Thursday, December 13, 2007

The New Nuns

They are all in habits. The habit-less, defrocked orders are swiftly dying, as one article points out. (Via The Western Confucian) As previously mentioned on this blog, I spent a few years in my late twenties and early thirties discerning religious life in a cloistered Carmelite monastery. People make fun of the classic film The Bells of Saint Mary's, for the fanciful depiction of nuns in a pre-Vatican II Church, which many people claim never existed. Yes, there were all kinds of things that were not as they should have been.

The film, however, does show the very real clash of personalities that is and always has been typical of running a parish. And I have had the privilege of getting to know nuns who were quite similar to the Ingrid Bergman character, both old and young, women who were attractive, funny, bright, and strong-willed, who could have done anything in the world they wanted. They chose to become brides of Christ, to live in austere poverty, shut away from the world, mystically bearing the burdens of the Church. They stood with Mary at the foot of the Cross. They were truly brides, in love with Jesus. Anyone could learn how to be a good, loving spouse from being around those nuns. It is a blessing that there is a resurgence of young, traditional women religious. They will change the Church and the world. Share

5 comments:

Great Destinations,Great Food said...

This is neat.I loved the book"In this house of Brede" and have always been fascinated by the simple lives of nuns.

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks! Me, too!

Georgette said...

Yes, there is hope for a new springtime after all!

I haven't seen the Bells of St Mary's in a million years, so I have forgotten it (isn't that the one with the handsome priest played by Bing Crosby?). But I read In This House of Brede not long ago and just adored it! It sure shows that the mother superior of a women's monastary is every bit a mother, with need of wisdom in how to deal with each of her children in the best way for them, and that many of these women are truly dynamos.

Christine said...

I would love to hear more about your years in Carmel.

elena maria vidal said...

It was an adventure. Just think of me whenever you watch "The Sound of Music" and hear the nuns singing "How do solve a problem like Maria?" (Actually, it was not quite the same because I was not so much of a tomboy as Maria.) In spite of the fact that I ultimately found I had no vocation to the religious life, the experience was invaluable because of the direction I received, the books to which I had access, and all the practical housekeeping skills I learned. Also, I was blessed to learn about the liturgy.