Opus Sanctorum Angelorum, the Work of the Holy Angels, is an international movement within the Catholic Church faithful to the Magisterium. It is ordered to promoting devotion to the holy angels and a covenant bond with them through a consecration approved by the Church, so that the holy angels may lead us more effectively to God. The Work is under the overall direction of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, under which has also been erected the Confraternity of the Holy Guardian Angels. The Sisters of the Holy Cross is aggregated to the Order and, though autonomous, forms with it one spiritual family.
The holy angels are powerful spirits present among us, "sent to serve those who are to inherit salvation" (Heb 1:14). "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life" (CCC 336). Most Catholics know little about the holy angels except for the prayer, Angel of God, My Guardian Dear. Yet how much more progress we could make in our spiritual life if we looked more often to him who was given to us specifically as a "shepherd leading [us] to life"!
In an address to American pilgrims on October 3, 1958, Pope Pius XII reminded them that our lives are surrounded by the holy angels: "Each one of us, even the poorest of the poor, has angels watching over him. The angels are glorious, pure and splendid, but they have been given to us as companions along the way of life. They have the task of watching over you all, so that you do not stray away from Christ, your Lord."
At the end of the audience he admonished the faithful: "Have a familiar relationship with the angels, whose constant care is directed towards your salvation and holiness. God willing, you will spend an eternity of joy with the angels; learn to get to know them now!"
Pope John Paul II gave six Catechesis on the angels at St. Peter's Square in Rome. In his second talk he stated: "The Church believes that she renders a great service to man when she proposes sincerely the totality of the truth about God, the Creator, and also about the angels" (General Audience, August 6, 1986).
Through retreats and parish missions, the priests of the Opus Angelorum lead the faithful to a more conscious collaboration with the holy angels in daily life for their own personal sanctification, the salvation of souls and the sanctification of priests.
By Thanksgiving, the priests finally completed their season of retreats and missions. Fr. Wolfgang was then invited to accompany a pilgrimage to Guadalupe in November, which was a tremendous grace!
In October we had a very blessed visit from a friend of the community, Bishop Richard Spencer, auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. He celebrated Mass and had lunch with the community in the Sisters' convent. We enjoyed a lively conversation of the Church and recent events.
For the Feast of All Saints, some of the Brothers and Sisters travelled to Pittsburgh for a Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC. Bishop Schneider is a member of the Order who was nominated as auxiliary Bishop for Kazakhstan. He now serves in Astana, Kazakhstan. He recently published the book, Christus Vincit, which is receiving national attention.
In his review of the book, Scott Hahn wrote: "St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus ('the Little Flower') said that humility is courage for the truth, and courage to serve. Bishop Schneider is a humble and heroic witness to the truth, and a courageous servant. His love for Christ and the Church is strong and deep and heartfelt, like St. Paul's (Gal. 2:11–20). To the various questions regarding the crises we face (relativism, secularism, modernism, indifferentism), he responds as a faithful pastor and a perspicacious theologian. I found myself inspired and challenged."
The landscaping design of the Sisters' convent was generously donated by a company in Columbus. A group of generous and hard-working volunteers joined Sr. Maria Helena for a labor intensive day of digging and planting all the shrubs and trees. A few days later, with the help of our Brothers, others spread all the rocks around the plants. We pray that God may reward them all - it turned out so beautiful!
In August we said good-bye to Sr. Maria Luisa, who returned to our house in the Philippines. In her place, Sr. Maria Stella arrived and is enthusiastically learning the ropes in the office! We pray for both as they begin their new mission.
On this joyful occasion, we want to share a little of the history of the Sisters with you. As mentioned above, the first Sisters were lay women who joined priests and other lay persons in a group gathered around Mother Gabriel already in the 1950's in order to live a closer bond with the Holy Angels in their role in the economy of salvation, and to spiritually assist priests in their vocation. The first canonical institution of OA to be erected in the Church was the Confraternity of the Holy Guardian Angels in 1961 in the diocese of Innsbruck, Austria—many of you are already members of the US branch of this Confraternity! When the priests came to live together in a "House for Priests" at the castle St. Petersberg with the intention of beginning a new religious Order, the Sisters received a house in the neighboring diocese of Salzburg, which they named the "House of Adoration". There they held their first novitiate for a newly formed "pious union", which was erected on the feast of the Assumption, 1964. The community of the Sisters quickly spread to other countries, including Germany, Portugal, Brazil and Switzerland. They were erected in the Diocese of Innsbruck as a diocesan Institute in 2002. Today, they are present and active in 10 countries with 180 Sisters.
Beginning from their own total surrender to God, seeking the glorification of the Triune God through a life in imitation of Christ and of sharing in His salvific mission, the Sisters devote themselves by prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, sacrifice and service, to the sanctification of the priesthood and religious state. They are particularly devoted to the Passion of Christ, which they commemorate weekly. They live their life in communion with the Holy Angels, consecrating themselves to them and collaborating with them in the spiritual battle for souls. The Sisters are aggregated to the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, share the same spirituality, and assist the priests in the apostolate, Opus Angelorum.
The Sisters first came to the US in 1998 and lived for over 15 years at an inner-city parish in Detroit, Assumption Grotto, through the generosity of the pastor, Fr. Edward Perrone. In 2015, they moved to a residential home in Ohio, as they await the completion of their convent—hopefully by early Fall!
"There is an appointed time for everything...a time to plant, and a time to harvest" (cf. Eccl. 3:1-3). Yes, we seem to be in the midst of all this around here of late. Even while we are planting grass seed around the newly finished Sisters' convent to reintegrate it into the natural setting, we are scraping away the topsoil from the new site on the opposite hilltop so that we can begin to build St. Gabriel Monastery on a foundation of stone.
On August 25th, we held a simple ceremony to bless the building site with holy water and a relic of the true Cross, as we pray that God may complete the work He has begun, and for the protection of all our workers, the architects and our project manager. Having already laid the access road, storm drains and electrical wiring, we hope to be able to get the foundation, walls and roofing in before winter sets in, so that work may continue inside during the cold months, provided the funds are available.
Unfortunately, it seems that construction costs have risen some 10-20% since the construction of the Convent. A stronger economy has this downside for those budgeting construction, in this economically depressed part of the state. (St. Gabriel's Monastery is situated on the western fringe of the Appalachian mountains, perhaps 20 miles from the Ohio River.) Although we were able to keep the Convent within 5% of the budget, we have already had to raise the budget for the Monastery due to higher construction costs.
We therefore ask you to consider a generous donation to help us meet these costs. The Monastery will also include a larger Chapel for larger Opus Angelorum events, and will therefore cost more than the Convent. Just so you have an idea, the Convent cost $2.1 million (already paid—thank you!), while our budget for the monastery is now $3.3 million. So please consider a generous donation today, or if possible, even a monthly subscription to keep us on our building schedule!May God reward you all for your continued support of the Order, the Sisters, the OA apostolate and our Building Project! We keep you and all your intentions in our daily prayers, as one spiritual family in the Lord, with our "elder Brothers", the Holy Angels. May St. Joseph, the holy Housefather in the Work of the Holy Angels, watch over all your needs, both spiritual and material. May God bless you and your families!
Please visit link to view the items needed for the Sisters' Convent of St. Gabriel Building Project. We are a 501(c)3. All donations are tax deductible. Please include your name and address and we will send a donation acknowledgement. May God reward you!
We want to thank all our members and friends for your support and invite you to keep in touch, participating in retreats or missions if possible, or ordering the CD's (by mail, telephone or online) to grow in the spirituality and learn more about living in union with your Guardian Angel!
Our communities, the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross and the Sisters of the Holy Cross, ask for your prayers and donations for the future home of the Work of the Holy Angels in Carrollton, Ohio