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(LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Joseph Strickland received an apostolic visitation in June, much to the shock of many. The following month, I interviewed Dr. Peter Kwasniewski to discuss what Strickland should do if Pope Francis told him to resign, and he explained that “America’s Bishop” should stay put if not given a grave reason to leave.

My guest on this special episode of The John-Henry Westen Show is Mother Miriam, recorded on the eve of her final vows in religion – witnessed by Bishop Strickland – to discuss her own reaction to his potential removal and what it means to be a religious.

Remarking on laypeople’s response to the visitation, Mother tells me that should Strickland be removed, “the people will be just keeping their fingers crossed that a good bishop comes,” stressing that they “don’t know” what will happen in the event of Strickland’s removal, or does he know what is happening.

Commenting on what Strickland has done in the meantime, Mother tells me that he is “doubling his efforts to be who he’s called to be as a bishop.”

“He’s speaking out more than ever before, he is spending every second at every parish in the entire diocese taking care of the sheep,” Mother states, adding that if Strickland sees that he has to leave, he wants to make sure that the diocese is doing well. Mother also maintains that the two bishops sent to visit Strickland, Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, and Bishop Geral Kicanas of Tuscon, Arizona, came to “silence him.” 

“You can’t silence him,” Mother declares. “He’s not radical; he’s just preaching salvation.”

Mother also touches upon the upcoming “Defending Our Faith” Conference set up by the faithful of the Diocese of Tyler in support of Strickland, maintaining that “his flock [loves] him.”

When I ask her why people should come to support Strickland, she says, “If I find a good bishop, I’d cross the ocean for him.”

“A fearless, good bishop, who is teaching the faith once delivered to the saints, I’d go anywhere to support him, and to be with him and to be encouraged by him,” Mother declares. “So, in my mind, I wish the world would show up, the whole world.”

“I think what they’ve rented [for the conference] holds about a thousand people. I’d like to see 10,000 people flood that place and show the Vatican how hungry the sheep are for truth and for a true shepherd.”

Returning to the issue of Strickland’s potential removal, Mother comments on moving bishops in general.

Reacting to my mention of the Kwasniewski interview, Mother maintains that “if he’s a good bishop, nobody wants him to move. Nobody wants him to be replaced.” 

“It has the sense of being a job, because sheep know the shepherd’s voice, and he wouldn’t leave them,” Mother adds. “I think the bishops to … move around like that is, it doesn’t feel Catholic … It feels Protestant also, moving all over the place, and people choosing their churches and all that.”

“But of course, if it’s a bad bishop, you want him to be moved,” Mother explains. Touching upon the issue of bad bishops, Mother explains that treating the priesthood as a “career” makes her ill, and that the way the bishops have “have fallen” is “shocking” to her. “How could they have had genuine faith, and had position and power and falsehood and everything else take over, let alone immorality?” Mother asks. “It’s just awful.”

“I live 24/7 for souls to be saved,” Mother stresses. “I don’t want anything else. I’m embarrassed before the world for the … dirty laundry of the Catholic Church being exposed. I’m embarrassed of what’s happening and being reported all over the news. It’s just so horrible.”

“You want to tell everybody the Catholic Church is the fullness of faith,” she continues. “It was the same when I came in. The hardest thing of becoming Catholic is Catholics, now. It’s a shame.”

We also touch upon what it means to be a religious, and also what Mother sees as her vocation.

Describing the process of becoming a Benedictine sister at her monastery, Mother tells me “it’s an eight-year process.”

“You come in for aspirant for a month, you’re a postulant for six months to a year,” she explains, emphasizing that postulants are not yet religious. When I ask her to explain what the postulancy is, she explains that it is observing the community and its charism to discern if one is called to enter it.

She also explained the novitiate, saying that it constitutes entrance into religion. “Even if you’ve been with the community a year, and you become a sister for the first time, and you receive the habit and your religious name,” she tells me. She also explains that while some communities allow novices to choose their own names, she chooses the names for the novices.

“I want them to have names of saints that they want to live up to, who gave their lives, and who they want to emulate so they could be their saint through life,” Mother says. Explaining how she chooses a name, Mother tells me that she observes the character of the postulants, what encourages them, and which saints inspire them to be who they are.

For those not in religious life, Mother discusses the concept of the Benedictine Oblate, a layman in the secular world who is attached to a particular Benedictine monastery, living according to the monastery’s particular charism and the Rule of St. Benedict.

When I ask about the Rule, Mother tells me that it boils down to two basic principles: ora et labora, pray and work.

She also tells me about work that she did in homes for their edification while her community was yet in Oklahoma, stating “my heart for families is that they would pray.”

Explaining that she would help families set up home altars with images of Our Lady, Our Lord, or the Holy Family, she says, “We get a little spot. It’s clean. Put a pillowcase on it [if no tablecloths are found]. Put our little triptych or image we’ll bring them and bring them two candles in a little glass … and we bring them a bag of beads.”

Explaining the purpose of the beads, Mother tells me that it is so the children of the house could put them in a bowl on the altar whenever they did a good act that they keep secret between themselves and God, offering the beads to Mary to give to Jesus.

Recounting one occasion in which a family’s son fathered a daughter that the grandparents adopted, and how the daughter would struggle in school, Mother tells me that once the father of the family began leading them in prayer, the daughter’s performance in school increased dramatically over the course of a month.

“Since I’m a little girl in Brooklyn, I’ve always felt that God gave me a shepherd’s heart,” Mother says, explaining that while she was at Catholic Answers she felt as though she would do a “hit and run” with 50 conferences a year, and how she decided to help the Church by helping families to know the faith and pray together.

“I did a 54-day novena one day at my home before the crucifix. And I said … ‘I can’t stand all this. Going to conferences, giving talks, coming home. People go home, they come down from the so-called mountaintop, life is the same.’”

“I said … ‘I want to help [people] live the faith,’” she continues. “That’s my heart: to teach it and help them to live it.”

“The world needs to be saved, but the family is God’s institution, and the only way to restore culture is through the family, and that’ll bring the Church back, too,” Mother concludes.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.