Mother Nadine's resignation comes after a visitation of Intercessors of the Lamb, initiated by Archbishop Lucas. The findings, conducted by a Canon Law Professor from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, indicated that re-structuring and new leadership was needed to move the group forward. Among concerns raised were discord within the group, widespread dissatisfaction with leadership, reservation of the Eucharist, management of temporal goods and an inability of group members to articulate the Intercessors' charism.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On September 30, 2010 Mother Nadine Brown, foundress and general director of the Association of the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb submitted her resignation to Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Upon accepting her letter, the Archbishop appointed Rev. Gregory Baxter, pastor of Saint Margaret Mary parish, as the Association's trustee.
The Association, described as a contemplative, intercessory, and mixed (lay men, women, and clerics) association of hermits, was first recognized as a private association of Christian faithful by Archbishop Daniel Sheehan in 1992 and then as a public association of Christian faithful by Archbishop Elden Curtiss in 1998.
Brown's resignation came following a visitation of the Intercessors initiated in May, 2010. The Archbishop, who was installed in July 2009, received a request thereafter from the foundress to move the association to the next canonical level.
Knowing very little about the group, he retained Rev. James J. Conn, SJ, JD, JCD, a canon law professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, to the first phase of the canonical visitation last summer before returning to Rome. In accordance with the Intercessors' statutes and the Code of Canon Law of the Church, Father Conn reviewed their governing structure and financial records as well as the doctrinal, spiritual and moral facets of the group.
When asked by the Catholic News Agency about the specifics findings of the visitation, Deacon McNeil, Chancellor and Communications Director for the Archdiocese, stated, "We learned some things that were kind of alarming," going on to explain that "they were not ready to make the next step."
He told CNA that the findings included, "discord within the group, widespread dissatisfaction with current leadership, reservation of the Eucharist in a way that is not provided by ecclesiastical law," poor "management of temporal goods" and an inability of group members to articulate the Intercessors' charism.
He also noted that in order for the Intercessors to move forward in canonical status "it would have to be under the leadership of another individual."
McNeil said that, for this reason, Archbishop Lucas had asked Mother Nadine to resign and she agreed.
In a press release located on the homepages of both Intercessors of the Lamb and the Archodiocese, Archbishop Lucas stated, "Father Conn's preliminary findings, as well as Father Baxter's appointment as trustee, will help chart a course forward for the community,"
Archbishop Lucas said, "I'm grateful for Father Conn's good work, and I have full confidence in Father Baxter's ability to guide the visitation to a successful conclusion."
The press release went on to report that "Baxter's appointment as trustee took effect September 30. The appointment is for an indefinite period of time. Lucas and Baxter met with association members October 1 to discuss Baxter's responsibilities as trustee and take questions from community members."
"Baxter, who has an advanced degree in spirituality from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, will remain pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish. He has held key archdiocesan leadership positions, including moderator of the curia, chancellor, and director of vocations."
Prior to founding the Intercessors for the Lamb in 1980, Mother Nadine Brown was a member of the Sisters of the Cross (now the Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd) in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has been a popular speaker for many years, particularly in Charismatic circles. The author of numerous books and tapes, her summer conferences in Omaha draw thousands of pilgrims.
Intercessors for the Lamb had become a focal point in recent years by some both inside and outside the Church. Mother Nadine and the Intercessors have had a strong influence on many within the Church through conferences, recordings and books. Some have wondered out loud and on the internet about the faithfulness of their teachings to the Magisterium. Others have even been concerned that the group had developed cult-like behavior.
In 2004, neighbors to their property in Ponca Hills opposed their plans to build four group homes, a chapel and 18 hermitages. In addition to traffic congestion and environmental concerns, many had questions about the group that seemed to have an air of mystery, even wondering about their white robes and teal scapulars.
It is interesting that just prior to the resignation, the domain name www.intercessorsofthelamb.org, the home of "Intercessors Of The Lamb, A blog dedicated to understanding the Intercessors of the Lamb organization," is now for sale. The site seemingly has only been active since January, 2010.
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