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September 27, 2007

Nuns excommunicated for heresy

Msgr. J. Gaston Hebert, diocesan administrator

Nuns excommunicated for heresy
Six sisters from the Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge in Hot Springs were excommunicated by the Catholic Church for their involvement in a schismatic association based in Quebec, Canada.

It is believed to be the first time anyone in the Diocese of Little Rock has been formally excommunicated.

The excommunicated sisters are Mary Gerard Lalancette, Mary Thomas O’Keefe, Marietta Fecteau, Mary Anne Lalancette, Mary Theresa Dionne and Theresa Marie Lalancette.

The women have been long-time members of the Community of the Lady of All Nations, also known as the Army of Mary. On their own, the six sisters decided to join the association between 20 and 30 years ago and adopt the teachings of its founder, Marie-Paul Giguere, who believes she is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.

The association is no longer considered a Catholic organization because of its false teachings on the Trinity and Mary, a Vatican official said.

The Army of Mary has clearly and publicly become a schismatic community and, as such, a non-Catholic association. Its particular teachings are false and its activities are not able to be frequented nor supported by Catholics,” according to a formal declaration written July 11 by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The congregation released the declaration Sept. 12 and Msgr. J. Gaston Hebert, diocesan administrator, learned of the decision on Sept. 17.

On Sept. 18 Msgr. Hebert personally visited with the sisters and their chaplain, Father Erik Pohlmeier, also pastor of St. John and St. Mary churches in Hot Springs. After reading the declaration, Msgr. Hebert gave the eight sisters in attendance one week to prayerfully consider their decision. Msgr. Hebert said he gave them a week because he wanted the sisters to “knowingly and deliberately” make their choice between the Army of Mary and full communion with the Catholic Church.

He returned to the monastery the night of Sept. 25 and accepted the decisions of six of them to leave.

“It is a painfully historic moment in this Church,” Msgr. Hebert said at a press conference Sept. 26 at St. John Center in Little Rock. “These are my friends. I have known them my whole life.”

Church officials in Canada, Rome and Little Rock have talked with the association’s priests, sisters and lay members for many years about their teachings, and they have failed to recant any errors.

Just what the world needs – more excommunicated old ladies.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2007 2:10 pm

    I’d rather be around excommunicated Venetian nuns instead. Why don’t they have monasteries like this, though?

  2. episcopalifem permalink*
    September 27, 2007 4:27 pm

    Hell…wish that convent was at my house!

  3. September 27, 2007 5:35 pm

    Small world–I started 1st grade at St. John’s Catholic school in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I really think that year there, in a highly convolted way, led me to the Episcopal church (my parents put me into St. John’s not due to their Catholicity–they didn’t attend church at all), but due to the academic excellence the school offered.

    Had I been RC, I’d have been excommunicated long ago. Sorry, Sister Mary Alice!

  4. September 27, 2007 9:40 pm

    I knew Hot Springs as a child growing up after the Korean War ended–the classic Eisenhower Fifties. Nothing so sophisticated as heresy, I hasten to add: humble folk.

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