Mother superior drops bombshell about Yona seminary

By Jason Salas
Pacific Daily News
November 15, 2016

[with video]

Prior to today's press conference given by the Archdiocese of Agana, another one was held - by an unlikely individual who, by the nature of her work, has spent a majority of her life shielded from the public.    

But the mother superior of the Carmelite nuns in Guam is speaking out sharing her story about the Redemptoris Mater Seminar property in Yona. Mother Superior Dawn Marie is the last Carmelite standing in Guam. "The move to go to California was a very difficult one," she admitted to island media.

One month after celebrating their 50th anniversary locally, in June all the remaining Carmelite nuns that were living here in a large house in Tamuning left, except for their mother superior. She cited the ongoing controversies in the local church as some of the reasons for their departure, saying conditions were, as she said, "Pretty toxic environment for the nuns to live in."

In a rare press conference, Mother Dawn talked to local media to share her side of the story relating to the RMS property in Yona. You see, after years of speculation about who was the mystery $2 million benefactor that allowed for the archdiocese's acquisition of the RMS property.

She finally came out, saying all it took was a phone call to her Carmelite sisters in the US mainland. "There was no he, it was a she - and it was me," she said. "So the truth of where the money came from is as easy as that."

According to the mother superior, her wish to remain anonymous was not respected. And the conditions for which she understood the property was to be used for were not followed. "We knew that it would be for the education of priests we knew that - we never said anything, anything, anything about the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. We didn't even know anything about that entity. We never said anything about the San Vitores Theological Institute because it wasn't even created at that time," he said.

So you can only imagine her reaction when she just happened to be visiting the very Carmelite community that donated the $2 million - which Mother Superior called her over to her computer - to let her know she just received an e-mail message from Archbishop Anthony Apuron. "Archbishop Anthony Apuron had asked the sisters who had given the gift to say that they had purposely earmarked that gift for the Redemportis Mater Seminary and for the San Vitores Theological Institute of Oceania. That was completely untrue," she stated.

Mother Dawn said they refused to participate in this alleged cover-up. They reported it to the Vatican and contacted their attorneys in St. Louis, who asked if they wanted to litigate the issue, which the Carmelites declined.

But when the mother superior returned to Guam, she met up with the archbishop. "I asked him, 'Archbishop, why did you send that letter indicating that we had donated that property and allowing for the deed restriction when you know it was not true?' He reacted he said, 'I'm not the one who did it' - [Father] Pius [Sammut] and they did it they framed the letter," she said.

Mother Dawn wouldn't go so far however as identifying who "they" were. For now she says she'll pray for the local archdiocese during this toxic environment. She's planning settling things here on Guam before leaving to join her Carmelite sisters in the States.

"At some point when you have fallen down so flat, there's only one direction to go and the direction you have to go is up...let's just say it's not going to be a new chapter, it's going to be a new era when Bishop Michael Byrnes arrives ," she concluded.

If at this point you you're wondering about the curious timing of today's press briefing - Mother Dawn said it was purely a coincidence.


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