25 November 2014

The Sisterhood

Tonight on Lifetime TV a new series begins which purports to be the story of five young women discerning religious life. A number of Sisters and other friends who support Sisters and Nuns from all over the country began a conversation about the program more than a week ago and are now looking forward to seeing the first episode. I think that everyone who has participated in this conversation is at least concerned about the "unreality" of the show and a number are downright cynical. After all, the women "discerning" are really actresses.

But most also see this as a real opportunity to open the world of religious life up to those to whom it is entirely mysterious and allow comments and questions to be fielded by real religious; especially it will be an opportunity to gain more insight into the whole process of discerning a religious vocation --- a process most of us consider lifelong, sacred, and immensely more demanding and complex than most realize. (Sister Marie Therese says in the clip below that she has been trying to be a Carmelite for thirty-four years and has found nothing better so she will keep on trying! Discernment is a matter of listening and prayerfully coming to the best response possible to the humanity to which we are each called. We never cease discerning.) To that end a number of Sisters from various congregations will be participating in chats, tweeting during and after the show, and so forth.

Others of us will be posting blog pieces reviewing the show and contributing to the discussion in that way. If you are interested in some of these possibilities please check out A Nun's Life Ministry for a number of links and opportunities including to #TheSisterhood. An ongoing discussion can be found on Facebook in the I Support Catholic Sisters and Nuns group. A few clips from the show are included below. From my limited experience of Sisters Mark, Marie Therese, and Cyril in these clips, it looks like the show will be reflective of religious life to the limited extent they can make that clear in this format. That is encouraging when other things (e.g., the use of actresses as candidates and the bizarre unreality of "reality" TV) might not be.