By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The Archdiocese of Omaha has announced that the founder of the contemplative group known as the Intercessors of the Lamb has resigned her position as leader of the order.
The Catholic News Agency is reporting that Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha asked for and accepted the resignation of Sr. Nadine Brown on September 30 after a canonical visitation of the group produced “alarming” findings. A local pastor, Fr. Gregory Baxter, has been appointed trustee in the interim.
The Intercessors of the Lamb is a public association of the faithful comprised of lay and clerical hermits based in Omaha, Nebraska. It was started by Sr. Nadine, a former member of the Sisters of the Cross, now known as the Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd, of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Events leading up to the current situation began last year when when Sr. Nadine approached the newly installed Archbishop Lucas to request a move in the group’s status to the next canonical level.
This resulted in Archbishop Lucas assigning Fr. James Conn, a canon lawyer, to serve as his delegate in conducting a canonical visitation of the Intercessors.
Deacon Timothy McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese and director of communications, explained to CNA that it was during this visitation that “we learned some things that were kind of alarming” and that proved the group was not ready to make the next step.
Some of these 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,” as well as poor management of temporal goods and an inability of group members to articulate the Intercessors’ charism.
“The combination of all of these things resulted in the group needing a new leadership change,” the Deacon said.
For this reason, Archbishop Lucas asked Sr. Nadine to resign “and she agreed to it.”
In the interim, the Archbishop appointed Fr. Gregory Baxter, pastor of the local St. Margaret Mary parish, as trustee of the group.
In an Oct. 4 statement, the Archdiocese says that “Father Conn’s preliminary findings, as well as Father Baxter’s appointment as trustee, will help chart a course forward for the community. 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.”
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