Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Got Nuns? Take 2...

Recently, I posted a link about new religious vocations, and it seems timely, with the new school year dawning, that we remind young people about discerning a vocation to religious life.  And we, who may be women of influence in our own milieu, should take time to nurture and encourage that life choice of love and service.

Vocations, whatever they may be, are all about the intersection of living a life of love and service both to God and to others.

In a pivotal scene from the The Sound of Music, Maria, the impetuous postulant nun and star of the film, discloses her vocational "crisis" to the Reverend Mother: Maria, who once thought she would enter the convent and take permanent vows, now fears falling in love with a local widower and his children.

The wise Reverend Mother counsels, “Maria, the love between a man and a woman is holy, too… You must find out how God wants you to spend your love… you have to live the life you were born to live.”

You must find out how God wants you to spend your love. Therein lies a holy dilemma: choosing a fitting response to God who has first chosen to love us. God invites human persons to respond to him freely.  He does not coerce or force; he respects the dignity of the person.  But each person must find out, for themselves how to best spend their love. 

While I was traveling last week, I heard a radio interview on last Friday's Laura Ingraham Show with Mary Anne Marks, a recent Harvard summa cum laude grad.  Turns out, this remarkable young woman has entered a religious order this week -- The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.  (You can only hear the Ingraham interview if you subscribe to her show.) But you can read this interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online.  Do take time to read it.

Mary Anne Marks' discernment did not happen in a day or a week.... you'll find that it was nurtured all through her life.

Recently, a friend of mine, a woman of similar age and circumstance, experienced the leave-taking of one of her daughters to join a religious order in the Midwest. In a certain sense, like saying goodbye to a daughter as she enters into marriage, it is bittersweet. As a parent, you long for the happiness of your child in their chosen life, while praying for their commitment and resolve.

Yet, once again, I saw the same scenario played out: the call was heard, given the spiritual example of her family, and eventually, her influences while in college, leading this young woman to seek a religious vocation.  And so like other parents, my friend launched her daughter into this new life with much joy and anticipation for what God's plan might be.  She did that because she saw religious life as a life choice worthy of the call to holiness.

Let us continue pray for these young women on their vocational journeys, and also pray for our own children as well.


BTW, if you dig Latin: Ms Marks, now Sr Mary Anne, gave this rousing speech at her Harvard commencement:

You can read the speech in Latin or in English here.

And here she is pictured with the incoming sisters. (Look for the posting dated Aug. 28, 2010.)
Image credit.

1 comment:

  1. "In a certain sense, like saying goodbye to a daughter as she enters into marriage, it is bittersweet."

    Yes, probably an even bigger goodbye. I'm reminded of the scene in the recent Therese movie when her father leaves Therese at the convent. The parents sacrifice too, which becomes even harder in the modern 1.7 child family.


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