Monday, February 26, 2007

Nuns Out On Their Bums (Poland)

A group of Polish nuns has been expelled from their order and laicized after refusing to accept a new superior.

Archbishop Jozef Zycinski of Lublin published the Vatican decree expelling the members of the Sisters of the Family of Bethany, a Polish order, for "open violation of monastic vows."

The president of Poland's Conference of Female Superiors said Feb. 22 she had requested an explanation for the unprecedented action and was satisfied correct procedures had been followed.

"The church gave them a chance to defend their stance and has now made its decision," said Ursuline Mother Jolanta Olech, whose conference represents 93 female religious orders in Poland.

"The drama lies in the fact that they've refused to accept church directives and thus found themselves excluded. It's hard to see how this conflict will end, but it seems there can be no good solution," she said.

A statement from the general council of the Bethany Sisters said concern had arisen over "personal and organizational decisions" by the order's former superior general, Sister Jadwiga Ligocka, who had recruited novices with inappropriate "character and personality traits" and caused "deep unease" by claiming "private visions" in conflict with Catholic teaching.

It added that a group of nuns had asked the Vatican for help in September 2004 after unsuccessfully seeking an "understanding" with Sister Ligocka.

A new superior general, Sister Barbara Robak, was appointed during an apostolic visitation by the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in January 2005, the statement said.

It said Sister Ligocka did not accept the Vatican decision and said Sister Robak tried to talk to her several times. The expelled nuns, whose convent was in Kazimierz, staged a sit-in at their convent to protest Sister Ligocka's removal.

A spokeswoman at the Bethany Sisters' main house in Lublin said Feb. 21 she had no telephone number for the expelled sisters.



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