1.21.2008

Mind the Gap

A long time ago in a City on the other side of the country, there was a young woman in her early 30's with a mind full of racing thoughts and a heart full of conflicting feelings. I can sum those thoughts and feelings up thusly ... me, a nun? ME, a nun? me, a NUN?

Part of my mental maneuvering was getting around the idea that all nuns were old white haired ladies. Did people still do this sort of thing? How could that possibly work?

Then one day in my endless discernment related perusals of the internet, I stumbled across the website for Giving Voice, an organization of younger women religious. Simply knowing that such a group existed, that there were enough young nuns to form an organization, helped to calm my discernment related panic attack. It helped calmed me down enough that I could listen to the deepest desires of my heart ...

Somehow, God managed to not only get me to listen, but helped me to find my very own groovy sisters and realize that maybe this was a life, a group of people, a way of living in the world that not only makes sense, but gives me joy.

But the generation gap is a reality. Anyone who has ridden the London Underground has read the signs and heard the announcements to "Mind the Gap." The gap in question being the one between the train and the platform. Likewise, I think it's important to remember that there is a generation gap in religious life. Not to obsess about it, but also not to ignore it. It is there, it has implications, and we need to be mindful of what all that means.

This past weekend I was able to go to my first Giving Voice gathering. This gathering was specifically for "Young Nuns" - those in their 20's & 30's. They were all new to me people, but they made me feel right at home and we had a great time. I even met Sr. Katy of One Fun Nun!
I don't spend a lot of time with people my age, and it was especially cool to spend time with other younger religious.

In addition to our times for prayer, play, and more play, we also had some deep conversations about our lives and this larger religious life experience. It helped to have other voices expressing similar thoughts. I left feeling much stronger and part of something bigger. Religious life may be different, it may be smaller, but it will continue. These women are passionate about their communities, passionate about their ministries, and passionate about religious life. God is in the mix, and all shall be well.

All in all, a great first experience!

5 comments:

Just Curious said...

"The Gap" has been an issue lately in my own discernment process. However, a couple of friends (both on the other side of "The Gap") reminded me that part of it is having peers in terms of maturity and faith life. It would be nice to have someone else in the community who remembers watching Saved By The Bell though.

Sr.Nicole Trahan said...

Wow... your wording so describes where I've been... where I am! Thanks!
By the way, where was this particular gathering? I've only been to one GV gathering, but I'm hoping to attend more. It's important for us to share with others experiencing some of the same thing...
Continued blessings!

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Nicole - this gathering was at a retreat house in Florida.

JC - I loved your Saved by the Bell Comment. One of my favorite moments was a group of us walking to dinner at humming a medley of tv theme songs. There is something about sharing cultural/generational references. I hadn't realized how much I miss that.

Katney said...

No wonder I feel so out of time. I think I fell into the gap. I remember Saved by the Bell. I can also remember I Love Lucy --no, not I Love Lucy reruns -- I Love Lucy in its first run.

I have moved from being old enough to be my teaching partner's mother (I have a daughter a year younger than she.) to being old enough to be a colleague's grandmother. (I have a granddaughter about her age--albeit she is a step-granddaughter.)

Should I climb out of the gap and get on my own side? I don't think so. I find myself identifying most closely with the new granddaughter-aged staff member.

Jen said...

Glad to read about this. As I discern religious life, these thoughts have definitely entered my mind. Glad to know there is a group out there like this.