Thursday, April 10, 2008

Conversation from the convent

I was at the Missionaries of Charity convent this afternoon as usual, and the doorbell rang. A 30-something man stood there, laden with plastic bags, wearing sunglasses and a cell phone earpiece. I greeted him.

"Hello! You are the new sister?" he asked.

"Uh... not quite... Who are you?"

"Oh, you are going to be a sister!"

I was wearing a long tweed skirt and turtleneck; it didn't bear much resemblance to the MC habit but I suppose I looked like an aspirant. I noticed that the bags the man held were smelling delicious, like eggrolls. People often bring such donations. "What is that, food?" I asked.

"For sister, for sister!" he said cheerfully.

"I'll take it to the kitchen," I said, and reached out for the bags.

He handed them over. "You are beautiful sister, but then they all look good!" he told me.

"Thank you very much," I replied absent-mindedly, meaning to refer to the food.

And as I was closing the door I thought I heard him utter the word "hot". This is true-- I don't know if he was warning me about the hot eggrolls, or calling me hot. Couldn't quite hear him.

Maybe if I become a nun I'll get more attention from men...


Randy said...

As a church we want to offer our very best to God. That means the best young men and best young women should be encouraged to enter religious life.

It is also true that when something is given to God it becomes more beautiful. So a woman becomes more beautiful when she puts on the habit but it is a sacred beauty that can only be admired in the most reverend terms. To me the term "hot" is an irreverend way to refer to a superfical beauty. Maybe he did mean the egg rolls or he just used the term differently.

Anyway, I am impressed that you are willing to come so close to convent life. Many young women are worried if they give God a chance He might call them to religious life. It is good you give God such an opportunity to speak to your heart about that. Whether we end up in a religious or married vocation it will be a lot more blessed if we are totally willing to embrace any vocation God has for us.

Rachel Ann said...

Of course you'll get more attention from men if you become a nun - because then you'll be a challenge. No, no. I'm not jaded. I don't think that a man wants you until he has you, and then decides you weren't worth it after all. That never happens.

( response is quite different from the one above...)

Rachel Gray said...

Thanks Randy; your last sentence is right on. And Rachel, don't change a thing. :)

Speaking of nuns posing a challenge, there's actually an Elvis Presley movie in which he plays a doctor and Mary Tyler Moore plays a nun. Elvis makes a play for her but she remains true to God. It all ends with her in attendance as Elvis performs at a groovy 1960's Mass. I haven't seen it but it looks... well, I'm not sure how it looks. Ludicrous, maybe? :)

Gary Keith Chesterton said...

Oh yes, it's ludicrous. Called A Change of Habit. The best scene is where Elvis, playing the hip young doctor running the free ghetto clinic, cures a child of autism by hugging him and giving him the love he never had!!

Now, as to the other question.

I am a middle-aged, married man. I will tell you quite frankly that religious sisters and nuns in their habits are often really quite surprisingly beautiful. This beauty is not sensual. It does not excite romantic longing nor does it provoke the "gallant reflex." It is similar to, but also different from, the beauty of children at play. Randy is on to something, I think, by pointing out the altered beauty of things consecrated to God.