Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sisters Are HUMAN!!!

Why is it that people are so intrigued by religious sisters, or those of us who are discerning our vocation to the religious life (thinking about becoming a sister)?

I have been living with religious sisters since June, 2012 (just shy of two years). I have lived in two different houses and have lived with four different Sisters. Every Sister I have lived with or those I have been privileged to get to know beyond the superficial level, I have found that each one has a unique personality, as well as unique likes and dislikes. It has taken time but I have learned that religious sisters are human too! They do not live in a different world and neither do they sit or stand on an imaginary totem pole that is higher than my own. Being human they share in the same feelings and realities as the rest of us. For example, Sisters feel pain when a loved one, fellow community member or friend dies; when a friendship takes a bad turn; or even when the fall down. Sisters are not super human. I do not think there is any better of a way to show how Sisters and those of us who are thinking about becoming Sisters are human than to show some of the things we do.

My house community currently consists of two professed sisters, a discerner from Guatemala and myself a candidate. Although community prayer and ministry are at the center of our lives, we do many things together as community beyond prayer.

As a community we enjoy playing games together. We garden together and plant flowers. We cook and eat together. Sometimes we even go to the store together. I grew up going to the grocery store, the local Kroger store, with my mom.

Shopping together is fun, because you can shop twice as fast. And shopping with a community member is especially helpful when you are going to be going to Costco to buy months worth of food and other household necessities.

Last week three of the four of us were home and it was a nice warm, summer day, so one of the good sisters decided she wanted to wash her car. So when I got wind
of this, I went outside and pulled my car out of the garage. I wanted to give it a good wash down anyway. It was pretty dirty. The three of us ended up tag teaming on the two cars. It was so much fun washing each others cars!

On certain holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July, various sisters gather at a community house. This gives all of us an opportunity to get to know each other and eat and play together. This past Monday we celebrated Memorial Day at one of the community houses. The house was large enough that groups of people were able to break off in various places to play cards, corn hole and crockett. Crockett was a lot of fun. Another Sister and I laid out the course in a very difficult pattern. Nothing says Sisters are human, than when you bring them together to play a game. Each come with their own customs and set of rules. Quickly as a "young sister" you learn to referee so that everyone playing can compensate and agree on one set of rules. Right before the hog dogs and burgers were ready, the rain started coming down pretty steadily. I was surprised though that after dinner everyone wanted to finish the game. Being competitive, I just wanted to start a new game, but it was decided to just throw our balls down approximately where they were.

After the game of Crockett I played Corn-Hole, which is one of my favorite outdoor games. It was especially fun to be the champion of all four games I played and I even had a different partner each time. I think Bela enjoyed playing! She caught on rather quickly, she is cool like that.

You see, Sisters are human. Just because Sisters take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience this does not automatically mean they are "different," non-human, or above anyone else. There are many different orders of religious sisters and each have different charisms and rules they live by. Religious life is not easy and it is not for everyone. No life one chooses is "easy." Those who do choose religious life, live happy lives serving the Lord in multiplicities of ways, there are hard times and there are fun times while living community life.


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