Loading
Despite threat, lawyer thinks Miami nuns can continue outreach
By Hillary Senour
Notice of Violation from the city of Miami to the Missionaries of Charity in Miami.
Notice of Violation from the city of Miami to the Missionaries of Charity in Miami.

.- After the City of Miami issued a violation to the Missionaries of Charity for “operating a business without a license,” a lawyer providing legal support said he is confident the city will withdraw the notice.

“The city has full knowledge” of the sisters' work and has given them “numerous approvals over the years,” attorney Tom Equels told CNA April 4.  

“Sometimes they forget so I’m going to do my best to remind them.”

On March 20, inspector Cornellius Pierre of the City of Miami issued a notice of violation to the “Missionaries of Charity, Inc.” for “failure to obtain a valid certificate of use for the type of business being conducted.”

The notice stated that if the “violation” was not corrected by April 1, the sisters would face fines of up to $100 a day for each day the “violation” went uncorrected.

“It’s hard to say what the equivalent is, but picking on these humble nuns is a mistake,” he said.

The Missionaries of Charity have been ministering to the area’s poorest of the poor since 1980 when Mother Teresa established a branch of her community in Miami, Fla.

“At the time,” Equels, who had just graduated from law school and began serving as president of the Catholic lawyers’ guild for the Archdiocese of Miami, said, “it was an urban wasteland.”

The only buildings of “substance” in the area were the public hospital, Jackson Memorial, and the county jail.

Since then, the University of Miami Medical Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital have expanded operations and acquired more properties in the area.

“Now the fact that the property has, over these 30 years, become quite valuable doesn’t change the fact that there’s still a substantial homeless population in that area,” he said.

Three times a morning the sisters open their kitchen for those who need food to “come eat without restriction.” In the evening, the sisters operate a shelter for mothers and their children.

When Equels investigated the situation, he found that similar threats were made to the sisters in the past, but that they were all dismissed when the city verified that the shelter was indeed operating as a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor.

“Miami is a very Catholic city where people of all faiths and denominations have the greatest respect for the Sisters of Charity,” he explained, “and at the end of the day the people will not tolerate what is being done here to these holy nuns.”

Equels has supplied the documents verifying that the Missionaries of Charity have the right to use their building to serve food to the poor to the City and is confident the violation notice will be withdrawn.

The attorney sees his role in this situation as one of his duties “to defend convents” because he was named a Papal Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Benedict XVI.

“This probably falls under one of those ancient obligations of a Papal Knight that don’t get called upon anymore,” he said, “I personally am very honored to be able to help them because they give so much and do so much for this community for nothing.”

“When you see what they do and how they live you understand that there is a way for us to walk the path that Jesus set up for us at the very beginning,” he added.

Updated April 5, 2013, 02:01 MST: The City of Miami has withdrawn the notice of violation against the Missionaries of Charity.

Tags: Religious Sisters, Charity, Church legal battles


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: