Read about and see in action the religious vocation of the Sisters of the Society of St. Pius X, who, founded in 1974, are celebrating their 40th anniversary.
Last week, the SSPX's international news site, DICI, briefly announced the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of the Society of St. Pius X:
The Sisters of the Society of St. Pius X celebrate, in 2014, their 40 years of existence. Founded by Archbishop Lefebvre and his sister, Mother Mary Gabriel, the congregation has 165 professed divided into 25 houses and 13 novices in 4 novitiates."
The DICI news also features an image gallery of Society Sisters throughout the world.
To help celebrate this great milestone in the life of the SSPX's Sisters, we offer below a letter concerning their religious vocation as helpers of the priesthood. Written by Fr. Regis de Cacqueray (French District Superior) it was first published on SSPX.ORG on October 5, 2012.
We have also included an image gallery of our own and the contact information for vocational inquiries for the SSPX's Sisters.
SSPX Sisters: helpers of the priesthood
Letter on Vocations, #20; published on La Porte Latine, 4-20-2012
It is first and foremost out of gratitude and admiration for the religious vocation of the Sisters of the Society St. Pius X that I want to consecrate to them this editorial of the latest “Letter of the Crusade for Vocations”.
I have the intimate conviction that their hidden life, their prayers, their sacrifices as well as their entire apostolate does a great deal of good for the priests and for priestly vocations. Their presence in the Society’s priories (for those who have the grace to have a community of sisters), is a great blessing for the life of these houses. We must pray that all our priories will one day be favored with their religious presence. The purpose of this present article is to make their beautiful vocation better known because I consider it as being still too unknown.
It will not be irrelevant for us to begin by recalling the fact that both the priests and the sisters of the Society St. Pius X have the same founder. Archbishop Lefebvre turned toward one of his own blood sisters, Mother Mary Gabriel, a religious in the same Congregation as his, to help him found the society of sisters, and so she became its co-foundress. It suffices to mention but their origin in order to show the depth of the family ties which exist between the priests and the sisters of the Society of St. Pius X.
To better understand the reasons which motivated the Archbishop to found the Society of Sisters after having erected the Priestly Society, we must remember that from the beginning the Archbishop desired that the priests themselves live in small communities. It is a fact that the Society of St. Pius X has indeed carried out his plan. By promoting this way of life, the Archbishop was responding to an important solicitude of the Church: that priests termed as ‘seculars’ rediscover the community life, which had been practiced by them during the more fervent centuries of the Church. Especially nowadays, when the world has again become so hostile to the Catholic priesthood, the common life allows priests to mutually help and support one another.
Henceforward, foundations of sisters, next to the priories where our priests live a common life, fails not to present itself as a most advantageous solution. The priests assure daily Mass for the sisters. The sisters are able to lead their own community life, sustaining the priests by their prayers, helping them in their apostolate and relieving them of domestic tasks, in order that they may more freely consecrate themselves to their ministry. Indeed, does not this manner of life recall to mind the ancient monastic tradition of establishing convents of nuns near those of the monks?
However, we need to open the Gospels in order to understand what the vocation of the Sisters of the Society St. Pius X really is. In the Gospels we find a discreet but efficacious presence around our Lord Jesus Christ of the holy women, and especially of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Certainly, they did not follow Him on all His apostolic journeys, but they always accompanied Him with their prayers. We can, without doubt, imagine that they offered many little services to our Lord and His Apostles which are not mentioned in the Gospels.
The life of the sisters of the Society St. Pius X is very similar to the example given us by the holy women in the Gospels. Truly, their vocation makes them ‘helpers of the priesthood’. Archbishop Lefebvre did not hesitate to use this very beautiful expression to describe the sisters own apostolic end. ‘The sisters will be helpers of the priesthood in the the various apostolic works confided to our priests. If we stop to reflect for a moment on these words of the Archbishop, we can easily perceive all the greatness of this feminine vocation which resembles so much the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she who was the perfect ‘helper’ of her Son in the work of the Redemption.
Consequently, their vocation as helpers of the priesthood is essentially realized by their daily assistance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose whole life was turned toward the sublime Oblation at the foot of the Cross, united to her divine Son. Being under the protection of Our Lady of Compassion, their holy patroness, the sisters’ primary devotion consists in their participation in the Sacrifice of the Cross, renewed on our altars.
Here we find the very heart of there daily existence. Their life consists in nothing other than going from Mass to Mass. Like the tireless waves of the ocean, they go up to the communion rail every morning, and return slowly, only after having received the Eucharistic food into their hearts. From this they receive all the strength they need, all their joy, consecrating to our Lord all the love that their souls are capable of giving to Him.
Even if the sisters are a precious help for the domestic life of the Society’s houses, and even if they devote themselves to numerous apostolic works, it is nonetheless, only by their spirituality, permeated with the spirit of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that they merit their name of ‘helpers of the priesthood’. Their life is a continual self-oblation in union with the divine Victim of the altar. In likeness of our Lord, Who offers Himself as a holocaust to His Father, they immolate themselves day after day, out of love, through the different circumstances and difficulties of daily life.
This is the reason why their entire life, interwoven as it is with its pious exercises and different activities to help and sustain the priesthood, is motivated ever more intensely by the spirit of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The sisters of the Society never leave the chapel the same as when they entered it. Urged therein by a hunger for the Holy Eucharist, they go forth satisfied by the heavenly nourishment given them. Then throughout the entire day they remain in an attitude of profound gratitude, thankful for this proof of love received from the Spouse of their souls, their only desire being to return love for love by means of their various daily duties which are dedicated to the priesthood.
And so they are able to truly understand these words of our founder which are so humble yet so profound:
When I am asked what is the spirit of the Society, I answer that it is not a special spirituality, it is the spirituality of the Church, it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."
And in reality, what more beautiful spirituality can one look for than that of the Mass, which is the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary, the perfect masterpiece of Christian life?
Herein we find the key to understand their way of life and, once understood, we would just like to remain ‘there’ because all has been said. Their whole life is unified by daily Mass. The constitutions, which intermingle pious exercises with the other works they do, helps to promote an ever closer union of the soul with God. Whether they give catechism classes to children, or prepare meals, or make liturgical vestments or practice Gregorian chant for the next High Mass, they learn how to do everything for the love of our Lord thus rendering the priests’ apostolate fruitful and helping to save souls.
It is not difficult to see; or rather to hear, that their way of life brings them the Fruit of the Holy Ghost called Christian joy, so true it is that their recreations are marked by bursts of laughter, leaving nothing to envy of the legendary cheerfulness of the sons and daughters of St. Francis! Let us not be mistaken! This habitual good humor is the result of many daily self renouncements, where one learns how to forget self and personal difficulties so as to be able to always communicate to others the charity which consists in rendering community life agreeable for all, never being a burden to others.
In asking you, dear crusaders, to pray with fervor so that God send many vocations to our sisters, you realize that, in reality, it is for the benefit of the Catholic priesthood that you are laboring.
To contact the novitiate for vocational info:
Sacred Heart Novitiate
540 W. 8th Street
Browerville, MN 56438