Thank-a-Nun Day

Thanks for Your Thanks!

Photo by Carrie Adams

Happy Sisters! Photo by Carrie Adams

Have you ever given someone a gift they really needed? A gift that made them cry and laugh at the same time? 

We got to do that last week. 
 
As you probably know, we’ve spent the last week gathering thank you notes for the Conference of Women’s Religious. They’re having a tough time (see HERE for some backstory), so we thought we’d send them a little encouragement.
 
We collected a host of notes, some heartwarming, some sassy, some from former students, some from people who had never even met a nun- but they were all encouraging. All your good words filled three binders worth of love. Incredible. 

Thank-A-Nun Day is Today!

Thank you to everyone who has responded by writing a Thank-You Note. (It's not too late! You can still participate HERE.)

Here is a roundup of some of your kind words so far.

"Thank you for your dedication to the core teachings of Jesus. Your work with "the least among us", often at great personal sacrifice to yourselves, is an inspiration to me and represents the very best of the Catholic Church."

 

Sisters: A Video Playlist

Sister Christian. Soul Sister. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? The Singing Nun. Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us and more songs about (and sometimes performed by) sisters (religious and otherwise.)

Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us by Alison Krauss

http://youtu.be/jLG9ERQOdBw

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

Thank a Nun: Sister Catherine ~ She Broadened My Image of God

Image by Pincasso / Shutterstock

Image by Pincasso / Shutterstock

Author's Note: Meeting Sister Catherine during my years as a seminary student in North Carolina played a pivotal role deepening and expanding my spiritual formation, in my personal healing and in discerning key callings of my future vocation.

Sister Catherine is a Catholic nun in the Society of the Faith Companions of Jesus, an order in the spirit of Saint Ignatius, t in France in the mid-19th century under the auspices of Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy de Bonnault d'Houet (1781—1858). 

I began Spiritual Direction sessions with Sister Catherine after the unforeseen death of my father and in the midst of a spiritual crisis.

What follows is taken from my book Reluctant Pilgrim: (A Moody Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community) Copyright c 2010 Fr

esh Air Books. Used with permission. Upper Room Books

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I started seeing Sister Catherine once a week and within two months I felt as though I were going through a spiritual transformation, like I was being radically broken open and the thick outer shell I had maintained for so long was cracking and pieces were falling off one by one, slowly and painfully. And I learned the difference between a therapist and a spiritual director. She helped me think through my relationship with God and how different areas of my life affected or were seemingly affected

by my sense of spiritual self.

“I know this season of the liturgical year is called “Ordinary Time” because the weeks of Sunday are numbered but I like to think of it meaning plain and uneventful time more so than ordinal,” I told Sister Catherine during one session.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because it kind of feels like a gift to me, to be trying to experience God in really simple ways during the church season of ordinary time when nothing exciting is happening like Easter or Christmas.  I’m not going to church on Sundays very regularly but I feel like God is graciously revealing God’s self to me through other people and becoming really alive for me in very incarnate mundane ways, not just in my own head and heart, or in my own silent prayers or weak devotional life.”

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

Thank a Nun: Whimsy, Color, Theology, Social Justice and Sister Corita

Sister Corita Kent. Image via www.corita.org.

Sister Corita Kent. Image via www.corita.org.

Bright bold text danced across expansive white-framed serigraphs lining our college student center. The first moment I set foot on my college campus, Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., the artwork of Sister Mary Corita Kent captured my heart and imagination. 

One playful print, about the bread of life, features the signature bold red yellow and blue Wonder Bread wrapper.

Another featured Beatles lyrics: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

One, playing on the name of the West Coast grocery chain “SafeWay,” points to the One who called himself “the Way.”

Another — the commentary of one Roman Catholic upon another?— employed Scripture to reference JFK: “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.”

Yet another, in patriotic red, white and blue, features the words of Camus, “I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.”

At 18, not yet knowing myself to be called as a bearer of color and words and truth, my voice was unleashed by the prophetic artwork of Sister Corita.

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

Thank a Nun: Sister Wendy

http://youtu.be/JyqrrMfYoDA

I’ve not heard her speak at a conference, have never been told charming dinner party anecdotes about her (even from my most well-connected Roman Catholic friends), and have not had occasional to glimpse, live and in person, Sister Wendy Beckett.

Ever.

Chances are, neither have you. The British nun and art historian, now 82 years old, lives in seclusion in a trailer (or “caravan,” if you like) on the grounds of a monastery in England. Reportedly, she converses with only two people: the nun who brings her daily provisions and the prioress of the monastery. She speaks mostly to God; she spends her days in prayer.

Although the women who have the privilege of exchanging words with her over stacks of fresh linens or freshly-baked loaves of bread have been satisfied to keep her to themselves, in God’s mercy God obviously felt like it was important to share Sister Wendy with the rest of us. Over the past twenty years, through her numerous books and documentaries on art and faith, Sister Wendy has made profound – though admittedly occasional – forays into my life.

Observing her faithfulness and humility (she describes herself as “shabby and cowardly”), I have found my shallow faith and self-absorption challenged.

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

QUIRK: Sister Maripat's Late-Nite Talk Show

She may not be an actual Catholic sister in real life but Maripat Donovan plays one of the most recognizable nuns in the world. Donovan is a Chicago native and originator of the role of "Sister" in the long-running play, Late Nite Catechism. She's one of the funniest nuns we know.

"Catholicism is Happy Days. All the other religions? Joanie Loves Chachi."

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

 

Scary Nuns Terrify the Vatican

Nun image by CREATISTA via Shutterstock.

Nun image by CREATISTA via Shutterstock.

The Vatican has always been scared of forceful nuns. Even (and perhaps especially) the three female doctors of the church made prelates nervous.

  • In the 14th century, Catherine of Siena meddled in papal politics and brought the Avignon pope back to Rome.
     
  • In the 16th century, Teresa of Avila survived an investigation by the Spanish Inquisition of her mystical writings (and Jewish ancestry). 
     
  • In the 19th century, Thérèse of Lisieux disregarded the commands of her priest and Vatican officials until the pope gave in and let her do what she wanted.

And last week, following a two-year investigation, 80 percent of American nuns came under Vatican fire.

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

I Fell in Love with a Nun

Sister Annunziata in Rome in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Cathleen Falsani.

Sister Annunziata in Rome in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Cathleen Falsani.

This is a love story.

An unlikely love story, perhaps, but a true love story just the same.

Not 10 minutes after meeting her for the first time in the shadow of a 33-foot-tall metallic statue of the Virgin Mary at a convent in the Rust Belt suburbs of Chicago’s south side, Sister Annunziata told me she loved me.

Reaching out an elegant, wizened hand from her wheelchair to touch my cheek, she first asked me whether I was Irish and then said, “You have the face of an angel.”
I was a goner.

Annunziata, who was 83 at the time, had me completely from that moment forward — utterly devoted to her for the rest of her life. I was Annunziata’s and she was mine — and that was that. She became the Maude to my Harold, showing me how to love without limits.

++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++

 

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