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Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's the Nuns Who've Taught Most of Us to Be Writers!



In The New York Times, under the Sunday Review section, there's an interesting article by Mr. Kristof entitled:  "We Are All Nuns."

You can visit the site here:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/kristof-we-are-all-nuns.html?_r=1

In a nutshell the article discusses Pope Benedict coming down on nuns and their focus on the poor and social services rather than on abortion and gay marriages.

The matter of the priests and Bishops and their recent abhorrent behaviors with regard to the rape of young children in the Church seems to have been brushed away beneath dusty pews.

Mr. Kristof's article ends with the happy note that nuns are receiving an overwhelming vote of confidence and support from parishioners and people throughout the country, and worldwide.  It seems they want the Pontiff to know that the work nuns are doing to serve children, mothers, the poor and needy all over the world means a great deal more and is more in keeping with God's purposes as expressed in the Bible.


Here's my take on things:


Let's first discuss the nun as teacher:
There have been teaching nuns children have made fun of, and young adults have cringed about when they've remembered them, for centuries. 

There are old "nun" tales that crop up when Catholic-schooled people get together sometimes, and reminisce about their growing up years.

Everyone has a "Sister So & So" story that can make even the most stoic and sour of people laugh
 'til they're red in the face and gasping for air!

Many a nun is a comedian.  Many a nun is a humorist.  And, many a nun will take your brain and shake some sense into it by the sheer terror of her presence!

Not to mention that many a nun has the reputation of holding
a vicious "ruler" in her desk that she used
on many a child in the past...and that she's not afraid to pull out
for your sake!

She was the mother away from home.


As we left early childhood education and climbed the steps to college,
those of us who were educated, mentored, and tutored by a nun, learned well our lessons...
we'd better, or we'd better have a doctor's excuse for being run over by a truck and being in the hospital through first period!

Our dear Sisters were known to call our houses, speak to our parents,  and make personal visits, even when we were in our 20's and living on our own.

We who were educated
at the feet of our own Sister Marie's have come to realize the gift we
share:  a magnificent education; excellence couched in as close to perfection as we can get it on every side, attention to detail, concentration,
reflection and research, and an ever present questioning of moral and ethical value in what we choose to do and how we encounter it in our lives. 

When you are "raised up" and educated by a nun, you are
lifted to another level of expectation.

Your life becomes one with an awareness of a greater purpose.
There's an understanding that everything you do...
even reading and writing reviews,
holds a level of importance above and beyond its
temporal comprehension.
Because we're called to excellence and serving others; and, that is a calling that will guide others to hear and to be enlightened.

We knew we were in the presence of superior beings when we were with the nuns; educators, devout and dedicated women who meant to teach us to be the best we could be, and who led by example. And we knew we wouldn't get away with less than our personal best.


Case in point: of course, Anne Rice had her nuns and she still keeps them around her in  life-sized statuary, along with the saints and holy Father images. 
Ms Rice was vividly influenced by her Catholic education.  All of her works of fiction exude her up-bringing under the nuns.  Excellence, education, women in medicine and business, and personal responsibility rings through her books...spiritual struggles haunt her vampires, her angels, her priests and her weres.
Today, she lives a life working toward spiritual
peace and consciousness, and she
continues to try to find a way to write about
the moral struggles that beset earthbound beings whether fictitious or real.


We know that it's nuns who have fed the poor, bound up the wounds and cared for the sick and injured for centuries. 

Nuns were the first welfare workers and the first nurses.  It's nuns who have helped the homeless, pregnant mothers without anyone to turn to, children abandoned and abused, the alcoholic and drugged, and those who are mentally ill or with no family and no hope in the world.

When he was most despondent, and at his lowest at heart about being mentally ill, my dad told me it was the nuns who prayed with him
that brought him the first peace he'd had in his life.
And he converted to Catholicism...the only one in many a
generation of Southern Baptists!


Nuns...we are all nuns in some form, I hope.



When it's spoken of the Church (meaning the Catholic Church as a whole) in recent years, its saddest moments are reflective of what many of the priests have managed to accomplish:
rape and abuse, and destroying the confidence and trust of young boys
and young girls
in God and the church.

The hierarchy in the Church as men...Pope, Cardinals and priests have given themselves a "pass" on this issue.  Money has changed hands.
Apologies have been handed out with strings attached.
But, the perpetrators of crimes against young people have yet
to be publicly dealt with.
The Pope and the Church leaders have still not
taken responsibility for their priests.

And, yet, there is criticism of the nuns, when for much of this past 25 years, nuns have not even been able to be a part of the Sunday mass!
The Church is so steeped in tradition, it fails to expel criminals because they are priests, but it is able to make a
conscious and on-going expulsion of nuns from even helping with mass!


Let us all be nuns, then.

Let's be educated, dedicated to excellence, serving and caring of others, giving of ourselves and our resources, reaching out when others need a helping hand, and upholding what's good and right in our world.

We're all nuns, or we can be.


Thanks for stopping by.  I know you're busy today.

Deborah/TheBookishDame

4 comments:

SheilaM

Thanks for your thoughts. I am very frustrated watching my Church seemingly purposely acting to alienate, insult, and marginalize. I can hardly believe that this is what Jesus had in mind when He exhorted us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Which, by contrast, is what the nuns have been doing for decades.

Marigold Lott

This is sooo true! I am such a nun lover. LOL! I remember, long ago, when in college, after a test, THE PROFESSOR asked how many students had been taught by nuns. And it was all the ones who had made A on the test! English, of course!

Nuns make great teachers. Of course, I've known some great priests too. But you are right, it's time for the Church to make changes. They are SLOW to make changes.

Deb

Thank you, Sheila and Marigold, for standing up for the nuns in your lives. I forgot to mention that nuns are simply great women, as well. We often forget they're women. Strong women in any service or business capacity seens to be considered "less than." It's a condition we still need to reflect upon and try to change in our society. It's a civil rights issue!
I appreciate your comments sooo much!!

Chrissy Peebles

Great post and I really enjoyed the pictures too. I think you sum it up nicely.

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