Skip to content

Ave Maria University Ends Relationship with Order after Conduct Reports

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By Randy Sly
9/9/2010 (9 years ago)
Catholic Online (

The School was informed of immoral conduct that occured between a nun and a female student

The Hogar de la Madre Order has been asked to leave campus after a report was given the school by their governing body in Spain concerning an incident that occurred with a female student.

Sister Maria Elena is pictured at the left in the front row of this 2008 photo from The Ave Herald.

Sister Maria Elena is pictured at the left in the front row of this 2008 photo from The Ave Herald.


By Randy Sly
Catholic Online (
9/9/2010 (9 years ago)

Published in U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Students at Ave Maria University were in shock on Tuesday when they received word via email that allegations of an inappropriate relationship by a nun with a female student had been made. She was the superior for a sisterhood of nuns who worked in the discernment center for women at the school.

The nun, identified as Sister Maria Elena from the Hogar de la Madre Order, was summoned back to Spain by her governing body in March with no explanation given.

According to the campus email, Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice learned of the accusations against Sister Maria Elena and met with the president of Ave Maria University, Nicholas Healy and University Chancellor Tom Monaghan "to inform us of what had happened, and to provide guidance as to how to determine if there are other victims and help any student who might have been harmed."

"The decision to terminate the relationship was made after careful consideration and in consultation with Bishop Dewane and our Trustees," Healy wrote.

The president told CBS affiliate WINK, he was in "both shock and disbelief" about the incident, which involved a student who is still attending the school.

"We have no indication that there were any others. We are asking anyone to come forward who's been harmed in any way," Healy also said.

Sister Maria Elena has worked at the University for four years and, with her order, assisted young women in discerning their call to religious vocation. She also was a teacher at Donahue Academy, the primary school in the town of Ave Maria. While no indication was given of any problems at the academy and notice was sent to parents concerning the issue.

Hogar de la Madre, or Home of the Mother is not considered a religious order on the level of the Franciscans, Benedictines or others by the Vatican. The group, founded in 1982, is regarded as a "Public Association of Faithful," with approximately 100 sisters in 10 countires. They had two communities in the United States, the one at Ave Maria and another in Jacksonville. Now only the Jacksonville community remains.

According to an article on the website of the The Ave Herald, "The group has drawn both strong supporters and detractors in their time at Ave Maria, with some people admiring them for their evangelical fervor and others denouncing them as controlling and cult-like."

The Ave Herald is an independent online journal that covers the town of Ave Maria and occasionally  have stories about the university.  They also cover matters concerning the Quasi-Parish of Ave Maria Oratory.  It is published by a town resident.  They can be contacted through their web site,

The four additional nuns of the order have been asked to leave campus by the end of the week.


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK


More U.S.

Churches critical in fighting human trafficking, members of Congress told Watch

Image of Human trafficking

Faith-based groups play a critical role in the global fight against human trafficking - one which merits a closer partnership with the ... continue reading

Report: Around the world, 260 million Christians face persecution Watch

Image of

Christian persecution around the world is a growing problem, says a new report from an agency that documents abuses against Christians ... continue reading

Washington DC clears out homeless camp, breaking up community Watch

Image of Homeless

A homeless encampment in Washington, DC, was permanently dismantled on Thursday, in a move the city said was designed to better improve the ... continue reading

School threatens suspension for student's 'Virginity Rocks' sweatshirt Watch

Image of School

School administrators in Wentzville, Missouri, threatened to suspend a seventh grade student if he returned to school wearing a sweatshirt ... continue reading

Sisters of Life mark 100th birthday of founder, Cardinal O'Connor Watch

Image of Sisters of life

The Sisters of Life will celebrate the 100th birthday of their late founder, Cardinal John O'Connor, on Jan. 15 with an evening of prayer, ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.