Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Church Feminine

In an earlier age, this would have been seen as a reasonable step, a normal progression for young Catholic women. But what happens here every August is no longer a reasonable step, but an adventurous-some would say reckless- leap of faith by women, some of whom started the journey with little or no religious background. Self sacrifice? They come from an age of self-indulgence in which people seem wary of commitments, benumbed by television and bombarded with every conceivable form of electric communication promising instant gratification. Yet here they are, standing in the driveway of a building dedicated to a second-century Roman woman who was rewarded for her faith and good works by being beheaded. They are preparing to walk through the doorway of a life where rules require silence, poverty and celibacy.
--Sisters, by John Fialka
Read Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America.
Mais pour quoi?
Seriously, peeps. Can we just stop and talk about how sisters are truly phenomenal beings. Superwomen, it seems.
This book details their marvelous adventures-marches with MLK, run-ins with Billy the Kid, appealing to this Pope and that Bishop, building hospitals, saving lives, creating civilization. Making leaps of faith that lead to lives of love.

Mr. Fialka's book paints the portrait of the Sisters of Mercy with sweeping romantic brushstrokes, and also little humorous witty pinpoints of anecdotes. His word incite every Romantic desire in me. I long and yearn to jump up and join the young girls who up and run off, leaving behind family, friends, lovers and hometowns, to go join the convent, and embark on an adventure with Christ.

The last few chapters are a sad coda on the epic tale of Catholic sisters in America. A reminder of how especially rare such women are today. Around Vatican II everything explodes into all sorts of cray and these sisters bear the brunt of all the confusion. Their ranks, to the detriment of the Church and the world, are lessened and weakened.
After twenty-odd chapters filled with their delightful exploits and bold adventures, it's a rather heartbreaking and mildly depressing ending.

Which can only assure us that it's not truly the ending.

No comments:

Post a Comment