New Order of Sisters will do Pro-life and Post-abortion Counseling Work in Siberia

CHICAGO, September 3, 2004 ( - A reporter attended the annual meeting, near Chicago, of the Institute on Religious Life, an organization that trains and assists Catholic religious communities, including ones just starting up. One of those groups is forming to do missionary work in Eastern Siberia, in areas suffering severe economic and social hardship, and where abortion rates were unbelievably high. One sister said, “In Russia the average woman has had five to ten abortions and some of the priests tell us some have had as many as thirty.”

The Sisters in Jesus the Lord, still in the process of formation and seeking approbation of their bishop, are based in St. Paul Minnesota and hope to send missionaries into one of the most spiritually neglected and remote areas of the world. They are associated with another newly formed religious order for men, the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord, who have been doing missionary work in Siberia since 1992. Before their arrival at Holy Mother of God parish in Vladivostok, the parish had not had a resident pastor since the communists shot the last one in 1925. The communist effort to destroy the practice of Christianity was very successful; the fathers in Vladivostok estimate that only about 1% of even the majority Russian Orthodox population is in any way a Christian believer.  The sisters hope to live and work in Vladivostok, the easternmost port of Russia, and have visited several times. When the Canons Regular arrived in 1992, there were only five Catholics in the entire city. Since then, they have established five parishes, soup kitchens, homes and refuges for impoverished elderly and orphans, but the first thing they do is set up crisis pregnancy centres. Sister Julie Kubista, the foundress of the budding community of sisters and a former Maryknoll missionary, worked to help supply the parishes with necessities and raise funds. She says the community started simply. “I said to them one day, ’ What’s the thing you need most?’ We were helping them will all sorts of projects, orphanages, boy scouts, food for the poor, but he said, ‘We need sisters.’ So I said, ‘Yeah? Okay, I’ll see what I can do.’ ”  Kelly Whittier, recently given the religious name Sister Maria Stella, the community’s first novice is excited about the work which she hopes will focus on pro-life activities. “I’m just trying to learn about post-abortion ministry. There is someone going to Russia from Rachel’s Vineyard retreats at the end of this month. So I’m hoping to go for that training. They’ve started six crisis pregnancy centers in Russia.” The mission society’s newsletter, Vladivostok Sunrise, says that at least 600 children have been saved from abortion through the society’s ‘Adopt-A-Birth’ programme. Sister Julia says that the economic situation is bad and the spiritual and mental depression caused by communism has made it difficult for women to think of having children.

Fr. Myron Effing says in his newsletter, “The Russians say that the situation is so bad they have to have abortion. I say that the situation here is so bad because they have abortions.” One Russian woman who attended the society’s Rachel’s Vineyard retreat said, “We simply cannot live on as the same person when children are being killed right next to us..We all mourn the unborn.” Another said, “I felt comfortable to share my thoughts with others and get rid of my burden. Here you can talk about such things and no one judges you.”

There are many obstacles to overcome such as visa restrictions and training. The enterprise is entirely privately funded. They receive no funds from official Vatican sources because of the delicate state of relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.

To contact the sisters:  Sisters in Jesus the Lord 525 Thomas Ave St. Paul, MN 55103-1631 (651) 230-3337 [email protected]   Read about the work of the Mary Mother of God Mission Society:   See photos of Kelly Whittier’s entry to the novitiate:   Read all about the new community:


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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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