For my bloggy friends

One of the most wonderful parts of my blogging experience has been getting to connect with some amazing folks. I've made connections over the miles with people that I've never met. For example, when I was having a hard time in the first days of my novitiate, I was cheered up one day by a care package from California from my friend Christine of Sister Christer fame. The next year, when a blogging novice friend in Australia was having a hard time in the first days of her novitiate, I sent her a care package as well. Keep in mind, these are folks I've never met or even talked to on the phone. We've just bonded over the internet.

There's a great article in the March 8 issue of NCR on this very topic: "The God Given Desire for Connection."

In the Internet's early days, critics -- many of them church folks -- assumed that online relationships were, at best, second-rate. At worst, they could be dangerous, luring people into fake intimacy with disingenuous strangers far away and tempting them to ignore relationships with people sitting right next to them. You know, real people.

But Marianne is a real person. So is Laura, whose son lived in the same orphanage in Vietnam as ours. We met through an international adoption listserv and have corresponded via e-mail and on the phone during the long adoption process. She lives in Tennessee, while I'm in Illinois. We hope to meet in person some day.

Sometimes cyber-relationships evolve into real-life ones. Almost everyone knows a married couple who met online. And sometimes real-life friendships turn into online ones, when friends move across the state, country or world. Or online communication supplements real-life relationships, helping friends who live nearby keep in touch more often than is possible with in-person visits or phone conversations.


Like most things, the internet can be a power for good or I suppose a power for evil. In my experience, it's been a great connector and a path for the Spirit. In fact, I first "met" the Sister of St. Joseph of Peace via our website, followed by a long e-mail conversation with our vocation director!


Pachyderm said...

I've had a similar experience, Susan - meeting you! And lots of other bloggy friends. If I ever get all that way around the world to USA I'd love to hang out with you!

The internet is a wonderful tool, but like all tools, we have to rule it (not it rule us...).

Robyn tssf

Joanne Gallagher, csj said...

Dear Susan,
I've been enjoying your blog for some time now. This particular post feels a bit like an opportunity to invite you to view my blog at: http://asisterofstjoseph.blogspot.com/ My blog about being a Sister of St. Joseph in today's world. I'm the Director of Communications for the Boston CSJs. While I spend my days creating newsletters and press releases, there are a lot of things that happen in our ordinary lives that don't make it to the news. My blog is an attempt to tell some of "the rest of the story." I would also be grateful if you could add my blog to the ringsurf circle of sister bloggers.

Joanne Gallagher, csj said...

Thanks Robyn -- joanne csj

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

First, it was very well written and exactly what I have been thinking about!

I was recently asked "Do you still talk with that Nun you know..." It made me laugh, but I had to think about my answer. I read several blogs by Nuns: yours and A Nun's Life (how I found you) among them... do I 'talk' to you? Maybe not in the literal, but I certainly do in the spirit of the question. I check in with you almost daily and think about the things you say or your experiences frequently. I have occasionally chimed in on your comments, or offered my opinion. When you were looking for an outfit for your vows, I reacted like one of my friends needed help with her wedding dress...

So... long post made short (too late!) I answered yes... and told her some about interesting parts of what I had read and what I thought of them and we had a delightful discussion about Life, the Universe and Everything.

I would say that the Internet helps connect people who would have otherwise never had contact.

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Thanks everybody! So nice to have bloggy friends.

Unknown said...

Dear Susan, I have to agree with the comment left by Sr. Joanne, it feels like it is an opportunity to introduce you to my blog, which is brand new. I have read your blog for some time and that in part motivated me to start me own! Though I work for Jesuits, I am located on the CSJ of Orange campus, My little office is right behind the Motherhouse.
Blessings to you, Elisa

Steph said...

What about when some young professed is having major wake-up issues and some by-blog-only friend sends one of those increasing-light wake-up clocks? :-)

I'm still trying to reclaim my blogish nature, but I know that I LOVED all the connections I had when I was up and running full force, and the ability to reach beyond my immediate circle. Which, I think now, is part of my struggle to regain my voice and reestablish myself in those relationships in such a "new" setting.
All of which is thoroughly off-topic from how wonderful the whole "NewNunNetwork" is both for support of selves and education of others.