Friday, July 10, 2015

Ask a Nun..She Answers in 7 Quick Takes



Sr. Veronica is my blood sister...and she's here on her home visit and graciously offered to answer your questions!

Since there are 7 questions....I'm calling it 7 Takes. 

1.

Hi Amelia, my name is Yasemin. I'm a mom to a toddler and have been enjoying your blog lately. My question is how do you keep inner peace day to day?

Hello, Yasemin!  God's peace to you!   Your question is a big one- how to keep inner peace every day.  I think that the greatest answer to that is to pray every day- and not just an exhausted Hail Mary at the end of the day, but to really take, even just five minutes, of quiet time  ( maybe during nap time?) to discuss life with the Lord and to always practice abandonment to Divine Providence- basically to accept everything that God sends as coming from his hand.  That's really hard to do, but the prayer "Jesus I trust in you" you can say at anytime, even while changing a diaper, and it has tons of power before God.  Actually, to practice the presence of God is one of the greatest ways to keep inner peace.  It's basically just realizing that God is with you at every moment of every day.  So, you do everything as if He were right next to you, in the same room, watching you, holding your hand.  Kind of like your toddler.  They may not always be aware of it, but you're always watching them, and that's what gives them the psychological security that they are safe, loved, and protected.  Yet, they can play freely and don't feel inhibited by your presence. That's the same way as it is with us, but we're Jesus' toddlers and He's always watching us.. That's why Jesus said to become like little children.  Sometimes, it takes a lifetime for us adults to become childlike again,  but stress is greatly diminished when we realize that He has, and always will be, in the drivers' seat anyways, so why do we insist on trying to be backseat drivers?
Sr. Veronica

2.

Ha! I actually was wondering what she was doing in that photo. :) 


I am actually making candles in this photo.  We melt down old wax from stubs of candles in a tin can on our wood burning stove (a winter project only, of course) and then pour them into molds,  like the yellow mold that I'm holding in the picture, and make votive candles.  In the picture I am putting the wicking into the mold before pouring the wax.

3.

Bryan's aunt is a nun with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, so our experience with nuns is very different than yours. We saw Sister (Aunt) Susan all the time. She was the CEO of a local hospital when Bryan and I got married. I guess I wonder what drew your sister to be a cloistered Sister. It is fascinating to me. The Ohio Catholic bloggers conference spent the first night at a monastery, where we said a rosary with the nuns, who we never got to see. We just heard their beautiful voices. This monastery is only a hop and a skip from the home where I grew up, and I was always in awe of the place. I never went in. Now that I know, I'll be taking my kids. I'm sure they'll have plenty of questions then! 

Thanks for your question!  It's great that you've had the experience of different types of sisters.  I'm actually, not cloistered (otherwise I wouldn't be able to come home and visit my family, because cloistered nuns don't leave their monastery) but we are contemplative, so we don't go out that often to do apostolate.  We do some retreat work and evangelization work, but most of our days are spent in our convent.  I think that main reason that I joined a contemplative community is that, basically, God called me to it.  It's kind of like falling in love-  how did you know that Bryan was the one for you to marry?  The purpose of contemplative orders is to dedicate our lives to praising God and interceding for the world.  Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me "  to Mary who "wasted" the perfumed oil on Jesus rather than selling it to feed the poor.  That is kind of like our lives.  We "waste" our talents and energies on praising God rather than feeding the poor or nursing the sick.. In other words, our apostolate is the spiritual works of mercy rather than the corporeal.  Both are important for our world, but one is more hidden than the other.  The hard part about being a contemplative is that you don't see the results of your work.  You give a poor man a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and you get a thank you and a feeling of satisfaction that you helped someone today.  You pray for the conversion of sinners, especially the ones that we're asked to pray for, and you don't immediately see results.   However, it is really a joyful, peaceful life, and I think that our daily life is kind of like a stay- at- home Mom's, though, not nearly as hectic!   We cook, clean, work in our garden,  breed our dogs (sometimes), make candles and crafts, can our vegetables, and of course, stop at different times to praise the Lord and "make family"  by having community time.  It's like being in a family that keeps on growing!

It's a good influence for your kids to experience the monastery.  There is definitely a mystery to the chanting and the hiddenness.  Jesus's brides are hidden for love of Him.  Not a bad deal, right?  Honestly,  I would never have chosen any other life.  Remind your children to pray about what God's will is for them.  Believe me, growing up I never even considered a religious vocation.   I always wanted to be an actress and a singer, and was the most active teenager you could imagine!  But, when I finally started to pray about my life,  I felt that call from God, which really shocked me at first.  But it turns out that He was right, after all.   I wouldn't have been happy in any other life.  Remember, He's in the driver's seat, anyway.  The worst we can do is make ourselves crash by tryng to take over the steering wheel.
   Sr. Veronica

4.

Do the members of your order read the news? Online, via newspaper, etc? 

I'm curious as to "how much" you keep in touch with national and/or worldwide events.
May God bless you and your community, and THANK YOU for your profound, hidden service to the Church! 
-TB


Thanks for the question and for the appreciation of religious life.  We receive most of our news from either Catholic newspapers (like our diocesan paper or the National Catholic Register) and through word of mouth.  People call us constantly and ask for prayers, and we have priests who come and celebrate Mass for us every day and we get lots of daily news from them. Sometimes, even without Internet of T.V.., we get more of the important news than most people do!  For example, we found out about the plane crash on September 11 just a few minutes after the first plane crashed into the first tower.  A person called us up to asked for prayers, and then the phone was ringing off the hook all day long with updates.  So, we're pretty well informed!  And the most important thing is, we don't just hear the news, we pray for the world with that information. 
Sr. Veronica

5.
Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf! 

This question just occurred to me. I suppose I could ask a priest but I'll ask you instead. :) 

If burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy, why do we have body parts of saints that aren't buried? I understand about relics and wouldn't turn down a first class one if offered, but I don't understand how this fits in with burying the dead. Shouldn't we keep them buried?


Good question!  I think that's sort of a stumper, but let me explain it to you as I've understood it.  First of all, almost all of the saints were initially buried, and only later exhumed when their cause was up for beatification.  We have to look at the purpose for burying the dead, not just the practice itself.  The point is to protect and show reverence for the body as a temple of God, and because in our doctrine of resurrection of the dead we believe that the actual matter of our bodies will somehow be resurrected from the remains of our flesh.  So, does a relic show respect for the body?  I think that we can all say that it does- people will venerate a relic just as much as a tomb of the saints.  A relic is a way for us to actually touch those who we know are in heaven and to ask them to intercede for us.  The ancient monks used to keep the skulls of their spiritual fathers in their cells as a reminder of their own death and a way to keep in touch with them and ask their intercession.  In fact, the Capuchin chapel in Italy that is decorated with the bones of all dead friars is a sign of respect for the holiness of those men (as well as a practical way to reuse the crypt when it gets full-they would place the monks in the slots in the crypt and then open them up in a few years and gather the bones together to save space).  Can  God find our bodies,even if they are martyred and ripped apart, or lost at sea, or torn apart by wild beasts?  Absolutely, but the respect for the body isn't being kept.  This is also why the Church didn't allow until recently cremation and still doesn't allow things like scattering the ashes over the sea.
Another thing we have to look at is tradition.  From the earliest Church days, with the early martyrs, the Church has kept and spread parts of the bodies of the saints who died in holiness.  An example is the blood of St. Januarius and the tradition that altars were always to contain a relic of a martyr.  So, if the Church has allowed and encouraged, and even required these things for all these years, how could it be wrong?  Now, that doesn't mean that you can cut off and keep your husband's arm after he dies-  remember, you have to be recognized by the Church to be in heaven!

6.
Is it too late for me to join?

Well, to put it bluntly, yes.  To put it nicely, there are a few impediments.  A husband is definitely one of them, young children absolutely another.  Age is a third factor- we have a cut off age of thirty, so don't go getting rid of the other impediments to join (ha ha)!  Third order lay communities may be a good option for having a religious sort of way of life.  Maybe you could encourage your children to consider a religious vocation?

7.
Did you make ice cream cake?

Absolutely!  I am not permitted to come on home visit without making my traditional ice cream cake- the family would never allow me to come on home visit again, and my nieces and nephew would revolt!  I have to stay on their good side, you know, or else Amelia will post blackmail stories about my childhood!
Sr. Veronica
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