Nun Run follow-up

Sunday, March 25, 2007

So, remember how I left on a nun-run ten days ago? I'm back! And it was awesome. All the orders were solid, faithful to Mother Church, habited, in love with the Lord, and rooted in prayer. (Unfortunately, those things don't go without saying anymore.) Let me see if I can give you a taste of what I saw:
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (Ann Arbor, MI)
Wow, this one seems like forever ago. I remember that they made good pancakes in the morning.... They are a teaching order with a rich prayer life, and they branched off from the Nashville Dominicans (see below) ten or so years ago. Their new chapel is GORGEOUS. Sr. Joseph Andrew, the vocations director, is awesome, and I got to meet with her alone during our morning with the sisters. She encouraged me to concentrate on contemplative communities, since I am attracted to that life, and told me to email her when the trip was over with my top two contemplative monasteries and top one contemplative-active monastery. Which reminds me: I need to do that.
Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma (Alma, MI)
Their charism is to minister to the poor, sick, and ignorant, mainly in the form of teaching and health care. Their sisters are all educated to the highest level of their particular field, so there are a lot of doctors (MD, PhD, etc.) running around. Super fun, and it's cool to see how they bring the mercy and love of God to the poor by raising the poor up to a higher level (instead of lowering themselves to poverty level, which is the traditional way that religious have lived the vow of poverty). Of course, they do have the poverty of holding all things in common, living simply, etc.
Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (Mishawaka, IL)
Very spunky sisters. As the name implies, they are third-order Franciscan sisters and one of their main apostolates is perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They also teach and do health care. Their convent is AWESOME -- very old-school, with lots of secret passageways and sweeping staircases and wrought-iron gates.
two Poor Clare monasteries (Palos Park, IL, and Belleville, IL)
Both are foundations stemming from Roswell, NM, where Mother Mary Francis lived and wrote (you may be familiar with her book A Right to be Merry). Lovely, and I wish I could have experienced more of their life -- all we got to do was talk to a few sisters through the screen in their parlor and attend Mass "with" them (they were on the other side of the huge stone-and-metal grille). They radiated holiness, though, and were so cute and cloistered! Their habits are beautiful, too, even in their simplicity.
Community of St. John (Princeville, IL)
Very French. The nuns are contemplative (hence "nuns," not "sisters") and have an appropriately rich prayer life, with an emphasis on adoration. They have no pews or kneelers in their chapel, and only the bare necessities (apse, altar, tabernacle, woven mats on the floor, just wood and stone), so they sit, kneel, and prostrate on the floor or on simple wooden stools which line their "choir." It's very humble, but regal at the same time. I loved their unique way of chanting the office. As their name suggests, they draw their spirituality and charism from the Gospel of St. John. The whole community makes a priority of lifelong study of theology and philosophy, and all the sisters take classes every day, either from the brothers or from tape recordings of their founder. The theology and philosophy they learn, however, is quite narrowly regulated, and much of it is reactionary against modern French philosophy, which makes it a little too belligerent and closed-minded for my liking. Their life, though, is to die for!
Passionist Nuns (Whitesville, KY)
I think I'm going to join this community. Like, seriously. When Mother spoke to us about the Passionist charism, my heart just started burning in me, because it was like she was describing myself to me! My spirituality, my understanding of God and prayer and my place in the world...every little thing she said resonated exactly with my own heart. I still can't really believe it. And I hardly dare to until I talk to my spiritual director. Pray for me!
Oh, right, you probably want to know what it's about. Well, they take five vows: poverty, chastity, obedience, enclosure (they are cloistered contemplatives), and dedication to spreading devotion to Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. They have a striking joy and vivacity that stems from contemplating the lifeblood of Jesus, poured out in love for the world. I'd say more, but I'm dead tired. Hopefully more later.
Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Nashville, TN)
Y'all know about this order, I'm sure. They're everywhere -- beautiful teaching sisters that are trying to take over our school systems, one county at a time. :) Seriously, they have so many young women joining them, they can't build fast enough. The Dominican charism, as far as I can tell, encompasses study, prayer, study, fun, and sleep. In that order, except during spring break, when fun trumps all the others. I do wish they had more prayer time in the day -- it seems like they're always running around and never just being with Our Lord. But I suppose I'm also more of a contemplative.
Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (aka the Pink Sisters) (St. Louis, MO)
They are not called the Pink Sisters for nothing! Their habits are BRIGHT pink. And their chapel is pink. And the chairs in their parlor are pink. And if they had cars, I'm sure they would be pink, too. But they don't because they are a beautiful cloistered contemplative order. I seriously would join this order for their chapel and nothing else -- it is in the high French Renaissance style, with all the old flourishes, gilding, stonework, high altar, etc. I didn't even mind the pink, and I can't stand pink! They were founded specifically to be cloistered missionaries, supporting the work of a sister order (with whom they split later on). They still pray for priests and missionaries all the time, though.
Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George (Alton, IL)
Another congregation of third-order Franciscans, this one started in Germany. They do healthcare mostly, but their apostolate really covers a wide range of things, all striving to manifest Christ's merciful love in the world. We visited the novitiate and provincialate in the states, and here they have almost perpetual adoration, and every sister has a time to come before her Spouse and spend time with Him alone, in addition to the normal community prayers throughout the day.

I feel like I haven't even touched on what these orders are, or what has happened this week. You'll just have to wait until later! God bless you!

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