In April of 2012 when the Vatican first announced the investigation of American women religious, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a story that caught the attention of many. Titled ‘We Are All Nuns’, Kristof drew upon his experience of seeing nuns at work in the world by saying, “They are also among the bravest, toughest and most admirable people in the world. In my travels, I’ve seen heroic nuns defy warlords, pimps and bandits.“
As I was considering entering a community at that time, Kristof’s words resonated with me of the type of women I wanted to work and live with. The support given to sisters in light of the announcement of the investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith gave me hope that the politics of Vatican intervention would not dampen the spirit of these women serving among those most in need but would instead be an opportunity for both groups to better understand one another and work together.
Now here we are two years later with the investigation still drawing on and the sisters are still working steadfastly in the world, course unchanged. Due to the busyness of working at a new job and my moving into a new home, I haven’t had time over the past two weeks to keep up on the latest news from the LCWR annual conference, but I did appreciate once again a story Kristof published on August 16 titled ‘Sister Acts.’
As the sisters continue to remain vigilant about service yet seek to dialogue with their appointed Vatican overseers, they remain for me role models for radically living the Gospel. In his article, Kristof declares them to be the “best superheroes yet.”
As would most supporters of sisters across the country, I would like to see this investigation come to an end with the result being both sides finding common ground and a renewed commitment to the Gospel. Though I am no longer living and working with sisters, their spirit remains an integral part of how I perceive my own call to live the Gospel.
Thanks, Ncholas Kristof, for being another reminder that we as a church need these women to lead us as “an inspiring contingent of moral leaders who actually walk the walk.”
[Colleen Dunne is development director for De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, Montana, and a former NCR Bertelsen intern in editorial and marketing.]