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By John Bookser Feister

Religious Orders on the Web


Message to the World
The Next Generation
Web Pick
Check Out

Whenever the times have called for reform or innovation, new religious orders have been born. Whether of men or women, Franciscans, Benedictines, Jesuits or hundreds of others, these movements have helped bring the gospel to the world in changing times. At Vatican II, Pope Paul VI implored the orders to return to the charism of their founders to propel the Council’s reforms.

Today the Web teems with sites of Catholic religious orders. Some of them are no more than handy directories (in itself a big help!). Others provide new ways for far-flung members to stay in touch with each other and the news of their order. The best do all that—and bring the charism (spiritual gift) of the order into the emerging global culture of the Internet.

Message to the World

A good example is, where you can locate most any monastery, find a retreat center, learn about liturgy, Benedictine spirituality and the Benedictine founders.

The most expansive collection of Franciscan information and links is the Franciscan Web Page at

The Next Generation

Visit the Dominican site and you might soon find yourself reading about last February’s interfaith dialogue in Bangkok, in which the Dominicans participated. Dialogue with the world has always been a key to mendicant mission. Now, more of us are invited to join the conversation.

Women of the Sacred Heart Religious (R.S.C.J.) are behind, a new way to bring the compassion of Christ (at the core of the Sacred Heart devotion) to the world. It’s a clearinghouse for information and action on behalf of justice.

“Called by Joy” is the site of the Poor Clares ( where you can find inspiration and send lively, joyous e-cards to friends and family.

These represent order Web sites at their best. Reaching into the founder’s vision, they engage the world with Good News.

One of the most complete online directories of order sites can be found at

Next month we will look at saints sites. Send your favorites to Web

Web Pick
The Marianists at University of Dayton have set up the world’s premier online resource for Marian information, prayers, meditations and news of upcoming events at UD’s Marian library.

Check Out

St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Albany, New York, offers a simple yet exemplary site. With no spinning crosses or synthesizer hymns, this site is a thorough offering of parish contacts, directions, calendars, bulletins, a detailed listing of what’s available from the parish library and a short biography of the Carmelite Doctor of the Church.

Offered in four languages, this U.S.-owned, Rome-based Catholic nonprofit news agency is a relative newcomer that is widespread on the Web. There are daily dispatches, weekly news analyses and lots of official documents. It’s available by daily e-mail delivery, too. It’s free.

Author, columnist and speaker Kay Murdy offers this collection of original reflections on the daily Scriptures. She is a master catechist, published by Resource Publications. There is gentle marketing of books, but also many fine, free resources are here.


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