I recently saw an article on YAHOO entitled “What’s It Like To Be A Thirty-Something Nun” (http://waysify.com/a/225086/what-its-like-to-be-a-30-something-nun)
Here is the opening paragraph:
Sara Marks is a 31-year-old nun. But, put away all your preconceived notions of how a sister should be — she'll defy all of them. Marks wears mascara and Calvin Klein dresses. She loves the Back to the Future trilogy and watches reality TV. She couldn’t live without a hair straightener. She loves to dance and wander around Manhattan ducking into adorable coffee shops. She travels and goes to the beach. She’s a photographer. She writes music and plays the guitar. She’s funny and warm and loves her life.
I wish I could say that the interview gets better from there, but it really doesn’t. It’s not bad, mind you, it’s just—well—superficial. About the best is
"We are normal people leading normal lives who happen to be committed to living simply, promoting social justice, and speaking out for those who are poor and marginalized. We are centered on God and faith, and we do pray, but we also sit down and watch television and go to the movies, just like anyone else."
This is good—but you know this is something that should be able to be said about every baptized Christian. You don’t need to be a nun or a monk or even a priest to promote social justice or to speak out for those who are poor and marginalized. Same about this quote about the vow of obedience:
It is really obedience to God’s word, to really listening to the other sisters, your friends and your family to learn what God is calling you to do. That is all fluffy and wonderful and sounds great on paper, but living that is hard. It is a balance.
I am not writing to denigrate what Sister Sara aspires to be—to the contrary, I only want her and others like her to aspire to be more. but first let me defend her against some of the katholik krazies that write things like
Sorry to inform the readers, but these women aren't Catholic nuns. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is a New-Age cult that has nothing to do with Catholicism or Christianity. They worship an entity they call the "Cosmic Christ" which is NOT the Jesus of the New Testament. This article gives no information to the person who would truly like to know what the life of a Catholic nun is like.
Sister Sara’s community, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, are a recognized community of Religious women in the Catholic Church. The are part of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, a federation of Franciscan communities founded by Saint John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia, in the nineteenth century. They are recognized as Catholic Religious by the Holy See. Furthermore, all Christians who hold to Christian orthodoxy worship the “Cosmic Christ” who is no other than He Who is described in Colossians 1:15-20.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness* was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Now I want to put all this in the context of the theme we have been touching on occasionally which is a response to George Weigel’s book, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st Century Church. Weigel’s Thesis, with which I could not agree more, is
The Catholic Church is being invited to meet the Risen Lord in the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and Prayer and to make friendship with him the center of Catholic life. Every Catholic has received this invitation in Baptism, the invitation to accept the Great Commission, to act as evangelists and to measure the truth of Catholic life by the way in which Catholics give expression to the human decency and solidarity that flows from friendship with Christ the Lord.
But when he unpacks his thesis into what this Evangelical Catholicism looks like, Weigel tries to force a far more free Vatican II evangelical foot into a very narrow John Paul II shoe. And when it comes to the place of Religious in a Vatican II Church, Weigel wants to return the nuns to veiled servitude and locked into the motherhouse at 5 pm for rosary, prayers, and a penitential supper of 2 day old bread, watery soup, and rancid cheese. Nevertheless there has to be a via media between scrubbing the floors a la Audrey Hepburn in The Nuns Story and the somewhat vapid life of mascara and finding a Calvin Klein dress at the Goodwill that Sister Sara describes.
I am not worried about whether nuns wear habits or whether monks catch a movie at the local ten-plex from time to time, but what I want of Religious is for them to blaze the trail for a more evangelical life for all of us. I want people that can stop and make us question if we are on track towards the kingdom of God. I see too many people around me, and around me at Mass, not concerned about whether or not their life style negatively impacts the lives of others. When it comes to poverty I want to know how to have less so that other might have enough. Can somebody show me how not to get caught up in the materialistic whirl that surrounds me with having to drive a gas-guzzling SUV or spending 200.00 on a pair of sunglasses? Can someone show me how to love someone else without needing to control them? Or show me how to love without becoming preoccupied that I am loved back? Or show me how to live life for simple pleasures and not constantly feed my id? Can someone show me how to live for others, to empty myself in service for others as Christ emptied himself and took on the nature of a slave for me? Can someone show me what the freedom is to live and do for the sake of pure love rather than to achieve or possess or control? And above all, can someone show me how to “pray constantly” and live in that sort of relationship where all is God and God is all? I think it is great that Sister Sara drives old ladies around and, from compassion for them, digs into her own near-empty purse to buy them a hamburger at McDonalds, but frankly, Sister, I expect even more of you. Mother Theresa gave me more. Saint Francis gave me more. Most important, Jesus gave me more. Show me how to receive what they have given us! Don’t be good enough, be as good as you can be and show me how I can follow.
Now as for that nut-case who whines Sorry to inform the readers, but these women aren't Catholic nuns…, honeychile, bless your black little withered heart, but when you give up your avocation as a Pharisee and are half as faithful to your vocation as a Christian as Sister Sara is to hers as a Sister of Saint Francis, I will take you seriously, but the criticism you level at her and her Sisters not only show your hypocrisy but your lack of basic Christian Doctrine and Catholic Church polity.