Randy Engel
Sisters in rebellion - non serviam (Part III)
The homosexual network in women religious orders and the future of the Apostolic Visitation
By Randy Engel
April 26, 2012

    I have seen the bands of ecclesiastical predators expel lesbians and gay Christians from our churches, relegate women to second-class citizenship, and support government policies that oppress the poor...

    ...I also need to meet our Father-Mother God in a quiet place.

    I bring to you church laws which prohibit women from being ordained to the priesthood or which bar homosexual persons from having their committed relationships blessed.

    Like Herod, some of our church leaders are also so drunk with power that they seek to control the intimate, private lives of others. They save face by appealing to church doctrine, all the while failing to ask forgiveness for past and present religious intolerance, racism and sexism.

      Inclusive Meditations and Prayers of
      Sr. Jeannine Gramick, Sister of Loreto
      Co-founder of New Ways Ministry [1]

The astute observation by Donna Steichen, author of Ungodly Rage — The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism, that "...among contemporary assailants of the Church, the female of the species is more spiteful, irrational, unscrupulous and destructive than the male," is borne out in this final installment in CFN on radical feminist/lesbian religious in AmChurch today. [2]

Although information on the existence and activities of the homosexual network in Catholic seminaries, and among priests, religious, and deacons, as well as among members of the American hierarchy has been well documented, the subject of lesbianism among women religious, as well as the strategic role feminist/lesbian religious have played in the advancement of the Homosexual Collective within and without the Church, has long been a taboo in Vatican circles and in the Catholic and secular press. [3]

Over the last half-century, lesbian religious have forged a symbiotic relationship with their radical feminist sisters, and both have piggybacked themselves onto the liberal Left political engine. The combined covens of feminism and lesbianism have politicalized religious life to such an extent that many convents and houses of female religious are only incidentally religious. Thus their "ministries" must be viewed principally through a political prism rather than a religious one. Under the rubrics of "peace and justice," the feminist/lesbian network of women religious are waging war against the unborn, "hetero-sexism," "homophobia," a male-only priesthood, global warming/climate change and a litany of other 'progressive' causes, as well as an on-going attack on Catholic faith and morals.

Women Religious Provide "Gay" Leadership

It is no coincidence that some of the Gay Liberation Front's most zealous leaders are religious sisters and ex-sisters.

For example, lesbian activist Virginia "Ginny" Apuzzo, a former Sister of Charity, has founded numerous homosexual local and national organizations including the New York City and the Hudson Valley Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Community Centers and was Executive Director of the NY-based National Gay Task Force. She also served as Vice-Chair of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council, and was the highest-ranking gay or lesbian official to work in the White House.

The late Jean O'Leary, a former Sister of the Holy Humility of Mary, was an early spokesman for the male-dominated Gay Activist Alliance, which she left to form the Lesbian Feminist Liberation. She later co-chaired the National Gay Task Force and helped build the National Gay Rights Advocates and co-founded National Coming Out Day. Like Apuzzo, she played a major role in White House "gay" politics.

Unlike Apuzzo and O'Leary, Sister Jeannine Gramick worked from inside AmChurch to co-found the homosexual dream machine known as New Ways Ministry with her Salvatorian sidekick, Fr. Robert Nugent. [4] Together, they ushered in the golden age of the wholesale homosexual colonization of male and female religious orders in the United States which lasted from 1978 to 1998, and continues even today, albeit, on a smaller scale.

In 1972, the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), Baltimore Province, over the objections of fellow sisters, released Gramick from her teaching assignment at the College of Notre Dame so that she might pursue a career in "gay" politics starting with the formation of Dignity/Washington, D.C., and Dignity/Baltimore. She later joined the (Marxist) Quixote Center which served as the staging base for the establishment of New Ways Ministry in 1978, and its many front organizations including the Catholic Coalition for Gay Civil Rights, the Center for Homophobia Education, Catholic Parents Network, Sisters in Gay Ministry Associated (SIGMA) and the Conference of Catholic Lesbians (CCL), the last two organizations directed at the recruitment and political networking of lesbian religious in Catholic active orders.

The Catholic Coalition provided the rationale for the creation of "gay" ministries in Catholic dioceses throughout the United States, and it played a key role in the implementing the Collective's political agenda within AmChurch's parishes, seminaries, and convents. In its November 1981 issue of Bondings, New Ways reported that more than 2,469 individuals and 150 organizations had endorsed the Coalition's programs including 606 Catholic priests and brothers, 747 Catholic nuns, and over 120 Catholic religious orders. [5] Among the top female religious orders backing the Catholic Coalition were the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Sisters of Mercy, and sisters from the Dominican, Franciscan, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Orders. [6]

Although Gramick has been conspicuously silent on the subject of criminal clerical pederasty, on January 14, 2005, she managed to offer a few words of spiritual consolation for the notorious NAMBLA-friendly, ex-priest Paul Shanley who was on trial (and later convicted) in Boston for repeated child rape — one of many credible accusations made against the priest over a forty-year period. [7]

Like most feminist nuns, Gramick possesses amazing networking skills. She has served on the Boards of the National Assembly of Women Religious, the Religious Network of Equality for Women; the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund; and the Women's Ordination Conference and the National Coalition of American Nuns, the latter in support of same-sex "marriages." She has also helped organize lesbian religious networks in New York City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Denver, and she started Womenjourney Weavings, in support of lesbian religious and their communities. And to round things out, Gramick was a signatory to the infamous October 4, 1984 Catholic for a Free Choice pro-abortion ad in the New York Times. [8]

On July 13, 1999, and again on May 23-24, 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued its rulings permanently banning Gramick and Nugent from all homosexual pastoral initiatives and silencing both from "criticizing the Magisterium in any public forum whatsoever concerning homosexuality or related issues." [9] But Gramick outmaneuvered the CDF by leaving the SSND and joining the Sisters of Loreto. [10] Both congregations have established special "gay" and lesbian ministries in defiance of the Holy See. To date, neither order has experienced any reprisals from Rome where CDF officials continue to assume their official posture — supine and silent — where radical pro-lesbian feminist religious are concerned.

Gramick's Herstory would not be complete without this short excerpt taken from an interview with Ariadne Massa, of the Times of Malta in March 2008. Gramick was in Malta for a pro-gay speaking engagement and to promote the film In Good Conscience, which documents her crusade on behalf of organized perversion. Massa asked the nun if she feared excommunication as a consequence of the 1999 CDF investigation. Gramick replied:
    No. But when I was going through the investigation process my provincial put the idea in my head. She insisted we take a pilgrimage to the birthplace of our foundress to pray for a miracle, she recalls with an affectionate smile. Through sheer coincidence, travelling on the plane between Rome and Munich was Cardinal Ratzinger [Prefect, CDF] himself. My superior went up to him and said, ''Sr. Jeannine is a very good sister. We're very afraid she's going to get excommunicated." And he replied, "Oh, no no... it's not that level of doctrine," she laughs, admitting that her miracle had happened on the plane. [11]
If the story is true, Cardinal Ratzinger must have suffered a serious memory lapse because we know that after the Maida Commission Report on the New Ways co-founders was filed with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICL) in 1995-1996, the discastery was ordered to turn the case over to Ratzinger, as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, because there were "grave doctrinal questions" involved. [12]

A Goldmine for the Homosexual Collective

Clearly, feminist/lesbian religious have proven to be a virtual goldmine for the Gay Liberation Movement. Let's look at what these nuns bring to the Collective's table, and what they get in return.

Women religious, although they are not part of Church's hierarchal structure, have always enjoyed a special relationship to the institutional Church, one which gives them certain distinct advantages over the laity. Feminist/lesbian sisters and nuns have worked to exploit and maximize these advantages for their own nefarious ends.

As women religious, feminist/lesbian sisters have unfettered access to the corridors of power within the Church, both in the United States and Rome. This includes access to their local bishop and to other members of the American hierarchy; to the offices, facilities and staff of the liberal U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, D.C.; and to the various Congregations that make up the Vatican's Curia.

Religious superiors, especially those belonging to long-established orders, have access to large financial resources inherited from the past. For example, in 2004, Mellon Bank, a global financial service, announced that it had reached an agreement with the Daughters of Charity to retain custody and manage the Order's $1 billion portfolio.

Religious orders do not file IRS returns, and the Holy See, as a rule, does not interfere in their financial affairs. This gives a progressive-minded superior and her councilors considerable leeway in directing where and how their order dispenses its tax-deductable donations to controversial political organizations which oppose Church teachings.

Take, for example, the case of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who decided to award New Ways a grant of $50,000 in 2002 to host its Fifth National Symposium in the Diocese of Louisville, Ky. What kind of leverage does the layman have against the order other than urging the faithful to withhold donations? None.

As agents of subversion with a broad operational base that includes diocesan offices, parishes, campus ministries, retreat houses, seminaries and convents (sometimes referred to as gay boot camps), and most importantly, Catholic parochial schools, universities and colleges, feminist/lesbian religious are never at a loss for warm bodies to indoctrinate and exploit.

Lastly, as part of the Gay Liberation Movement, feminist/lesbian religious give the Homosexual Collective what it so desperately craves and cannot buy — the respectability that comes with religious affirmation.

And what do feminist/lesbian religious get back in return for their loyalty and support of the Homosexual Collective? They receive a great deal since the Collective holds the power of defining, controlling, and validating "authentic" homosexual identity and behavior and all other aspects of "gay" and lesbian life. [13]

The Collective acts to strengthen the homosexual component of the lesbian personality and provides role models by which the neophyte can acquire her "true" lesbian identity. It provides lesbians with conscious-raising experiences designed to create resentments and grievances, heretofore unrecognized, against established institutions of oppression, aka, the Roman Catholic Church, so that their anger can now have a face. In the practical sphere, the Collective provides lesbians with the social, economic and political institutions supportive of their needs. It also teaches them survival skills necessary for coping with a hostile environment. Most importantly, it validates their immoral behavior.

In addition to the orders already mentioned above, the following women religious orders are among the more than 60 female congregations that have publicly supported the Homosexual Collective:

Sisters of St. Joseph

Maryknoll Sisters

Ursuline Sisters, Youngstown, Ohio

Sisters of Charity, Greensburg, Pa.

Grey Sisters of the Sacred Heart

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Sisters of Notre Dame Namur

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Sisters of the Humility of Mary

Sisters Adorers of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ

Female Homosexuality in Convents

Logically, liberal women religious orders that actively support the Homosexual Collective tend to attract candidates with same-sex attractions and have a larger lesbian population than their more traditional-minded counterparts, although lesbian activity does occur even in contemplative orders.

The post-Vatican II liberalization of religious orders has accelerated the rise of homosexual activity among women religious. The common practice of permitting sisters to live outside convent walls now gives individual and partnered religious lesbians the freedom to live the double life of a consecrated religious and an active lesbian. That many feminist/lesbians sisters choose this arrangement, is perhaps the best indication we have that many common lesbian practices including the consumption of alcohol, viewing of lesbian pornography, abuse of prescription drugs, smoking pot, injecting illicit drugs, and engaging in unnatural sexual acts are still taboo even in the most progressive orders.

The downside is that the more entrenched the feminist/lesbian anti-culture becomes in religious life, the greater the likelihood that more sisters will be drawn to these destructive behaviors [which often lead to alcoholism, suicide, depression and physical violence] to say nothing of the moral and religious dangers to religious orders engendered by feminist/lesbian satanic and occult practices including witchcraft and goddess worship. [14]

The presence of the unnatural vice in female religious orders also begets the crime of sexual abuse and molestation of postulants, novices, and other vulnerable religious by lesbian predators, usually superiors or older sisters. This author's research indicates that such abuse existed in the past, but is growing in proportion to the number of lesbian candidates accepted into religious orders; that grooming practices similar to those employed by pederasts are used to seduce new victims; that victims almost never report the abuse to ecclesiastical or secular authorities; and that, rather than being dismissed from the order, abusers are regularly transferred from convent to convent to avoid prosecution and public scandal. So far, feminist organizations like the Leadership Conference of Catholic Women, as well as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Holy See have been able to skirt the issue of women religious sexual abuse, although none are clueless as to the existence of female homosexuality and sex abuse in convents and cloisters. [15]

It is unclear whether these issues will be investigated and reported on by the Apostolic Visitation Teams. It is also unclear just how thorough the CDF investigation of the pro-lesbian politics of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and its members will be. And it is this uncertainty that motivated me to address these issues in this series. Frankly, I can't imagine the feminist/lesbian cabal volunteering this kind of information to the Visitors, but more importantly, I don't foresee the Visitors going out of their way to obtain it.

Quo Vadis — The Apostolic Visitation?

On February 26-28, 2010, an orientation workshop was held in St. Louis, Mo. for members of the Visitation Teams who will be starting on-site visits to select women religious congregations from April 11 to May 30 and Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2010. [16] The same release announcing the opening of Phase 3 of the Visitation, also included a statement that each Visitor had made the required public Profession of Faith and taken an Oath of Fidelity to the Holy See, the latter specifically required by those formally authorized to act in the name of the Holy See. [17]

What I find puzzling is why the CICL did not insist that women superiors and members of their orders who are part of the Visitation study make a similar Profession of Faith. Since this matter is raised in the Q&A section of the Visitation website, in all likelihood the possibility of requiring such a profession from women religious involved in the study must have been considered by the CICL early in the preparatory stages of the Visitation and rejected. [18] Instead, the Visitors have been instructed to "dialogue," with the superiors, sisters and their outside guests and invite them "to share their lived experience" and their vision for the future of their order, including orders "which appear to be evolving into a new form of consecrated life..." [19] What nonsense is this? This language is the language of radical feminist religious newspeak and the fact that it is used in official Apostolic Visitation website statements bodes ill for the enterprise.

Compared to the complex issues involved in the Apostolic Visitation, the task of the Blair Commission investigating doctrinal problems within the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is child's play. The leaders of the LCWR want total freedom from Vatican oversight. Fine. Grant them their wish. Sever the diseased sheep from the fold. The Commission should recommend to the pope that he rescind the canonical status of the LCWR. The immediate problem of the LCWR is solved. At the same time, the Vatican should invite the major superiors of traditional women religious orders which hold to the Holy Mass and the Divine Office celebrated in the Classical Roman form, to fill the gap created by the exit of the LCWR.

There are, however, no simple answers, no magical pill that the Apostolic Visitator can deliver to the pope that will make women religious orders that are in rebellion against God and the Church disappear. This is because Pope Benedict XVI doesn't need a $3 million Apostolic Visitation to tell him what he already knows regarding the general state of apostasy infecting many U.S. women religious institutes today. Nor does he need an Apostolic Visitation to tell him what the remedies need be. So what's the hold-up?

The hold-up is that these rebellious religious apostates are part and parcel of the "Springtime" of the post-Conciliar Church and Pope Benedict cannot disown the former without rejecting the latter. It's like trying to square the circle. The problem is further compounded by the fact that the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) which the Vatican created as the "alternative" to the LCWR, is itself so tightly bound to the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and to the cult of Pope John Paul II that it is but the opposite side of the Modernist coin, albeit, without the excesses of the feminist religious rebels. Generally speaking, leaders of the CMSWR tend to shun traditional women religious orders formed in the crucible of a pre-Vatican II theology and prayer life. This situation needs to be corrected perhaps with the help of Mother Mary Clare Millea, whose order, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, is a member of the CMSWR.


In sending Mother Mary Clare to the United States as the Apostolic Visitator, Pope Benedict XVI sent a woman to do a man's job — his job as pope. The Roman Catholic Church is a hierarchical church in which lasting institutional reform begins at the top with the Vicar of Christ. So in a sense, the Apostolic Visitation as a decisive instrument of authentic reform and renewal of women religious orders in the U.S. was DOA — Dead On Arrival.

But this is not Mother Mary Clare's fault. For my part, I wish her well and I will remember her in my prayers for whatever good she may accomplish and whatever harm she may prevent through her efforts as Apostolic Visitator. If she does nothing other than support the movement to withdraw the canonical status of the LCWR and recommends the suppression of major U.S. heretical feminist/lesbian orders, then she will have contributed to a true renewal of women religious life that awaits us in God's good time.

[A note of appreciation to Donna Steichen, author of Ungodly Rage, Ann Carey, author of Sisters in Crisis, and V. Barr for their writings and research which made this series possible. Also, my thanks to Connie and Joseph Bagnoli of Voice of Catholic Radio at www.voiceofcatholicradio.com for running a series of online interviews based on this CFN series. Please visit the VOCR site.]


[1]  Excerpts from Joseph W. Houle, The Road to Emmaus — Daily Encounters with the Risen Christ, (Washington, D.C., Emmaus Press, 1989).

[2]  See Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage — The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992). Copies are available at books@loomebooks.com.

[3]  See Randy Engel, The Rite of Sodomy — Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church (Export: NEP, 2006). Available at www.newengelpublishing.com.

[4]  See Engel, "New Ways Ministry — A Study in Subversion," The Rite of Sodomy, pp. 1003-1086.

[5]  Rueda, The Homosexual Network, p. 340.

[6]  Ibid., 341.

[7]  NAMBLA is the acronym for the North American Man/Boy Love Association which promotes universal pederasty, i.e., sex between men and boys. The full text of Gramick statement on Paul Shanley is available at: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2005-01-14-Gramick-indingEmpathy.htm.

[8]  Prior to the Second Vatican Council, sisters and nuns were unanimously opposed to abortion. Today most active female religious, especially those involved in social services, are generally in favor of abortion. See Cheryl L. Reed Unveiled — The Hidden Lives of Nuns (Berkley Publishing, N.Y, 2009), p. 247.

[9]  Engel, p. 1071.

[10]  Unlike Gramick, Nugent eventually buckled under pressure from the Vatican and agreed to CDF demands. He is currently stationed at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in New Freedom, Pa., and spends his time traveling back and forth to England and guiding Catholic pilgrimage tours abroad.

[11]  "The Unlikely Rebel" Time of Malta interview with Ariadne Massa, March 16, 2008, p. 8 at http://gayandblessed.blogspot.com/2008/03/sunday-16th-march-2008-unlikely-rebel.html.

[12]  Engel, pp. 1061-1072.

[13]  Engel, p. 473–474.

[14]  See Steichen, pp. 29 -76, 77 -118.

[15]  The USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and John Jay Study on Sex Abuse by Priests and Religious do not make reference to sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults by female religious.

[17]  The text of the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity are available at http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/cdfoath.htm.

[18]  There is a precedent for such action. For example, in 1998, during the Vatican's investigation of New Ways co-founders, Sister Gramick and Father Nugent, the CDF ordered both religious to take a specially drafted Profession of Faith in order to insure their interior assent to the teachings of the Catholic Church on the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and related matters. Nugent begrudgingly agreed, but Gramick refused as a matter of conscience.

[19]  M. Clare Millea, "The Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious: A Visitator's Perspective," Review for Religious, 69.1 2010, pp. 6-11.

Note: This series appeared in Catholic Family News — April-June, 2010.

© Randy Engel


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Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)


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