Sister Maria Deo Gratias believes that young women arrive at the Corpus Christi Monastery today from a world of immediacy, with a mind-set of “when I have a headache, I take medicine right away.” “It’s always instant. They want instant answers, instant gratification. It’s like the level of suffering is very low. So, here, say you have a headache, naturally, if you need medicine you take it. But you don’t jump to that as your first solution. Sometimes, by just being calm, then it’s gone. On the emotional level, it’s more a sense of keyed-upness, and I think it’s probably because of the fast rate of society—everything at them all at once, everything is always action, action, action. Where, if you come here, it’s a different culture, so they have to learn. Not that they can’t; most of them that enter are very welcoming of this, but because they don’t have the experience from the world, then they have to learn how to slow down, or they have to learn how to combat difficulties or struggles that they may have within themselves in trying to adjust to the silence and to the life.”
Seventy-four-year-old Sister Mary Joseph is known as the mechanical nun who fixes what she can and calls in repairmen for the rest, often to teach her how to make the repair herself next time. Born in the aftermath of the Great Depression’s financial reserve and material minimalism, Sister Mary Joseph’s transition to the monastery felt simple. What she learned at home was reinforced at the monastery; with tools, she was taught to handle possessions “as they should be,” she says—leaving them in good condition so that others could use them after her. (“Secrets of the covenant: will millenials become nuns?” Abbie Reese, Salon.com)
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Re: Born in the aftermath of the Great Depression’s financial reserve and material minimalism, Sister Mary Joseph’s transition to the monastery felt simple.
They had financial reserve and material minimalism? The withered Depression people — those sad, grim lot, found Utopia?
Well, okay, but here's me thinking they had drawn up the drawbridge on life and masochistically found contentment in the burgeoning tenement or rundown home — as well as sewing up their socks — primarily so that no one would think that if you chewed down on them you could possibly emerge with a generous mouthful of fat.
The raging, hungry Demon circling, would visit down on others.
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These people are afraid to individuate. Every time they did so in the past their God (read parents) abandoned them for "selfishly" attending to themselves rather than their ma and pa. So they go back home, stripped of everything, and for committing themselves entirely to God (their parents) they feel loved. Terrific master, that God.
These are very abused, very sick people. What we need to do, when we have the resources, is take them out and show them a good time. And when they panic for their unsupervised good-time meaning ma and pa surely abandoning them forever this time, help them deal with their "abandonment attack" by talking to them, tending to them, but absolutely also refusing to let them sunder themselves of any further independence by retreating back home.
Then we work on shutting down these institutions so they can be prevented from inhibiting people's growth and individuality. Retreat them back to primitive History, where they belong. Maybe Salon might write an article telling them to suck it, and show how progressive they really are.
Wow, you know what's right for every single person who joins a religious order? You know that they're all sick and all abused?
There have been several cases of people who have been shown a "good time"—and have a "good time" for several years before deciding to join orders. This is really not as a simple as you're making it.
Boy, every nun I ever encountered in childhood was a complete bitch or an outright abuser, and even I don't seethe with rage over the concept of their existence the way you do. Perhaps some people just desire to devote themselves to this sort of a lifestyle and its attendant goals, regardless of what others may think of it? And yes, they believe in the Guy in the Sky, but so what; it's a free country and it's their right to believe in it.
Many of them HAVE had a "good time" in the world already, and have grown to serach for something better. I notice that male reninciates are admired, but when it's a woman withdrawing from "the world" some people freak out. On Dec. 8, 1941, Thomas Merton joined a monastery instead of the army. If you study anything about his life, he certainly did not lead a useless one.
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Wow! I am stunned and appalled at these comments.
I personally find it almost impossible to understand these women and what leads them to this decision, and I pretty much feel that way about all religions. But I don't have any need to insult their choices and denigrate their commitment and beliefs. If someone finds peace and even joy in striving for unselfishness, what gives me the right to say they are wrong? Just because I don't believe in something doesn't mean that their lives are meaningless and that their choices were misguided.
They don't ask us to understand the path they have taken; they just ask that we respect their right to choose a path that does not harm anyone else and that brings solace to them.
And oh yeah, that picture. It's just that, a picture. This article is an excerpt from a book. I'm pretty sure the women who were interviewed for the book wouldn't want their photographs spread across the internet.
Let's say someone was trapped at home with a needy mother who insisted her daughters serve her. Let's say that every time these daughters tried to individuate, they got it bad from mom. Maybe real bad. Let's say these daughters were trapped in this environment for many, many years.
Then let's say they get out into the real world, and declare that it's not for them, that its leading them astray, into sin, and that they want to live unselfishly and devote themselves to someone bigger than them (again). Should we appreciate and respect their choice? Or would this be the ignorant and cruel thing to do?
Someone of us think that this is essentially what is happening with all nuns -- it's only understandable from people who've been abused. The healthy rightly couldn't possibly understand why anyone would do it. Life as self-nullification. Insane.
Like this author, many of us are thinking we might be better people if we learned the Depression's or the monastery's "financial reserve and material minimalism"? Possibly true. And if so this should be looked into as well. We don't want to come out of a Depression full of human stiflement and pain, and have people collectively agree nevertheless it got their bad materialism out of them.
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Wow, so much hatred and ignorance in such little comment space! From the tone and compassion of the comments I could swear this is a piece on Obama in some Tea Party rag. These women are nuns, committing their lives to God so they can pray for others (read: you). From the vitriol of the comments I think they have some work to do.
@mcasey5 I could swear this is a piece on Obama in some Tea Party rag. These women are nuns, committing their lives to God so they can pray for others (read: you).
Wouldn't you expect this to sell better in some Tea Party rag, though. Salon is a liberal, progressive magazine, with a lively entertainment and life section, and you're admonishing/reminding us that they're committing their lives to God and that they're praying for us?
Really, it's like you've made them those summoning a future wrath upon us, and would expect us to find this naturally endearing.
Emporium / Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Emporium / Patrick McEvoy-Halston