After prayerful reflection, the Holy Spirit has prompted me to release to all of you these thoughts and comments since the Suppression of the Hermit Association of the Intercessors of the Lamb one month ago. Hopefully the following will help to bring about a clarification of any misunderstandings which have come about as a result of these events.
Due to the statements released in the media, there is a perception that those former Hermits who relocated are the “obedient” ones and that those, including myself, who are currently here at Bellwether are the “disobedient” ones. I pray that the presentation of the following simple facts will help clarify for you that all of us former Hermits, both residing here at Bellwether, along with those who have relocated, have been obedient from the beginning up until today. I, myself, have never knowingly been disobedient to those in Church authority.
Uh, the bishop said jump, and many happily jumped. This suggests they agreed with him that there were problems.
Is the order a local order, whose head is the bishop? If so, Mother Nadine should have obeyed and left building owned by the lay board.
Yet one wonders why they were "ordered to leave", a major disruption. Usually if an order has problems, the heads are removed, often relocated to another convent, but the members (who are often innocent) stay put in buildings already owned and operated by their group. This presents disruption. One recent example is the Legionnaires of Christ scandal, and that involved a lot of lost money.
The fact that the bishop told them to leave buildings occupied by the group, yet the bishop not insisting they stop living in community (but kept them together elsewhere instead of sending them home) makes one suspicious of money disagreements with the lay board, and since money is involved, we will never really know.
Let us take a look at what began to unfold at 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of September 30, 2010 when I was called in and asked to resign both as General Director of the Hermit Association of the Intercessors of the Lamb along with also resigning as the President of the Board of the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., the civil corporation. Since I was under a Vow of Obedience,
I offered no resistance when I signed the prewritten statement of resignation presented to me, which gave absolutely no reasons for my resignation then, or up until this very day.
The very next morning, Friday, October 1, 2010 the Archbishop came to Bellwether to inform the entire Hermit community of my “resignation” and that he had placed a Trustee, Fr. Gregory Baxter in charge, who in turn announced new superiors of the men and women Hermits as well as a new General Council. Sunday evening, October 3, 2010, the formators of the women’s Novitiate and the women’s Juniorate were ordered out of their formation houses at Bellwether to the off-campus houses.
Fair enough, but as I noted above, why were they ordered out of the houses? Who owned the houses? Why not just tell Mother Nadine et al to leave, as was done with the Legionnaires and other similar groups?
and another question: Was Mother Nadine included in the order to move? it's not clear from her story. If she was told to leave, she was under obedience...
Their car keys were also removed.
And who owned the cars? individuals? The diocese? The order? the board?
They were initially only given an hour or two to vacate. Both (groups) complied with obedience to their new Superior. However, the male formators were not removed or asked to relocate from the two brothers’ formation houses. Shortly afterwards nine of the sisters and one of the brothers informed their Superiors that they were taking sabbaticals.
Then at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, October 4, 2010, Fr. Joe Taphorn, accompanied by two Douglas County Sheriffs, came to Mary’s House to present a letter to me from the Archbishop stating I was to vacate the property by noon, three and one half hours later.
Sheriffs? that implies that the building was owned by the diocese, and they were evicting her. If the board owned the property, then the bishop has no civil legal authority to evict her.
Yes, he has the right to order her under her vow of obedience to vacate the premise, but LEGALLY he can't evict her using local sheriffs unless he actually owns the property, and the civil law is followed.
From Nebraska Eviction law:
Available Nebraska Termination Notices
A Nebraska landlord who wants to evict a tenant must first give notice that the lease is terminating. The type of notice a landlord must give depends on the type of tenancy at issue. If the lease is month-to-month, the landlord can terminate without reason by giving 30-days notice.
If a landlord wishes to end a term lease (1 year, 2 year) tenancy earlier, he or she may do so by serving the tenant with an appropriate notice. Nebraska allows for the following types of written termination notices:
3-day notice: : This notice is given for failure to pay rent and breach of the lease. The tenant has 3 days to pay the rent or fix the breach or the landlord can file for eviction.
Getting HelpEvictions in Nebraska are handled by the County Courts.
So if the bishop owned the house, he could evict her, but not without legal notice. And if he called in deputies to help evict her, it meant he must have had copies of the legal documents proving he owned the house, and proof he requested she leave, before he could use local law enforcement to evict her. (addendum: Were they local deputies, or private security guards, or is Mother making up the story?)
(addendum two: the only other reason for legally bringing deputies is if they thought the nun would resort to violence to herself or others).
If Mother Nadine's story is true, then the bishop could be sued for this in court. But since US bishops USUALLY follow lawyer's advice, the story suggests that more is going on than Mother Nadine (and the church) is willing to admit.
Again, follow the money.
It was also stated that I was not to leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without specific permission from the Archbishop.
Can the bishop do this? Who is her (canon) Lawyer? Who is her (legal) lawyer?
However, two minutes before noon, word came that I had an extension and could stay until 2:00 p.m. the next day, October 5, 2010. In obedience, I complied with this and left the property the next day via taxi. Because I was given no money and had no place to go, a friend provided accommodations in an Omaha motel.
She has plenty of friends, and didn't take the bishop's first offer to leave, so this implies she is twisting her side of the story.
Since the Archbishop indicated that I could not leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without his permission, I requested permission a week later to make a retreat elsewhere. I was denied the permission and consequently was obedient to this directive as well. Because the other nine sisters and the one brother had informed their Superiors that they were taking sabbaticals, they were free to go anywhere and they chose to join me. Consequently, there is no disobedience whatsoever on the part of these former sisters and brother.
That's parsing it closely. They are literally obedient to the bishop, but in reality they are disobeying the spirit behind his request.
Again, this is troubling and hints at pride, not humble submission that is the hallmark of holiness.
Then we come to the crux of the matter: money money money....
The board (do they own all this real estate)?When all of the events were unfolding, the Board had called a special meeting which required a seven day notice to the directors. This notice was delivered and the meeting was scheduled for Saturday, October 9th, 2010. At this meeting, a second meeting was scheduled for one week later, (again to fulfill the seven day notice requirement) to ratify its resolutions.
Consequently, the Board decided that it should only delay meeting with the Archbishop until after this second meeting which was certainly not a “refusal” to meet. As we all know, the Suppression happened on Friday, October 15, 2010 ... before the second Board meeting ever took place.
Foot dragging by insisting on the letter of the law? Was the bishop aware? What was the hurry in pushing all of this through? What does the disobedience of a lay board, that takes care of the money, with the congregation's spiritual problems of community life?
Plenty of orders have boards or superiors get into money problems without such a blowout. why the big problem here? Why the big hurry? It was almost as if the Bishop was afraid the lay board would empty the bank accounts and hightail it to Brazil with all the money. (Place conspiracy theory here. Given the money hijinks of the Vatican bank and in the LC scandal, one might suspect a coverup of money laundering or worse. Which is absurd.)
So whose name is on the bank account that holds the order's money?
Since the Bishop presumably has canon lawyers and legal advisors, we are missing part of the story here.
The cause of the Suppression seems to have been placed mainly on the Board, but the Board did not interfere with the governance of the Hermit Association in any way. It was a separate entity.
Yes, something is being hidden.
If some of her followers have complained about her, if she is a humble leader, she should be aware of their unhappiness and complaints before it happened. No organization is without problems, and Satan can use the disgruntled, the unstable, or even holy folks who get hurt to turn against and try to destroy such a group. (look at what happened to Teresa of Avila when she tried to form a strict version of Carmel).
Yet St Teresa was obedient, even to the point of going back to her old convent as superior,( and reforming the less strict Carmelite orders),
yet even Teresa wrote a biography to defend herself.
Two days later, after the Decree of Suppression was announced, the ten former Hermits and myself returned to Bellwether to resume our mission of contemplative, intercessory and spiritual warfare prayer in union with Jesus the Lamb-Who-was slain. (etc. etc. etc.)
Right. Spread it with a knife, as the saying goes. They are now "lay people" and on a leave of absence, so not disobeying the bishop.
The rest of the post is full of religious sweety nicey stuff about how they will continue to pray.
But again I ask: Who owns Bellweather, and who is paying their bills?