Catholics on TV: “The Sisterhood”, Ep. 2

And we’re back for more! 

  • So last week, the girls arrived at the Carmelites for the Aged and Infirm Motherhouse in New York, where they’ll spend a few weeks living the way the sisters do. That means: no make-up, no cellphones, and they wear a uniform.
  • We start on Day 3 in the girls’ discernment process.
  • Mother Mark describes the prayer life of the sisters: daily Mass, daily private and public prayer, weekly Benediction. She says it keeps them grounded and feeds their souls. I love Mother Mark.
  • Christie says she’s more into “charismatic prayer” and not “written prayer.” Um……..ok……….there’s a place for that (like Franciscans), but “written prayer”, the Divine Office, is vital to any nun or sister. It’s a part of their lives, and a big part. If you don’t like that, you’re going to have problems. You can have free form prayer, but written prayer, “set” prayer, is just part of it. It’s something you have to adjust to. Did she not say the rosary at home? Mass is “set prayer”……She can pray in front of the tabernacle whenever she wants!
  • Eseni is talking to the vocations directress, Sister Marie Therese, who seems like a lovely sister. She seems very good at this, and it’s not easy to be a vocations directress!
  • “A tugging in my heart to religious life.” That’s a lovely way to put it, sister.
  • “I was very romantic when I came to religious life.” Aren’t we all? I think everyone has an idea of bon-bons and roses and JESUS LOVES ME!
  • This is an interesting conversation between Sister and Eseni, about the different ways we can love people. Eseni says she’s confused, but it’s good that she’s exploring this call.
  • (The crazy nails are STILL THERE!)
  • Poor Eseni. She’s had a really rough road to get here. “You are as beautiful as you are in the inside as you are outside.” Go, Sister! “All of us are broken!” That’s right! None of us are just perfect beings.
  • Nuns, sisters, monks, priests….none of us are perfect. It’s a process of working toward what God has called us to be.
  • The ladies are going to Massachusetts to one of the sisters’ homes, to see the sisters’ work and what they would be doing as Carmelites in this order.
  • “Working with the elderly is very real, and it can be…very uncomfortable,” Sister Cyril says.
  • Claire’s excited to experience this.
  • I LOVE the Carmelites’ motto for their homes: “The difference is love.”
  • The girls enter an art class and help out the sister in charge. Francesca isn’t there. Sr. Lois Ann is one of the sisters here, and she explains that art therapy is a beneficial part of working with people with dementia, as therapy for them.
  • Sister Peter tries to talk Francesca off the ledge…because she’s freaking out again. Understandably, in a way, because her grandmother has dementia.
  • (Gosh, I love these sisters!)
  • It IS hard to do this. I mean, I’m very medically experienced, and I don’t know how I’d react in a setting like this, because my grandmother also had dementia. It’s tough work, but what they do is SO important.
  • Francesca says she can’t talk about it on camera, so we go back to art class. Claire seems to really be alive and connecting with the residents.
  • “There are two levels of maturity going on here,” yup, I agree with Claire.
  • Sister Peter allows Francesca to call her mom and talk about what’s going on with her grandmother.
  • “My mom is a huge coping mechanism for me,” Francesca says……………..
  • “You can’t just…always rely on another person to help you through something. If… you do, then you’re never going to be happy or feel at peace,” Sister Peter says. Preach it.
  • Sr. Cyril: “My first reaction was, get a grip! It’s not all about you!” I LOVE her! She goes on to say that these girls are a product of their environment, but……..I don’t know. That’s true to an extent, but there’s a difference between working through something new, and totally trying to avoid it.
  • Eseni and Stacey are going with one of the sisters to visit a patient in hospice, and they’ll say a rosary with her. Stacy says it reminds her of when her grandmother died when she was 18, and they were praying the rosary around her when she passed away. (Personally, I would want to go that way. That’s a lovely way to go, saying the rosary with others around you.)
  • The captioning is wrong: It’s St. Thomas MORE, not St. Thomas MOORE. Sigh.
  • It is definitely very intense, working with this population. It’s a lot like being a nurse. You form relationships with them, and then they die…and you know….that’s hard. But it’s so great that they would be able to help someone prepare for heaven, and provide that spiritual sustenance. “No one dies alone,” the sister say to them. That’s so beautiful.
  • The girls are gonna have a party! Yes, they stopped at a wine store. Ok.
  • “Having some nightcap,” Stacey says.
  • “It seems like they may be missing the point about why we’re here,” Claire says.
  • Eseni demonstrates twerking to Claire. Holy crap. Claire isn’t feeling this at all. And I can’t say I blame her.
  • If I were Claire I would’ve been a lot more, um…Italian. Mother Angelica, let’s put it that way.
  • The motherhouse chapel is really beautiful. What a great place for prayer.
  • Claire talks about the behavior last night, and she says it disturbed her. I don’t blame her. She decides to talk to Sr. Cyril about it.  She asked her what she thought of Twerking. HAHAHAHAHA! Oh that’s great. She’s trying to explain Twerking to Sr. Cyril.
  • “What I try to do is not let the conscious become a bias,” Sr. Cyril says. That’s good advice. “It is an important question,” she says later.
  • The girls are back in the van for another trip, but this time to a shrine with Sr. Maria Therese. (They spell it differently–Marie or Maria….not sure which is right.)
  • Sister explains that the sisters have a van with air condition that might not work when one of the girls asks about cars.
  • Hahah! The shrine is ice cream! That’s awesome! I love you, Sister.
  • “I”m not sure if I’m read to be a nun,” Christie says. She says that Jesus feels further away than he did before.
  • “Work hard, we pray hard, but we play hard, too.” That’s true. All the sisters/nuns I know are like that. 🙂
  • Does Christie want a contemplative vocation? She’s sort of confusing me, because she talks about how she wants time to be alone….
  • But [free-form prayer, like Christie prays, Charismatic prayer] it’s not within the Carmelite’s style of prayer, Sr. Peter said. Christie has her own spirituality. But the Carmelite spirituality isn’t that different than Franciscans, Cistercians, Benedictines, Dominicans….they all have a sense of rooted prayer, in the office. So…..I don’t know what’s going on here. Because a contemplative order has even MORE of that…..there is a flavor to each order. But the Liturgy of the Hours/Breviary/Divine Office is vital.
  • The girls are now learning to do chores like sisters: “bringing the Lord with them in the tasks,” Sr. Cyril said.
  • Sr. Marie Therese’s accent is awesome. I think she’s Irish?
  • Christie doesn’t understand why she’s not having visions or closeness with God. Um….wow. But finally she saw him, during prayer in the chapel. (I”m not sure what that means.)
  • She called the crucifix a “Carving.” Um……wow.
  • She clearly hasn’t read about the Dark Night of the Soul. She breaks down and starts sobbing, alone in the chapel. She says it’s like her husband coming back form war.
  • Day 14, the girls are meeting on the path by the ducks. “We finally get to meet the ducks!” one of them says.
  • Claire says she’s working on really accepting them, and she feels like she needs to apologize to them. So she goes for it.
  • I don’t think she was feeling isolated, Francesca. I think she just wanted to apologize. She doesn’t do the world’s best job of it, but….she’s trying.
  • Eseni says she’s “Throwing shade.” Um….Gotta say, I don’t know what that means. Is it like an insult? (And I’m not that much older than these girls….slang is definitely one thing that doesn’t translate between age groups!)
  • Although calling Francesca a drama queen was probably not the best thing ever. But come on, spade a spade. But Eseni isn’t taking it the way it was meant. Is Claire apologizing well? No. But Eseni and Francesca are really freaking. Christie seems sort of…..condescending. Stacey seems totally OK with whatever. She seems the most peaceful of all the girls–she just sort of goes with it. We don’t know a whole lot about Stacey yet.
  • Sr. Cyril says that she thinks one of the hardest parts of religious life is just getting along. I agree with that, and I just have my Lay Dominican chapter. There are ALWAYS conflicts of personality and things like that. No matter how religious you are. 🙂 “You don’t know where everyone is.” That’s so true. “It’s more than just the laundry.” Yup.
  • Francesca’s going to take Claire to task. “What did I ever do to you, man?”
  • Well, no, we don’t take everybody to be SISTERS, Stacey….yes, we take everyone as CATHOLICS, but not every Catholic is called to be A NUN OR A SISTER. So bring that down a bit, Stacey. (Overzealous pope quoting does, occasionally have a place, however. 🙂 )
  • NEXT WEEK: Urban experience with sisters in Chicago. Eseni calls her boyfriend and cries some more. They’re in the South Side of Chicago with electronic gates around the convent. The phones get turned in again. “You don’t need a phone to call Jesus, and that’s why they’re here!”, a sister says. The girls go shopping in the neighborhood. And DARNELL shows up! The sister is not pleased that he’s shown up. Francesca predicts that Eseni will go home. I think she might be right.

Giving Tuesday

OK, so it’s Giving Tuesday. Basically, the day we all spend money on charities. 🙂

I love a lot of organizations–arts organizations, historical organizations, Catholic organizations–but the ones closest to my heart at the ones that support CF research, treatments, and support.

So, if you have some pennies you’d like to donate this season, may I suggest:

  1. The National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  2. The Boomer Esiason Foundation
  3. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which has kept me alive all these years, and has a WONDERFUL CF team and center!

These places don’t run fancy ads with celebrity spokesmen. (Unless you count the BEF, since he is  famous.) NCH runs ads here in Central Ohio. But all of these organizations have helped me stay alive, so that makes me extremely happy and grateful.

So, if you have spare pennies–donate them here?

Daybook No. 81

Daybook No. 81

Outside my window::

Cloudy, but warmish, which is good, because my brother and I are going to the Zoo tonight (more on that in a bit), so I don’t mind it being about 40 degrees!  Yay!


Oh, my Advent book pile is HUGE: Come, Lord Jesus; The Greatest Gift; Advent and Christmas Meditations with St. John Paul II. All of those are part of my Advent daily devotionals.  As far as non-Advent books, I’m re-reading One Thousand Gifts.

In the CD Player::

Loreena McKennit, A Midwinter Night’s DreamReally, people, if you don’t have this, get it, because it’s amazing. Also, the Mockingjay Score, because I love it, and I love Jennifer Lawrence singing on it.

Around the House:
Holy moly, was I busy yesterday. I took out bags of trash, swept the kitchen floor, dusted, vacuumed, worked on my clothes-to-donate pile and books-to-sell pile. AND I wrote out all the Christmas cards. These cards are going to Seattle, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, all over Ohio, Texas, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, and lots of places in-between. I love writing out Christmas cards and updating my address book entries with the sweet babies that were born in 2014, and the new homes people have. So many babies were born in 2014!

Plans for the week::

Tonight my brother has graciously agreed to come with me to Lifeline of Ohio’s Ambassador Appreciation Dinner. This year it’s being held at the Columbus Zoo, which is in the middle of Wildlights. Lifeline of Ohio is central Ohio’s Organ Procurement Agency–they promote organ and tissue donation and are responsible for actually procuring organs and things like that. They are awesome folks, and I’ve worked with them since basically right after my transplant in 2005. (I was even one of the “faces” of their PR campaign in 2006….yes, I was a model. Hahaha.) So tonight we have dinner and celebrate the work we did over the past year, and the awesomeness of organ donation, generally.

Wednesday I’ll be going to the third night of my parish’s Advent Mission. It started last night, with a talk on angels and saints, and was amazing. The priest giving the mission actually led a silent retreat I went on a few years ago, so I’m familiar with his awesomeness. The fact that he’s a Dominican makes it even more awesome.

Thursday it’s Port Access Day–whee!–and dinner with my parents, and then the final night of the Advent Mission.

Friday is Christmas Gift Exchange with Tiffany, and Saturday is rehearsal for life promises! Yes! More on that later this week, I think. It deserves its own post. But in short: I will be making life promises to the Dominican Order on December 14. I am super-excited.

Sunday CCD. We’re going to talk about the birth of Jesus and the Wise Men and show a video. We only have two classes in December and then we’re off the rest of the month.


OK, this is just awesome: Harvard Valedictorian enters the Ann Arbor Dominicans.Win!

And this:


This is really good to remember all the time. Don’t let this season get so stressful and hurried that you forget about the reason for it.