Friday, July 10, 2015

Help the Kingdom of God Sisters!

Kim Brown, Foundress, Kingdom of God Sisters.
(Image via LinkedIn.)
One day, you're a speaker and a Director of Student Life for a mid-sized university in north-central Texas, wondering if you have a vocation to marriage or not. Five breathless years later, you're knee-deep in the founding of a prospective Augustinian religious order dedicated to evangelization and dogmatic formation. You're trying to buy a house to turn into a convent, and you haven't even begun your own postulancy yet. And all because your grandma (so well-informed, your family jokes that "she was Google before there was Google") asks you during a phone conversation, "Dear, have you thought of becoming a nun?"

That's kinda-sorta the way Kim Brown tells it, albeit in better detail and much more engagingly.

Your Humble Blogger met Kim last night at a meeting of my Knights of Columbus council. A couple of months before, we'd voted to contribute sufficient funds to purchase 150 study Bibles for the young women who, if all goes well, will make up the first generation of the Kingdom of God Sisters, the religious order Kim is founding in order to join. In her conception, the KGS will focus on conferences, retreats, and one-day events to help dioceses strengthen the religious formation of Catholics, using modern technology and techniques, while adopting the charism, habits, prayers and practices of a traditional order dedicated to the Rule drawn up by the great Father and Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine of Hippo.

The Kingdom of God Sisters is right now in a "halfway" stage: it's not officially recognized as a religious order, although it has the interest and vocal support of the Diocese of Fort Worth. For one thing, postulancy, the formative stage before taking the evangelical vows, isn't a do-it-yourself project; it's always done in community, living much the same life you intend to live after taking the vows. Hence, the need for a convent; besides Kim, there are currently over forty young women (median age in the early 20s) discerning their vocations along with her.

For another, there's no proven formula for setting up a successful religious order or institute. Kim jokes, "I've talked to quite a few orders, and they all say, 'Don't do it the way we did it!'"

Third, religious orders are separate entities from the dioceses in which they reside. For our purposes, this means none of the religious orders receive a dime from the secular hierarchy save what individual priests and bishops contribute out of their own salaries. Unless your parish takes up a special collection for, say, the nearest Carmelite monastery, they receive nothing from your regular Sunday contributions.

This means further that the KGS, planned to be bound by vows of poverty, has to beg for the funds necessary to start up: convent, furniture, food, habits, health insurance, you name it.

Therefore, in the name of the future Sr. Kim Brown and the good work she is erecting in my city of residence, I beg you, Gentle Reader, to tender an offering large as your purse can manage. If your pockets run a little deeper, instead of merely donating, you can become a Sponsor. However much you can afford, please help the Kingdom of God Sisters get their mission going, so we can build up the minds and hearts of the faithful.

Semper Fi. Carry on.