Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nasty Habits

A 'religious sister' - "Still crazy after all of these years"

Raise your hand if you know Catholics that have left the Church and blame it on the 'mean' nuns they had in school as a kid. These were the habit-clad versions that whipped you into shape with a pointer across the face, or a twist-you-down-to-the-ground with a turn of your ear. The ones who told kids they would end up in jail or amount to nothing, while doting on the prospective priests and nuns in the class. The same ones who wouldn't let girls like Mary Jo Copeland participate in the "May Crowning" because she had greasy hair and a dirty uniform and came from a bad home. Some of us stayed in the Church despite them, many others couldn't wait to get out.

So now they are old and liberal and a 'kinder gentler' lot. They dress in awful secular clothes and get their hair done, unless they are dykes, then they are pretty butch. Nevertheless, they still do not have an authentic spirituality. And now they espouse all the right trends of the culture of death. Their 'convents' are centers of new age thought, wiccan ritual, and they still dominate colleges and spirituality centers. Some even function as 'priests' - although, if they go for ordination, they 'risk' excommunication. Risk? They are already excommunicated in conscience! Stay away!

I've often said, the old breed drove people away by their puritanical, dogmatic rigidity, as well as an enormous lack of charity. The new ones drive them away by their free-wheeling, liberal anti-Catholic, materialist lifestyle, as well as a lack of charity. Sure they 'do' charity - that is, secular work that helps the poor; yet understand this, the greatest lack of charity is sending souls to hell. Hence, pro-choice 'sisters' are doing a better job than their predecessors. But whose keeping score?

[Praise God we have authentic nuns like the Nashville Dominicans as well as others who teach and serve in the Church today, and provide an authentic witness to the laity!]


  1. These womyn need our prayers, Terry!

    God forgive me! I don't want to mock them- although they're setting themselves up. Is it that they despise men? themselves? God?

    I remember the scary nuns of old- one of them actually hit a kid for something she thought he did (but didn't!) & he hit her back!

    & a Jewish friend said that a Catholic nun recently told him that it's okay to use condoms to prevent STD's!

    Where did they get these ideas? The ripple effect of the havoc they have wrought affects us all...

    Lord have mercy!

  2. I get very tired hearing all the tales about nuns in Catholic schools.

    Between my brother and I, three years apart, we can remember two or three incidents in our twelve years of parochial school with Benedictine Sisters. And none of them were particularly violent. And this was in a very blue collar neighborhood where some families couldn't afford the $5 a year "book rent."

    Why don't those with tales of "abuse" ever talk to their friends who went to public schools? Do you think that those teachers were disciples of non-violence?

    The few coming of age tales that I have read told me that physical punishment was expected when one's homework was not done or "acting up" was observed, or suspected.

    Do a Google search on - "public schools" paddling - and you will get 78,000 results. Paddling and other forms of corporal punishment are still being used in many states today.

    The same search for parochial schools comes up with 902 hits.

    I would bet that most tales of abuse by nuns, who gave their lives for God and their students, are "urban legends" that people want to believe so bad that they exaggerate them.

    Thank you, Sisters of St Benedict, for the wonderful education you gave me and my friends.

    And yes, 50 years later, some of these sisters have bought into the lies that were told them by priests and bishops after Vatican II and thought that their role in the Church would change.

    As if being a "Bride of Christ" isn't reward enough?

  3. Thankfully, most nuns & public school teachers know better than to hit a child- it probably wouldn't even occur to them! That's why the ones that have are remembered... no exaggeration or sugar-coating necessary!

  4. I concur...I get real tired of all the bashing on traditional nuns. I esp. loathe it when they use it as an excuse to attack venerable traditions of the wearing habits and well..attending Mass. Hee,hee. Yeah it gets pretty old and frankly I'd like to smack them for blaspheming the brides of Christ..poor examples perhaps..but His. Of course I have problem denoucing public actions and ripping them to shreds. *sinister grin and laughter* I love this blog!

  5. I think I posted this recently- probably on this blog...

    Within a ten-mile radius, there was a Catholic priest who was arrested for abuse, a first grade teacher from a Christian reform school, & a very well paid superintendant of the public schools- a married father of five...

    all arrested for abusing boys.

    No one left the churches involved in these scandals- & there are still plenty of kids attending the public schools!

    Despicable acts, all. But despicable acts of individual men- not God. If they were obeying God's laws, these things would not have happened. I can't imagine anyone leaving the Catholic Church because of the sins of others... the place would be empty! as we are all sinners...

  6. Anonymous9:10 PM

    There were Congregations of Sisters in which novices (most of whom were between 17 and 20 years old) were not taught or helped to pray. That was the root of the problem. During the novitiate they were taught to say prayers and to keep their rule and community customs. If things looked good on the outside it was generally assumed that they were good on the inside. One Novice Mistress used to say, "A perfect religious will have perfect pleats." Seriously!
    Postulants or novices who broke down and cried too often, or who threw things, or had fits of mysticism were sent home. Novice mistresses routinely used threats or emotional blackmail: You will be sent home if this happens again, and then, what will your poor mother say?" Another big one was, "Sister, do you want to break your poor father's heart?"
    Second year novices were often sent out on mission "disguised" in a black veil — and began teaching in parish schools, often before getting an undergraduate degree. From then on it was work, work, work. Some had to face a classroom of 48 children five days a week and for the "Children's Mass" on Sunday. On Friday there was church cleaning and sacristy work. On Saturday there was catechism and house charges. Some Sisters went to college on Saturdays too. Other jobs were squeezed in between school hours and evening meditation: there were coifs to be starched and laundry and mending and ironing. After supper there were papers to correct, sometimes during "recreation." Every so often the local superior conducted a Chapter of Faults. The spirit in which this "exercise" was carried out was often mean and legalistic. Penances in the refectory, even on school days, were not uncommon.
    During summers, Sisters had to squeeze in a retreat, summer school and, after perpetual vows, a week of "home visit." Summer school at places like CUA in Washington was unbearable because of the heat. Until 1965 Sisters of Mercy went to class in pleated serge habits with a large piece of white celluloid plastic covering them in front from the neck almost to the waist, big choir sleeves worn over close-fitting undersleeves, and five layers of headgear. After class the Sisters would hurry back to the dorm to change into their cotton nightgowns and nightcaps for the rest of the day!
    Home visit — for many typical communities — meant a week in one's home parish convent with permission to visit family twice for two hours in the afternoon accompanied by a Sister companion. It was not permitted to accept food or drink from one's family. Even a glass of water in the August heat was an offense against the rule.
    In one very large teaching community it was customary for the Provincial Superior to call the young Sisters in one by one and ask, "And what would you like to major in, dear?" — "Biology, Reverend Mother." — "Very well, dear, you will mortify your natural inclinations and study History." And so it went. Every Sister was systematically directed into an area of study for which she had no aptitude or attraction . . . and then sent out to teach it. The end result was a lot of miserable religious.
    When the so-called renewal came, the real problems were not addressed. Years of repressed anger came to the surface. There was a violent rejection of and rupture with the past — not with true tradition, most American Communities, bogged down in legalism and in a Protestant Work Ethic, had no real experience of authentic tradition.
    Instead of getting rid of white plastic headgear, celluloid guimpes, underveils, and double sleeves in August, they got rid of everything and their identity as a community went with it. Prayer became personal, optional, spontaneous, non-structured. A few souls ventured into the Charismatic Renewal looking for what their communities had failed to give them. Many, many left. One Reverend Mother (later replaced by a woman called, "Our Leader, Shirley"!) kept a pile of applications for dispensation from vows in her desk drawer. Over five hundred Sisters left her community between 1967 and 1970. After that, it was all over.

  7. Dear anonymous, thank you for such an enlightening post! No wonder things happened as they did! I'm speachless!
    Thnk you very much!

  8. Dear Terry,

    I promise I won't post again for a week if you don't want me too!

    Please read this:

    If this isn't an example of God's will for one's life, I don't know what is!

    However, please allow me to add...

    Altho I am quite ignorant of much of the whys & wherefores- I am aware that the most important service of the religious next to praising God, is the saving of souls- which is alot of times why they do what they do, quietly, although it does not go unnoticed.

  9. Check out the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. You mentioned the Nashville Dominicans, and this weekend, I had the opp. to hear Mother Assumpta (of the Sisters of Mary) speak.

    The original charism of the Dominicans is teaching...they are Order of Preachers (OP after their names), and her position is that they are being called back into the classroom.

    I also heard Father Pacwa (of EWTN fame) speak on the issues in catechesis for the last 35 years...and this is also releated to women dismissing their habits.

    A ruling philosophy for some years was the exestentialist idea that children cannot learn their religion, so instead, we had to make banners and learn that "religion was fun". This of course hobbled the nuns teaching religion and the undercurrant of "indoctrination" which used to take place.

    Then of course, not only were the nuns upset by the lack of substance which was not only lost in the Catholic culture, but in their own convents. The idea of sacrifical love, penance, reparation..that was all "done away with" by V II, allegedly.

    And the children? They grew up to "learn" that since they were not taught the substance of the faith, there must be nothing there worth teaching so they went elsewhere looking for God.

    Our Church ahs been a mess, and the nuns you describe in your post are STILL a part of it...thankfully they are graying and thus, perhaps the damage they are doing to the moral fiber of the colleges and high schools will come to an end.

    There ARE faithful nuns, and their orders are quite literally EXPLODING with vocations. It's pretty obvious what the Holy Spirit is doing, and what he is not doing. The Lord blesses those he favors (those who are obedient to him) with abundance, and we have some real life examples of this in many locations.

    Juxtapose the blessings with the dying orders and it's clear what works, what represents Christ...and what orders have chosen to represent the culture of death.

  10. Kimberlee Anne-Marie Elisabeth2:26 PM

    I concur with Ray from MN. Nuns get a very bad rap from those who strongly over exaggerate due to dislike of the church. There really wasn't that many things nuns did that was so noteworthy in punishment. Some children needed to be taught not to act up, like they do so violently today and they kept them in line. That's not a sin. The most you had to fear back then was a strict lecture. Now you have to fear guns, knives, bombs, gangs, drugs, beatings and so much more, all to do with the "LACK" of discipline and nothing to believe in. I bet you'd think twice about doing something bad, if you had nuns today. The pope Jean Paul II wished for nuns to dress in their old habits again, like Mother Angelica has done and her nuns on EWTN. They look so much better. I miss seeing nuns. No matter what you think.


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