Spirits Around Us,by Michael H. Brown, a brand new book
on the supernatural realities around us -- around every person. Read of
current encounters on deathbeds, in hospitals, in everyday life, in 'haunted'
settings that finally get a Catholic explanation (as even St. Augustine spoke of
their effect, and saints like Padre Pio saw them). Demons, angels, spirits of
the deceased, purgatorial souls, often affecting us in unseen, unsuspected ways
and dispelled through deep prayer in the Name of Jesus when we know how to do
so and approach them with Catholic faith, prayer, and love!
TUMULT ERUPTS AS OMAHA BISHOP SHUTS DOWN ORDER AND EX-HEAD ALLEGES
We live in
interesting, topsy-turvy times.
They became more
topsy-turvy last week, when word came that a new Catholic religious
community was, in effect shut down and disbanded; sisters were released
from their vows; and the founder was told
to resign and soon after immediately vacate the premises.
Intercessors of the Lamb, in Omaha, Nebraska -- which had the preliminary approval of two
former bishops, and was at the stage of further canonical elevation as a
formal order, after years of explosive growth -- was "suppressed" by Archbishop
George Lucas after a canonical investigation unearthed what the
archdiocese described as questionable practices and the group's board of
directors refused to obey directives from the
diocese to reform its practices and structure.
a mixed group of lay men and women and clerics, are what the Catholic
Church calls a “public association of the faithful.” Retired Archbishop
Elden Curtiss granted them that status in 1998. The late Archbishop Daniel
Sheehan had recognized the group as a private association of the faithful
in 1992. From a community of half a dozen in the early 1990s, they had
blossomed into more than fifty professed sisters and spawned more than
half a dozen priestly vocations. Their seminars drew large crowds, both
Marian and charismatic, and there were thousands of lay members.
In May, Archbishop Lucas retained the services of a canon
lawyer, the Reverend James J. Conn, to act as his delegate in conducting a
canonical visitation after Mother Brown requested approval of the next
canonical step, which would have allowed the organization to expand
approval was not only denied, but led to the group's complete
disbanding -- to the surprise and dismay of many and the relief and
anticipation of others.
Several dozen of the nuns agreed to leave the group, with the remaining
ones maintaining loyalty to the foundress.
The diocesan chancellor, Deacon Tim McNeil, told
Spirit Daily that the reasons included "serious disunity, widespread
dissatisfaction" among the group, questionable financial practices,
violation of governing documents, reports of intimidation tactics to keep
members in line,
violation of vows, flawed understanding of prayer and discernment,
inadequate safeguard of children in accordance with new strictures, violations of confidentiality in spiritual direction, irreverent custody of the Blessed Sacrament, and
refusal of the Intercessors' civil board to accept the "pastoral role of
"You can't call yourself a
Catholic organization and at the same time reject the teaching, governing,
and sanctifying role of a bishop," said McNeil, who described the
Intercessors leadership as "obstinately disobedient."
The uproar began after Father Conn, SJ, JD, JCD, a canon
law professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, conducted
the first phase of the canonical visitation last summer before returning
to Rome. Conn examined the association’s governance structure, in addition
to reviewing the doctrinal, spiritual, moral, and financial aspects of the
association. The visitation was conducted in accord with the Intercessors’
statutes and in accord with the Code of Canon Law, says the archdiocese.
ine Brown -- who,
stripped of her "mother" title, is now
considered laity -- broke her silence to tell
Spirit Dailyshe was
"totally shocked" at the developments. "We didn't know it was coming,"
said the former Intercessors' director, who converted to Catholicism from
the Protestant faith in her twenties. "I was called in to the
archbishop's for a meeting at 4:30 p.m. on September 30, when he presented
me with a paper to sign. It wasn't really voluntary. It was a legal paper
and it called for me to resign from the civil organization and turn
everything over to the diocese."
Brown, who turns 81 next week and whose group specialized in
deliverance, discernment, and "spiritual warfare" -- described the actions as "drastic"
and asserts that "I've never, ever been disobedient to a bishop ever."
She said that out of the fifty, forty sisters have gone with the
archdiocese and are now being housed in a monastery just outside of Omaha
while 11 others chose to return home or are staying with her in a motel.
The former mother superior asserts that the canonical lawyer "was not
interested in our charism," disapproved of receiving "words of knowledge,"
and that on the following Monday she was ordered to leave the premises by noon without
being given any means of financial support.
She also says she was threatened with excommunication if she left the
diocese -- although that may now be allowed since the suppression has
The Intercessors have been developing a campus on about 75
acres in Omaha and have a history of trouble with neighbors, says the
bishop. According to Deacon McNeil, the Blessed Sacrament had been allowed
in cars and private rooms, against Church standards. Brown claims that the
former bishop allowed certain religious to have the Blessed Sacrament in
their rooms until they were assigned a formal hermitage. Detractors of the
group say it had become insulated and cult-like, with charisms
that strayed into strange territory, while defenders say the group was
unusually reverent toward the Blessed Sacrament, prayerful, and that many have
benefited from its unique spirituality, especially spiritual protection.
“It was my hope from the beginning that the Intercessors and the
archdiocese would move together on this path to the next step,” Archbishop
Lucas said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the canonical visitation
revealed a number of alarming issues. For reasons that they have refused
to share with me, the board of directors does not want to work with the
Church to implement the necessary reforms.” Lucas further stated the
directors’ position was in stark contrast to the members living as a
community at the Intercessors’ campus. He said the community was excited
when he agreed to help the association chart a new course for the future."
A legal struggle has been engaged between the archdiocese and the
Intercessors' civil organization, which claims ownership of the property
and has changed locks on buildings at the premises. Brown says the
remaining hermits are now seeking acceptance from a bishop elsewhere. The
Intercessors, who were formed more than 25 years ago, also own land in foreign countries such as Lithuania, Puerto
Rico, and the Philippines. Brown was once a
cloistered Sister of the Cross (a branch of the Good Shepherds
Congregation) in Minnesota. The priests from Intercessors, though they
found their vocations there, remain priests, incardinated by the
Says the archdiocese: "Now that the association is suppressed, public
worship and the celebration of the sacraments are prohibited on the
Intercessors’ property; priests and deacons are forbidden from ministering
at the property; donors are advised that their contributions will not go
to support the mission of a Catholic organization; Intercessors of the
Lamb, Inc, is no longer affiliated with the Catholic Church; and the
chapel on the campus is no longer a Catholic chapel. Moreover, the vows of
the members ceased at the moment of suppression. McNeil said Catholics
worldwide are encouraged to refrain from participating in
Intercessors-sponsored activity. McNeil said Lucas received the consent of
the association’s internal governing council before suppressing the
association. He further
stated that Lucas’ decision was also influenced by Conn’s findings, which
reflected negatively on Brown’s leadership."
"Public worship and the celebration of the sacraments are prohibited on
land owned by the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., a Nebraska corporation.
Priests and deacons are forbidden from ministering at the property. Donors
are advised that contributions to the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., will
not go to support a Catholic organization. Moreover, the vows of former
association members ceased at the moment of suppression. Catholics
worldwide are encouraged to refrain from participating in
Those who wish to support approximately fifty of the former members who
are now being cared for by the Archdiocese of Omaha can send donations for
this specific purpose to: Intercessor Relief, c/o Archdiocese of Omaha,
100 N. 62nd St., Omaha, NE 68132. Checks should be made payable to the
“Archdiocese of Omaha” with a notation made in the memo field for
The diocese has not issued any
statements on Nadine's books and videos. In a development that had no
it was also announced last week that a
book by Father Thomas Euteneuer, the former head of the large pro-life
group, Human Life International, will be discontinued. The book, Exorcism
and the Church Militant, which ironically lauded the Intercessors, was
in wide circulation. Weeks before, Father Euteneuer left the organization
when he was recalled to his home diocese after a reported controversy. A
spokesman for HLI told Spirit Daily that the organization simply
decided it was not its role to promote material on exorcism. "There was no
problem fatal to the book," said the spokesman, Stephen Phelan, adding
however that had it been reprinted, several changes would have been
necessary. Limited copies remain available through Ignatius Press.
(Spirit Daily abides by all formal Church decrees, advisements, pastoral
letters, and decisions.)