FAIRFIELD, Pennsylvania (LifeSiteNews) — Even nuns in a monastery founded by EWTN’s Mother Angelica have suffered from an insensitive “Apostolic Visitation,” a Vatican-approved investigation.
In a newly published interview conducted by LifeSite’s Jim Hale, hermit Father Maximilian Mary Dean retells the history of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, Alabama. Their monastery, founded by Mother Angelica, who also began Catholic TV channel EWTN, received an Apostolic Visitation in 2010. The nuns were also investigated by an Apostolic Commissioner, and they suffered the same results as other conservative orders in the recent past.
The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration are a contemplative community. The life of the cloistered nuns is centered on the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They were first established in France in 1854, and their monasteries act autonomously. What happened to the Poor Clares in Alabama can be seen in light of the general reform and undermining of the contemplative orders that has followed the promulgation of Pope Francis’ instruction Cor Orans.
As LifeSiteNews was able to confirm, Mother Angelica’s Our Lady of the Angels Monastery is now quoting on its own website the radical progressivist Dominican priest, Father Timothy Radcliffe. In 2014, Radcliffe’s very presence was enough cause for EWTN to withdraw its presence at a conference. As the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin subsequently wrote: “Last year , EWTN chose not to televise Ireland’s Divine Mercy Conference, as it customarily does, because Father Radcliffe had been chosen as a keynote speaker at the event.”
At a talk in Los Angeles in 2006, as Pentin tells us, Father Radcliffe called upon the Church to “accompany [homosexuals] as they discern what this means, letting our images be stretched open. This means watching Brokeback Mountain [a movie about a homosexual relationship], reading gay novels, living with our gay friends and listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”
Edward Pentin also recalled that Radcliffe supported same-sex civil unions, stating in The Tablet in 2012 that homosexual relationships should be “cherished and supported” and that the “God of love can be present in every true love.” The British journalist further informs us that “Father Radcliffe has often celebrated Masses for homosexual Catholics — the so-called ‘Soho Masses’ – in London.”
Quoting this same priest with approval, the website of the new Poor Clares now states: “Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., also expounds on the reason for a formation fortified by study: ‘Our study has this ultimate purpose, to bring us to this moment of conversion when our false images of God are destroyed so that we may draw near to the mystery.’” And while this quote in itself might not carry a controversial message, the fact that he is quoted on their website speaks volumes.
Father Maximilian, a former Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate and now a chaplain to the traditional Carmelite nuns of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, described in his recent interview with Jim Hale what he witnessed of the Apostolic Commission to the Poor Clares.
After some internal conflicts, the Poor Clares welcomed a commissioner. Father Maximilian accidentally met her when visiting Mother Angelica’s monastery, and the woman re revealed to him that she made sure that all nuns with inclinations toward the traditional Latin Mass were “sent home.”
“We sent all those women home,” she told the priest. “They were fine women, but none of them had a vocation.”
“It sound[ed] like a hiss from hell,” Father Maximilian says to his interviewer.
Before the visitation and arrival of the commissioner, the Alabama monastery of the Poor Clares was home to about 45 nuns. They were only 13 when Father visited them in 2014. (Today they seem to have 14 members.) Subsequently, they had to shut down one of their foundations in 2018, upon order of the Holy See.
As one source close to the situation told LifeSite, the community was reduced to 8 nuns at one point after the authorities imposed another Mother Superior upon the monastery. That Mother Superior – whom Father Maximilian met in 2014 – was not a Poor Clare but a Benedictine nun. This source confirmed the story described by Father Maximilian. This source was not sure about the exact title of the new Mother Superior, but the source confirmed that the woman removed many of the more tradition-minded nuns from the monastery.
All this is to say that an Apostolic Visitation and Commission even affected the monastery founded by EWTN’s Mother Angelica, leading to dwindling vocations and the suppression of any inclination toward Tradition.
Now Mother Angelica’s own monastery quotes Fr. Radcliffe on their website. The foundress, who died in 2016, would most probably turn in her grave, were she to know of it.
UPDATE, Oct. 6, 2021: The Poor Clares’ website has removed the quote from Fr. Radcliffe! Here’s a screenshot of the previous website: