Conservative order of nuns on verge of destruction following Vatican interventions

November 27, 2018 

Almost all of the members of a conservative order of nuns that serve the elderly in French nursing homes have announced that they have asked to be released from their vows following attempts by the Vatican to force them to alter their way of life and to “modernize” their order.

According to their lay supporters, the sisters have been accused of engaging in “too much prayer” and concerns have been expressed that they wear the guimpe, a traditional form of religious head covering used by nuns that is no longer in vogue among the Church’s liberal elite. The sisters say that they are accused of a “deviant authoritarianism,” of being “too classical” in their thinking, and of being guilty of an “immobilism” in their devotion to their institute’s charism.

A total of 34 of the 39 members of the the Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer say they want to quit the order after a Vatican dicastery removed their superior general and attempted to impose three “commissioners” on them who were hostile towards their more traditional practices.

The three commissioners are led by a religious sister and theology professor with a short haircut who does not wear a habit, one who defends Amoris Laetitia and whom the sisters have said does not understand their religious charism.

The sisters say that their protests against the choice of commissioners and their request that they receive someone else more suited to their charism have fallen on deaf ears, leading them to the conclusion that they could no longer carry out their vocation within their institute.

“After having acquired the moral certainty throughout this year that the reception of the apostolic commissioner within our Institute would cause serious and certain harm, both regarding the understanding of the charisma bequeathed by God to Mother Mary of the Cross, our Foundress, and the way of living it, after many times proposing solutions of appeasement without any answer ever having been given to us, after consulting with authorized and competent persons, after having prayed much and always with the desire to remain daughters of the Church, wanting to remain faithful and obedient to the truth, it seemed to us that we had no choice but to renounce our vows,” the sisters wrote in a public statement issued on November 7 (PDF here).

“We are therefore 34 out of 39 Sisters who are members of the Institute, who have asked to be relieved of our vows by the Dicastery for Religious,” the sisters add. “We do not make this sacrifice lightly: we desire to remain in full communion with the Church, but we cannot indicate more clearly, nor more painfully, our impossibility, in conscience, to obey what is imposed.”

The Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer trace their origins back to 1939 when an organization of women was founded by Mere Marie de la Croix (“Mother Mary of the Cross”), according to the lay organization that defends their cause. It began as an association of the faithful and was given the status of an Institute of Consecrated Life in 1989 by the then-bishop of Laval, Louis-Marie Billé.

According to the French Catholic website Riposte Catholique, the Institute currently includes four communities located in the dioceses of Laval and Toulouse, where they supervise four nursing homes for the elderly in the French departments of Haute-Garonne and Mayenne. They also provide catechesis and training in the spiritual life to Catholic families, and open their convents to parish and spiritual retreat groups. Their service to the Catholic faithful, however, will soon come to an end if no resolution to the conflict can be found.

Invasive visitations

The Little Sisters’ travails began in 2016, when the Bishop of Laval, Thierry Scherrer, attempted to separate one of the nursing homes of the sisters from the association that administers them, despite concerns that such a reorganization would cost millions of euros and would endanger the financial viability of the home. The sisters opposed the idea, as did the nursing home’s board of directors, who rejectedScherrer’s proposal.

In apparent retaliation, Bishop Scherrer ordered a canonical visit of the sisters, sending two representatives to investigate them in late 2016. The result was a highly negative report, made public in June 2017, that asserted the existence of “problems of governance” in the order, a claim vigorously disputed by the sisters, who have issued strong expressions of satisfaction with their superiors. The sisters have called the report a “caricature” of their order, produced as a “pre-judgment” against them.

Both the sisters and Bishop Scherrer then asked the Holy See to resolve the dispute. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life responded in September 2017 by removing the superior general of the Institute, Mère Marie de Saint Michel, as well as their mistress of novices, and sending them away from the mother house.

The Congregation then appointed three “commissioners” to oversee the sisters, who refused to accept them on the grounds that they were unsuited to their charism, and asked that other, more suitable commissioners be appointed. When this was refused, the sisters appealed to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Catholic Church. The sisters say that in August the Tribunal ruled against them without allowing their canon lawyer to present his arguments, which the sisters denounced as unjust.

Meet the new boss: habitless Sr. Geneviève Médevielle, a defender of Amoris Laetitia

The Vatican is attempting to impose on the order Sr. Geneviève Médevielle, the principal among the three commissioners. Médevielle is a religious sister who dresses in lay clothing and wears a short haircut without a head covering. She is a professor of ethics at the Catholic Institute of Paris and the author of the recently-published book “Migrants, Francis, and us.” Médevielle writes in defense of Amoris Laetitia against “conservatives and traditionalists” who criticize it.

Marcel Mignot, president of the Association of Support for the Little Sisters of Mary, told the French publication La Croix, “The Little Sisters are reproached for praying too much, and they also want them to change their habit. They want to modernize them and make them evolve by taking them away from their roots.”

Médevielle denies the claim that she wants to transform the Institute, responding to La Croix, “I want to respect them, not to transform them! If there are changes, they absolutely will not concern their charism.”

However, according to the sisters’ Association of Support, “the commissioners have likewise announced the general outline of their project of reforming the congregation. The Little Sisters, have, in effect, clearly seen the evolutions that await them, towards a supposed modernity, made of progressive trivialization if they allow Sr. Medevielle take the reins of their institute, with the support of the Dicastery.”

“The latter has stated, following a meeting, ‘We won’t touch your charism at all, but rather your way of living it.’ That says it all!” the sisters’ lay supporters add.

“The goal that is sought is not to establish the truth and to allow the Little Sisters to continue their mission for the benefit of all, with respect for their charism,” the sisters’ supporters write. “The only goal of Rome is to complete the project of Bishop Scherrer: to gain control over the Institute to make it evolve in accordance with his views, whether it be in defiance of the truth, whether it be in defiance of the rights of the defense, whether it be by recourse to lying. It is, at least, unworthy of the values promoted by the Holy Father whenever he speaks publicly.”

In the meantime, the commissioners insisted that they would conduct a visitation, despite the appeal, and threatened to remove the sisters from the Institute if they refused to allow them entrance. They dismissed the fact that the sisters were in the process of appealing the commissioners’ appointments, claiming that it did not provide them any legal relief from the obligation to obey. The sisters then relented and allowed the visitation, which seemed to confirm their worst fears.

‘Intimidation, threats, and manipulation’

According to the sisters’ Association of Support, the three commissioners sought to meet with each sister individually to pit the sisters against one another, suggesting that if they cooperated they could have positions of importance in the new reorganized Institute.

“The visits have been carried out under duress, in the form of an individual interview with the Little Sisters, who were alone facing two commissioners…the latter, based on the profile of the sisters, would try to reassure some, while seeking to lure others with ‘good positions’ within the future organization of the congregation…As if the principal objection of this operation were to open a breach within the unity of the Little Sisters, in the hope of dividing them, while there prevails a beautiful communion  among them.”

“The methods used, a mix of intimidation, threats, and manipulation, feel like moral harassment to many sisters,” they add.

Sisters exonerated – but Vatican refuses to lift penalties

Following the visitation by the commissioners, a new report was issued on the state of the Institute in June of this year. According to the sisters’ Association of Support, the second report recognized that “many important elements in the first report of the canonical visit of 2016, on the basis of which the sanctions would be imposed, did not reflect reality.”

“They admit that the sisters constitute dynamic communities and that the spirit that reigns is positive. They only highlight some some rather banal criticisms, which don’t compare to the complaints made in the initial report,” the sisters’ supporters write.

Despite being vindicated in the second report, however, the sisters have been told that the sanctions placed on them by the dicastery will not be lifted. “The Little Sisters are stupefied!” writes the Association of Support. “They do not cease to express their indignation in the face of this fallacious report, demanding that justice be done for them, that all of the baseless and degrading sanctions be lifted.”

The sisters complain that while the accusation against their superiors of being too heavy handed is contradicted by the testimony of the sisters themselves, the Vatican itself has been extremely authoritarian in the way it has treated the sisters.

“Even though the superiors would be accused of a ‘deviant authoritarianism,’ as the first report says, here is obedience suddenly brandished as a duty without appeal, without the concern of a right conscience having a say in it, without ever having been explained to us the least objective foundation of all these Roman measures,” the sisters write in their most recent public statement. “So would there be two weights, two standards in this affair?”

In addition, the nuns write that one of their houses in southern France has been targeted by the Archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gall, who has prohibited them from attending their more traditional form of Mass in their community chapel. This appears to be the same house that has refused to participate in Le Gall’s Mass at the local nursing home, presumably because of differences over liturgical practice. The house is located in Castelnau-d’Estrétefonds, to the north of Toulouse, in Haute-Garonne, and is led by Sr. Marie-Liesse Laplace.

Vatican sends ultimatum: submit or be dismissed

Finally, in September, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, João Braz de Aviz, sent an ultimatum to the sisters, requiring them to accept Sr. Geneviève Médevielle as their authority “without reserve” or face dismissal from the Institute. The vast majority have asked to be released from their vows, rather than submit to Médevielle. No announcements have yet been made regarding the response of the Holy See.

The sisters passed through a similar trial in the 1970s, when officials of the Holy See attempted to force them to join other institutes. The sisters resisted and expressed their preference for losing their status as religious rather than entering another institute, according to the Association of Support. However, their congregation survived the ordeal.

The sisters have stated publicly that they wish to see the public alerted to their situation, and to come to their aid in resisting what they regard as a grave injustice against their institute and its charism of aiding the suffering at the end of life. Contact information for those interested in supporting and defending the Little Sisters can be found at the bottom of this article.

The apparent persecution of the Little Sisters has garnered much media attention in France, and has been covered on television as well as in print media. The mayor of Saint-Aignan-sur-Roe, where the mother house of the sisters is located, is publicly supporting the sisters.

“I have trouble understanding this power struggle,” Mayor Loïc Pène told the newspaper Haut Anjou. “The Sisters have my full support because I know what they represent for the town. They are well integrated and it is of local interest that they remain present. I am well aware of everything they bring. All they do besides, they do well. I only hope for a happy ending to this conflict and that the nursing home does not end up being weakened.”

A representative of the Diocese of Laval told the same newspaper that the sisters have caused their own suffering by resisting the authority of Rome. She also claimed that the reform measures the commissioners are seeking to impose were already in the works years earlier.

“The situation is difficult, it is true, so much so that it is now in the hands of Rome. But from the beginning we have been involved in adjustments and recommendations and not at all in conflict or grievances,” said diocesan spokeswoman Véronique Larat. “The adjustments, by the way, had already been proposed by Bishops Billé and Maillard, the predecessors of Bishop Scherrer. He simply took a position in continuity with them.”

“The Sisters are very troubled by this situation due to [their] disobedience, [and] many people are suffering,” Larat added. “We are still calling for reconciliation and for them to allow the pontifical commissioner appointed by Rome to join them.”

Commenting on the impending destruction of the order, Risposte Catholique wrotein September: “Everywhere these nuns are very much loved by the clergy and the people. What will become of the forty or so nuns who will no longer be? What are we going to do with their retirement homes, the elderly they welcome, the staff who are employed there? We thus see bloodless dioceses amputate their last living forces, in a sort of self-annihilation of moribund churches.”

Institute of Franciscan friars destroyed in a similar way

The destruction of the Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer follows a pattern similar to the Vatican-induced collapse of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI), an order of Franciscans that followed a more traditional pattern of community life and that made free use of the traditional Latin Mass in accordance with the rites prevailing in 1962. Although the friars were within their legal rights to use the traditional form of the Mass in accordance with the papal motu proprio Summorum pontificum, their order came under attack for such practices by Bishop Braz de Aviz and others who frowned upon them. Among them, it seems, is Pope Francis himself.

Just as in the case of the Little Sisters, Braz de Aviz brought about the removal of the superiors of the FFI from their positions, and even the founder, Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, was sent into house arrest at the age of 81. Five years later, he remains under house arrest. Other superiors were sent to remote houses of the order.

Likewise, a commissioner was placed over the order, Fr. Stephano Volpi, who seemed implacably hostile to the order’s charism and its works in general. Under his leadership, the FFI’s seminary was completely shut down, as was its book publishing service. A majority of the brothers left and were incardinated in other dioceses, and at least 15 cloisters of the order reportedly have closed their doors. The Traditional Latin Mass was only permitted by special permission from the commissioner.

Moreover, just as in the case of the Little Sisters, the members of the FFI never were given any specific reason for the imposition of the commissioner, except vague hints that they were too “traditional” for the tastes of the Vatican authorities, including, presumably, Pope Francis, who has refused to accept appeals from the order’s members. Within a few years, a thriving and beloved institute of Franciscans had become a shell of its former self.

Contact the author at

Contact information:

Association of Support for the Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer

Main webpage in English:

(You may also select French, Italian, or Spanish at upper right of webpage.)

Chez Mr Marcel MIGNOT
1 Avenue de Montréal
Résidence Montréal 2
72000 Le Mans

To sign the petition of support:

Click here for links to coverage by the French blog Riposte Catholique (can be translated to English easily with Google Translate – in Chrome browser right click on webpage and select “Translate to English”).

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19 Responses to Conservative order of nuns on verge of destruction following Vatican interventions

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    This cabal makes no sense. Why the disruption of the nuns who’ve been around since the ’30s, who are a service to the elderly community and local community at large, and save their order and community money with these services? What a twisted state of affairs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And so the destruction of the Church continues, carried out by this hapless pope, apparently under the influence of the demonic “spirit” of Vatican II.


  3. Gertrude says:

    Since the publication of Cor Orans this is happening on a grand scale. Some Religious friends of mine consider it a land grab, and they too are going to seek dispensation of their vows and live either as consecrated virgin’s or hermits. What is emanating from the Vatican these days is little short of demonic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Salmond says:

    It is highly unlikely to be reported by even Catholic media. The thing is, that this is no different than the surprises that Obama did in his administration that people are now finding out about. Wrong, demonic, and unconstitutional.


  5. Crow says:

    This is deliberate destruction by the Vatican- I can only surmise that those who distorted V2 to destroy the religious orders in the 70’s are just completing their job (I don’t know – Masons? Socialists?)
    What can we do? When the US laity is saying that they will refuse to give money to corrupt t bishops, maybe we should be gathering funding for these traditional groups. If they have property purchased in private names, and not owned by the Church, they can still operate as a group, albeit, not a religious group under the control of the Vatican. Trouble is, as Mary Salmond says, the Catholic media won’t report it, so the bigger philanthropists would not t know about it.

    It is definitely demonic – we must pray for them and for Holy Mother Church.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kathleen says:

    I agree. The Vatican devouring its own children, the very “roots that nourish the whole Church” (as a wise Pope once described traditional religious orders)? It is truly mind-boggling. This can only be “demonic”; there is no other explanation for it.

    Honestly, is it any wonder that so many are turning to the SSPX in these terrible times of the growing satanical infiltration of the Vatican? Freemasons, closet Communists, adherents of the One World Order, the notorious “lavender mafia”, etcetera, all Satan’s minions “walking the corridors of the Vatican”, just as Our Blessed Mother warned us through certain visionaries they would do.

    “Without monasteries, without the examples of the contemplative religious consecrated to the continual praise of God, the Church will never recover from the present crisis. In order to traverse this present crisis, there must be more monasteries, more souls willing to devote their whole life to prayer and intercession.” (Archbishop Lefebvre)

    The Vatican is doing exactly the opposite: it is getting rid of them!


  7. mikatsa6 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information with us, the more exposure that stories like these receive, the more people will pray for them… and the more prayer they receive will benefit them more than anything we can do alone. As Faithful Catholics it is time for us to unite not only our prayers to those who are being persecuted within the Church but we must also unite our sufferings with their sufferings, pleading with the Lord for His Mercy and His grace. Thank you for your insightful posts, God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Crow says:

    Yes Kathleen, you are right, it has all been prophesied. Perhaps the Church has to go through a time of purgation. However, they are destroying institutions and people’s lives in the process. I am sure that everyone got the subtext of the ‘short haired’ nun. We have all seen them. They run around telling people what to do and they are all so angry!!! If they were really taking the true course they would not be angry, they would be at peace.
    This demonic action is having an effect though – the more they suppress, impose the lavender program, mandate Catholic lite , the more they reveal the ‘fruits’, as Someone once said.


  9. kathleen says:

    A very perceptive comment Crow! Yes, all the filth, the lies, the underhand machinations of the enemies of Christ are now all gradually being revealed. Satan prefers to do his dirty work in darkness, unseen – it works better for him this way – so these revelations coming to light are not to his advantage 😉.


  10. Crow says:

    Yes Kathleen, and think of it, how fortunate that the revelations of the true horrors of the lavender mafia have occurred during the pontificate of Francis and not Benedict. If Benedict were Pope, the modernists and lavenders would just keep on. As the modernists have shown themselves through Pope Francis , the whole story is being revealed.


  11. Mary Salmond says:

    The whole story is revealed. Now that is an interesting observation! There are no longer subtleties. Good point.


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    I’m a Catholic sinner, but the Vatican is not the church I belong to. A corrupt faggocracy is what it is. No one in it – the Vatican – has any conviction or courage to uphold Truth. What member of the Curia has laid his career on the line in defence of Catholic Truth these past 50 years? Yes, I know there are good priests and bishops; but none who are members of the Curia that I can think of.


  13. geoffkiernan says:

    Crow at 2312, comes from the same part of the world as myself. Short haired nuns?…. there are many on display here. Most, dressed in their smart, brightly colored pant suits attend the local Casino.
    We pray daily for the ‘gift’ of vocations to the Priesthood and the religious life among our grandchildren. Why would we bother I hear you ask. Because we feel (we pray) ‘God will provide’.

    Our ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ still dress in a type of habit but they prefer to ‘hide’ their crucifix and they also prefer to nod towards the tabernacle rather than Genuflect. Both are small things(perhaps) but they speaks volumes. When asked about this they decline to answer. Ditto goes for our nice (c)atholics in 99% of our Parishes…


  14. Mary Salmond says:

    So, in essence of all this, we can do one thing in particular:
    1. Pray that you and I can set an example to others of our Catholicity by our thoughts, words, and deeds.
    2. Pray that the pope will reform in the same way – heart and mind.
    3. Pray for the Franciscan nuns who have been displaced that they can continue in peace and happines.
    4. Pray the “mentally displaced” nuns without habits and short hair that they can reform before their death.
    What else can we do?


  15. johnhenrycn says:

    Our Friend Geoff From The Outback takes issue with nuns who hide their crucifixes and who only nod toward the tabernacle instead of genuflecting. I take issue with him on both accounts. The crucifix bit, because religious who are in the caring professions (nurses and such) cannot have sacramentals dangling and flopping about when they give people bed baths. There’s probably a policy forbidding such displays, and for good medical reasons. I wonder if our late Brother Burrito thinks it a good idea to have his crucifix poking his patients in the eye as he puts them to sleep?

    As for genuflecting, Our Friend Geoff From The Outback must be a lot younger than I took him for. I’ve not been able to go down on one knee since I became a senior citizen. I wish I could, but must be content with a deep and reverent bow. I even find it difficult to use the kneelers in the pews, but thankfully, I can still manage that. As for nodding of the head, well yes – that’s beyond the pale – and if that’s really what Our Friend Geoff From The Outback is witnessing, he should politely, indirectly make it known that he’ll have *nun* of that.

    I wish more people would follow my lead and bow during recitation of the Creed at “…who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…” but maybe they take me for some sort of show-off convert.The only people in our parish who do likewise are habited nuns whose crucifixes are hidden away. I also bow to the crucifix as it is carried through the nave during the Recessional, which no one else does, but that’s one Anglican tradition I will never give up.

    There, I feel better now. Thank you, Geoff.


  16. geoffkiernan says:

    To JH our friend from the backwoods of Sherwood or the Appalachians. Not quite sure which. I wish I could say he is not normally so contentious but here he is again at his very best… Contentious that is… Should that read cantankerous?
    He knows bloody well that I am not speaking of those that cannot genuflect but of those that can and deliberately choose not to bend the knee in homage/respect/reverence before their Creator.

    As for for poking eyes out with sacramentals. Taking sensible precautions to avoid such accident is a far cry from someone who deliberately chooses to hide the Crucifix, the very symbol of our Redemption for fear of upsetting another’s equilibrium. It is hardly an act of courage or example of solidarity with the instigator of the Redemptive Act. Nor is something we would wish to pass one to our kids and grandkids.
    I wonder at the prospects of someone that contributes to the loss of the ‘Sense of the Sacred’ in our Children and thereby endangers their Salvation. Would it be better that a millstone be ties around his/her neck and tossed overboard? Image if that person be a Priest or Religious or a Bishop or even a Pope.
    Both omissions are grave is their consequences.
    JH I haven’t Genuflected for years. Like you, a deep and reverent bow is all I can muster making sure I have a firm hold on something to make sure I dont over correct on the recovery to the perpendicular.


  17. geoffkiernan says:

    PS….Now I feel better.


  18. DonnaLiane says:

    Do you know what? One more thing which appears to point to a less than Holy reason (and we should give the benefit of the doubt first where possible) why don’t the nuns answer when asked about it? Especially if there’s nothing to hide. Always have your answer ready for the Hope you hold. “The nod” makes me sad. I wonder whether people have forgotten that God IS the be-all and end-all. Whether they think what they do ‘for Him’ is so important at times, that they rush by Him. When we slow down and pray we see. Both types of behaviours exist. God knows what’s in the heart.


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