Wednesday, October 03, 2007
There, But By the Grace of God.....
We have a lot to discuss from our readers from our last post, but I'm afraid I have to pause momentarily to make sure everyone understands that every time you read an article about three nuns living in a house together it doesn't mean it's Sister Mary Fiacre, Sister St. Aloysius and I.
So when you read that the Santa Barbara nuns get to stay in Santa Barbara and continue their work there (although the house in which they now reside is still being sold by the Archdiocese), it's not us. We're are in no danger of losing our house to anything but termites. (Or a good stiff wind.)
And although I've had my Andy of Mayberry moments with Sister St. Aloysius, when I say I'd go to the mat for her, please don't confuse us with these three nuns:
A CONVENT in southern Italy is being shut down after a quarrel among its last three remaining nuns ended in blows.
Sisters Annamaria and Gianbattista, reportedly upset about their mother superior's authoritarian ways, scratched her in the face and threw her to the ground at Santa Clara convent near Bari in an incident in July that was kept quiet until now.
Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri tried to reconcile the nuns but finally decided in late August that they had "clearly lost their religious vocation'' and asked the Vatican for permission to close the convent.
Sisters Annamaria and Gianbattista moved to another convent, but Sister Liliana barricaded herself inside, refusing to leave, the reports said.
She suspected Bishop Battista Pichierri of planning to cede the convent to another community.
Liliana had been at the convent since its founding in 1963.
You know, it could be that Sister Liliana had it coming.
But if you ever read the real story of St. Bernadette of Lourdes and what went on between her and her Mother Superior, you wouldn't be surprised to hear that Bernadette at least stuck her foot out to trip her dear superior...just once.
I'm still joking.
A lot of the other nuns around St. Bernadette might have cheered and brought popcorn.
Joking aside, St. Bernadette was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I heard the story this afternoon on the radio. I've always loved the movie, "Song of Bernadette", but I didn't realize that the end of the movie is high fiction for years to come. In the film, Bernadette has a nemesis nun there in the convent, who doesn't believe that Bernadette saw the Blessed Mother and she picks on Bernadette mercilessly.
Now, that's par for the course in the convent. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. And helps us to embrace humility and obedience. It's a good thing.
In real life, Bernadette's superior was so brutal that she shocked everyone who witnessed what was going on, especially the novices who were new to the process anyhow. St. Bernadette always told them to calm down. She could handle it.
It didn't kill her, either. It made her unbelievably strong and humble and obedient.
So in the movie the nemesis nun is always accusing Bernadette of playing sick to get attention. Bernadette was very sick her whole life. The nemesis nun catches Bernadette limping and accuses her of doing it for attention once again when everyone discovers that Bernadette, who is trying NOT to limp, has an ulcerated leg bone, or some such horrifically painful thing that would have had a normal person screaming in agony. The nemesis nun has a complete epiphany. She confesses that she has in fact been jealous of Bernadette. The nemesis nun has slaved her whole life to be good and perfect and obedient and humble and here comes this dumb bunny of a girl who barely knows her Catechism and gets a private visit from the Virgin Mary. Actually, quite a number of private visits! The former nemesis nun spends the rest of Bernadette's life carrying her around and slaving for her and the like.
That's the highly fictitious part. The epiphany and the carrying. In real life Bernadette's superior was completely disgusted with her, never had a good word to say about her, never went anywhere near her when Bernadette was ill. Bernadette was so ill for so long that she finally did resort to screaming. Her superior stayed away. She never attended Bernadette's funeral and asked that Bernadette not be mentioned around her anymore.
Still, no one scratched her eyes out or threw her to the floor.
Poor Sister Lilliana. She was just doing her job.
Now, if you read some nuns have been attacked by bees, smothered in Morning Glories, arrested at a fabric store or a bank, drowned in sewage, or forever lost inside a Home Depot, you might be reading about us.