More Miserable Nuns…

Couple weeks ago we saw some very happy nuns who were belying Bitter Maureen Dowd’s assertions.

Seems there are other nuns who are happy – nay, joyful; in fact, they seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Check out these Franciscan nuns in Spain:

A 43 year-old prioresses has revolutionized an old Poor Clares convent in Spain, turning it onto a magnet for dozens of young professional women. . . .Sr. Veronica joined the convent which had not seen a new vocation in nearly 23 years.
. . .
The Spanish daily El Pais, one of the newspapers most sympathetic to the current Socialist government’s campaign against the Catholic Church in Spain, could not resist publishing an extensive report on Sr. Veronica. According to the newspaper, she “has become the biggest phenomenon in the Church since Teresa of Calcutta,” as “she has made the old convent of Lerma into an attractive recruiting banner for female vocations, with 135 professional women with a median age of 35 and 100 more on a waiting list.” The paper adds that Sr. Vernoica has also “opened a house in the town of La Aguilera, 24 miles from Lerma, at a huge monastery donated by her Franciscan brothers.”

I am struck by the 21 year old postulant who says, “…I asked Our Lady to teach me to love her son like she does.” Such perfect Mariology; Our Lady is not the object of our worship, but she points to that object, teaches us about Him, guides and prays, precisely as Pope Benedict describes, here.

More Happy Nuns, and this fast-growing community (pdf) sings joyfully, too! But some of you already know that, if you picked up their lovely CD from last year. Jack at Catholic Key advises that these Benedictines are now offering a Christmas CD, with both classic and new Christmas music:

“We recorded a fresh translation of Silent Night from the original German. One of the sisters did the translation and another set it to music. The church’s organ was broken so composer Franz Gruber played the accompaniment for Stille Nacht on his guitar.”

Some of the songs are familiar carols; others are original compositions by the sisters. Almost every day, one of the sisters is inspired to write a song, Mother Therese said. “We’re not professionals,” she said. “We just love to sing.”

Listening to snippets at their website, they sound like angels. Maybe all that fasting and all those prayers make them very light.

Our Passionist Nun friends in Kentucky have designed and made a cross that may make a great present for a pro-life friend.

And these Poor Clares have a chili cook-off with their neighbors.

At Clyde Monastery, where the Benedictines have opened a teahouse and recently received the first profession of a former Army Reservist who has seen active duty (scroll down) the sisters seem jubilant.

None of these women seem miserable, to me.

The joyous Poor Clare nuns of Malawi

FTC Disclaimer: I get no kicks from champagne, and no kickbacks from any of these sisters, for recommending their stuff.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • retriever

    Thanks for this beautiful post. Used to work with the Sisters of Charity when young (their token Protestant chaplain for ministry w mostly Protestant abused and neglected kids and the staff) so admire Sisters and pray for vocations daily.

  • Jeanne

    The Benedictines of Mary’s first CD sold 60,000 copies!!!!

  • Sally Thomas

    Thanks for another lovely nun post. My teenaged daughter spent the first part of last week down at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Alabama, and I think she hoped that the Poor Clare extern nun she was hanging around with would just keep her.

    So miserable, all these nuns, that teenaged girls call their mothers and say, “You know I’m not coming home.” (She did. I was glad to see her. Not quite ready to give her up yet.)

    [edited to insert links -admin]

  • Ellen

    I went to a conference about Mother Teresa las weekend and met 5 of her nuns. All were happy and kind. I also met a young woman from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, who was simply beautiful and happiness radiated from her.

    [edited to insert links -admin]

  • GTB

    THANK YOU for keeping up the Happy Nun posts because few others are. IMO, that’s one of the reasons that the ‘old nuns’ orders got so bitter & disaffected with the Church: Their extensive contributions to the infrastructure of the RCC were largely ignored or taken for granted. My God-daughter is now in her 3rd yr as a Nashville Dominican; she simply glows.
    BTW, your Obama post of last nite was spot on too. Creative Minority report posted a great pic of “The Bow” next to a pic of our Commander in Chief who refuses to put his hand over his heart. Just gives me the creeps.

  • Sally Thomas

    We love those Nashville Dominicans! There are a group of them teaching at a school in Greenville, SC, not far from us, and we met them at the Charlotte Diocese’s Eucharistic Congress at the end of September. Our two girls spent time chatting with them — several weeks later we ran into the same sisters again, and they exclaimed, “Oh! You’re X and Y’s parents, aren’t you?” The girls weren’t with us at the time, but it meant a lot to them to know that the nuns had remembered them by name.

  • Joe DeVet

    We are “honorary grandparents” (it’s a long story) to a newly-permanently-vowed sister in one of the renewal groups (Franciscans TOR in this case) growing up in the Church. After a roller coaster life, she has found her true home! She is one joyful lady within a group of very joyful, young-at-heart holy women. One key to their joy–freedom from the twin burdens of dissent and radical feminism.

  • Todd

    I can’t say I’ve known “old nuns” to be bitter, so the comparison is lost on me. Women religious as a whole, both those in cloisters and in the secular world have always seemed happy and balanced, often in spite of mistreatment by clergy.

    [I don't think I (or anyone here) was talking specifically about "old" nuns or "young" ones. In fact, I haven't called any nuns "bitter." I did call Maureen Dowd bitter. She is the one who wrote about miserable and unhappy nuns. -admin]

  • Deirdre Mundy

    I’ve met cranky nuns and happy nuns—

    It’s not an age-thing… it’s a “Focus of the Order” thing, IMO.

    The sisters from orders who put the Eucharist first and let their strenght and work come from that center tend to be joyful.

    The ones who’ve replaced Christ with Enneagrams, Reiki and random ‘activism’ tend to be cranky. As they should be— because nuns work hard and tackle the impossible. If they’re not doing it because they’re madly in love with Christ, how COULD they be happy?

  • cathyf

    One of the happiest folks I’ve known is Sr. Nancy Murray, OP. For the last several years she has been touring the country with her one-woman show on St. Catherine of Sienna.

    Some years back Chicago’s Hispanic gangs were in the midst of a brutal gang war. The cardinal called the pastor of the parish that was in the middle of all this and said “What can we do to help kids have an alternative to gangs?” The pastor replied, “Can you use your pull to get us Sr. Nancy?” Phone calls were made, and she spent more than a decade there working with the kids of the neighborhood.