Monday, July 8, 2013

Real Nuns

A student once asked if I was a real nun.  Contrary to popular belief, not all "real nuns" fit the stereotypes you see on T.V. and in movies.  In fact, these stereotypes hindered me from looking into religious life.  How could I be in my 20s, looking into religious life when there were so many negative images of nuns?  Dealing with and overcoming these stereotypes was one of the first topics I would discuss with vocation directors from different communities.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a habit, but you don't have to wear one to be considered a real nun.  I also don't know of any nuns who carry rulers, but that's certainly a stereotype that's taking a long time to dispel.

Now, I can't say that I keep up with the latest fads and fashions.  I can't name the top movies or songs.  I'm no good at identifying actors, actresses, or singers.  But, I wasn't good at any of that before I became a nun.  I'm sure, however, that there are nuns who know all that stuff and more.

The great thing about nuns is that once you get to know us, you'll realize that we're all different.  We all have different gifts and talents.  One of the best compliments I received from a teacher at school was, "You are shattering every stereotype I've ever had of nuns." 

The stereotype that I believe we all fit into is that we're all seeking God together.  We're getting to know ourselves better and growing closer to God and one another. 

Wearing a habit doesn't make anyone a real nun any more than wearing scrubs makes you a doctor.  I'll stay away from the hospitals where clothing is the main focus and the determining factor of who you are and what you can do. 

I loved when my student asked if I was a "real nun."  It meant I was opening his eyes to who nuns really are today.  I was helping to dispel some of the past stereotypes that still linger on today.

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