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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just When the Tomatoes Were Ripe....

The day after tomorrow I'll be heading back home again. I won't have any time to visit with you tomorrow or the next day. Chances are, given Sister St. Aloysius' priorities, I'll be very busy when I return, finding things, like the surface of the kitchen table and the floor. I've already been informed that my beloved worm farm (I have a worm farm) has been overtaken by bees. Now, instead of a worm farm, I have a bee hive. I'm not talking about my hair.
Here are a few questions, in the order in which they were received:

Sister,"Eucharistic minister"???? Should we be using that term? I thought we were only supposed to use "extraordinary minister of Holy Communion." (or EMHC, for short.)

The priest is the Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist. That makes anyone who is not a priest who is administering the Eucharist an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. And although these people are extraordinary (as Ministers of the Eucharist, at least), they weren't meant to be so plentiful as to seem commonplace and therefore ordinary. We think of them as ordinary, but they are not Ordinary. Everyone just calls them Eucharist Ministers. (Really. Use your the Google.) The same way no one calls those phones you all have "celluar phones". They are not "cell phones". They are "celluar phones". Go complain about that for awhile.

Next question:
On another note, are there entrance exams to becoming a nun? Like, a God Quotient or something? Just curious.

Sort of. You can't just walk in the convent door and say, "Here's your new nun!" There is indeed a "God Quotient" involved and you will be tested. The rules used to be even more strict than they are now...you couldn't have been married or had a family and then gone off to the convent. Unless you were St. Rita.

St. Rita had a husband so rotten that the Mafia bumped him off. She cried and prayed that her sons would not get killed trying to avenge the death of their father. Her prayers were answered, as they both died of illness. This left Rita free to pursue her first love and attempt to join the convent. She was not accepted (had been married with children). She camped outside the convent. Eventually angels picked her up and flew her over the walls.

This was still not enough to gain her any real acceptance by the sisterhood within. They made her water a stick they stuck in the ground. Rita complied everyday without fail. This was an exercise in obedience and humility. Rita's stick eventually sprouted and turned into a tree. I used to think that was a miracle but it happened to me last year. Some plants sprout on old wood.

Anyhow, your "book learnin'" part of becoming a nun is very important, also. Just how important depends on which order you choose. Obviously, if you are going to a teaching order or a nursing order, it's very important.

Still, if you are accepted as a person with a calling, we can always find room for your dim bulb self in the kitchen or the laundry room where you will be blissfully happy. If you aren't, you'll know you didn't have a calling. You were just in it for the shoes.

Sr. Mary Martha, I absolutely love your blog. I have been looking all over this site for an email address to contact you privately, but I could not find one...Various moral dilemmas plague me from time to time, and I can't tell you how much I would appreciate some "unsympathetic" advice from someone like you. If you are willing, would you pretty pretty please post a contact email address for yourself so that we can all bombard you with our questions that we're too afraid to post in plain view of the world?

Sorry. I pretty much covered that here. Your confessor should be able to help you, anyhow.

And finally:

I was scolded one time for wearing suggestive shoes. They were closed toed flats, but they showed 'toe clevage'and were therefore not appropriate for Mass according to this individual. I looked it up in the catechism, but couldn't find anything on 'toe clevage'...

That is just pathetic. At least we have finally uncovered the individual responsible for the patent leather shoe and white table linen doctrine. Oh! and that strawberry thing!

Also, regarding the dress with the strawberry on it... A "strawberry" is another name for the girl in the neighborhood who, er, puts out. Bluntly, she is the neighborhood nonprofit whore. Fashion designers are hip to this. Wearing a dress with a strawberry on it is the same as wearing one of those shirts that says, "Porn Star".

I'm sure the makers of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls were trying to steal souls, too?

I'm all for decency. I worry about paranoia.


Eddie said...

Have a safe trip returning!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you had to miss the tomatoes! I hope your dad is OK.

Jeff Miller said...

One slight correction. Deacons are also ordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

RobKPhD said...

Amen to the your comment on decency and paranoia. Sometimes we Catholics are tempted to scrupulosity.

Anonymous said...

Scrupulosity. That's my new favorite word!

Anonymous said...

I think Strawberry Shortcake is in the clear but those bratz dolls are definately pre-porn idols.

Laura Michele said...

Amen to the Bratz doll comment. I cannot imagine purchasing those for my child. they are disgusting! And to think we thought barbies were bad..

Rev. Daren J. Zehnle, J.C.L., K.C.H.S. said...

Be sure to bring several buckets of tomatoes back to the convent, and a cooler of Maid Rites!

Kelly Thatcher said...

All respect due to you, Sister, but there's a difference between the abbreviated term "cell phone" which is as legit as legit is to legitimate (Really. Use your dictionary) and the term "eucharistic minister" which is just flat out wrong. It's not an abbreviation. It's an erroneous term. At best, it implies (to be charitable) an equatable relationship between the consecrated hands of the Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and the lay folk who are called in to help under extraordinary circumstances. Perhaps worse, it tends to make the lay person absorb an identity which he or she (and by the way it's usually "she" for some reason)which he or she is not entitled to. As in "Hi! I'm a Eucharistic Minister!"

At worst, in my experience and in my observation, it almost inevitably puts the perception of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in second place to the one who is charged to distribute Our Lord.

As I'm pretty sure you know.

The terminology might not be your battle, and I can certainly understand this.

On the other hand, please rethink your comparison of secular abbreviations and short-hand terminology with something far more important.

May God be with you on your return home.

Lucia said...

I was wondering if I could ask you a question from the comment area? I'm a thirteen yr. old Catholic and my parents are letting me read Harry Potter. i am wondering what you think of that whole controversial topic.

Anonymous said...


I hope you have arrived safely at your home.

I am sorry about your worm farm. Is it a total loss? Why do you have a worm farm? Is it for your gardening? How do you manage a worm farm? Do bees kill worms? I hope you are not allergic to bees. Maybe you could become a beekeeper.

Anonymous said...

Kelly Clark -

Are you objecting to the distribution of Our Lord by anyone except a priest (or deacon)? Your comments suggest as such, especially in your side comment about the fact that women are generally Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. I am an EMHC, and while I understand the tradition of only priests distributing Holy Communtion, I am needed in a parish where even with at least 12 EMHCs serving each Sunday, the distribution of both species is lengthy process. Imagine the need for extra help on Holy days!

Also, you mention that EMHCs are not "entitled" to their "identity," and I'm not sure what you mean by this. We are specifically trained to show the utmost reverence to the sacred Body and Blood that we carry, and I should hope that no lay person serving as an EMHC would pretend to be anything but the type of servant in the Mass that they are trained to be. We are not masquarading as Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion! Hence the discussion that has been going on about modest dress - EMHCs should not only show respect to the Lord in His house, but also try their best not to call attention to themselves, because it is definitely NOT about them!

By the way, the certification that I was given by the diocese that allows me to serve as what we have been referring to as an EMHC refers to it rather as a "Special Minister of Holy Communion." You may argue that this will continue to give people the wrong idea by calling them "special" (i.e. making Holy Communion secondary to the person which distributes it), but it could also be taken as pointing out that these servers are indeed very seperate from the Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and are used only in cases where practicality demands it.

And while it may indeed be grossly incorrect to use the term "Eucharistic Ministers," I think it is a widely-used term. I'm almost positive that the letter I had sent to me about training used the same one, although you will be happy to know that the monthly schedule I receive uses the correct name. I, for one, would know exactly what someone was talking about if they used such a term, and my devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is such that I don't worry about what I am called, I just do what I am called to do.

Sister Mary Martha - my prayers will be with you as you are travelling!

Anonymous said...

You should feel blessed about the bees. They have been disappearing from their hives around the country, and it's a great mystery. Beekeepers everywhere are wondering what happened to their bees.

Apparently, they got tired of wooden boxes and are trying a new subdivision.