“for the sake of the whole”

i love nuns. i know they get kind of a bad rap but i think they are fantastic. these are women who choose God above all else, who minister to the outcasts of society bringing comfort and hope to those they serve. they also have quite the reputation for subversive actions and belief. they are intimately connected to one of the most patriarchal institutions in the world and yet manage to hold their own and trust in their own authority. that takes a kind of bravery i can only begin to imagine.

recently the leadership conference of women religious (LCWR) have been censured for having “radical feminist beliefs” and not speaking out against things like homosexuality, contraception and abortion. taking stands on controversial issues is not part of their calling or mission and yet they are being censured for exactly this. to rectify this, american bishops have been called to oversee the group, to rewrite the mission and platforms of women religious in this country. this is an extraordinary step and it bears mentioning that even the catholic bishops who failed to act and often times subverted justice in child sex abuse cases have not been treated this harshly.

i personally feel a lot of solidarity with nuns because i understand the complexity of being a feminist woman and working within a patriarchal religious institution. much of the pain i have heard nuns express over their religion is the same pain i feel in mine. i was listening to Fresh Air yesterday and Terry Gross was interviewing Sister Pat Farrell, president of the LCWR and i was struck again with how easily i relate to her struggle but also the wisdom and grace she carries with her.

i’ve excerpted some of the interview below but you should really just go listen to the entire thing.

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