Tuesday February 2, 2016

International travel, groovy guys … and fathomless good

In 2013, the Marian Library received the papers of the late John S. Stokes Jr., co-founder of Mary’s Gardens, a Philadelphia organization that taught and encouraged the planting of devotional gardens in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mother. Active in civil rights and social justice movements, he was the director of the Wellsprings Ecumenical Center in Philadelphia. He died in 2007.

Among his papers was a collection of promotional brochures from a variety of religious orders. The University of Dayton Libraries have digitized them and made many of them available in eCommons, the University’s open-access institutional repository. In observance of today’s World Day for Consecrated Life (Feb. 2, 2016), here are some highlights:

Missionary Sisters of St. Columban: Faraway lands

This 1975 Missionary Sisters of St. Columban brochure beckons women to faraway lands — Korea, Hong Kong, Peru, Chile and the Philippines — to bring Christ’s redeeming love through education, health care and spiritual formation. Started on the banks of the Shannon River in County Clare, Ireland, in 1924, the order now conducts missionary work for justice, peace, health, spirituality and education in 12 countries.  Its headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland; more information is available on the Columban Sisters’ website.

Capuchin Franciscans: 'Groovy'

The Capuchin Franciscan order took a personal approach in its marketing. In this brochure from around 1980, Brother Martin Pable, O.F.M. Cap., a priest and psychologist, shares his thoughts on the motivation for a vocation: It should be spiritual rather than collegial, he writes – “not because I see this as a very groovy outfit which I want to join – like joining the K of C or because the Capuchins are a neat bunch of guys and I'd like to be a part of them” – but rather drawn from positive spiritual reasons, such as, “I want the religious life because I want to serve God in a very direct way or I want to further the love and knowledge of God or I want to extend the kingdom of God or I want to live the Gospel Life as fully as possible or I want to work for the betterment of the world or I want to share a common vision of faith and spirituality with other like-minded people and somehow further the project of God's designs.” More of Brother Martin’s story appears in his book A Call for Me? A New Look at Vocations (Our Sunday Visitor, 1980). The Capuchin order now has six provinces in the United States; its friars serve in communities from Detroit to Montana, with overseas ministries in Nicaragua, Panama and the Middle East.

Consolata Missionary Sisters: Saving the lost and forgotten

The Consolata Missionary Sisters of Belmont, Mich., appealed to women who were looking for the opportunity to give themselves entirely and generously to God, dedicating their lives to saving lost and forgotten brothers. They had to be 17 to 30 years old with an open character and cheerful nature, an ability to overcome difficulties without complaining, and a love for willing and generous collaboration. For those who possessed these qualities and chose the Consolata life, the congregation would “open to you, in the Mission field, the way to fathomless good.” More information is available on the Consolata Missionary Sisters’ website.

Redemptorists: 'What's happening brother?'

The Redemptorists, an order of brothers and priests founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1732 to serve the poor and abandoned, captured readers’ attention with a bright blue cover and a catch phrase in colloquial use at the time: “what’s happening brother?” (dig those lower-case letters, man). The brochure profiles the work and personalities of several members, portraying them as not just pious, but also downright hip in their service to parishes and the poor. Like many informational pieces of the era, it contains a postcard that a man could mail in to request more information. The order now has two U.S. provinces, two U.S. vice provinces, 22 parishes, three retreat centers and five shrines. Its brothers and priests work in 78 countries.

More information

- Maureen Schlangen, E-scholarship and communications manager

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