Must-Read du Jour: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging"

By Cathleen Falsani 11-14-2011
Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

Oh how I dearly love a good nun story.

Anyone who knows me well knows about my ... obsession isn't quite the right word but it's close ... deep affection for women religious.

One of my most cherished friends, Sister Annunziata, was an octogenarian nun from the Italian Oblates religious order. She went home to Jesus nearly a decade ago and I still miss her every day. And growing up, my mother's aunt, Sister Mary Charles, a Sister of Mercy, was a beloved member of my extended family, always present for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Some of my earliest memories are from visits to her convent in Greenwich, Conn., with its life-like statues and exotic aromas — a combination of liturgical incense, burning prayer candles, soap and boiled vegetables.

All of my life, religious sisters have had a special place in my heart, imagination and spiritual journey. There's something so wonderfully revolutionary about them, a fascinating combination of strength and grace, earthiness and transcendence. At least, that's been my experience with the sisters I've known throughout my life.

I love nuns. LOVE them.

So a story in todays' New York Times caught my eye (and my heart) immediately when I saw the headline: "Sisters of St. Francis, Quiet Shareholder Activists" and then the even-better headline on the story's web page at NYT.com: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging."

The article, written by NYT scribe Kevin Roose, says in part:

Not long ago, an unusual visitor arrived at the sleek headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t some C.E.O., or a pol from Athens or Washington, or even a sign-waving occupier from Zuccotti Park.

It was Sister Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. And the slight, soft-spoken nun had a few not-so-humble suggestions for the world’s most powerful investment bank.

NOT long ago, an unusual visitor arrived at the sleek headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t some C.E.O., or a pol from Athens or Washington, or even a sign-waving occupier from Zuccotti Park.

It was Sister Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. And the slight, soft-spoken nun had a few not-so-humble suggestions for the world’s most powerful investment bank.

Roose goes on to explain that the Sisters have done battle with many corporate giants over the years, including the grocery store chain Kroger, McDonalds, Wells Fargo and even Walmart. These nuns are a quiet force to be reckoned with.

Here's my favorite quote from Roose's story, said by Sister Nora Nash:

“I can’t exclude people like [Goldman Sachs CEO] Lloyd Blankfein from my prayers, because he’s just as much human as I am,” she said. “But we like to move them along the spectrum.”

The story of the Sisters of St. Francis of Pennsylvania surely will put a smile on your face and may just inspire you to do something tangible to create a more just, charitable, peaceable and grace-filled world yourself.

Read Roose's story about the Sisters of St. Francis in its entirety HERE.

Cathleen Falsani is Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners.

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