“You Are Bigger Than Even Your Biggest Mistake”: My friend Steven Christoforou

on St Dionysios of Zakynthos and the freedom of forgiveness:as you can tell, Steve has a million of these. Follow him on Twitter for more. … [Read more...]

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“The Sinner Teodora” Takes Viewers Inside a Romanian Women’s Monastery

Last night I watched "Pacatoasa Teodora" (The Sinner Teodora), an elliptical documentary by director Anca Hirte. It follows a young woman named Teodora as she prepares to make her final vows (? this was not a documentary big on explaining situations or helping the viewer) at a women's monastery.This is a haiku-like, compressed film, with lots of overlapping conversations about nothing in particular and lots of very tight close-ups on Teodora's lips or eyes. It's a sidelong glance at monastic … [Read more...]

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“Howl, My Soul”: The Medical Mission Sisters Sing to You About the Judgment

Really fantastic:via TheShrillest … [Read more...]

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“An Unlikely Nun Every Snake Person Should Meet”: Joel J. Miller

on Mother Maria Skobtsova, and I STILL don't have a tag for Orthodox Christianity, sorry!! ...For a nun, Maria’s story is more than a little unconventional. At Bishop Anthony Bloom’s first encounter with her, Maria sat at a cafe table with a beer. She was often seen shambling around the Paris market in her tattered habit, cigarette perched on her lip, haggling for deals. And she kept company with the lowest of the low.That was her calling. Twice divorced, she knew the meaning of God’s mercy … [Read more...]

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“Our Stories”: I’m at Spiritual Friendship

& I need your help! When I was in high school I spent just hours upon hours trying to suss out gay subtext in novels, songs, poetry. I longed for that moment of recognition: the moment when you realize that someone else has put into words and images something you have felt but never understood. It was so frustrating when somebody would slur through a pronoun (is that, “Was a lover, and his last”?) or skitter away from a revealing turn of phrase. And it was so thrilling when somebody–usually … [Read more...]

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A Vindication of the Rites of Whores: Rumer Godden’s “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy”

When I asked people to recommend books about life in religious communities, this (as well as Godden's In This House of Brede) was one of the most frequent responses. It's a story set among the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, whose charism involves prison ministry--and so many of the sisters are themselves former criminals, what we'd call "ex-offenders" or "returning citizens." These are I think the same nuns you see in Robert Bresson's terrific nun-noir The Angels of Sin. (This is the Bresson for … [Read more...]

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“The Surprising History of the Catholic Church’s Circus Priests”: The Washington Post

although really, every Catholic priest is a circus, yes? Before I left the center ring of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s Blue Unit traveling troupe, Father Frank Cancro handed me a postcard. On the front was Mary, her arms outstretched, with a multicolored shawl draping down from her hands like a circus tent. A lion, a tiger and a dancing dog were at her feet, with a clown, an acrobat, a juggler and others contained within the safety of her tent. They all stood on a star, at … [Read more...]

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