There’s a stereotype of nuns as stodgy Victorian traditionalists. I learned otherwise while hanging on for my life in a passenger seat as an American nun with a lead foot drove her jeep over ruts and through a creek in Swaziland to visit AIDS orphans. After a number of encounters like that, I’ve come to believe that the very coolest people in the world today may be nuns.
So when you read about the scandals, remember that the Vatican is not the same as the Catholic Church. Ordinary lepers, prostitutes and slum-dwellers may never see a cardinal, but they daily encounter a truly noble Catholic Church in the form of priests, nuns and lay workers toiling to make a difference.
It’s high time for the Vatican to take inspiration from that sublime — even divine — side of the Catholic Church, from those church workers whose magnificence lies not in their vestments, but in their selflessness. They’re enough to make the Virgin Mary smile.
So two the number of women religious that I have been blessed to know and to work alongside…here’s to you today.
To Sr. Jeremy Midura, who is the Pastoral Associate here, and even serves as a dog sitter for not only my dog, but for our parish’s two english sheepdogs. Thank you for your thirst for justice and for reaching out to the least of our brothers and sisters.
To Sr. Jeanne Hamilton, OSU, who spent many a late evening talking and counseling me in college. Jeanne, your love for students always shined bright. Thank you for giving so much of your time to me.
To Sr. Anne Walsh, who ran liturgies at Fordham more precisely than a Swiss Watch. Today, Sr Anne works with student-athletes and is a huge presence on the Fordham campus to this day. Thank you for your rich Irish soul that always met my heart with your own and opened my eyes to the joy of serving this church.
To Sr. Christine Wilcox, OP, who I am proud to call friend, colleague and simply an all-around cool woman! You bring much joy and happiness to my life when we are together. It’s been awhile and I miss you and your laugh.
To Sr. Manuela Tino, who taught me 8th grade in a horrendous, x Catholic school filled with privileged spoiled brats. You were a horribly misunderstood woman. Thank you for being my teacher and for always believing in me.
Religious women have run the day to day operations of the church for years. It’s high time that we give them the accolades that they are deserving.
So today, say thanks to a nun. And be glad for their gifts.
For they indeed are many.