Old-fashioned nuns say the past is key to the future | National Catholic Reporter

Old-fashioned nuns say the past is key to the future | National Catholic Reporter.

Kudos to the National Catholic Reporter for publishing this article by David Gibson of the Religion News Service. Gibson gives a peek into one of the more traditional religious orders and the young women who are entering them. Sadly, you can’t avoid noticing the judgmental attitude among some of the women interviewed; an ‘us-them’ attitude.

Ideological differences among Catholics are usually divided into the old left-right, progressive-conservative dichotomy. The differences are apparent whenever a discussion takes place on modern day religious life. Interestingly, it seems to focus more on women’s religious orders rather than their male counter-parts.

Young women who embrace the habit and cloistered life are the standard bearers for Catholic conservatives. The women of more active, apostolic orders such as those of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) are the inspirational heroes of the progressives. The former focus on faithfulness to prayer, doctrine and traditions of the past. The latter focuses on gospel action through works of social justice.

Catholicism has always offered many paths towards holiness. The diversity of spiritualities and charisms found in our religious orders is one of our greatest gifts. It reflects our human reality. One person might find deep peace in a life structured around hours of prayer in a chapel. Another might find the same peace in the midst of the inner city. If a woman or man is called to religious life, there is a smorgasbord of life-styles to choose from.

Different is good. Why can’t we see difference side by side….different but equal. Why do we always have to place one above the other? Why do we always have to rationalize our own choice by demeaning and criticizing the choice of another?

6 thoughts on “Old-fashioned nuns say the past is key to the future | National Catholic Reporter

  1. Thanks for sharing this great article. I so-o agree with you, Isabella! Why does one lived experience of our spirituality have to be declared “purer” than another? There are so many ways to demonstrate and respond to God’s call. Respecting and honoring the differences is important and there is no need to denigrate one way over another. I sincerely hope that the Church comes to see that there are many ways to BE Catholic in the world.

  2. I agree with both Isabella and Marceta about the many ways to be Catholic. However, I think these “old fashion” nuns are really newcomers in terms of the history of religious communities; they appear to have a lot of nostalgia for the past. When God is inviting us to new life in the Church we have to not only let go of what we have a present, but we have to let go of the nostalgia for the past that does not exist any more. God is always moving us to create a future.
    The Vatican and the American bishops show a clear preference for the “old fashion” nuns not so much for their traditional garb, but because they “know their place”. They do not talk about things like women’s ordination, they are “obedient”, which in their minds of the “old fashion nuns” appears to mean “submissive” to bishops and priests.

  3. I especially like “Catholicism has always offered many paths towards holiness. The diversity of spiritualities and charisms found in our religious orders is one of our greatest gifts. It reflects our human reality”. We are called to be the salt of the earth. Salt brings out flavours, which are diverse. I also like “If a woman or man is called to religious life, there is a smorgasbord of life-styles to choose from”. Our God is a God of possibilities, and He has placed us in an ever-expanding universe. I think people need to remember that there is not just one way to be a Catholic.

    • Nicely said! And I love….Our God is a God of possibilities, and He has placed us in an ever-expanding universe. A wonderful reminder to be open to diversity and inclusivity.

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