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Evansville, Indiana
July 10, 1998     The Message
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July 10, 1998

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!0,1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 r Joella Kidwell HUGHES e staff writer time Benedictine Kidwell was just a she had the responsi- g her widowed the house and two younger sisters. burden, but one on gladly because very much. 11, Sister Joella will huge responsibil- is installed as pri- Sisters of St. Bene- d. i again, she's happy to for her But this time, she t of knowing that :ommuni- offer its support to her. r Joella was born and and Irene O'Bryan When she was three, died leaving her With three very young "People said he could girls, but he was young daugh- them to "turn out, enough' in out by the who encour- r to think about pursu- .grade teacher postcard from was "very signifi- prioress will be installed July 11 in Ferdinand SISTER JOELLA KIDWELL cant, as far as planting the seed." Throughout her grade-school years, she watched the Benedic- tine Sisters and found them to be "down-home kind of people, people I could feel comfortable with. They got their hands dirty." In high school, a Providence Sister also asked her about becoming a religious sister. Joella responded that she was thinking about it, but that she didn't know which religious order to choose. The Providence Sister suggested that she pray the rosary for a month to deter- mine which community would be best for her. "At the end of that month, it was clean The call was to Ferdi- nand. To this day, I don't know exactly why I was at home here." When she turned 17, she graduated from Washington Catholic High School, and head- ed for Ferdinand. "I felt it was something I was called to do, but there was a whole other part of me that wanted to go off to college." Those early years in the monastery offered her time to "see if it fit. I felt called to be here, but I didn't really know what that meant." She studied at St. Benedict College for two years; then at 19 she was assigned her first class- room at St. Theresa School, Evansville. She had 52 second graders. Benedictine Sister Beata Mehling served as her mentor. "She helped me get lessons ready, and very nicely and very gently, she challenged me to do the things I didn't see to do." In those first years as a teacher, she used to "wonder what I would do if the children wouldn't behave. I think I communicated that to them. In the later years, I never thought about it, and I think I communicat- ed that to them." She spent 18 years in the classroom, and says she was most challenged by her brighter students. "What I wanted to do with them was not limit them with what I knew, but to open doors for them. I had this assumption that they had this potential, and I wanted to open doors for them." She earned a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Dayton, and a master's degree in biology from Indiana University. She left teaching in the early 1970s and began work in the diocesan vocations office. In 1984, she became director of Kordes Enrichment Center in Ferdinand. During the past year, the Sis- ters of St. Benedict have been involved in a discernment process to help them elect a pri- oress. Because her name had sur- faced in earlier elections, Sister Joella didn't get too concerned this time when she heard her name mentioned. But "as it became more clear that it was a serious probability, I had a few talks with God about what was going on." When she received the nod "I want what's best for the community, and I'm willing to make the personal sacrifice for whatever is best for the com- munity. But I learned something I didn't know as a little kid: this whole community is with me. I don't have to do it alone; we will do it together." Her community has given her two "clear and distinct" direc- tions for her term as prioress. "One is to continue to reclaim what it means to be monastic women today. We want to deep- en our commitment to our search for Got. "Secondly, we want to look at what it means to be of service today, to try" to be people who can make a difference in the dio- cese, in the church, and in the world." She says she hopes to lead her .... this whole community is with me. I don't have to do it alone; we will do it together. from her community to become its eleventh prioress, she was "humbled and awed." "It took about two weeks after it was over to believe it hap- pened. I was kind of in a daze." She says the awareness of her new responsibilities was accom- panied by a feeling of peace. "I realize that I'm not doing this myself, that it's the whole group of us. I may be at the head, but they are all with me. community in "responding to Jesus' call to be the light of the world. We want to be that bea- con of hope for the world." Sister Kidwell will be installed as the eleventh prioress of the Sisters of St. Benedict on July 11. The pub- lic is invited to a reception for Sis- ter Joelta and her predecessor, Bene- dictine Sister Kathryn Huber, on Sunday, July 12,from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the monastery. 1 On the part of himself referred to tion as filling a gap in law, and theolo- Canonists agreed. Dulles, a at Fordham Univer- sity in New York, called it "a very moderate approach," not- ing that the penalty in the new legislation for defying church teaching on definitively taught matters is couched in the same language as that for defying nondefinitive authentic church teaching -- "a just penalty" or seeks collaboration with e, Vatican for Millennium TKa-CY EARLY News Service (CNS) -- With Land tourists the year 2000, t is work- leaders to the necessary minister I reporters in New working relation- the two govern- so tourists Smoothly between which is in Palestin- and Jerusalem, Israeli authority. prime rain- hinted-at the millenni- would be wel- We like him very July & A papal visit would provide an opportunity to "express our appreciation." Katsav said the pope;s staff had been assured that Israel would provide whatever is needed  "everything, every- thing"  to make his visit com- fortable and enjoyable. Pope John Paul has indicated he would like to make a pilgrim- age to the Holy Land during the millennial year, but no specific have been announced. tsav reported from his talks with the pope several months earlier that it is the pontiff's intention to visit the Holy Land. During this visit to the Unit- ed States, Katsav said he talked with Cardinal John J. O'Connor of New York about Israel's desire to accommodate the extraordinarily large numbers of Christian pilgrims expected - tO come during the year 2000. "an appropriate penalty." Jesuit Father LadislasOrsy, a canon lawyer at Georgetown University in Washington, said the Ratzinger-Bertone commen- tary is not an official document of the doctrinal congregation because it "does not carry the approval of the pope 'in com- mon form."' It therefore stands as an explanation by the two officials, and not a document of the Holy See, he said. Father Dulles said he found several of the examples given by the officials debatable. He said he regards the teach- ing on ordination of women as part of revealed truth and would have placed it on the first level of truths rather than the second. He said historically theolo- gians have held different views on whether the canonizations of saints and Pope Leo's judgment on Anglican orders stand in the category of deRnitive teaching. "I presume they will continue to be debated," he said. ano00er aspect ot Ra0000-,er- Bertone commentary that drew attention was a statement that anyone who rejects such defini- tive teachings "would therefore no longer be in full commumion with the Catholic Church." Archbishop Bertone, in a fol- low,up interview withthe Italian. Catholic newspaper Avvenire, said the new legislation acknowl- edges "the rupture of ecclesial communion for those who place themselves in dissension from the truths of the second level." While a clear case of heresy, or denial of what is plainly taught as revealed truth, involves auto- matic excommunication, the new law states only that a "just penalty" should be imposed if a person denying a definitive teaching persists in the denial after being duly warned. Father Dulles said that even on the prohibition of ordination of women, which he regards as revealed, he thinks "the reason for not excommunicating peo- ple is that it's relatively low on the hierarchy of truths." Much of the media reaction to the new legislation and com- mentary focused on the hierar- chy of truths in terms of degrees of certainty  revealed truths requiring faith, defini- tive truths intimately connect- ed with revelation requiring firm acceptance, and authentic teachings requiring submission of intellect and will. But Father Dulles noted that there is another hierarchy of truths, in terms of their relative importance to Christian life and belief. "a thing can be perfectly cer- tain. yet not sy impot-. tant to use nuclear weapon.,; on it," he said. "I don't think you excommunicate people unless you get (an issue) close to the heart of faith." The pope announced the new legislation in an apostolic letter, given "motu proprio" ("on his own initiative") and rifled "Ad Tuendam Fidem" ("To Defend the Faith"). He added new provisions on the need to uphold definitive chuw.h teachings in the Code of Canon Law, which governs alt Latin-rite Catholics, and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Church- es, which governs Catholics of all Eastern-rite churches. With the additions, both law codes of the church now have structures par- allel to the final three para graphs of the Profession of Faith issued by the doctrinal congre- g#tion in 1989. Among those who must take the Profession of Faith before taking office are cardinals, bishops, pastors, reli- gious superiors, certain dioce- san officials, seminary profes- sors of philosophy or theology, professors who teach subjects related to faith or morals in Catholic universities, and those who are about to be ordained d Contnlauting to this story were John  and Cindy Wooden in Rome. ............