Catholics On TV: “The Sisterhood”, conclusion

So Lifetime got a little crazy with the scheduling, and did episodes 3/4 and 5/6 (six being the finale) back to back. I had to watch episode 4 on my computer, because my DVR didn’t record it, and I just watched five and six. The series is over–not sure if there will be a second one?. Here’s a brief re-cap of the last few episodes, and then how it turned out:

  • After their visit in Chicago, the girls headed to Kentucky, where they visited the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker, a small community in what appeared to be a rural part of the state (Eseni and Francesca were freaking about this–“Where’s Kentucky?” one of them asked). Christie told Stacey as they were leaving Chicago that she wanted to join the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence (the Chicago order), and when their time was over in Kentucky, she would go back to ask for admission. Stacey is happy for her friend, but says she still hasn’t found the convent/order that’s right for her.
  • On the way to Kentucky, the girls stop in Indianapolis. At a restaurant, Eseni and Francesca “change” into high heels and roll their skirts up so high that Christie says she can “see everything” when they’re sitting down. Christie and Stacey are NOT happy with this at all. The talk turns to romance and sex–Stacey is still a virgin, and both Eseni and Francesca seem really freaked about that. Stacey doesn’t understand why they feel that way (And I gotta admit, I felt the same way as Stacey! Um…….no sex before marriage is the catholic rule, y’all). Claire was talking to a young man about Catholicism and religion in general, which Francesca interpreted as “flirting”, but it reminded me of St. Dominic staying up all night with the innkeeper. And as someone who has had those long conversations with guys before, let me tell you–it’s not the same as flirting, y’all.
  • In Kentucky, Claire sees a statue of the Infant Jesus, and is immediately attracted to it. She also loves that the sisters have a school, and the girls visit a music classroom, which is right up Claire’s alley. She immediately plays the piano and seems to be having a great time. The other girls are having some trouble, however, because Stacey and Christie are angry that Francesca and Eseni lied to Mother Christina about “losing” their phones when it was time to turn them in again.
  • This order is smaller–there are only 12 sisters. They run a school (St. Joseph’s Academy) and a senior care facility (Taylor Manor), as well as help people in need in the area. The girls are taken to a woman’s house, where they clean the house, weed the yard and patio, plant flowers, and change sheets on the bed inside.
  • Claire is feeling like she’s called to enter this order. She feels a real kindred spirit with the women in the order and the work they do, so she decides to ask Mother Christina for admission before they leave. Francesca takes Claire aside and asks her if she’s sure she’s doing the right thing, since Claire has never had a boyfriend, or kissed a guy. Claire talks about agape love, which Francesca totally does not get, but….
  • A point about the above: I think you can be a nun without having the physical experiences Francesca is talking about. You can really love someone without kissing them. I think we’ve all had those experiences. I know I have. You don’t need to experience these things (i.e., physical expressions of love)  in order to be a nun, sister, brother, priest, or other consecrated vocation. You have to be able to love, you have to have experienced it(i.e., felt it for another person), yes–but that doesn’t mean just physical romantic love, the way Francesca thinks it does.
  • Claire asks Mother Christina if she can begin the formal process of entrance. After a long moment, Mother Christina says yes (I’m sure there was editing here.). I was so happy for Claire, because I’ve been on the other side of that–when they say no–and it’s so hard. Claire, Mother Christina, and the other sisters were so happy. When they told the other girls, both Christie and Stacey were happy, but Eseni and especially Francesca seemed gobsmacked.
  • The last episode details what happened with each girl once she went home. So here we go:
  • Eseni decided not to continue discernment. She’s still with Darnell and they’re “planning a future together.” (I’m not sure what that means.) She is going back to school to become a pediatric nurse. She has spent more time with her family, including her father ,and says that going to confession while she was on the trip was a huge benefit for her.
  • Stacey initially thought she’d join Christie in Chicago, but then decided that she felt her call was in New York state, where she’s been living, so she’s going to stay there for the time being.
  • Francesca is continuing to talk to the Carmelite sisters, since she felt the closest to them, and even invited Sr. Marie Therese and Sr. Peter to her parents’ for a cookout! She says she’s grown spiritually as a result of the experience and now she’s working in New York City in real estate and has her own apartment. She’s only 21, so she has time if she decided she really does want to join the sisters, but it seems like they have really helped her.
  • Christie  stopped in Chicago to visit the Sisters before going home to California, and formally asked for admittance to the   Sisters of St. Mary of Providence. She has formally been accepted to begin discernment with them, has begun selling her things, and has made several visits to the sisters. She says she’s taking her parents on the next one. Her mom took is very hard, initially, because she’s close to Christie, but it seems like they are becoming more accustomed to the idea as time goes on.
  • Finally, Claire went home to Illinois and told her parents and her family of her decision. Her father was definitely taken aback, because he thought it was a bit fast–she just met the sisters and she wanted to join them. However, he did give her her blessing. Claire is, presumably, going to Kentucky for a retreat soon, and will hopefully be admitted as a postulant, which lasts for 8-10 months with that order.

So that is the end of the series. It worked out essentially how I thought it would–I knew Claire was serious, and Christie’s growth during the series was evident. I hope that Stacey can find her calling, whether it be in or out of a convent. I don’t think Francesca will actually join the Carmelites, but nothing is impossible, and Eseni would be a good nurse.

Most of the filming was presented in a tactful way, and I loved the sisters and the perspective that they gave, not only on the girls, but on being a sister in the 21st century, and on what life of a Bride of Christ is like. They were earthy, funny, real…very enjoyable. I wished the sisters in Kentucky were here in Ohio, too!

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