If you have ever donated money to any Catholic organization you are sure to get tons of mail from religious orders soliciting donations. Often included in these letters are religious medals, address stamps, and sometimes Rosaries or even statues. When we get these my wife will ask me to check them out to see if they are worth supporting. Normally the answer turns out be be no. Today I received one from a order of Dominican sisters. The letter had the picture of two nuns in their habit at the top of the letterhead along with a nice graphic of St. Joseph.
I found their web site and was not surprised to find that not one of the pictures of the sisters showed them wearing a Dominican habit. I found one of the women from the letterhead, though she was also sans habit. The pictures of them at Mass showed the same thing. A review of the website revealed no religious art and St. Joseph was nowhere to be found. The links of course did not include the Vatican and were mainly to questionable retreat houses. The pending social justice issue of the day appears to be genetically engineered crops.
I have found many of these fund raising letters to be highly deceptive They promote themselves as looking like a traditional Catholic order in their letters. A religious bait and switch. They send traditional devotional items and prayers, but these groups themselves practice devotions more suited for new agers. When religious orders present a lie to gain donations, they have certainly jumped the shark. We have unfortunately come quite use to deceptive advertisement, it is a sad day when religious orders resort to the same.
Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Anything more is from the evil one. (Mt 5:37)
Would I be right in saying that this sort of pratice is fraud?
WOW! I get these letters constantly and just assumed they were who they presented themselves to be.
Related subject: I feel guilty tossing the piles of unasked religious goods in the trash but frankly I would look like Mr. T wearing all the religious medals and would need a wheelbarrow to carry all the roseries. If blessed I know they need to be buried (again imagine the view of my backyard) but since they aren’t….off they go.
sad sad sad, we must pray for these people
We get SO MUCH mail! Use a Mass card – get bombarded by every Catholic group on the planet. It’s annoying.
But serious question – what do you do with all the medals, Rosaries, books, calendars, dimes and nickels (
I have noticed that the only solicitations I generally get are things associated with my parish – one of our priests went to St. Thomas Aquinas College in CA, one of our brothers has a sister at Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, our seminarians go to Holy Apostles Seminary in CT, etc.
As long as it’s these fine groups soliciting, I don’t mind, and I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten my address from my parish.
I’m wondering if perhaps some of these groups you mentioned may have gotten your names from your parish?
particularly the small change! My now deceased grandmother received piles of this mail and donated to many of these groups. (It took years after her death until we were finally able to get the mail to stop.) I remember what my mother and aunt went through to get her to bring the change in a jar to church (She thought that if others heard the change rattling, they would think she wasn’t giving generously). She wasn’t at her best mentally at the time, and I know that she was overwhelmed by the volume of mail she received.
A lot of these methods are so manipulative and it troubled her a great deal *sigh* I guess I am still a bit bitter.
Explain this to me: If these religious orders are perfectly aware that people are attracted to orthodox orders w/habits, etc., why are they so surpised they get no vocations while the habited orders do???
That is really tragic and a scandalous shame that religious orders deceive in order to fundraise. I guess all there is to do is pray for these religious and be cautius which orders receive our support.
Although, riddle me this:
Sts Francis, Dominic, and Ignatius all moved mountains within their lifetimes and their followers (until the more immediate past) did much the same. Yet, they didn’t rely on mail-order fundraising. What has changed that Orders feel they must fundraise? Is this a bad thing, or just an element of our nationalist culture, spread across incredible distances?
Well, Chris, all three begged on the street. St. Ignatius, at least, wrote letters asking for money. I don’t know Ss. Francis and Dominic as well.
I get alot of that stuff in the mail also…there are only two or three I will send money to.
The others go in the trash.
I’ve heard half-joking cynical guidelines for using clericals and habits, suggesting they be worn only when appearing for the media, testifying before congress, or for court appearances.
I guess “for fundraising purposes” is to be added to that list, alas.
Please don’t throw those rosaries away! Send one to a soldier stationed in a combat zone. You can get a name and address from a website like anysoldier.com. Send a small package of goodies along with it. You’ll be planting a seed of faith and letting our troops know someone cares. If you can, include one of those pamphlets with instruction in how to use it.
Statistics show red states (ie, conservative) give more to charity.
Hence the deception (if you consider conservative synonymous with orthodox in Catholic circles). With 7,000 unborn mercilessly murdered in the womb everyday, would you consider Vegan outreach or printer cartridge recycling the most important initiative of the day?
I have had the misfortune of accidentally going to one of these retreat centers (you cannot call them monasteries) and frankly, they should be razed to the ground.
Generally speaking, I would be very leery of Jesuits, I would never trust a Dominican, and am suspicious of some Franciscans.
I have yet to be disappointed by Carmelites, discalced or non.
Someone should make a list of monastic retreat centers and rate them according to orthodoxy and publish it or put it on the internet.
It could be a joint effort, or the work of a single intrepid author. Either way, it would be helpful.
This is part of why I no longer contribute to Catholic causes; too much fraud about whether they are faithfully Catholic or not, and not enough outrage from those who are faithful against the transgressors.
What to do with all the stuff they send? I make extensive use of the return address labels; I keep or give away the rosaries, and the nickels go in my pocket to be spent at convenience stores. The rest goes in the trash. No deception here. Nor am I obligated to pay for keeping or using things I didn’t order.
Thank God for the internet so we can check these groups when we receive the mails. I am amused by the mail I get, the mailman must think I’m some kind of saint. But so much of it is icky and suspicious. It’s a GREAT idea to look them up and see if they practice what they superficially seem to teach.
Me, I always figure that groups that send stuff with their fund-raisers can’t need the money that badly.
The dreadful thing is the poor and pious are often the most generous and the most often deceived. If this is not criminally fraudulant it is certainly morally so, and should be exposed.
My friend appreciates these items to use as rewards etc. for the little ones she teaches in her second grade PSR class.
Another sad thing is, the legitimate Catholic causes suffer because people don’t want to donate to Catholic causes anymore for fear of the money going to a “fraudulent” cause.
As much as possible, I only give to causes whenever a friend or relative personally approaches me for a donation. THat way, I could probe whether I could, in principle, support the cause I’m giving my money to.
Please don’t throw out all mail from Dominican Sisters!! There are some orders who are faithful and loyal. My sister is a Dominican sister of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist from Ann Arbor, MI. They have been sending out fundraising letters because they are growing so fast they desperately need donations to keep up financially. Their average age is 28, and they are all in habit and faithful to their Dominican charism of teaching. This August, 15 new postulants entered. They are in the middle of building their monastery to accomodate the numbers of young women entering (just dedicating the new chapel last June.) Many of the sisters are in college completing their degrees in education so they can rebuild authentic Catholic Education. You can view their website at http://www.sistersofmary.org.
It’s probably best to check on the internet: if they don’t have a website, then check (in the case of women’s communities) on the site of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. Not all orthodox women’s communities are members; but all communities that are members are orthodox and wear habits. The council was established in 1992 with approval from Rome after the original organization for women religious in the U.S., the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had turned into a boomer-feminist freakshow.
Sorry, the link is: http://www.cmswr.org
Manishevitz it’s getting harder and harder to be too cynical. Can’t even trust church groups. Pathetic.
What has changed that Orders feel they must fundraise?
Mail is more reliable, and door-to-door begging is less.
Not every group that could use the money does fundraising. The Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, for example, rely entirely on Providence, despite the fact that they’ve just expanded into Kenya.
I teach 3rd grade CCD, and I love to use all of those rosaries, medals, pictures, etc. for prizes for my students. So, please don’t throw them away without first checking to see if someone at your parish could use them.
Boy, do I wish I’d read this last week. I just got my first piece of mail from a Catholic charity (think they must’ve gotten my name from the Leaflet Missal catalog), and I sent them a contribution for the St. Anthony medal they sent me. Anyone know anything about St. Anthony’s Guild in New Jersey? I’m looking at their Web site, and am having trouble figuring out if it was worth it…
Dim Bulb, it isn’t legally fraud to represent themselves as Catholic if they’re actually affiliated with a Catholic organization. The issue is whether they’re faithful to the Magisterium, and Uncle Sam would say that’s none of his business. And strictly speaking he’d be right…but Fr. Blake is correct that it’s morally fraud. Unless the Church herself decides to clean house, though, it will be up to the Defender of Widows and Orphans to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Do they get your address from your local parish?
Yes, they do!
At the age of 64, my wife and I were married.
She was a widow and I a widower.
We tried to get our Sunday envelopes in the name of “John & Barbara Rooney”, but they came back as “John Barbara Roo”. Well, we fixed that, but then we started to receive “Catholic” mail addressed to “john Barbara Roo”. Who else bu the parish gave them this strange address & name?
I just received two huge packets of Christmas cards. I’m going to call a nearby Catholic school and see if they would like them to make ornaments or something similar. 🙂
As for the rosaries – I love them! I especially like the fact that usually send them with a carrying-purse, too. I put them in my purse and force them… erm, offer them to unsuspecting relatives who are interested in learning more about the Rosary. And yes, if you put them in a purse or in your car console, God will send you people who want and/or need them.
I started putting all the holy medals on a single charm bracelet that I own. I don’t have many yet, but it reminds me of my friends the saints.
I can recommend Guest House for donations. They help priests and other religious who are suffering from alcohol and drug use return to their ministries. See http://www.guesthouse.org. They’re in Lake Orion, MI.
I receive many of these mailings and have chosen a few to give to — prayers of retired religious can be very helpful.
Out of curiosity, I searched online to see if I could see where these are generated. I think this is a major source– Development Associates, Inc.:
The same will happen if you have ever ordered anything from Ignatius Press. I quickly got tired of responding to letters beginning “Fellow Catholic”) (some of them addressed to “Mrs….”) with notice that I am not a Catholic, or lapsed Catholic, or crypto-Catholic, or hemidemisemicatholic.
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