Options for Catholic Widows

In the Act of the Apostles and the Epistles you will find references to good and bad widows. The bad ones were drunken and gossipy or both. The good ones devoted themselves to family and Church work.   The earliest consecration in the Church was that of widows. This vocation is being revised in our times.

 

I thought it might help other widows to know of some options I have been researching for many years:

 

  • Ardent Catholic Widow – open to remarriage: Such a widow might add to the pious practices and service she performed some things she might not have done before such as daily Mass, liturgy of the hours, soup kitchen, hospice, etc. She might want to be part of 3 rd Orders or lay movements.

  • Religious Sister or Contemplative Nun: Many orders previously had age limits – this made entrance of most widows unlikely. Nowadays many such communities accept older women including widows for full membership. An community specifically designed to admit older women even if they can't live in a convent but need to live with their families or alone in places where there is no communal convent is Handmaids of Nazareth – Sister Mary Jeanne Tate - (828) 384 1803.

  • Consecrated Widow within a Religious Community: There are some religious communities who have one or more consecrated widows with that title as a vocation different from Sisters or Lay Affiliates. Some of these are, The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity ( S.O.L.T. -Servants of the Bride of Christ - For more about their spirituality go to www.brideofchristcommunity.org), The Pauline Holy Family Institute, The Franciscan Order. There may be others. Check the web or contact an order you are close to and ask if they might consider you. In this case the Consecrated Widow would be under the direction of someone in the Community living an individual rule either with other widows in a house or by herself, usually near a community house.

  • Servant Widows of the Good Shepherd: A widow felt called to start her own community of consecrated widows. Some will live in convents, some in their own homes. They will wear habits without veils. For more information contact Sr.Elizabeth Ann Seton at 610-439-8646.

  • Daughters of Divine Hope is a new group in Tyler Texas, that includes many types of women without age limit, including widows. They live in a convent and serve the Church. See http://www.daughtersofdivinehope.org
  • Widow Dedicated to the Lord with a Private Promise not to remarry and to live according to a Rule she devises with the help of her Pastor or Spiritual Director.

    - I have made and renewed since 1996 a private promise not to remarry ever.

    - I try to live simply, giving everything away to the poorest of the poor, to pro-life or other apostolates whatever money I have that I don't need as a necessity. I dress in simple blue clothing: jumpers or dresses with blue or white sweaters or blouses, in honor of Mary.

    - I attend Daily Mass and make frequent Confession. I pray daily the rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning prayer, Evening Prayer and Night prayer, and meditate on spiritual readings. I spend an hour in silent prayer either in a Church or at home. I devote most of my time to apostolic endeavors such as writing, speaking and teaching. I am not under strict obedience but I do follow the advice of my spiritual director.

    This Rule is not binding under pain of sin to allow for the flexibility I need as an older woman and as a widow for availability to my family, however, I will make my best effort to follow it.

  • Consecrated Widow Under the Bishop: There are consecrated widows now in France, Italy, Spain, Poland and pending Czechoslovakia but not yet in the United States. The Vatican is working on a rite for consecrated widows. This would not essentially be a group living together (though consecrated widows could choose to live in a group) but rather individuals who want to live much as did the consecrated widows described in the New Testament.. Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, who is overseeing this emerging possibility in the United States, suggests that widows who feel called to a consecrated life as individuals should write a letter expressing your reasons to the Congregation in Rome working on a possible rite: His Excellency Francis Cardinal Arinze,Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments 00120Vatican City State, Europe.

Many widows find much wisdom, comfort and inspiration from reading about the widow saints. You might find this by reading Walk with Me, Jesus: A Widow's Journey coming soon from Simon Peter Press (1-800-558-5452). In the meantime, there is a lot about widows in my free book: Weeping with Jesus.

  • Family of Jacopa in Ohio: A new community that includes Sisters who can be widows, and dedicated widows, is Family of Jacopa in Ohio right near the Franciscan University of Steubenville. For information write to Kathleen Marshall via email

Many widows find much wisdom, comfort and inspiration from reading about the widow saints. You might find this by reading Walk with Me, Jesus: A Widow's Journey coming soon from Simon Peter Press (1-800-558-5452). In the meantime, there is a lot about widows in my free book: Weeping with Jesus.

You can also e-mail me at chervinronda@gmail.com if you have questions about the callings listed in this flyer.