Catholics on TV: “The Sisterhood” episode 1

When a friend told me there was going to be a reality TV series about women discerning a call to religious life, I was sort of floored, really interested, and skeptical. All at once. “The Sisterhood” , on Lifetime, debuted tonight, and I thought I’d share my “real-time” thoughts with y’all:

  • “No divas here today, all right?” Yup, that about sums it up.
  • WHAT are those nails, Eseni?
  • Eseni is from the Bronx.
  • Sisters don’t have drama?!?!?! Oh, ha hahaha. Hahahaha. That’s funny.
  • If a guy I was dating told me he wasn’t cool with me exploring a vocation, he’d be kicked to the curb, real fast. REAL fast. That being said, I can totally understand Eseni’s boyfriend’s feelings about losing her. And I agree with him that she should’ve let him know this was something she was considering. That’s not cool to just throw it out there when someone’s already in love with you. Not cool.
  • Sr. Cyril: “Women don’t enter with halos.” Amen.
  • Christie is from California. I like the way she thinks about being a Bride of Christ. “Sometimes you yell at him!” Preach it, lady.
  • Claire is 26 and is a music teacher and a church musician. Her parents seem very supportive of her potential vocation. She’s from IL.
  • Eseni looks like she’ll have a problem with the dress code–those high heels and those nails!
  • Sr. Marie Therese: “How is this going to work?…But then I started to see her vulnerability.” Yup, we’ve all got that.
  • The girls are starting with the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm (we have some of these in Central Ohio so they’re the only ones I’m even marginally familiar with), in Germantown, NY. The other two places they’ll visit are Chicago and Kentucky.
  • “Dedicated single life.” Well, I think Claire is on to something. Christie is…I don’t know. She’s older than Claire but she seem younger in a lot of ways.
  • Her roommate says her natural tendency is to be “flirtatious.” She also says she struggles with giving up the idea of family and marriage and children. That’s normal, because those are good things.
  • Her mom said a good thing: “Is God calling you to the convent, or are you calling you to the convent?” That’s important. Her mother also seems supportive and very open and straightforward, which is nice.
  • Christie is also really chatty about her spiritual experiences. That sort of turns me off. I don’t like sharing the big deep things…Claire also looks sort of afraid while Christie is talking.
  • Claire is so far my favorite. I’m liking her a lot.
  • Sr. Peter’s talking about “conservative” and “traditional” Catholics and I’m like, um…….OK….As a “conservative” (I guess) Catholic, I don’t have a problem praying and working with people who aren’t Catholic. I think that’s sort of prejudicial idea here, Sister.
  • Stacey is 26, from New York. She’s an actress and a singer who’s done several national Broadway tours. She’s also makes dolls…that are sort of sculpture-ish?  I don’t know if I’d call them dolls. But that’s what she calls them, so, there you go.
  • Just because you’re a nun doesn’t mean you give up all your gifts–Mother Dolores, whom she so admires–is a GREAT example of that! You use your gifts in a different way.
  • Yeah dinner prayer. 🙂
  • The last girl to arrive is Francesca, who is 21. She’s from NJ. She’s arriving with her dad, and it looks like she’s been crying in the car.
  • Vocab, here: A nun is a religious woman who lives in a  monastery and very rarely leaves.Mother Dolores Hart is a nun (She’s a Benedictine at the Abbey of Regina Laudis). The Dominicans in Summit, NJ, are cloistered nuns. Sisters live in convents, and that have apostolate outside the convent. So these girls are looking to be sisters, not nuns.
  • Yes, Francesca, you’ll have to leave your family….she’s definitely acting like the youngest in this group. She’s having a big crying jag in the car and keeps saying she’s “freaking out.” Her poor Dad.
  • Hon, it’s six weeks. It’s not forever! (yet)
  • What’s with the sponge in the holy water? That’s super weird. I’ve never seen that before.
  • I like Mother Mark. I like her no-nonsense attitude. She’s compassionate but also firm.
  • Also, WHY DO THEY HAVE SO MUCH LUGGAGE? I Mean, come on! One small bag would’ve been fine! You don’t need all these things.
  • The rooms are, yes, very small. That’s sort of the point. They’re “cells”. That’s what it’s about. A small space, nothing elaborate.
  • And yes, there’s a uniform. This order wears habits. So, you’re going to need to wear their approved clothes. Some orders have outfits for women who are in aspirancy, and some don’t. Postulancy, you definitely are told to wear something.
  • A Louis Vuitton bag? Really????
  • “Maybe we could do something about the nails.” Um, yes.
  • And we’re taking the phones. PREACH IT, Mother Mark!
  • (Have any of these girls been on retreat? I’m thinking not. They all need a good silent retreat, except for Claire, who seems very grounded. Hey, and here’s Claire saying she’s done this on silent retreat! Yes!
  • Francesca is freaking out because the sisters asked them to take off their makeup. Um, nuns and sisters do not wear make-up. For the love of all that is holy! Geez!!!! And again, it’s only for six weeks. She really doesn’t seem to have an idea of what being a sister is about, or what is required of her. Mother Mark is totally right. You can’t be worried about how you look. You need to be focused on the bigger things.
  • Francesca has clearly not heard of the “obedience” thing…..geez. This girl needs to get over it. Like, really get over it. She’s talking about acne. I really just want to smack her. This is the worst thing in your life? Wow.
  • “Handsome surfer dude Jesus.” Wow. I don’t even know what to do with that.
  • WHY are they not using the holy water?!?!?!?! Girls!!!!!!!
  • Community is vital to every religious order in the Church. Even the Carthusians realize that!

Coming up: Eseni talks about feeling broken, and what she’s going to be giving up; “Jesus is the best boyfriend, ever!”; Claire and Eseni seem to be not getting along; “Twerking?” ; Francesca is confronted with poverty.


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