Holy Sisterhood, Batman

Question: What’s unified, sanctified, and dignified?

Answer: A thoroughly badass group of American nuns.

Photo courtesy of www.cathnewsusa.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.cathnewsusa.com

If you would have told me last week that I would draw female empowerment inspiration from a situation involving the Catholic Church, I might have spit out my food (however, I would then pick it up off the floor and eat it anyway). But, when a powerful and sizeable contingent of American nuns told the Vatican to suck it (I am paraphrasing), I almost signed up to be Catholic again just to support the ladies from the inside.

This spring, the Vatican reprimanded the nuns– based on “unsubstantiated” information gathered through a process that wasn’t transparent (raise your hand if this shocks you)– for failing to adhere to and uphold the Church’s doctrines.  Specifically, these rogue nuns were (1) in favor of Obama’s heath care reform, despite the reform’s position on abortion; and (2) allegedly failed to focus sufficiently on the Church’s doctrine that opposes same-sex marriage.  The nuns’ focus: poverty and the economically disenfranchised. Read about the Vatican’s reprimand here.

Where do those nuns get off focusing on poverty and economic injustice– in the middle of a recession no less?

Fierce b*tches.

But enough about the Vatican, which probably has its hands full harboring priests who molest children. Let’s talk about the nuns.

They recently responded to the allegations, after taking some quiet time (6 weeks), which culminated in a meeting to pray together and discern the best course of action.  The result of the meeting is that they have requested that the Vatican engage in a dialogue about the issues– the nuns recently issued this statement.

Here’s why I love this story:

1. Six Weeks of Silence: Something about the 6 weeks that elapsed between the public criticism and the nuns’ public response just gets me. When I am wrongly (or rightly for that matter) accused, I take about 6 nanoseconds before I fly off the flipping handle.  I come out swinging, and I come out defensive and hostile.  And I usually come out alone. Not so this group of super sisters.  They took their time, they prayed, they discerned.  To me, their actions conjure the word “grace.”

2. Unity: I love the unity among the nuns.  Surely it’s a disparate group of women– just because they all agreed to take a vow of poverty and forego sexual intercourse for this lifetime, doesn’t mean they are a monolithic group. Some work in schools, some serve as CEOs of hospitals, and some work in direct services to the very poor they are criticized for focusing on. But, they stand together.  It’s a great example of female strength and unity.

It’s easy for me to focus on the failings of the Vatican; I am literally twitching to go off about it now.  But today I am going to focus on the nuns and the example they have set for me: a little quiet (not my strength), a little discernment, and a sober, thoughtful response to outrageous allegations.  I swear I kind of hope someone accuses me of something today so I invoke my inner nun and gracefully respond.

20 thoughts on “Holy Sisterhood, Batman

  1. Good luck with that! I fly off the handle all the time, too. I went on a two day rant when I saw a guy at Walmart take a can of pop out of the plastic ring, open it, drink half of it as he walked down the aisle, then walk back and set the can back on the shelf (where someone’s kid, probably mine, will no doubt walk by and knock it over so it spills on his mom’s favorite flip flops or walk by and take a drink out of it). Still makes my blood boil months later. I shall try the nun approach.

  2. And this is why I haven’t left the Catholic church. Hope still exists. I don’t know that I will see a change in the church in my lifetime, but hopefully my son will see it in his. Jen O., my sentiments exactly!

  3. This is a great post. Talk about the unexpected. From you, from them, (though not from the Vatican of course).

    I also love the unity. Why is that so hard to stir up in other communities?

    PS – let’s be honest, if you spit your food out on the floor there is no way you would eat it…before someone else got to it first.

    • I am reflecting happily on my grade school teachers… Sister Lynn Michelle, Sister Anne, Sister Annelle… Great people who loved my little heart to pieces.

      And I do get good I drop because I eat on the floor. Tmi?

  4. I love how when you speak (write) words they are taken straight from my head and posted in front of me so eloquently! THANKS! I think we should all get SN rings (super-nun) and get together and unite! WTG NUNS!

  5. In the past when a Catholic woman wanted a meaningful career she became a nun. It was a respected alternative to marriage. It was not all about religion….at least not all the time for everyone. I would not say they were feminist as that would be anachronistic but many were strong women seeking a different path within the confines of their society. And, there were conflicts with ministers, local officials, and even the Pope. I’m glad to see some of that still exists. You go girl!

  6. You. Are. Brilliant. Love this and love how you presented it. Go, Sisters! As for me, I would have completely forgotten the topic we were discussing after six weeks of contemplation and would have moved on to much more meaningful subjects (e.g. does my vow of poverty explicitly prohibit internet shopping or could I pull off getting the cute purse I saw on MyHabit.com?). If reading this post brings me even one more second of lag time between hearing and reacting, my entire family will thank you.

  7. I’m wondering if I have an “inner nun”? and that term is hilarious. I will use it & credit you! When I was in high school, I remember asking our Director of Religious Ed (a nun) her opinion on ordaining women, and man, put a quarter in her…she went off on a tirade like I’d never seen. Apparently I hit a nerve, but it felt like some solid girl-bonding with a nun. She was a spunky old bird (and she was really old…like probably 45).

  8. Bravo! Bravo! You beat me to this post – but I don’t think I could have said it any better. You rock and you know it. Go Sisters, Go! Stick it to ‘em! And yes I teach Sunday school in a CATHOLIC CHURCH. And the reason you cited for “almost” signing back up as a Catholic is why I still practice as one: I want to change it from the inside. Let the priests marry. Stop placing judgment on women who want a choice and for God’s sake, you shouldn’t have to have a PENIS to lead a parish or consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ. (Sorry if I left any spit on the screen with that last one.) I’ll keep at it until they send a bishop or cardinal down to excommunicate me (I know, I’m not that important), which I’m surprised they haven’t done given that my name is on LITTLE 15.

  9. Pingback: Top 5 Reasons I Would Suck As Pope | Outlaw Mama

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