Last night I watched a short documentary on BBC iPlayer called Young Nuns. It followed two women in their early twenties deciding whether or not to enter and make their final vows in their convents.
Interesting to have a look at what their calling meant to them, and to their families, and to see the attitudes of those who met them.
One joyous moment in particular comes to mind; a group of young nuns went to visit a school and talked to a class of 11-12 year olds. Some looked horrified at the idea of not using mobile phones and make-up, but many were interested and respectful of “difference”:
“They always looked cheerful, so if God can do that and make them cheerful, then I don’t think it’s wrong I just think it in’t for me.”
I read The Telegraph’s review of the programme, and picked out this to share:
Nothing in 2011 is more anachronistic than joining a convent. Godlessness aside, what could be further from the values that the majority of Britons are most interest in than that joyless trio: poverty, chastity and obedience?
Yes, 2011 doesn’t particularly embrace those three.
Poverty – well we don’t all have to be a nun or Francis of Assisi, but we need to learn to be more open about sharing what we have.
Chastity – now we certainly couldn’t all swear to that, the human race would be gone in decades! But whilst the 2011 community is in many ways gladly more relaxed and open then it was in former years, there are downsides to today’s time – with one of my high school acquaintances pregnant at 15 and countless others going to nightclubs too often heart-breakingly known as “meat markets”, I think we need more often to remember the beauty of partnership, and of love, and to believe in the beauty of ourselves.
Obedience – a lot of us like to rebel a lot don’t we? I don’t like the word obedience. Brings the image of chains to my mind. But not all kinds of obedience come to that. It’s not all doom and gloom. Sometimes we just need to trust a little more.
So we’re not all nuns. But thanks to those who are. We’re not all priests, but thanks to those who are. We’re not all politicians (thank God), but thanks to those who do help. One thing we all are, is human beings. And another thing: we are all, as Ancient Greek scripture has it, angelos. Messengers, angels… capable of bringing tremendous blessings to the lives of thousands. In our humanity, and in our capability of greatness, by learning to share what we have, by believing in love (directed to God, to others, and to ourselves), by letting go of power and trusting a little more, we can do such beautiful things, and come ever so closer to that Vision of Peace, to a united world…