Archdiocese Thanks, Apologizes to Carmelite Nuns

By Haidee V Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
November 18, 2016

The Solitude of Carmel monastery as seen in Tamuning on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016.

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai and local organizations Concerned Catholics of Guam and Laity Forward Movement this week thanked the Carmelite sisters, dedicated to contemplation and prayer, for being a power station for Catholic church activities on Guam since 1966.

Carmelite Mother Superior Dawn Marie this week held a press conference, announcing the Carmelites decided to leave Guam after 50 years and move to California because of the "toxic environment" here, including the way Archbishop Anthony Apuron handled the Yona seminary and the sexual abuse allegations made against Apuron by former altar boys.

She said the Carmelites anonymously donated $2 million to purchase the seminary property for the Archdiocese of Agana, but said Apuron and others wanted the nuns to lie and say they intended their gift to be used for a seminary and theological institute controlled by the Neocatechumenal Way.

Hon expressed the Archdiocese of Agana’s sadness in seeing the nuns leave the island after 50 years, and apologized to them for having to experience a toxic environment.

Savio Hon Tai Fai (Photo: PDN file photo)

“The sisters did not only assist the Archdiocese spiritually but also materially,” Hon said in a statement Thursday night. “We are now in a position to express our heartfelt gratitude publicly to you and your community, for it was through your effort that we received $2 million to settle our big loan from the bank for the purchase of the Yona seminary property in view of the formation of future priests.”

The Carmelite nuns on Guam relocated to a monastery in California in June.

The mother superior, who brokered the $2 million donation to the archdiocese, said the nuns considered suing the church after finding out the property was being used for a Neocatechumenal Way seminary, but decided against it.

“For an archbishop to ask praying nuns to lie is a deplorable act. We thank Mother Dawn Marie and the rest of the Carmelite sisters for sharing the truth and for all the good things they have done for Guam,” said Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan.

Sablan said the group is forever grateful to the Carmelite nuns for their 50-year dedication to the island. He said Mother Superior Dawn Marie acted courageously when she decided to set the record straight about the church property in Yona and the actions made by Apuron and others.

Hon, who was sent by Pope Francis in June to temporarily oversee the Catholic church on Guam, pending a church trial for Apuron, said the archdiocese also appreciates the clarification that Mother Superior Dawn Marie made regarding the genuine intent of the benefactor, which he said was “unfortunately twisted by some people.”

Mother Superior Dawn Marie speaks during a press conference at the Solitude of Carmel monastery in Tamuning on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (Photo: Rick Cruz/PDN)

“The sisters tried hard to tolerate it and to remain silent as much as possible. I personally knew of their suffering because as a Secretary working in the Holy See I was able to read those correspondences mentioned by the Mother Prioress and I respect their willingness to suffer in silence. However, silence in this case did not suffice, because things were getting worse to a point that the reputation of their community was at stake. I am glad that before her departure this week Mother Dawn Marie was able to reveal the truth in a limpid way,” the archbishop said.

Lou Klitzkie, president of the Laity Forward Movement, said what the Carmelite mother superior revealed about Apuron further substantiates the call for Apuron to be removed and defrocked.

The movement leads a peaceful picket every Sunday, in front of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica. Klitzkie said the pickets will not stop until the word “archbishop” no longer is in front of Apuron’s name.

Hon said the archdiocese is particularly thankful to the Carmelite sisters for their special dedication to pray for the priests.

“All the more in the current situation, we need their prayer,” Hon said. “The allegations of child sex abuse by the clergy contribute somehow to the toxic environment. We priests, while being together as one presbyterate body, first and foremost need purification so that we may strive to protect the young and to show love to those wounded by some of the clergy. In the church, child sex abuse is a terrible, grave matter. All of us, including the clergy, suffer from such a disheartening environment, but we still have people and prayer.”

Former altar boys have publicly accused and filed lawsuits against Apuron and former priest Louis Brouillard for allegedly sexually abusing them decades ago. Also named as defendants are the Archdiocese of Agana and as many as 50 others who have allegedly helped, abetted or covered up the abuses.








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