The cast of dissenters:
- Catholic Sister Elaine Hirschenberger from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is Executive Director of a secular organization called Woman's Space (sic) in Rockford IL. If you go to the Womanspace website it's filled with somewhat innocuous events and ambiguous statements. They are, of course, "empowering" women and changing the world "one woman at a time." But are they transforming the world to be more Catholic? Hardly! According to the Rockford, IL Pro Life Corner "Christians began to realize something was deeply wrong with a place in Rockford called Woman’s Space (sic) when it was learned one of the founders and now Executive Director Sister Elaine Hirschenberger, presided at the funeral service for Kate Trainer, a longtime abortion advocate and employee of the notorious Rockford abortion mill." But there's more. Woman's Space likes to stage events featuring new age paganism. They regularly feature Wiccan high priestess Selena Fox as a speaker. They also feature all kinds of goofy, new-age classes like Daf-drumming, sacred chanting with Tibetan monks, Vipassana - an eastern meditation technique, walking the labyrinth, creating your own "travel altar" - a tradition of shamans and spirit guides, Reiki and massage, earth programs, summer solstice celebration, yoga, etc., etc. (October 2011 programs) (May-August 2013 programs) A "fairy festival" this month featuring all kinds of fun "magic" things for children to do including making a fairy crown and a wand to take home is a great way to introduce little girls into the new age world of grown up dissent. Sr. Hirshenberger is also supporting Pride Fest,
- Catholic Sister Dorothy Bock is a co-founder of Womanspace. She has publicly expressed her dissatisfaction with her faith. Last year in an interview with the Rockford Register Star, she was posed this question."What is the biggest challenge you have faced?" Here's how she answered. "I’m a member of the Catholic church, and right now some of the rules and regs are becoming rather narrow so I have to find my own religious freedom and use of my own conscience." So which "rules and regs" does she throw out? She doesn't say. But in view of the programs at Womanspace, it's pretty clear that she doesn't let Catholic doctrine get in the way of "following [her] conscience."
These two dissenters give an orchestra pit view of the problems among religious sisters being examined by the Vatican. Sr. Bock and Sr. Hirschenberger are School Sisters of St. Francis, an international order based in Milwaukee. Their order's mission is "to live the Good News of Jesus and witness to the presence of God as we enter into the lives and needs of people around the world, especially those who are poor." There's certainly no serving the poor at Womanspace with their multitude of new age programs for the modern woman. But that's another post.