Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Female Deacons of St Bruno

While in Oxford I was confronted with a very interesting situation. My friend told me about a community of Carthusian Nuns soe of whom are ordained Deacons and are the onlt women in the world given this unique privilege. I suggested that perhaps they are Biblical style Deaconesses, but no he insisted they are ordained by the Local Ordinary, wear the stole, proclaim the Gospel and preach.

Has anyone heard of these? I haven't even heard of Carthusian Nuns never mind Deacon Nuns!


Fr Redman said...

I recently visited the Grande Chartreuse, and their museum refers to Carthusian nuns, who do indeed exist. But, they are not ordained. However, they do have the privilege of proclaiming the Gospel if it is not possible to get a priest. They also are permitted to wear a diaconal stole for this proclamation. But they are not deaconesses.

Anonymous said...

No idea, but if you hear more let us know.

[I had heard of women Deaconesses before, but as something do with Eastern Orthodoxy, or Anglicans, or something...]

Mac McLernon said...

Fr. Tim is the expert on Carthusians... get him to check it out!

Br Gregory Pearson OP said...

Carthusians nuns do indeed exist, but are not actually ordained deacons: rather, they are consecrated as virgins, using a rite similar to that of ordination, which was commonly practised in the first millennium for virgins, who often lived in the world, until enclosure generally became considered necessary for all women consecrated to God. After this, with the protection of the cloister and vows of religion, a separate consecration became much rarer and had more or less died out, apart from among the Carthusians, by the 16th century. At their consecration, they are given a ring, stole and maniple (worn on the right arm). Generally, stole and maniple are only worn again at the nun's jubilee, though in the absense of a priest, a consecrated nun may sing the Gospel at Matins, wearing a stole. Also, those nuns who have been consecrated may read the Epistle at the conventual Mass, though without wearing stole or maniple. For more information, see the Catholic Encyclopedia on Carthusians and Virginity.