Maike Hickson broke this at Lifesite last night; I’ve pasted the first part below. I have not verified all the details, but I did reach out for Ken Gavin, the archdiocesan communications director, who did not immediately respond. One of the new accusations in the Lifesite piece is naming Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, the Vicar for Religious, as a specific collaborator in the Roman INFIL. Gavin had insisted in emails to me back in April that no one in the archdiocese had anything to do with the situation at the monastery.
Motives? Loot. The property itself is probably not that valuable. It’s relatively small, would cost a bundle to repurpose, and is not in a great neighborhood (not terrible, but not great). But once inside, it’s a treasure. The windows in the chapel are Tiffany, worth easily over $1 million apiece. Countless works of art, many priceless, including a portrait of St. Therese painted by her sister, Celine. Think that’s worth anything? Word has it that during the April inquisition, just after the Valparaiso and Fairfield nuns escaped, the interrogators were busy taking inventory, down to the last doorknob. Literally.
(LifeSiteNews) — According to several sources, the Vatican is attempting to shut down the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia that had been the cradle of devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the early 20th century.
Collaborating with Archdiocese of Philadelphia Auxiliary Michael Fitzgerald, Rome has now discouraged younger traditional nuns who had moved into the monastery from staying to help some of the elderly nuns, with the result that this house of prayer would have to be closed. American Catholics should rally to make it possible that this heart of St. Therese of Lisieux – the “birthplace of devotion to St. Therese” – be preserved as a house of prayer and sacrifice instead of being turned into a museum and retreat center.
The Carmel of St. Joseph and St. Anne, founded five years after St. Therese’s death in 1897, has had a close connection with the “Little Flower” from its beginning. Its website states that one of the founding sisters, Sister Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament, was the “the pioneer in establishing devotion to St. Therese in the United States”:
Her assignment as portress gave her the opportunity to share Therese with many others. Until Sister Stanislaus died in 1911, aged only 31, she corresponded with Mother Agnes of Jesus, Therese’s sister Pauline. The letters from Mother Agnes are posted on this site. As a result of this correspondence, the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia became the “depot” for thousands of booklets, pictures, and articles promoting devotion to St. Thérèse [as well as relics].
Until recently, this history has been fairly unknown, but Carmel has now posted on its website numerous historical documents showing the spiritual role of the Discalced Carmelites of Philadelphia in the spreading of devotion to St. Therese. The monastery also has custody of first-class relics of St. Therese and her parents, Saints Zelie and Louis Martin, which are on loan from the Magnificat Foundation. This alone should lead any church leader to do his utmost to protect this monastery and make it flourish.
However, Rome has other plans…