I've determined that God is probably calling me to this, and I've finally found the right order! For quite a while I looked around, but it seemed most of the religious congregations I talked to were pretty insular, with the nuns either confining themselves in a cloister or just doing institutionalized works basically assigned by the hierarchy as an extension of their agendas, in Catholic schools and hospitals and the like. After much discernment I realized I was looking for something entirely different, something that would enable me to go out into the world as a minister and preach freely in word and deed as Jesus' first itinerant followers did, developing my unique gifts as a woman in service to those (often on the margins of society) who have been sorely neglected by the institutional church. And I found all this in an order called the Dominican Sisters of Social Justice. Their mission statement sums it up:
The Dominican Sisters of Social Justice, impelled by the Gospel and outraged by the injustices of our day,
Stirred by the Wisdom (Sophia) of God and rooted in our contemplative prayer, communal study, and life in community, we challenge heresies of local and global domination, exploitation, and greed that privilege some, dehumanize others, and ravage Earth.
We confront our racist attitudes and root out racist practices in our lives and systems.
We confront systems where women are denied freedom, equality, and full personhood.
We walk in solidarity with people who are poor and challenge structures that impoverish them.
We practice non-violent peacemaking.
We promote lay leadership and shared decision-making for a renewed Church.
We live right relationships with Earth Community.
We claim the communal authority and responsibility of our Dominican heritage. We commit ourselves to live this vision in mutuality, inclusivity and collaboration.
We Sisters are also members of a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization that helps us advocate for the realization of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Here's a video of one of the creative liturgies celebrated by my new community. As a novice I'll be able to opt to take lessons in reiki healing, personality enneagrams, and liturgical dance!
And although this isn't a deciding detail or anything, I really liked the habits worn by this congregation. I've always said if I became a nun I'd insist on a habit with a traditional veil.
There's so, so much else to say about this order, how I found it, and how I discerned that I should enter. But for now, everyone congratulate me. :)
Here are a couple of other posts from around the web on this fine April Fools' Day:
St. Louis has a new archbishop, and it's none other than SSPX superior Bishop Fellay! Fr. Z reports.
An interesting story about Brother Ursus, member of a Dominican congregation in England. I have to say that's the cutest Dominican I've ever seen. But once I join the Sisters of Social Justice, I'll give him a run for his money. :)