorated the centenary of the archconfraternity, a day of thanksgiving for a
hundred years over which Our Lady of Holy Hope converted countless souls. For
the 150th anniversary, on July 7, 2002, a Mass was celebrated to give
thanks for these blessings and to ask that these fruits continue.

For us, who live today in “a world without hope” (Benedict
XVI, Spe Salvi, no. 42), the Mother of Holy Hope still wishes to
grant the grace of conversion. She is only waiting for our “little prayer” to
make us witnesses and apostles of the Hope [that] does not disappoint!
(cf. Rm. 5:5)

Dom Antoine Marie, osb

This article was made
possible with permission of the Benedictine
Monks of Clairval

Helping Hand


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