The Other I

July 22, 2007

Convent life 50 years ago

Filed under: Catholicism and other questions of religion,Life as a Nun — theotheri @ 10:01 pm

About 50 years ago a woman published a book about her leaving the convent entitled “I leap over the wall.”  That just about summed up the attitude of the day:  when nuns went into the convent, they severed relationships with the outside world.  And conversely if a nun left the convent, there was never any communication with anyone still inside.

I was thinking today how much that has changed.  I had an email from a nun who is still in Maryknoll about the deluge currently flooding Britain.  And then I spent almost an hour talking to a close friend who now lives in New York but who stayed in the convent 30 years longer than I did.  We two outsiders are both pretty completely disaffected with the Roman Catholic Church, but we still have friends who are committed nuns. 

There are subjects, though, that I at least avoid discussing with nuns.  I even have a little trouble with avoiding the hypocrisy of saying I’m keeping someone in my prayers.  Prayer as hope, prayer as caring, yes.  Prayer as begging God to intervene or to do His best for someone I love – no.  Illogically, I do occasionally ask my sister who died of cancer 12 years ago to help me with everything from finding wisdom to a lost pair of glasses.  Maybe some people have that kind of relationship with their image of God.

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