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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Where There's Smoke



It's so lovely and cool here. It's because the smoke from all the fires is blocking out the sun. A metaphor for life in general.

More on saint making:
Supposing one prays to more than one Blessed and results in a miracle, how will it be attributed? I happen to have a family member who needs a miracle, and am not certain whether to confine my prayers to a particular Saint/Blessed, or call upon any and all available. Father Damien sounds very appropriate for our needs, though he already has his.

You have two options. Put all your eggs in one basket or cover some ground. If you're trying to help out with a cause for sainthood, you're really going to have to focus your effort, otherwise your proof of a miracle just won't work.

When we hear the stories of a saintly miracle, we generally hear the part where a person prayed to St. Soandso and his tumor melted. But in actuality, usually what has happened is that a whole bunch of people were praying to St. Soandso on Mr. Tumor's behalf.

You could get your whole bunch of people to spread out their prayers among a few 'Blesseds', but you would not be able to submit the resulting miracle, should it occur, to the Congregation because no one would know which saint had helped.

Out of the smoke, this question:
Sister, I hope you don't mind my asking a question here, but I have a saintly question of my own, regarding my favorite saint, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Do you know anything about Our Lady of the Airways? There is a Catholic chapel in Boston's Logan Airport (run by the Archdiocese, so I am assuming it's legit) with that name, and another in the Toronto area. I haven't been able to find anything about her on the Internet.

Our Lady has a gazillion names. At least one hundred. Besides her titles, such as Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Sorrowful Mother and on and on, there are her names from sightings: Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Our Lady of Guadalupe did not appear in Guadalupe, by the way. (The place is called Guadalupe now, but wasn't called Guadalupe for 300 years after the apparition.) Although there is an Our Lady of Guadalupe, it's not the Our Lady of Guadalupe that comes to mind. Like St. Philomena...the one that's still standing.

There is no "Our Lady of the Airways", so to speak. No sighting of Mary at an airport, helipad, airplane wing, airshow, runway or baggage claim. I think they just called the Boston airport chapel "Our Lady of the Airways" because a chapel named for Our Lady at an airport would make her Our Lady of the Airways. It sounds better than "Our Lady of the Airport" or "Our Lady of Logan".

I don't know what's going on in Toronto.

The priest who is in charge of Our Lady of the Airways at Logan Airport has some very interesting stories to tell. For one thing, he has to take his shoes off and put them back on about a hundred times a day.

And finally, out of the fire:
Sister, thank you for this post about vocations! My almost-7 year old daughter is talking about being a nun. I know things could change, she's so young, but they may not. She's not as mercurial as most. I was going to ask what kind of education one needs to become a nun. I know if you're going into a teaching or nursing order you need that school first, but what if you're a contemplative or cloistered order?

When I was seven years old I told my mother I wanted to be a nun during the day (I didn't know there was any kind of nuns but teachers, or any teachers who weren't nuns) and come home at night to my husband and family. I thought that's what the nuns did. The way things are going with nuns these days, my childhood dream may yet be realized.

Anyhow, that's what it's like to be seven years old. It's lovely that your daughter is thinking about a vocation, but she has no idea what a nun actually is. Really.

If only it were 1960, she wouldn't need any education past high school to go be a teacher. I'm not kidding. Now she'll have to get some kind of degree. Maybe not, if she's a missionary...not sure.

I'm also not sure if the contemplatives and cloisters actually require much education. I don't think they do. You have to have decent reading comprehension skills. That's because they spend a lot of time picking out one little sentence of scripture and thinking about it for hours and hours. That's what they do most of the day. Hence the term 'contemplative.'

But don't think they just take any dumb bunny. Just because you want to be a nun doesn't mean the nuns want you. Everyone seems to think you can just go be a nun. That has never been true. (Well, almost never. Galileo's daughters got in.) You have to fit into the community. You have to be subservient and obedient. You have to carry your weight. You have to have something to
offer.


And above all, you have to know what you're getting into. We'll love hearing from your daughter when she's 18. Will they take her if she has tattoos?

14 comments:

Heather said...

Actually, I have told her if she becomes a nun and marries Jesus, she won't have another husband. You're right, though, that she may not have a grip on that. :)

I'll try to keep her out of the tattoo parlor, in any case.

Moniales said...

We don't require much higher education but we do require intelligence, the ability and desire to learn and an education that covers the basics, a certain amount of culture, and a solid religious foundation.

At least Dominicans do.

And we have our own Sr. Mary Martha now! :-)

Maria said...

Sister Mary Martha,

You used a picture of my beloved image of the Virgin Mary, "La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Peace". She's the oldest Marian statue in the US and last month my hometown had its annual novena in her honor, which is also the oldest Marian devotion in the US. It's really a beautiful experience and the whole history of the statue is pretty amazing. It was a nice surprise to see in your blog. (I spent most of last month posting about it, there are also links and other info. posted there too for those readers who are unfamiliar with it.)

Maria

Maria said...

Adding to my last comment, the image of the Virgin Mary in the picture is in Santa Fe, NM.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that tattoo is awful!

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

Re: Married to Jesus: I have a friend whose daughter used to say (when she was five or so) that she'd be a nun and marry Jesus and live next door to Mommy and Daddy and all their kids (hers & Jesus' and Mommy and Daddy's) would play together. :)

Re: Nun by Day...: My daughter (just seven on Monday) has mentioned that she might be a nun when she grows up. (She's discussed it for a couple years now, and we encourage her to discern if that's God's plan.) She told us once that she'd be an ice-skater during the week and a nun on the weekends. Now she's kind of thinking that the teaching orders are nice (thanks, EWTN!), but she is scared of cloisters - still wants to see Mommy and Daddy every day for the rest of her life. My older daughter (ten in October) has said that she will "never be a nun!", which made us laugh and say, "Oh, you did it now! God's picking YOU!" She has admitted that she might be called, too, but doesn't want to go a day without seeing me. (Awww...homeschooling has such sweet rewards!) I try to help them see that not all nuns are cloistered, but their biggest exposure to nuns is, naturally, Mother Angelica and the Poor Clares in Alabama. Here in SW Virginia I THINK we have nuns, but they are without habits, so they are all incognito, and we never know if we've met one or not.

Maybe we can make pilgrimages to visit monasteries and convents sometimes, but we honestly have no idea where to start ... Sister, maybe you can make a post about convents to visit - especially ones with nuns in habits! ;)

Anonymous said...

By the age of 8 my daughter knew she wanted to be a vet. We lived the rural life and had alot of animals so this was natural for her. She is now entering her junior year of college as a pre-vet student. She has tunnel vision in this. She recently met a young man and before agreeing to date him said nothing is going to stop her from being a vet.
My point is, 7 isn't too young to have a direction.
I encourage you to talk positively about this 'career choice'. Give her all the background you can.
She is too young to realize in a few years she is going to WANT to seperate from you so don't even go there.
An education is key to everything. A solid base in reading, writing and math is essential. The recent emphasis on writing skills comes from too many students entering college unable to communicate effectively. Social skills are also on a decline.
As always parent with prayer.

Heather said...

Christine--
We're homeschooling, too. :)
And we're blessed in our area. We have a parish not far away with an actual convent and nuns in habits. I'm not sure what order; we'll have to visit them again for Mass.
And I think--not sure--we have another that's discalced Carmelites.

But a tour of monasteries would be neat!

Mary Ellen said...

Though some kids change vocations every other day, I've noticed over the years that some kids really are called to a particular walk of life in their early years and end up doing it in the end(after those pre-pubescent wanderings). Where we go wrong, as parents and grandparents sometimes, is not taking their earliest inklings seriously and encouraging them. Sometimes they are just babbling. Sometimes they are recognizing the inspiration that little ones are more open to than we. I pray for your daughter.....and you, that she and you will know for sure by the time it's time.

RadioPie said...

*As if at a rock concert*
Woooo!!!
Toronto!!!
Yeah!

Real Catholic Men said...

Thank you for your ministry and enthusiasm... and for your comment on my site. Please pray for me and my family. Transitions are tough - but beautiful.

David (Real Catholic Men)

i am very mary said...

How have I been successfully surviving without reading your blog? Holy Nuns, Batman, I've been missing out.

Anonymous said...

Virginia has habited Benedictine nuns- just google Benedictines and you'll see them. Actually there may even be more than one.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Our Lady of the Airways is a "regular" parish near (not in) the Toronto airport.

As a six-year-old, I wanted to be a teacher and guess what? More than fifty years later, I'm a teacher.

Also, I think that technically, a "nun" is cloistered. A "sister" may or may not wear a habit, but is not cloistered. Am I right, Sr. Mary Martha?

Linda