Validly Ordained Roman Catholic Nun Is Dismissed From Her Order
On the right in both pictures is Rev. Tish Rawles,ARCWP of Cincinatti,Ohio, and also a religious Sister of the Precious Blood Community, as she recently assisted in worship with the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and Pastors Judy Lee, RCWP and Judy Beaumont, RCWP in Fort Myers, Florida.
Although we, Pastors Judy Lee and Beaumont, are not in the same group as Sister Tish in the RCWP Movement, we met at an ordination and became fast friends with this gentle woman who loved her Sisters, and her beloved animals and had thoughts of becoming a priest. Her abilities in sharing love and caring far surpassed her pressing disabilities and infirmities, though the latter were quite serious. Sister Tish was ordained in April of 2015 and served those around her in her Assisted Living Facility. She also cared for the many abandoned cats outside of the facility. As a vacation gift we invited her to Florida for a visit and she graced our home and church community with her presence from 10/2-10/7. . Upon her return she immediately learned that someone at a local religious Conference had told her Superior that she was an ordained priest. She had held this in secret not wanting to be separated from the Order where she served faithfully with her Sisters for 47 years. Below is an account of what happened quickly after it was known that she had been validly ordained. This kind of rejection should happen to no one, and especially not to such a good and faithful servant. But that is what happens when one lives with inspiration and follows conscience. May there be a public outcry directed at a rejecting church and rejecting community who follow the letter of the law but not the spirit of LOVE. We understand that the Community could suffer if they supported Sister Tish, and this is a difficult position to be in, but we expect nothing less from people of conscience and Christ-consciousness, like Sister Rev. Tish Rawles.
Nun working as priest fights excommunication Updated: Wed, Oct 28 2015, 05:51 AM CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy)
— A retired Catholic nun who has been operating as a priest in secret was kicked out of her religious order and excommunicated after she was questioned about her activities. Sister Tish Rawles has dreamed of being a priest since she was in the fourth grade. “When I first started going to Catholic school I couldn’t understand why it was only men on the altar. I couldn’t understand why there weren’t girls up there too, serving,” Rawles said. She responded to her calling by serving as a nun for 47 years but she always wanted more. “I needed to respond to the workings of the Spirit. I needed to follow my conscience what we call Primacy of Conscience,” Rawles said. Rawles wrestled with her decision to become ordained. She suffers from MS and end-stage liver disease. She also worried her decision would hurt her community, the Sisters of the Precious Blood.
In April, Rawles was ordained a Catholic priest by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The group said its ordinations are valid because the first women bishops were ordained by a male Roman Catholic bishop with apostolic succession. The group preaches about inclusivity and welcomes members of the LGBTQ community. “All are welcome. All are accepted. No one is turned away from our tables.” Rawles preached in secret – also known as catacomb status – until last week. She was questioned by the head of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. She was notified that she was no longer a member of the community and excommunicated. Rawles said she and the other women priests want to force change in the Church. “We feel that we are not leaving the Church. We are leading the Church,” Rawles said. She and the other priests are appealing to Pope Francis to remove the excommunication from the women who’ve been ordained priests during the upcoming Year of Mercy. “Jesus would not excommunicated anybody. Jesus welcomes all with open arms… There’s no reason a person can’t be a nun and a priest at the same time.” Pope Francis has said he’d like to see women have a greater role in the Catholic Church but he has not said that he would be open to women becoming priests. Sister Joyce Lehman of the Sisters of the Precious Blood said Rawles excommunicated herself by her actions. Sister Lehman said she was surprised that Rawles had been acting as a priest. “If we’re going to be Catholic sisters then we will be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Lehman said.