The Importance of Geographic Stability for the Church

In documents such as Christus Dominus, Apostolicam Actuositatem, and Presbyterorum Ordinis, the Catholic Church discourages parochialism, emphasizing the importance of apostolic activity.[1] At the same time, Paul VI observes in Evangelii Nuntiandi that “legitimate attention to individual Churches cannot fail to enrich the Church.”[2] His words suggest a possibility that local focus might lead, not to insularity, but to goods that extend beyond the particular community, perhaps even to evangelization and apostolic endeavor. We will examine how the practice of geographic stability can impact a community’s ability to evangelize. Geographic stability is defined as maintaining individual physical proximity to a community sufficient to afford long-term embodied interaction. This essay focuses on the American Catholic parish context and argues that geographic stability fosters two supports for evangelization: strong priest-parishioner relationships and predictability. Drawing on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre, the Benedictine experience, and findings from a study of three parishes in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, this essay argues for a connection between stability and evangelization in two sections. The 1st section concerns this connection in terms of priest-parishioner relationships, the 2nd in terms of predictability.

Stability and Vocations

This 1st section explores the connection between stability, priest-parishioner relationships, and evangelization, with a focus on vocations. Those who embrace prayerfully discerned vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, and sacrament of marriage can make excellent witnesses to the Catholic faith; a community which produces such vocations would enhance its ability to evangelize as well as the abilities of the wider Church.

Between 2013 and 2015, I conducted a study in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, which involved interviews with 34 priest and parishioner respondents from three parishes: St. Patrick in Kokomo, St. Boniface in Lafayette, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Carmel, Indiana. Each parish had members who had entered the priesthood or religious life. Between 2003 and 2015, St. Patrick had one parishioner ordained and two enter religious life. St. Boniface had five parishioners ordained and five enter religious life. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had eleven parishioners ordained and six enter religious life. Questioned whether stability might be connected to vocational discernment, nine parishioner respondents (29%) affirmed the possibility of a connection. For example, a parishioner from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel pointed to the effect it can have “when you have a good strong spiritual pastor with whom you can keep touching base. [The pastor] has been able to mentor vocations because of that.” A parishioner of St. Boniface entered seminary in the fall of 2015. According to him, priestly stability is crucial for establishing spiritual direction:

The stability of the priest to build up relationships with the parishioners is a big thing, too, for vocations. . . . Every time you change the priest, the priest is going to be busy, especially at the beginning. It’s going be harder. . . . You have to give him time to assimilate to the parish and get to know the parish . . . The younger parishioners are not going to seek out the priest. So he is going to have to have a little bit of an eye out for it . . . It takes time . . . for the one being directed to open up, [to] build up a little bit of confidence and trust.

Another parishioner from St. Boniface said there is a “deep level of understanding” forged by time; she believed experiencing long-term spiritual direction with the pastor was helpful for discerning her vocation to marriage. Fr. Timothy Alkire, pastor at St. Boniface, did not think a series of good short-term priests could sustain spiritual direction like one good long-term priest: “We have to think also on a human level. If you start with someone in spiritual direction or vocational discernment, [and] if that time is truncated, I think there is a danger that it just stops. Accompaniment takes time.” The St. Boniface parishioner who entered seminary in 2015 thought a priest can become acclimated to a parish and establish a relationship deep enough to begin spiritual direction with a young person if he has about five years. However, he thought a priest “would want more.” Fr. Richard Doerr, the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, thought most of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s priestly vocations have come from long-term families. He continued, “It is important for a young person to grow up with his pastor. I don’t think six years is long enough at all, frankly.” If there was a need, priests should be reassigned. However, Fr. Doerr thought frequent reassignment would negatively affect the number of priestly vocations: “I believe that strongly.”

Certainly, strong priest-parishioner relationships are good in themselves, approximating the familial nature that diocesan and parish relationships are supposed to have, as has been suggested by traditions which see the bishop as spouse of his diocese and priest as spouse of his parish.[3] Furthermore, a community with strong relationships might be well-fitted for apostolic work. In 2009, as bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI opened a pastoral convention for his diocese. Speaking about the parish context, he noted that “living charity is the primary form of missionary outreach. The word proclaimed and lived becomes credible if it is incarnate in behavior that demonstrates solidarity and sharing, in deeds that show the Face of Christ as man’s true Friend.”[4] The parish interview responses presented here also suggest a connection between stability, priest-parishioner relationships, and vocations. As mentioned earlier, the ability to cultivate vocations may have important implications for evangelization.

In the history of Catholic American parishes, there is a parallel between increased stability and increased numbers of priestly vocations. Jay Dolan and Jeffrey Burns conducted a study at the University of Notre Dame in the 1980’s, which indicated that pastor assignment length steadily increased over the 19th and early 20th centuries, with a mean assignment of 5.9 years in the 19th century compared to a mean of 9.3 years in the twentieth century.[5] The early twentieth century is also notable for overall domestic stability: American geographic stability was at its peak in 1900 with 79% of the American-born living in their state of birth and 68% of all Americans living in their state of origin.[6]

During the same period, there was a profound growth in priestly vocations. In 1900, there were 11,636 priests, and by 1920 priests numbered 21,019.[7] Sullins presents data which indicates that between 1898 and 1986, the most rapid reduction of parishes and missions without a resident priest took place between 1901 and 1913; the most rapid increase in priestly ordinations occurred between 1923 and 1944. The United States experienced the highest ratio of priests per Catholics just before World War II.[8] The generation being ordained during the 1920’s and 1930’s was comprised mainly of Catholic men born and raised around 1900, the nation’s most stable period. In 1998, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate published a study suggesting that “there is a community context to the vocation decision-making process,”[9] and that the pastor’s personal invitation to consider the priesthood and “the overall parish environment which the pastor helps to create”[10] are important for fostering priestly vocations. More data on the specific role of stability in connection with the community context and influence of the pastor could prove extremely helpful. The historical parallel between increased stability and increased numbers of priestly ordinations is too striking and the implications for evangelization too important to dismiss without further examination of the connection between stability, priest-parishioner relationships, and vocations.

Stability and Evangelization

This 2nd section examines the connection between stability, predictability, and evangelization, in the experience of the Benedictines, American Catholicism in general, and the three parishes which were the subject of the aforementioned study. In his work Dependent Rational Animals, Alasdair MacIntyre observes that human intelligence is vulnerable such that too many practical judgments would “paralyze us as agents.”[11] According to MacIntyre, most cultures strive for an environment which includes the “normal day.”[12] As social life becomes more predictable, it reduces how often one has to make or justify practical judgments, lifting what he calls an “intolerable burden.”[13] As social life becomes more predictable, people are able to devote more attention to complex projects and plans. MacIntyre writes:

It is the degree of predictability which our social structures possess which enables us to plan and engage in long-term projects; and the ability to plan and to engage in long-term projects is a necessary condition of being able to find life meaningful. . . . Each of us, individually and as a member of particular social groups, seeks to embody his own plans and projects in the natural and social world. A condition of achieving this is to render as much of our natural and social environment as possible predictable . . . It is necessary, if life is to be meaningful, for us to be able to engage in long-term projects, and this requires predictability.[14]

According to MacIntyre, “without an institutional framework that provides stability and security over time a variety of forms of association, exchange, and long-term planning are impossible.”[15] Mobility can be a powerful source of unpredictability as it introduces new relationships, customs, and situations. If MacIntyre is correct about the connection between predictability and complex projects, it would suggest that a reduction of stability might impact the predictability of communal life, forcing attention away from complex projects involving the wider community to focus on immediate issues and needs. Conversely, an increase in stability might be associated with an increase in complex long-term apostolic projects involving the wider community. Predictability of communal life would free the attention for such endeavors. The experience of the Benedictines, American Catholicism in general, and parishes in my study provide some supporting evidence for this hypothesis.

Although the Rule of St. Benedict features no missionary charism per se, the Rule’s successors have had a profound apostolic impact.[16] This impact can be attributed in part to establishing long-term dependable centers of hospitality, pilgrim assistance, education, and other similar projects, as a Benedictine community would forge long-term embodied relationships with surrounding communities. Bryce remarks on the role of stability in the Benedictine power to evangelize:

A Franciscan friend of mine, a man who is also a Church historian, insists that the Benedictines have been the greatest missionaries the Church has ever had. The reason? Their stability! . . . The monks and nuns came to a place, put down their roots, and established the core of a Christian community, endeavoring to assimilate and to be assimilated by the local culture. The Benedictines settled there and became credible signs of the workableness of the Christian Gospel.[17]

Another reason for Benedictine apostolic impact is their many foundations. From Carolingian-era and Cistercian foundations to the foundations of Dom Boniface Wimmer, these new communities constituted new cells of long-term embodied interaction, many of which made further foundations. Stability was important for developing the relationships through which these Benedictine communities evangelized their neighbors. By preserving predictability of life, stability may also have been key for freeing their attention to develop such relationships and the complex projects which were the forum for their interaction with the wider community.

The importance of stability for preserving a predictable way of life is especially illustrated in the Cluniac experience. The Cluniacs revered ascetic travel and were responsible for establishing complex projects like guesthouses along the major routes to Santiago de Compostela.[18] Their priors and abbots were mobile in order to care for numerous priories and because of their growing political and ecclesiastical role.[19] Talented monks could expect to leave the monastery of their profession and become priors of other houses; there was rapid turnover for abbots and frequent transfer and promotion of monks, especially from monasteries which developed a reputation for training good administrators.[20] Monks could also leave the particular community to which they had pledged themselves and join another Cluniac house.[21]

The Cluniacs had arguably the least geographic interpretation of stability among those who have adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. Instead of geographic stability, the Cluniacs emphasized stability as commitment to the abbot.[22] For many monasteries associated with Cluny the only connection was the personal influence of the abbot.[23] However, as the number of foundations grew, it became extremely difficult to maintain the link between abbot and the hundreds of related priories and abbeys. According to Warrilow, “Cluniac strength lay in its particular observance and on the close ties with Cluny itself. Both of these were difficult to maintain at a distance.”[24] By necessity, stability became less focused on commitment to a particular abbot and more on connection to the Cluniac way of life. Cluniac customaries helped codify and maintain the Cluniac way of life. According to Warrilow, the customaries left nothing “to chance; everything is foreseen and provided for; people know what they have to do . . . this reflects in a practical way the untiring efforts of the abbots of Cluny for peace, and the supreme importance they attached to the tranquillitas ordinis in building up a house of prayer.”[25] However, Warrilow notes that the customaries were only partly successful because customs changed and had to be recodified given the “increase of external commitments that called for more frequent coming and going.”[26]

According to Constable, as the number of houses grew and as distance from Cluny increased, connection to the abbot decreased, as did a uniform observance of the Cluniac way of life.[27] This suggests that the customaries could not establish lived commitment to the Cluniac way of life without the personal influence of the abbot, the real guarantor for observance of the rule. Moreover, the abbot could not maintain personal influence without frequent and long-term embodied interaction. This could have been provided by one of the priors. However, Constable remarks how frequent movement of priors had come to imply “a network of faceless bureaucrats performing their tasks efficiently but having no real knowledge of or responsibility to the communities they controlled.”[28] Written customaries proved insufficient and a rotating series of priors did not provide the kind of interaction which could maintain perseverance in the Cluniac way of life. Mobility of priors was forbidden under Hugh V.[29] Experience taught the Cluniacs that maintaining their way of life predictably depended on preserving geographic stability, at least for the priors.

Returning to MacIntyre’s thoughts on predictability, it would seem that a community struggling to preserve its own way of life would lack the resources of attention for developing fruitful interactions with the wider community or making sustainable foundations. Among the numerous causes which can explain the waning of Cluniac influence over the next few centuries, one contributing reason might be the fact that the Cluniacs had embraced prior stability a little too late.

In the experience of the Catholic Church in the United States in general, there is some evidence that where there was increased domestic and priestly stability, there was an increased number of complex apostolic projects. In the 1980’s, Dolan and Burns conducted another study using a sample of more than 5,000 parish societies and organizations founded between 1800 and 1980. Discussing the findings, Burns reports that the major portion of parish societies (69%) were founded between 1880 and 1940.[30] According to Burns, such societies included devotional groups, mutual aid societies, social clubs, instructional societies, parent-teacher associations, athletic clubs, charitable and social justice groups, church service groups, and drama clubs.[31] As noted earlier, the early 20th century was the nation’s most geographically stable period. During this period, the Catholic American parish was passing through what Dolan calls a “golden age,” having become a place able to meet every religious, educational, and social need.[32]

As for the three parishes located in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, having a long-term pastor and some long-term parishioners coincided with the launching of a number of widely varied complex apostolic projects. At St. Patrick, Fr. Theodore Dudzinski served for 14 years, during which St. Patrick helped establish a community cook-out, neighborhood watch, and Family Life Conference so popular it is now the Diocesan Family Life Conference in its 11th year. Several long-term staff and parishioners were involved in launching these projects, as well as other projects like a major restoration of St. Patrick’s interior. At St. Boniface, Fr. Alkire has served 26 years. The parish-published St. Michael Hymnal first appeared in 1998; its editor has been a parishioner for more than 30 years. Now in its 4th edition and thousands of copies later, this hymnal continues to serve churches, universities, and seminaries.[33] At Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Fr. Doerr has served 20 years. In 2000, this parish established the Merciful Help Center and the Trinity Free Clinic.[34] Long-term parishioners have overseen the expansion of these projects over the years. The Merciful Help Center now provides outreach to hundreds of families annually; in 2016, the Trinity Free Clinic assisted almost 4,000 patients and provided over fourteen million dollars in medical and dental assistance. All three parishes have helped establish local Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.[35] Again, between these parishes have come 17 priests and 13 religious, and these numbers continue to grow.


To conclude with the words of Paul VI, “legitimate attention to individual Churches cannot fail to enrich the Church.” Thus, by fostering strong priest-parishioner relationships, with their vocational implications, and the predictability helpful for starting complex apostolic projects, geographic stability provides a fundamental service to evangelization. It can cultivate prayerfully discerned vocations, raising up the priests, religious, and married couples who are the indispensable witnesses of Christ and his Church, and it facilitates those apostolic works by which witnesses bring the loving personal experience of Christ to people who do not know him. It is important to develop and support policies which allow for stability and to encourage a carefully weighed consideration of the merits of stability when making personal decisions which might involve a move from one’s community. It may seem paradoxical that cultivating embodied interaction with the same people in the same place for a long time could have widespread apostolic effects. Yet, those who wish to promote the Catholic Church’s evangelical mandate need to consider the powerful support geographic stability offers. Although this essay focuses on Catholic parishes in the United States, the implications concern many kinds of communities. Further research in this area would yield data important beyond the American Catholic parish context.

[1] Second Vatican Council, Christus Dominus, Vatican Website, 28 October 1965, §30, /archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651028_christus-dominus_en.html; Second Vatican Council, Apostolicam Actuositatem, Vatican Website, 18 November 1965, §10, /archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html; Second Vatican Council, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Vatican Website, 7 December 1965, §6, http://www.vatican .va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651207_presbyterorum-ordinis_en.html; Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Vatican Website, 8 December 1975, §64, /apost_exhortations/documents/hf_p-vi_exh_19751208_evangelii-nuntiandi_en.html; John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, Vatican Website, 30 December 1988, §14, §27, _exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideles-laici_en.html; John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, Vatican Website, 25 March 1992, §32, /documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031992_pastores-dabo-vobis_en.html; Congregation for the Clergy, “The Priest and the Third Christian Millennium: Teacher of the Word, Minister of the Sacraments and Leader of the Community,” Vatican Website, 19 March 1999, chap. 4, §3, /rc_con_cclergy_doc_19031999_pretes_en.html; Congregation for the Clergy, “The Priest: Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community,” Vatican Website, 4 August 2002, §17, /cclergy/documents/rc_con_cclergy_doc_20020804_istruzione-presbitero_en.html; Benedict XVI, “Opening of the Pastoral Convention of the Diocese of Rome on the Theme: ‘Church Membership and Pastoral Co-Responsibility,’” Vatican Website, 26 May 2009, /hf_ben-xvi_spe_20090526_convegno-diocesi-rm_en.html.

[2] Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, §63.

[3] For more on the spousal relationship of bishop to diocese and priest to parish, see H. J. Schroeder, trans., Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils (St. Louis, MO: Herder, 1937), 44–45 and in particular, Council of Nicaea, c. 15; Henry R. Percival, ed., The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church (New York: Edwin S. Gorham, 1901), 33, and in particular, Synod of Antioch, c. 21, Council of Sardica, c. 1; John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, §22; Congregation for the Clergy, “Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests,” Vatican Website, 31 January 1994, §55, http://www _31011994_direct_en.html; Charles Brown, “The Bishop as Sponsus Ecclesiae Particularis: Family Structures and Ecclesiological Developments in the First Millenium,” lecture at the Center for Ethics and Culture Annual Conference, University of Notre Dame, 7 November 2008, YouTube video, 1:14:40, posted by “Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture,” 23 September 2014, _UvAXIWymXtrGawMyvqQe0IRZMGQe-; Michael J. Buckley, “What Can We Learn from the Church in the First Millenium,” in The Catholic Church in the 21st Century: Finding Hope for its Future in the Wisdom of the Past, ed. Michael J. Himes (Ligouri, MO: Liguori, 2004), 11–28; Lawrence B. Porter, “Priesthood, Power, and Ambition: Zadok, High Priest and Friend of Kings,” in Assault on the Priesthood (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012), 143–144; Bernardin Gantin, “Once a Bishop is Appointed to a Particular See, He Must Generally and in Principle Stay There for Ever,” interview by Gianni Cardinale, Trenta Giorni, April 1999, reissued May 2008, http://www.30giorni .it/articoli_id_18214_l3.htm; Joseph Ratzinger, “Il Mistero e l’Operazione della Grazia,” interview by Gianni Cardinale, Trenta Giorni, June 1999,

[4] Benedict XVI, “Opening of the Pastoral Convention.”

[5] Jeffrey Burns, “The Parish History Project: A Descriptive Analysis of the Data,” 7, Jay P. Dolan Papers, Parish History Project: Burns and Dolan, CDOL 2002–145, box 4, University of Notre Dame Archives.

[6] Larry Long, Migration and Residential Mobility in the United States (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1988), 29–30; James N. Gregory, “Internal Migration: Twentieth Century and Beyond,” Faculty webpage, University of Washington, 540–541,,%20Twentieth %20Century%20and%20Beyond.pdf. This article was featured originally in Lynn Dumenil, ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History, vol. 1 (New York, Oxford University Press, 2012), 540–545. For an overview of research and data on American domestic migration before 1930, see also Long, “Research and Data on Geographical Mobility,” chap. 1, and “National Rates of Geographical Mobility,” chap. 2 in Migration and Residential Mobility in the United States.

[7] Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Doubleday, 1985), 255, 277.

[8] Paul Sullins, “Empty Pews and Empty Altars: A Reconsideration of the Catholic Priest Shortage,” The Catholic Social Scientist Review 6 (2001): 256–257, 263,

[9] Bryan T. Froehle, Dominic J. Perri, and Patricia Wittberg, The Parish Background Behind Priestly Vocations: Findings from a National Survey of Pastors and Recently Ordained Diocesan Priests (Washington, DC: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 1998), 2.

[10] Ibid., 16.

[11] Alasdair MacIntyre, Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues (Chicago: Open Court, 1999), 69.

[12] Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, 2nd ed. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), 102.

[13] Alasdair MacIntyre, Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988), 25. MacIntyre addresses unpredictability more in “The Character of Generalizations in Social Science and Their Lack of Predictive Power,” chap. 8 in After Virtue and in “Seven Traits for the Future,” The Hastings Center Report 9, no. 1 (1979): 5–7,

[14] MacIntyre, After Virtue, op. cit., 103–104.

[15] Alasdair MacIntyre, “On Having Survived the Academic Moral Philosophy of the Twentieth Century,” in What Happened in and to Moral Philosophy in the Twentieth Century?: Philosophical Essays in Honor of Alasdair MacIntyre, ed. Fran O’Rourke (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), 25, ProQuest ebrary.

[16] For more on the Benedictine impact on the wider culture, see David Kinish, “The Vow of Stability,” The Benedictine Review 18 (1963): 11; Joel Rippinger, “Stability: A Monastic Charism Retrieved,” Review for Religious 57, no. 1 (1998): 62; John Henry Newman, “The Mission of St. Benedict,” in Historical Sketches, vol. 2 (New York: Longmans, Green, 1906; Newman Reader, 2002), §9, /benedictine/mission.html.

[17] Mary Charles Bryce, “A Twentieth-Century Look at a Sixth-Century Rule: Toward a Hermeneutic of the Rule of Benedict,” Review for Religious 37, no. 5 (1978): 715.

[18] Maribel Dietz, Wandering Monks, Virgins, and Pilgrims: Ascetic Travel in the Mediterranean World, A.D. 300–800 (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), 215–216.

[19] Martha G. Newman, “Foundation and Twelfth Century,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Cistercian Order, ed. Mette Birkedal Bruun (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 29, /CCO9780511735899.004; C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (London: Longman, 1989), 121.

[20] Giles Constable, “Cluniac Administration and Administrators in the Twelfth Century,” in Order and Innovation in the Twelfth Century: Essays in Honor of Joseph R. Strayer, ed. William C. Jordan, Bruce McNab, Teofilo F. Ruiz (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), facsimile in Cluniac Studies (London: Variorum Reprints, 1980), 21, 24. Citations refer to the Variorum reprint.

[21] Ibid., 21; Lazare de Seilhac, “The Dynamism of a Living Stability,” Benedictines 47, no. 2 (1994): 41.

[22] Agustín Roberts, “The Meaning of the Vow of Stability,” Cistercian Studies Quarterly 7, no. 4 (1972): 258.

[23] Joseph Warrilow, “Cluny: Silentia Claustri,” in Benedict’s Disciples, ed. D. H. Farmer (Leominster, Herefordshire: Fowler Wright Books, 1980), 126.

[24] Warrilow, “Cluny: Silentia Claustri,” 131.

[25] Ibid., 127. Italics in the original.

[26] Ibid., 132.

[27] Constable, “Cluniac Administration and Administrators in the Twelfth Century,” 18–20.

[28] Ibid., 29.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Burns, “The Parish History Project,” 9.

[31] Ibid., 8.

[32] Dolan, The American Catholic Experience, op. cit., 204–208, 323. See also Jim Castelli and Joseph Gremillion, The Emerging Parish: The Notre Dame Study of Catholic Life since Vatican II (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987), 22.

[33] Information about the history and mission of the St. Michael Hymnal as well as testimonials from other dioceses and parishes can be found on the hymnal’s website at

[34] Information on these apostolic endeavors can be found on the Merciful Help Center website at http://www. and on the Trinity Free Clinic website at

[35] St. Boniface was instrumental in establishing Perpetual Adoration at St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center in 1997. Of the 786 individual charter members, 353 (45%) were listed in the “Family Roster” of St. Boniface’s Pictorial Directory (Lafayette, IN: St. Boniface Roman Catholic Church, 1996), St. Boniface Archives, Lafayette, IN. For charter members list, see wall text, plaque: Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, St. Elizabeth Medical Center Chapel, Lafayette, IN. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel established Perpetual Adoration in 2002 and St. Patrick in 2003. Anthony Joseph Prosen, A History of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana (Strasbourg: Editions di Signe, 2006), 58.

Featured Image: Johannes Vermeer, Officer and Laughing Woman, c. 1657; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100.


Gwendolen Adams

Gwen Adams is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute, Denver, Colorado, as well as a writer and playwright.

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