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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What Floats Your Boat

Everyone wants to know if I'm all atwitter because the Pope is here. Actually, they wanted to know if I was atwitter because the Pope was coming, and I never answered the question.

I'm not at all atwitter about the Pope, truth be told. Granted, I've watched every second of it on TV and read every story about it. But I would do that anyway, concerning the Pope, no matter where he is.

I'm sure it's very exciting for those who can get out to see him go by in the Popemobile or get tickets to the Mass and whatnot. But for me, it's the same as any other day, Popewise.

The music certainly was lovely, wasn't it? Some blabber on CNN mentioned that the Pope wants to have traditional music in the hope that people hearing it, in some cases for the first time, will glom on to it. Let's hope along with the Pope.

Because just today I was thinking, "Just who is Michael, and why are we so happy about his boat? What sister? Michael's sister? A nun is in the boat? Or just sister as in 'brotha'?" The only reason that song was ever popular was because any person who just picked up a guitar for the first time could play it. Okay...the second time he picked up the guitar. But by the third time, anybody could be a virtuoso at playing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore."


Here's another question:
Dear Sister Mary Martha,

I have been wondering if the religious life is my calling.
However, I don't think I can give up riding horses. It is one of my real passions. I help other people with their horses if they can't ride (epileptic girl who had brain surgery, has a horse can't ride it).
I jump and am going to start showing.
I don't think I could give that up.

Would I be able to run and play soccer too? Could I take trips to the library to read new books if I couldn't buy them? Can you take trips to see your family?

Look, there are nuns.

And there is Mary Tyler Moore as a nun. I think she played football with Elvis while wearing nine pounds of mascara on her false eyelashes and being a nun.

I'm not sure why you want to be a nun. You'll be too busy praying all the time and doing whatever your job is to ride horses, play soccer and go home for Easter break. And your passion has to be Jesus. End of story.

It actually is possible, however, to be a nun and go on doing those things. It depends on the order you join. You'll have to do some research. There are orders these days where you are pretty much on your own. You have to find a place to live and get yourself a job. I don't know why you couldn't ride a horse and bounce a ball off your head while you're at it.

St. Rose of Lima joined her local order and then lived in her own back yard in a gazebo type lean to or something that her brother built for her.

When I joined, the whole concept was obedience. You had to be willing to drop everything, including your own name, never ever see a single member of your family every again, and go wherever they sent you and do whatever they told you. If it was decided you weren't too bright, you were a 'house' nun and you cooked and cleaned. If you had something on the ball you might be a teacher or a nurse, depending on what your order was up to. Or you might just cook and clean anyhow. No complaining. (Or you'll end up like Audrey Hepburn with your nun suit hanging on a hook while you walk out the door.)

Now days, like other married women may, nuns keep their names and often choose their own career paths. They take sabbaticals and leaves of absences. They retire and struggle on their own.

I have yet to see a nun with a hyphenated name, like Sister Eileen Johnson-Christ.

I think I've seen just about everything else. I personally know a nun who is a masseuse.

So I don't think horse ride is out of the question.

I'm still not sure where the nun part comes in there, with your busy riding other people's idle horses, jumping, horse shows, library, soccer and visiting schedule.


Heather said...

There's an order for everything, isn't there?
These guys (http://www.carmelitemonks.org/) do manual labor, including driving heavy machinery. They play football, too, and there's a picture on the site. And, according to my son, they look like Jawas, creatures from one of his very favorite movies.

His mind might change, but now at 5 he's found what he wants to be when he grows up.

MAB said...

Why would anyone want to join a religious order where you have to get your own job and an apartment? Why not just be single?

My dear aunt belongs to an order which took a "left turn" in the sixties, while she was in the missions far away. She has had a very difficult time these last 35 years.

Maybe the soccer fan should consider a third order, where she can stay in the world but still have a connection to an order.

Sparki said...

The Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln, where I live, run Villa Marie School for Exceptional Children, and with those kids they run, play soccer, and yes, take the kids horseback riding. And bowling.

Also, one of the first vocational discernment opportunities is "Campin' With the Marians" -- when the Sisters (all ages) take a bunch of young women camping. They are way cool!

Anonymous said...

How about a teaching order? They can use soccer coaches as well as people who love books! It would be a good way to put her gifts to good use in the Lord's service. And there must still be teaching orders who live in community. Sisters of St. Joseph, maybe?


Anonymous said...

"Or just sister as in 'brotha'?"

"I have yet to see a nun with a hyphenated name, like Sister Eileen Johnson-Christ."

As always....you are hilarious!!

Anonymous said...

Two wonderful teaching orders:
Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (contact Sister Joseph Andrew)
Nashville Dominicans of St. Cecilia. Young, vibrant sisters who wear a habit and live in community.

The Nature Nut said...

Wow - I never knew. I will go to sleep better informed than I woke up this morning. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My great Aunt, Sister Josepha, was a Sister of St. Joseph. We called her, "Sister Joe". We all loved her dearly, and she came and stayed with us during the summer sometimes.

Anonymous said...

There's always the Benedictines... They're pretty good at both/and!

Leigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

I personally know a nun who is a physician and she seems to be handling both of these demanding roles very successfully. I also know of a priest who is a psychologist and another who is a published poet and author… Apparently, the modern era has infiltrated our beloved vocations. I'm not sure the Church has much of a choice in the matter if it seeks to inspire a calling in younger, talented people. Yes, we can continue to pray within our respective parishes and hope that our youth's interest in vocations will be invigorated. That being said, I think Church leaders recognize that the religious life of today must evolve. I, for one, do not believe that a complete devotion to Christ eliminates all other talents, callings, and interests. Sister MM is a living example of this. Surely there is no nun rule book which dictates that nuns can't be funny nor host a wildly popular blogs! And what about Sister Helen Prejean of “Dead Men Walking” fame (http://www.prejean.org/)? Her commitment to Jesus is completely demonstrated by her life mission to protect ALL life, even that which we deem despicable, and by extension, disposable...The bottom line is we have got to give our priests and nuns some room to be individuals or we certainly risk losing our best and brightest. I suspect even the beloved Sister MM would go bonkers if she did nothing but clean pews all day.

Anonymous said...

Sister, can you recommend a novena to say for a specific person's conversion?

Anonymous said...

And there's always the order of "Consecrated Virgins Living in the World". www.consecratedvirgins.org

You get your own apartment/house, job with your own health benefits, etc and you work with your diocesan bishop to dedicate yourself to the Church. You have to be female and a virgin and have been living a chaste adult, working life for many years before beginning. You will take permanent, binding vows and it's recorded on your baptismal certificate.

This is not to be confused with 3gfs ('consecrated' women) in regnum christi.