Called to live the life of solitary prayer a hermit chooses a quiet Piedmont location

Immaculate Heart Hermitage is a new home for Sr. Mary Catherine Jacobs who will reside in the Diocese of Rapid City as a hermit.

Originally from Ralph, she entered religious life at age 18 at the Carmel of Mary Monastery at Wahpeton, N.D. It is a cloistered contemplative order with a devotion to imitating the Blessed Mother.

“Mary is very much a part of my life,” she said. “Every grace I received came to me through her hands.”

The monastery in N. D. was founded in 1954, the Marian year. “I was there 30 years and began to know the eremitical calling (to become a hermit) around 1986. Vatican II talked about going back to your roots so I felt very strongly that I was being called back to what we lived in the origin of the order.

“Reading the Holy Father’s encyclical on “Rich in Mercy,” St. John Paul II speaks of conversion to the father as an experience of knowing the trinity dwells in every soul.

“I felt called to a life of prayer. You can reach into everybody’s heart by prayer,” said Sr. Mary Catherine.

She first explored the hermetic life in Chester, New Jersey. She also lived in communities in Texas and a new community starting in Brazil. After much contemplation she discerned her calling was to live not in community, but as a solitary hermit.

She talked to Fr. Dan Juelfs, who used to be a neighbor at Ralph. He said he would speak with Bishop Robert Gruss. After interviewing her last fall and reviewing her references, the bishop gave his consent for establishing a hermitage. This is new to the diocese, so the Handbook for Hermetic Life was adapted from the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. The bishop appointed Fr. Leo Hausmann, director of Eremitic Life. Fr. Mark McCormick is her spiritual director.

“My hermitage is not a place where I get away, it’s where I meet the whole world in prayer and in Christ, because Christ prays for everyone. It’s almost like an infinite vocation — not limited to time or space, nobody is excluded. The whole world is in there from the beginning of creation until the end because God is there,” said Sr. Mary Catherine.

“We are each individuals and are to have a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord. The hermit is to be an icon of the time we are to be personally relating to the Lord,” she said. “I live in silence and solitude and that is to some degree everybody’s calling. The hermit is to be an intercessor, to let Christ pray his prayer through her, that’s what we all seek.”

She will make her temporal eremitic vows at 11 a.m. Mass on June 29 at Our Lady of the Black Hills, Piedmont. She attends daily Mass there and at St. Martin Monastery. The church has a box set up for prayer requests and prayer requests can be sent to her at

According to diocesan policy, hermits residing in the Diocese of Rapid City are required to be self-supporting. Sr. Mary Catherine partially supports herself by painting and selling icons and painting artwork for Christmas and Easter cards, bookmarks and holy cards. To view her artwork for sale, go to Land of Carmel Art Inspirations at She also sews Mass linens for the Carmelites in Wahpeton in order to bring in money.

Immaculate Heart Hermitage has been established by Sr. Mary Catherine as a non-profit organization in the State of South Dakota with a board of trustees so that she can receive donations to help support herself and her ministry. For anyone who would like to inquire about how they can support her ministry, please contact her at

To the devil even moderately faithful Catholics stink

Ghosts, the devil and witchcraft — topics Catholics should be aware of, were the subjects of a lecture open to the public given by Fr. Dennis McManus, an exorcist. He spoke May 24 at Terra Sancta, Rapid City. He was in the Diocese of Rapid City to address the clergy at their annual Clergy Convocation.

Father McManus began by explaining ghosts are essentially souls of humans separated from their bodies after or near death. “Our nation has a thing about magic, witchcraft and ghosts,” he said. “All together there are 32 shows on television about ghosts, zombies, dead people or (demonic) possession.”

He commended Pope Francis for talking frequently about the devil. “What he wants us to know as Catholics is that the devil is a real individual. The devil’s biggest trick in the modern world is to fool us and make us think he doesn’t really exist,” said Father McManus. “If you don’t believe in the devil, you pretty much are a sitting duck for him to be able to do with you what he wants. If we are aware of things we are less likely to be manipulated or fooled by them.”

He cautioned the audience not to be “all jittery sitting home and worrying the devil is going to come visit.” According to McManus, “The devil is not God. He doesn’t have God’s powers. You are a baptized person, (if) you live even a modest Catholic life, go to church occasionally and say your prayers, you stink to the devil. The devil doesn’t hang around Catholics or Protestants or Jews who love God.”

Since the Civil War, the south is full of haunted houses below the Mason Dixon line. “The first thing we have to think about is ghosts are not demons or devils. Ghosts are the souls of the faithful departed whom God has allowed to be in touch with us who are still alive — usually in the place where they lived or died, or did something wrong. Ghosts ask for help to make things right, for the forgiveness of sins,” he said. “Almost all cases of hauntings resolve themselves once a priest has come and said Mass in the place where the ghost was.

“When Mass is offered just for the soul of that one person, they are set free, and off they go to paradise because Mass is the great sacrifice of Jesus himself. Our salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus.”

Father McManus gave several examples of ghosts in the Bible. In the Gospels, when the apostles see Jesus walking on the water they think he is a ghost. After the resurrection, when Jesus appears in the upper room, again they think he is a ghost. He challenges them by asking Thomas to touch his wounds and wanting something to eat.

“Ghosts for the Jews had only one purpose — to get revenge. The apostles are screaming and afraid. They figure Jesus is angry with them and has come back to get even,” said McManus referring to the betrayal by Judas and Peter denying he knows the Lord. On the day of the resurrection, 500 ghosts rose from the dead and walked through Jerusalem.

“God needed the Jews to see Jesus sets the dead free,” he said.

“How many times in your life have you lost someone, a husband, a wife, God forbid a child, brother or sister, and you have dreamt of them?” he asked. “Occasionally we have seen them especially at the time of their death. They come to say goodbye and to ask for prayers.”

Using his nickname for the devil, he said, “Old Red Legs has nothing to do with ghosts. He can’t get his hands on ghosts even if he tried because ghosts are already in purgatory — on their way to heaven. God allows them to ask the church for help in this entrance to heaven. There are a million entrances into the dark kingdom and only one into heaven.”

Father McManus recounted the story of two high school girls who brought him a Ouija board they had been using for a year. The planchette was starting to move on it’s own without their hands. When he recommended they quit using it, the girls refused saying they used it to learn “secret stuff.” They were addicted to the flow of information and couldn’t stop. He offered to fix it for them and got out a hammer and smashed it. They protested.

“It won’t bother you again,” he said. “What I wrecked is your dependency. I’m warning you whatever moves something by itself is no friend.”

He continued his talk discussing witchcraft, which is prevalent in many cultures.

“In my part of the world, in Mobile, Ala., it’s voodoo. To get even with somebody, go to a voodoo witch — ‘that guy cheated me out of money,’ ‘that man took away my son,’ ‘that woman wrecked my marriage …’”

Bishops will call him, all shook up, when churches are vandalized. He explains that is a rite of passage for a coven. Father McManus said the number of covens is growing attended by white American lawyers, doctors, ministers, professors and businessmen worshiping Satan. “There are now more covens than there are parish churches, convents, schools and clinics put together,” he said. “They promise you whatever you like — drugs, sex, booze, money, jobs, position, anything. It’s all on condition that you do what you are asked to do at a future date.” That could include theft or murder.

The exorcist concluded with possession. It occurs when a human consents to form a long-term relationship with a demon.

Exorcism puts an end to the relationships between demons and humans. The person has to reject, renounce and rebuke what ever it is they are supplying.

“Then the power of Jesus can come in and break the bonds,” he said. “If you go to hell it was your choice. God will use any little scrap of our life to make sure we won’t go to hell.”



Fr. Mark’s Musings

Holy Spirit Novena

A Novena to the Holy Spirit is offered online by the TransCanada Province of the Spiritans by clicking here.

The Holy Spirit is the unseen moving force of God in the world — unseen but not unheard. It was the Holy Spirit who inspired the prophets of the Old Testament to lead the people to God. It was the Holy Spirit who inspired the evangelists to write the Gospels and Epistles. It is today the Holy Spirit who guides the faithful: “and I will send the Holy Spirit to inspire you.”

Spiritans are happy to offer you this novena, to be prayed May 26-June 3,  so that you may pray to and invoke the Holy Spirit daily for the seven gifts: Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, and Wonder and Awe.

Prayer of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, before ascending into heaven you promised to send the Holy Spirit to finish your work in the souls of your Apostles and Disciples. Grant that I may be open to the work of that same Spirit within me.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom
that I may not be attached to the perishable things of this world but seek the things that are eternal.

Grant me the Spirit of Understanding
to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth.

Grant me the Spirit of Right Judgment
that I may choose the surest way of pleasing God.

Grant me the Spirit of Courage
that I may bear my cross with you and that I may overcome all the obstacles that oppose my salvation.

Grant me the Spirit of Knowledge
that I may know God and know myself.

Grant me the Spirit of Reverence
that I may find the service of God sweet and attractive.

Grant me the Spirit of Wonder and Awe
that I may be filled with loving reverence towards God and may avoid anything that would displease him.

Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of your true disciples and animate me in all things with your Spirit

Rapid City guild of Catholic Medical Association begins meeting

Pictured: The Sacred Heart of Jesus Guild of the Catholic Medical Association of the
Diocese of Rapid CityPresident George Ceremuga, II;


In the early 20th century, prior to American Catholics’ integration into the mainstream of culture and institutions in the United States, in Boston, Mass., the Catholic Medical Association was formed. It strengthened physicians in their faith, organizing them in local guilds to support one another and the church.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Guild of the Catholic Medical Association of the Diocese of Rapid City has applied to become a chartered guild of the National Catholic Medical Association. It obtained provisional status as of February 4. In the last few months the guild has met the association requirements to be an officially chartered guild and the application is currently at the National CMA board of directors for approval.

At the present time there are more than 100 chartered guilds and 25 student chapters of the CMA. Guilds are organized at the level of a parish, city, or diocese. Local guilds are organized in 11 regions of the country and one military district, each supported by two regional directors.

Board of director members include: Chaplain Bishop Robert Gruss; President George Ceremuga, II; and Vice President Rommel Brandt. The Diocesan Chief Finance Officer, Rick Soulek, will serve as treasurer and the Director of Family Life Ministries, Amy Julian, will serve as secretary.

The membership welcomes physicians, healthcare professionals, clergy, students and all persons interested in integrating Catholic principles into health care. To date there are 12 charter members in the Rapid City guild according to President Ceremuga. The goal of the CMA is to help the members to grow in faith, maintain ethical integrity and provide excellent healthcare in accordance with the teachings of the church. With the landscape of medical ethical issues changing so swiftly, this mission is more important than ever.

“Our guild will be active in educating the community on pro-life medical issues and preparing for the social challenges

regarding end of life care and the prescription of medical marijuana that is sweeping the nation,” he said.

Membership benefits include spiritual and professional support; subscriptions to The Linacre Quarterly and The Pulse of Catholic Medicine Magazine; educational opportunities and networking; email updates and action alerts; discounted registration to the CMA Annual Conference.

Projected monthly meeting times are Saturday mornings at Catholic Social Services. Please see the web address below for the membership categories and the fee structure.

For information, please contact Ceremuga at 605-430-4843, george@dr, or Dan Petereit at 605-390-1154.

Traveling Fatima statue scheduled for diocesan visit

The World Apostolate of Fatima’s U.S. Tour for Peace, marking the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal, is coming to the Diocese of Rapid City. The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue has been taken to more than 100 countries. The tour, sponsored by the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA (The Blue Army), launched from the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ, March 20-21, 2016, to coincide with the start of the centenary celebrations at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal where Pope Francis is expected to visit in May. The statue will travel to parishes, schools, military chapels, and other venues along the tour, with programming to include Masses, confession, talks on Fatima, holy hours, adoration, rosaries and private veneration.

The statue was sculpted in 1947 by José Thedim reflecting the precise instructions of Sister Lucia (the surviving seer at Fatima). Her desire was that the pilgrim image represent Our Lady’s position when she revealed herself as the Immaculate Heart to the Shepherds in 1917.

The schedule for the visit to the Diocese of Rapid City is as follows:

June 7

Timber Lake, Holy Cross

7:15 am Mass follow by adoration, presentation by caretaker, Rosary, Litany, private prayer
11:00 am — Benediction, lunch

Spearfish, St. Joseph

5 pm —  Procession
5:15 pm — Mass
6-9 pm —  Exposition
9:00 pm Benediction, presentation by caretaker, prayer

June 8

Custer, St. John

8:30 am — Procession
8:40 am — Rosary
9 am — Exposition and veneration of the statue
9:55 am — Benediction
10 am — Presentation by caretaker: Q/A
11 am — Mass
Noon — Luncheon (please bring a dish to share)

Rapid City, Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

4 pm — Opening Social
5:30 pm — Procession and Mass, Bishop Robert Gruss presiding
7 pm–7 am — All-night vigil with prayer and presentation by caretaker
June 9, 7 am — Closing Mass at cathedral

June 9

Wall, St. Patrick

10 am — Procession
10:15 am – Mass
10:45 am — Exposition, presentation by caretaker, Rosary, time for personal veneration, opportunity for confession, and prayer
12:45 pm — Benediction
1 pm — Lunch in the Hall

Presho, Christ the King

7 pm — Procession
7:15 pm — Mass
7:45 pm — Holy Hour, presentation by caretaker, reconciliation, Rosary
8:45pm — Benediction

Contact the Office of Stewardship and Vocations, 605-716-5214 ext. 233, for more information.