|Sister John Mary|
Anyway, since God is bigger than the boogieman, as my son often sings, and has a great way of making a point, the next day, as I was sifting through some Catholic blogs, one caught my eye, “PM Former Girlfriend Becomes a Cloistered Nun."
Talk about drastic change! Now, instead of attending charity balls with the Prince of Monaco (as she had), vacationing in The Hamptons and attending polo matches, Sister John Mary is dedicated to prayer and worship, mopping the chapel floors and tending cattle in the abbey grounds.
I'll be honest, that takes more faith, love, commitment and sacrifice than I can even begin to imagine. I mean, one thing is becoming a nun, or religious, and another is choosing a monastic life, where you completely shut yourself off from the outside world.
Then again, I guess it’s all about perspective. In his classic autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton calls the monastery, where he was to spend the rest of his life on earth, “enclosed in the four walls of new freedom,” because it was where he found the peace and freedom from all the distractions that kept him from God.
|Dolores Hart with Elvis|
The film is about a former Hollywood movie star, Dolores Hart, who also left her up-and-coming Tinseltown career, which included a co-starring role in her movie debut, Loving You with Elvis Presley, to become a cloistered nun (which I just so happened to have watched several weeks ago with my 11-year-old daughter).
After reading Sister John Mary's story, and looking at several articles on her life and conversion, I remembered the exchange I had the previous night with my wife.
Obviously, Adshead and Hart, like many religious, including the principal of the all-girls' Catholic high school my wife attended, and Merton, who became a monk, got their calling later in life (and not in fifth grade!).
However, the more I thought about it, the more I considered the point God was trying to make to me and became somewhat apprehensive.
For all the faith and desire to serve God's Will that I profess, there is still a lot of fear and trepidation about where God is leading me and what His purpose for my children may be.
Now, in all honesty, although at this point in her life, the convent appears to be a long shot for my oldest daughter, I sometimes wonder if my seven-year-old daughter, who despite her playfulness and mischief, has an innate spirituality about her, or my four-year-old son will be drawn to a religious vocation.
Would it be easy to consider that one of them was called to religious life? I'm not sure. Obviously, as a father of daughters there are some built-in benefits involved and, if my son were drawn to the priesthood, I would be proud, but, depending on the religious order, what if they got sent to some remote part of the globe? It might be just as hard to think of them living a monastic life and having limited contact with them.
It's funny, in a previous time, where many American Catholic families were larger (and I'm thinking about the biography I'm reading on Vince Lombardi), there was an unwritten expectation that, at least, one child may be called to join a convent, seminary or monastery.
However, as families shrunk and values changed in more recent generations, parents are more reluctant (maybe, for a variety of reasons, including, like my case, a bit selfishness) to encourage their kids to pursue a religious vocation.
In other words, it is easier for me to think that my oldest daughter is hanging out and being influenced by other girls in her school who want to be nuns, than it is to think that she is the one wanting to become a nun.
I still have a lot of growing to do in my faith...
So, how would you feel if your child felt a calling to religious life?