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Sisters on Oprah!

February 9, 2010

By Sister Patti

Oprah Winfrey had some Dominican Sisters of Mary on today. They visited the convent and spoke about call and the vows. I really appreciated how they spoke of the freedom that comes from living religious life. These sisters wear habits, which most Sisters of Mercy do not. They did show some video of sisters who were not wearing habits and some of those were Sisters of Mercy from our “Think Mercy” video !

Calling the habit their wedding dress and saying they are married to God – Jesus, is the one piece that didn’t resonate with me. I have never really thought about being married to Jesus. I have focused on developing a strong intimate relationship with God through prayer. This relationship is what calls me to do for others. The experience of call as an answer to the question “Where can I give who I am?” and the experience of how religious life helped them become more of who they are instead of limiting them resonated with me. It is so hard to say how I knew I was called and the idea of needing to try religious life is a part of my story.

Taking assumptions others have of sisters and contrasting it with the reality of who we are helps to break barriers between religious and those who would never have thought of entering. The Sisters of Mercy do not have some of the rules and regulations shown on Oprah. We shop for ourselves and often live in much smaller communities as well as making more decisions for our life choices while listening to God and our community.

The emphasis on sex in our culture with the objectifying our bodies was countered by the concept of chastity being an honoring of our bodies. It was wonderful to hear the young sisters admit to having sexual feelings and desires. I particularly liked the way one of the sisters spoke of desiring chocolate and not eating it all the time. And I would add – sometimes you don’t even think about chocolate for a while and every once in a while I don’t even want to eat it (Although that isn’t too often!)

Did you see Oprah? Do you know sisters? What are some things about sisters that you found were not true after getting to know one?

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