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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Sorry for my little absence. Rough week. Food poisoning. Me. Many souls were released from Purgatory, since I had the opportunity to suffer for almost a whole week.

Now I have the opportunity to try and keep the five pounds I lost from returning. I wonder if Weight Watchers has discovered the food poisoning weight loss program.

Of course, I don't have to worry about my 'figure'. But with a lightened load I do have more energy. Do nuns have to think about such things as their figures, their hair-dos, if their shoes match?

Yes, in a way. We are called upon to stay healthy, if at all possible. And we try to have a neat appearance. You know if you run around looking like a maniac, you lack credibility. Have you ever seen a nun with dirty fingernails? I haven't.

In any case, credibility is important.

Dear Sister, my question for you is: how did you know you were called to be a nun? I'd love to hear about your discernment, was it hard? was is easy? Was it difficult to tell your parents? How old were you? I'd love to hear about it. Also, what's the difference between a nun and a concecrated woman?

I've talked about this before:

"People have often asked me how I heard the call. Here's another confession. I didn't. Like dozens and dozens of other girls who entered the convent when I did, I was just a homely girl with no prospects. I could be a spinster or I could have a career of some kind. The convent seemed like a good choice. And like St. Augustine, my calling grew on me."

But your question brought something to mind that I had totally forgotten. Was it difficult to tell my parents? No. Because my vocation meant an all expenses paid one way ticket to heaven for them.

To begin with, it was a different time. I know there have always been parents that didn't want their children to enter the clergy or become nuns. But there weren't that many of them. It was common that is large families one boy and one girl was sent off to serve the Church, way back when.

Parents were exceptionally proud to boast of their daughter the nun. There could be no argument that they had done a fine job in their own vocation, which is to bring their children to Jesus. They could definitely put a check in that box on the to do list. But when I was a girl there was another perk: if you had a child who became a nun or a priest, you went straight to heaven.

I don't know who made that announcement, looking back on it. Was it an actual pronouncement or some kind of Sacred Tradition (like the word that Mary was Assumed into Heaven, which wasn't actual dogma, but was, but wasn't but was, but wasn't, until fairly recently), or was it just another one of those things the nuns made up.

Because they did make things up from time to time. And if it was something they made up, what happened to all the people who thought they had a free ride to the Pearly Gates. Do you suppose God would honor the half baked musings of a fourth grade nun?

I would hope that any Catholic who had done such a fine job of raising a child in the Church that the child grew up and married the Church would be a good enough Catholic to realize that a mortal sin will still send on to Hell. Because otherwise we could have some real parental havoc on our hands.

And a nun is a consecrated woman.


Anonymous said...

Hi sister! Hope you're feeling better. You mentioned the Assumption, which along with the Immaculate Conception has always been a bit of a stumbling block with me, along with papal infallibility (which I have heard has only been invoked regarding these two doctrines). Maybe you could tackle some of these in a future post?

PS Your story of the parents of nuns going straight to heaven reminds me of my mother's story that when it rained on your birthday, it meant you had been good all year. Which of course was a feeble attempt at consoling some kid whose birthday party had just been rained out.

Maureen said...

There's almost nothing worse than food poisoning - my sympathies.For your convalescence: white food. Nothing but white food for a few days. Works a treat.

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Marian doctrines and dogmas are always about Christ. In every case, if what we teach regarding the Blessed Virgin was not true, then essential things we teach regarding Christ either might not be true, or perhaps would have to be false.

As for doctrinal infallibility (it isn't just the Pope), it just makes sense to me.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Welcome back. (Great picture of Sally Field.)

Anonymous said...

Good thing there's the canonical inquiry now, where a priest is required to question a novice before she makes vows, to make sure she is aware of the choice she is making. One of the older nuns in my community was professed "back in the (ugly duckling)days" before this was the case, and many a homely girl entered religious life. Of course it is common to come for one reason, and stay for another - and hopefully the right one. I'm happy to see that more young women are entering religious life now - not because they are overweight, full of acne, or sporting a uni-brow - but because they love Christ and His Church so much so as to want to be espoused to Him, and Him alone. I have no regrets (and I did have a couple of prospects before I entered) and would do it all again! I think if every young lady made at least one retreat a convent, we'd see an even bigger boom in vocations. Sr. Mary Martha, I'm glad you chose Christ, and that He chose you!
FSM Sister

The Strawberry Mallard said...

Hi sister!
I found your blog by accident ....wink wink...while watching Father G on EWTN the other night.... very happy that I did...take good care after that food poisoning.it can really be quite a bear!

Suzanne said...

Dear Sister - My husband and I have enjoyed your blog for some time now, but had lost touch. We've been living on facebook for a while and I went to find you there tonight. I am happy to find you out there. Regarding the Assumption...this is a very important belief in the Church. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, she was honored as the Mother of Jesus while she lived and after she died, the bones and tombs of the earliest saints are all known...but not so for Mary...and it is believed that her body was resurrected because of her special role. Otherwise we would certainly know where she was buried. The assumption is based upon what all knew to be true in those days - there is an actual history there, not just superstition. Also papal infallibility is NOT a human thing...it is only brought about by the power of God and the Holy Spirit. It only applies to faith and morals, and the teachings of both have never changed.

Smiley said...

Oi Sister,

Greetings from Canada. This is the second time i am hearing that the parents get a free ride into heaven. When my younger borther became a preist (he was a monk as well) mommy had to untie his hands with which were tied with a white cloth. I was informed later on that when mommy died the white cloth would be buried with her so when she met St. Peter she would wave the white cloth at him and voila enter into the pearly gates.

Nice eh.