Don't we all have misconceptions of nuns and who and what they are? Perhaps, we visualize a nun wielding a ruler and smacking school children's hands. A lady whose password on the computer is not "Ms. Fashionista", never mind the fact that she probably doesn't even own a computer. Possibly they are just living in another century for that matter with no real sense of the world around them. How could they when all they do is pray a lot and hang out in church? But,is this really so?
I personally, over the years, have come to respect nuns. My perspective changed when I actually met some and spoke with them. I have learned much about all that they do for individuals, families, children, the poor, the hungry and the sick and dying. They pray for us. They bless us in many ways with their charitable hearts. This is what the Church calls us to do, and to do it with love.They are called by God to be his hands and feet in the religious life and vocation they chose. Due to their humbleness, we do not hear of their deeds, as we do in many organizations. Fortunately, we know of or have heard of Mother Teresa a bride of Christ, due to media exposure. For Oprah to air a show about nuns, I was extremely surprised, as it is rare to get a glimpse inside the life of a nun. There is hope that the media can share something about the Catholic faith that is positive. May I humbly quip, the media would have a steady stream of good news if they shared what priests, nuns, laity in the Church positively are doing daily for society all over the world. A living testament of God's love for mankind. But....I digressed.
I learned that there are nearly a million catholic nuns worldwide. That is a lot of hands and feet doing God's work. I tip my hat off to them. For example, to become a postulant ( a candidate for admission into an order) in a Benedictine order they try out the experience of being a nun first. They go to live in the abbey, bringing with them clothing, a limited number of photos, 15 each of books, CDs and DVDs, but no pets, cell phones, laptops or cosmetics. For a period of six months or more,they live with the community and follow their timetables, practicing silence from 9 p.m to 7:30 a.m, rising at 6:30 a.m, joining in prayer with other sisters four times each day, taking daily Eucharist and spending 2 to 3 hours each day in personal prayer.
They enter their novitiate (training and proving), a period of approximately two years. At this time they make their First Monastic Profession and receive their first habit. The Benedictine nun's garb consists of a black and/or white skirt (worn with a blouse of the sister's choosing), or black and/or white dresses along with a Benedictine hat, cross and ring. They profess their vows. This happens in two phases: as a juniorate, a nun takes vows for a period of three years. At this time she will also take on additional duties in the abbey. After three years, a Benedictine nun takes solemn lifetime vows. Through these vows, she undertakes: stability, binding herself to the order; conversion of life, agreeing to renew herself daily in Christ; and finally, obedience to Christ. She becomes a Bride of Christ.