Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not Nunsense: A Little Inspiration to Help You Carry Out the Purpose God Has Called You To Today

Do you need an inspirational shot in the arm? Do you admire strong women? Are you frustrated with your boss? Have I got the nun for you!

I’ve always been fascinated with nuns. I am just sure it started with Sally Field because my family is not Catholic. And since my interest started when I was very young, Sister Bertrille (Sally Field) was the only exposure I had to nuns. How many of us women over forty at one time (hopefully in childhood) wrapped sheets over our heads and jumped off picnic tables hoping the wind would kick up just right . . . What? You’re over forty and never jumped off your picnic table in a makeshift habit? Liar. Next you’ll be telling me you didn’t twitch your nose like Samantha.

*As an aside, my husband occasionally entertains me with mostly funny stories of his early teachers who were nuns. My favorite Sister’s name is “Sister Emerencia,” because it is a thrill to pronounce, very regal. If I were a nun, I would definitely want that name.

Anyway, if I wanted to match up two topics as random as possible today, I might have come up with this: INDIANA NUN TO BECOME FIRST SAINT FROM U.S. SINCE 2000. And yet, The Fox News website has a story today about an Indiana nun who is about to be canonized. Here’s the short story; stick with it through the end even if you're not fascinated with nuns:

Mother Theodore Guerin, who was born in Brittany, France, led a group of six French nuns who arrived in Indiana on Oct. 22, 1840, to establish a community in the woods outside Terre Haute. She and Vincennes Bishop Celestin de la Hailandiere struggled over control of the fledgling order, and he dismissed Guerin from her vows, threatened her with excommunication and banished her for a time from St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She did not return until after his resignation in 1847. And then she established a lot of boarding schools for girls.

In the Fox story, Rev. Richard McBrien says about her, So many leading figures who had tussles with their bishop or other high-ranking ecclesiastical officials were later rehabilitated. History remembers them, but not the officials who gave them a difficult time," McBrien said. "I dare say that Mother Guerin, as a soon-to-be-canonized saint, will achieve an elevated status that will forever elude the bishop who dismissed her.

“Had tussels with their bishop?”

(Forget the Flying Nun--what about the Boxing Nun?)

Well, you will greatly admire Mother Theodore Guerin if you read her life story at this Saints Alive site. Here is my favorite sentence about her: There were many "rainy days" in her task as foundress. The harsh challenge of the frontier. The shortage of food and necessities for her Sisters. The endless other contradictions of everyday life. And added to these was the antagonism of non-Catholic Hoosiers in those Anti-Catholic days, when there was a constant fear that enemies would burn down their convent . .

Mother Theodore Guerin (below) sounds like one tough Christian cookie, determined to live out her calling. Quite inspirational.

2 comments:

Zim said...

A few parts of this are sticking in my head:

1) Picturing you jumping off a picnic table with a sheet over your head.

2) Picturing George telling Sister Emerencia to go jump off a picnic table. (It might not have happened, but you can imagine how hiliarious it would be if he did).

3) The reference to Mother Theodore Guerin as a "foundress." That's the kind of word that challenges me to use it in my vocab sometime this next week....we'll see what happens with that.

Susanne said...

We watched "Flying Nun" all the time but I don't ever remember jumping off the picnic table with a sheet on my head. I guess I just wasn't very imaginative back then or just maybe I was afraid of breaking my neck! Can't remember! My reliving Sally Field flying is now limited to when my dog begs for something he really wants. He lifts his ears up and out just like Sally's hat. I'll have to live those days vicariously through him now!

I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school until grade 7. My favorite teacher ever was a couple of sweet nuns who absolutely loved the children and had great influence in their lives.