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marihalojen
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Posted: July 22 2006 at 7:21am | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

On another thread Anne wrote
aussieannie wrote:
EWTN! - have it on in the house - let the recited rosaries, sung chaplets, the sight of nuns in full habit, and all the sights and sounds that are distinctively Catholic 'waft' through your home!


I've been thinking about nuns for months now, ever since the Nuturing Vocations for Girls and Dealing with Female Altar Servers threads. In my life I've seen
1. One nun in full habit, it literally stopped me dead in my tracks, amazed, wonderful!
2. In 4th grade I had Sister Joan for a teacher but never realized that she was a nun until I brought home my report card.   
3. Two nuns once brought a boombox to church and tried to get the kids to do a rap/interpretive dance.

How many of you have contact with real live sisters, in full habit or not in habit? Or are they truly relegated to the TV?

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 8:19am | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

Sadly, I've only known two nuns in my life. They both were wonderful women who worked at the Catholic school where I used to teach (They were the principal and the librarian). They did not wear habits and truthfully, I don't think I have ever seen a real live nun in a habit in my life. How sad that is. It is perhaps due to living in the Baptist Bible belt most of my life, but still...never? Where are the role models for our girls?

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 8:19am | IP Logged Quote Katie

I know what you mean! One of the amazing things about being in Rome is seeing all the (YOUNG!) nuns and priests walking around.

Here in Tbilisi we have many nuns. The Vatican Embassy has a cadre of nuns who cook and clean and run the place. There are nuns from Mother Teresa's order in their distinctive blue and white habits, who run an orphanage for homeless and disabled children. (I can't wait to do the Catholic Mosaic book and have my kids make the connection!!) Additionally there are several other nuns from different orders, some who are here alone. Some of these wear full habits, while others wear a more modern "uniform" of grey skirt, blouse, and large cross to identify them. I think it is wonderful for my children to see these lovely women at Mass, who are from all over the world and invariably friendly and full of smiles and humour.

When we lived in Alaska a missionary nun ran our parish, so lots of contact there (though no full habits!)

I'm having a hard time with the mental picture of the nuns and the boombox. It's going to keep me smiling all evening!

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 8:38am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

I've had both kinds of contact, habits and no habits. In Houston two of my sisters had the same nun in full habit as their Kindergarten teacher as my mother and aunt...and she didn't look any different over that span of years. It was so refreshing!

But in the same school I was taught be two nuns who didn't wear habits.

In Shreveport, Lousiana, we had some nuns that taught, with modified habits, but still veils, which was good.

Now, in Virginia, there aren't too many nuns in my city. The Benedictines at Linton Hall are a mixed bag with habits or no, but they pulled out of our parish. Any nuns here don't wear habits. The Dominican Nuns from Nashville run a school in Woodbridge, and their habits are just so lovely. We can go just a short drive and be inspired by some of the nuns at the Poor Clare Monastery, and Mother Teresa's order, Daughters of St. Paul...and I can't remember all the others. The wide ranges of apostolates run the gamut. My sister in Lincoln has the cloistered Pink Sisters. And yes, they wear pink habits.

I think everyone should visit a cloistered convent at some time -- the chanted office is so beautiful and ethereal. Just other-worldish. Not that every daughter has a religious vocation, but I think as a mother we should try the best we can to at least expose them to the beautiful life behind those walls. Or also the ones that are active, like Mother Teresa's order.

Funny you should bring this up, Jennifer. My son's latest repeated book request is A Peek Into My Church by Wendy Goody and Veronica Kelly. I have a few reservations. I don't like how they use the phrase "altar table" instead of just "altar". It mentions making the Eucharist bread in the home without including that there are strict rules on ingredients. It's not just bread. And finally, the nun aspect. They mention a Sister Carolita, make a huge point of how sisters wear ordinary clothes, etc. and then the following pictures show nuns in various habits -- confusing. Why not use a real nun for the example and then mention that some don't wear habits?

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 1:52pm | IP Logged Quote Dawnie

We have an order of sisters here in Wichita, Kansas, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They always wear habits and veils--you can see they are sisters from a mile away! They are a teaching order and teach in the Catholic high schools and some of the middle schools in this diocese. My dh had some of them as teachers when he was in high school...he always talks of them very fondly. These nuns are totally faithful to the Church and very holy and joyful. No watered-down religion being taught by these ladies!

They also occassionally put on a workshop at our Spiritual Life Center--I always try to get to these as they are always very inspiring. Every year they host a novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at their convent. They invite the public, have a little talk, then Adoration and the novena for 9 days. We've only been able to go once--they love young families and greeted us and our 3 littles very warmly. They also host First Saturdays devotion at their convent every month--we haven't been able to make it to that yet, either. Hopefully we will soon. I want my girls to be around these wonderful sisters.

There's also an order of cloistered Carmelite nuns in this diocese, but of course, we don't see them "out and about!" We could go to their convent for Mass--another thing we should do soon! There was recently an article about them in our local newspaper. I really admire these ladies and the life of sacrifice they live. It is comforting to know that they are praying for the people of our diocese.

There are a few other orders of sisters here, but they don't all wear habits or veils, so you can't always tell they are sisters. I haven't had much contact with any of these ladies.

Dawn

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 2:33pm | IP Logged Quote Karen E.

As a convert, I've felt very blessed to have a Benedictine monastery in our town. The nuns wear full habits. Just yesterday, the sisters opened their home/their chapel to us for a time of Children's Adoration. We're hoping we can continue this there.

When I used to help on our parish's RCIA team, we met weekly at the monastery. I could often bring my kids with me and have them play in "the babysitting room" where sisters would pop in and out and say hello. I've missed having regular contact with the nuns.

Every Halloween, we (and others we know) stop in to trick-or-treat there. The younger sisters always bring the elderly and infirm nuns up to the reception area to see the children in cute costumes. I'm always so touched to see these frail, holy women so enchanted with the little children. The sisters have All Saints parties and one year one of my favorite nuns was dressed as St. Jerome -- it was so cute to see this 65 or 70 year old sister with whiskers on her face.

A few years ago we took a short trip to visit some cloistered Carmelite nuns. It was a great experience. Thanks for the reminder -- I think it's time to schedule another trip there, as the girls were quite young!

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 3:11pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

The Dominican Sisters of Nashville, that Jenn mentioned, have sisters here in Denver. Two teach at the high school where my older sons attend and several others teach at the school associated with our parish. A funny story - several years back my youngest was quite a handful at Mass, loud, wouldn't sit still. We found that when we sat right in front of or behind the pew of sisters he was actually very well behaved. Sometimes they would slip him holy cards and such. Anyway, I feel so very blessed that we have these wonderful women in our lives. It really is a blessing that my children know these spirit-filled women personally.

Also in our area there are several orders who do wear habits:
Religious Sisters of Mercy who teach at the seminary
Carmelites teach at another one of the schools
Discalced Carmelites who have a monastery here
Missionaries of Charity - Bl. Mother Teresa's order

What awesome stories, Karen. My kids trick-or-treated at the Dominican convent this past year. My daughter went as a Dominican and they were quite impressed that we had the folds "right" on the veil (just luck as I really didn't know).

Jennifer, you mentioned being awestruck by the nun you had seen it full habit. The habit really is a fascinating garment with such meaning and history. A book I thoroughly enjoyed because of this was The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns

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Posted: July 22 2006 at 9:13pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

We are blessed here in Brisbane to have Mother Teresa's sisters and they come to visit us at home on a few occasions now, which is great. The children are always a part of their Christmas Nativity plays for the homeless and Christmas parties they organize for the chidren they catechise around Brisbane, so it is a lovely connection for my children, these are mostly young sisters, who are SO motherly, who just want to cuddle our children (in fact my 3 year old son, Joseph, tends to run the other way, his cuddled-out! they have doted on him since birth - I think they love his blue eyes and white-blond hair in particular.) When they attend our church as they often do, sometimes my daughters love to sit quitely with them during Mass. I think the habits of Mother Teresa's nun are so, so beautiful, so Marian.

The experiences are wonderfully varied, whether it is watching them hit a pinata with vigor at a Christmas party, or sitting down with the children in a circle and teaching them, "Mary, be a mother to us now..." with guitar in hand, or watching them kneel reverently in Mass - we remind ourselves often we are blessed that we still experience these things considering our diocese is a aging one in all ways.

We also see the Sisters at Carmel a couple of times a year as well, at special Carmel feasts where we get to picnic on their grounds that are situated on a high cliff overlooking the sea, my parents use to do the same with me and my sister when we were young, because of that, it seems a very special place. We come home with a case full of homemade chutneys and tomato sauces, that they sell to support themselves and we often mention them when we are enjoying their fare.

We have one Carmelite sister ring us on a regular basis, since I took over selling Faithdolls for them.(dolls from the U.S.) The children often answer the phone and have a few words to say to sister. We are grateful for these simple connections that our children experience - I feel they are important. It was this particular sister who shared really touching words which I posted on the thread when we asked for prayers for Regina Doman and family in their grief - she had read Regina's book.

EWTN also allows our children to see more of the real beauty in the hearts and souls, words and wisdom and love of all the priests and sisters in a very special way - that is so invaluable, it is in our home and on a daily basis, it is an incredible time of history that we live with when you think about it, to have it this way.

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Posted: July 23 2006 at 3:06am | IP Logged Quote ALmom

The Sister Servants of the Eternal Word are near us and we do try to attend Mass at their convent at least once per month (it is about 2 hours drive from us). My ds serves there every other month/ once every 3 months. If you want boys trained to perfection and made to feel like knights - have the sisters train them!! They have all boys (mostly from the local area)serve. Their particular charism is to run retreats. They are thourougly united to the magisterium. They are in full habit and just wonderful. We absolutely love these sisters and never want to leave when it is time to go. One of the sisters there is so very, very tiny - but very, very strong and she always swings my boys around. Everyone gravitates to the sisters and wants to talk with them. My dc know most of them by name. We literally have to force ourselves to leave the grounds even after the sisters have retired to their convent for their mandatory periods of silence or their community meal or recreation.

We also are close enough to visit Mother Angelica's and have a retreat there from time to time. Before they moved, our oldest helped one of her nuns carry some water jars into the convent. She was very, very young at the time and the rest of us were in awe and kept asking what it was like. I have to admit , the poor cloistered sisters had to move because of people like us who were just learning - and we just wanted to be around them so much that we would take a picnic lunch for after Mass and try to spot the nuns behind the wall - of course we also enjoyed sharing our lunch with the brothers and again had to drag ourselves away.

As far as any local religious sisters in our immediate area, there are a few, but most do not wear any habit at all and my dc haven't yet realized that they are religious sisters - even when one of the sisters told my dc her particular order and showed the little pin she wears - mine still didn't get it (I think they really doubted her word even with my confirmation that yes, she was a sister) and weren't interested in talking to her much. There are 2 Spanish sisters from Mexico here for the Hispanic community - in full habit and again my dc gravitate to them whenever we see them even though their English is limited and our Spanish is non-existent. They came to our All Saints party and every child had to get near them. They were a delight. By the way, the sisters had no trouble joining in and guessing Saints - and we knew when they had it right (usually the first try!).

The Dominican Sisters of Nashville are not too far away - and again they wear full habit. Well, my dc gravitated to them on sight the time they visited our parish. We listened to a talk about vocations - and my dc were so enthusiastic, didn't want to leave and kept coming up with all kinds of questions for them just to keep talking with them.

I believe that Pope JP II asked the religious to wear their habits. I certainly believe it is an important aspect. I just listened to a tape on vocations with my 2nd dd and Mother Theresa was talking to the heads of religious communities and told a story. A sister not in habit was having to walk to get a subway or something like that and started getting uncomfortable because this young man seemed to be following her so finally she stopped and told a policeman that she was a religiuos sister and her concern. The policeman simply went up to the man and in conversation mentioned that the young woman he was following was a religiuos sister. The man went off in some other direction. The policeman went back to sister to tell her all was OK - and then he asked her a question. "Sister, how did you know I was policeman?" Well, officer - by your uniform, of course". The officer then asked her, "How was that young man to know you were a sister?" and went away.

A religious is a witness to the world of the other world for which we should be striving, but the witness is weakened without the habit, imo. It seems tied to a full understanding of vocation.

Janet
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Posted: July 23 2006 at 4:54am | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

ALmom wrote:
We also are close enough to visit Mother Angelica's and have a retreat there from time to time. Before they moved, our oldest helped one of her nuns carry some water jars into the convent. She was very, very young at the time and the rest of us were in awe and kept asking what it was like. I have to admit , the poor cloistered sisters had to move because of people like us who were just learning - and we just wanted to be around them so much that we would take a picnic lunch for after Mass and try to spot the nuns behind the wall - of course we also enjoyed sharing our lunch with the brothers and again had to drag ourselves away.


As Mother Angelica would say Janet, "That's awesome!"

I think in the case of Mother Angelica and her sisters, we all realise that it is brush with a future saint and her cloister - as I feel certain that Mother will be canonized after her death, God willing not too soon, as life would be a much poorer place without her. Even now she suffers, I am sure, for the whole world and the continuing growth of her network.

What a blessed country most of you belong to - having a woman like that in your midst.

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Posted: July 23 2006 at 2:56pm | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

lapazfarm wrote:
Where are the role models for our girls?


This is exactly what Iíve been wondering! Itís like a treasure hunt only I feel I havenít even found the map yet. Iím so glad others are actually meeting up with IRL Nuns. It gives me hope that perhaps one day we might be so blessed.

MaryM wrote:
The habit really is a fascinating garment with such meaning and history. A book I thoroughly enjoyed because of this was The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns


This looks fascinating! I love how different the various habits are, to actually know the history and meaning behind them would be neat. I remember an old video of Mother Theresaís wherein her habit was explained, a lot of thought went into it and I was inspired to spend a lot of time with my sister wrapped up in white bedsheets trying to toss things out our bedroom window. (in the video they were clearing out a place in NYC of all unnecessary things like carpet by pitching it out the window down to the street)

ALmom wrote:
The policeman went back to sister to tell her all was OK - and then he asked her a question. "Sister, how did you know I was policeman?" Well, officer - by your uniform, of course". The officer then asked her, "How was that young man to know you were a sister?" and went away.


I love this story!

ALmom wrote:
A religious is a witness to the world of the other world for which we should be striving, but the witness is weakened without the habit, imo. It seems tied to a full understanding of vocation.


So well said, Janet. It has made me think of how we might be identified as Catholic ourselves, wearing scapulars, medals, crucifixes, the thread on Catholic Homes that we will get a peek at (the kitchens at least!) These would be our outward signs of our vocation as Catholic Mothers, I suppose.

I love reading about everyone's experiences with nuns! I would never have thought of Trick-or-Treating at a convent and I would never have expected St. Jerome to answer the door!!!


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Posted: July 23 2006 at 3:26pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

I hope Alice will chime in with her story of her dd meeting a "nun." It's truly one of those stories I wish were my own. Alice?

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Posted: July 23 2006 at 3:58pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

MacBeth wrote:
I truly hope Alice will chime in with her story of her dd meeting a "nun." It's truly one of those stories I wish were my own. Alice?


LOL, MacBeth.

When Agnes was about four, we attended my beloved aunt's funeral. She had been a sister of fifty years, and her funeral was attended by, literally, hundreds of nuns. Throughout the day, I had the honor of introducing many of them to Agnes. The same exchange took place a dozen times:

Me: "Agnes, this is Sister Mary. She taught me in the first grade."

Agnes: "Hello, Sister Mary."

Me: "Agnes, I would like you to meet Sister Jane."

Agnes: "Hello, Sister Jane."

Me: "Agnes, this is Sister Josephine."

Agnes: "Hello, Sister Josephine."

At one point, a bent, little elderly nun entered wearing a full habit. Agnes looked thunderstruck and grabbed 2 year old Theresa urgently, exclaiming for all to hear, "Look, Theresa! A nun!"



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Posted: July 23 2006 at 4:07pm | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

Really, truly, laughing out loud!

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Posted: July 23 2006 at 10:18pm | IP Logged Quote Maddie

Sundays evenings would often find our family at a Visitation convent for Holy Hour. There were only a few nuns at this convent, but all were in full habit.

On one occasion, we were leaving the convent after Holy Hour when we caught the attention of Mother Superior as she briskly came down the stairs. She looked as if she wanted to talk with us, and we knew we had better obey. She approached us, oh she was a beautiful sight! elderly, gentle holy and in full habit! After a smile and a greeting to each of us, she turned to my 10 year old daughter and said, "Have you ever thought of becoming a nun?" My daughter nodded to the affirmative. "Well, this is what you must do. At the elevation of the Host you must pray with all your heart, "Jesus, make me a nun, make me a nun! That is what I did, and here I am." Then she smiled again, turned and went back upstairs.

It was just one of the moments that make you wonder and marvel at God's plans.

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Posted: July 23 2006 at 11:52pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

Maddie, that is truly a beautiful story.

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Posted: July 24 2006 at 8:51am | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

Oooh, Maddie, I got chills just reading it!

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Posted: July 24 2006 at 11:07pm | IP Logged Quote Joelle

We live near a nursing home that has taken over the skilled nursing care of many of the elderly sisters of a community close by. Another homeschooling family started going to the facility and bringing all of the nuns to the chapel every Friday night to pray the Rosary a few years ago and we started joining them a few months ago. All I can say is I wish we started sooner! These women are not in habits (as most are in their pj's w/ lap robes). They are in different places along the aging path--but all recognize the Rosary and so many of them just delight at the children. The girls (as well as my 10 yo son) have become friends to quite a few of them and even the ones with memory issues (one asks my husband & I "What do you do with her?" every 2-3 minutes--and sometimes she's even pointing to our son! He takes it in stride). Our time with them is treasured and my children are learning to serve those who have so faithfully served our church throughout their lives. The ones that are sharp (most of whom were teachers) follow my childrens' activities and always ask what they did the previous week.

Our children are small and many & I worried that they would just distract the prayer time, but we've found that not to be the case. I would encourage anyone to do this--our family then goes for ice cream or comes home and makes rootbeer floats--it's really become a wonderful friday night thing for our whole family!

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Posted: July 25 2006 at 3:03am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

What a great ministry opportunity for your family, Joelle. Thanks for sharing. I've been trying to think of ways to help you, Jennifer, to connect with sisters in your community. One of the ways I did think of was to find a retirement facilty for religious, just as Joelle mentioned. There are so many retired religious but didn't have any luck searching the internet for ones in Florida. Best bet is to contact the diocese and ask.


So what I did find in Florida (looking specifically for those who do wear habits):

The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm run retirement/nursing care faciliteis - one of which is in Florida.
West Palm Beach - Lourdes Noreen McKeen Residence for Geriatric Care

Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart are at a couple schools in Florida and have convents there.
St. Theresa Convent
1253 Anastasia Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 448-0662

St. Teresa of the Andes Convent
16607 SW 103 Lane
Miami, FL 33196
(305) 388-7751

Discalced Carmelite Nuns
4525 West 2nd Avenue
Hialeah FL 33012

What other "ports" might you travel to?

In googling for locations of various orders I found some great pictures - Have you ever seen a sister in full habit driving a tractor or playing volleyball or riding tricycles?



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Dawn
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Posted: July 25 2006 at 5:40am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

marihalojen wrote:
How many of you have contact with real live sisters, in full habit or not in habit? Or are they truly relegated to the TV?


I went to Catholic high school and college and all the nuns wore regular dress. My favorite teacher *of all time* was Sister M.L. (Mary Louise) who taught me French 9th-12th grade. She was a tough cookie and as a freshman I was *terrified* of her. Everyone was! But as these stories go, she turned out to also be the kindest, funniest and warmest teacher I've ever had. Tough, yes - let me tell you I *learned* French - but oh, what a wonderful lady she was.

I was so eager to visit with her during my first break freshman year at college, but sadly, Sister died in a car crash bringing Christmas gifts to her family a day before break. I was (our whole school was) devastated.

Funny thing, my oldest seems to have a real affinity for the French language and I've dragged my feet with pursuing it, but this has been the shot in the arm I needed.

Jennifer, thanks for this thread. I haven't thought of Sister ML in a while and it was so nice to reminisce about her this morning.

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