Poverty Chastity And Change A Book Essay

Poverty, Chastity, And Change: A Book Review Essay, Research Paper

& # 8220 ; Poverty, Chastity, and Change & # 8221 ; : A book reappraisal

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In her book & # 8220 ; Poverty, Chastity, and Change & # 8221 ; , the writer Carole Garibaldi Rogers interviewed 94 nuns from 40 different spiritual communities in North America. She gathered unwritten histories sing the nun & # 8217 ; s academic, spiritual, and emotional troubles that were encountered throughout their lives. Each interview lasted a twosome of hours and three basic inquiries were asked. & # 8220 ; The three basic inquiries are: Why did you enter spiritual life? What were some of the crisis points or times of alteration in your spiritual life? Or, to set that another manner, how have you become the individual that you are today? And, eventually why are you still a spiritual? & # 8221 ; ( Rogers, xx ) . The book is divided into two parts. Part one, on alterations from the yesteryear to the present and portion two, on alterations from the present to the hereafter. The book contains the fantastic achievements of the nun & # 8217 ; s every bit good as the frights, hopes and struggles they faced throughout their lives.

The life of a Roman Catholic nun still remains equivocal to many people. The outside universe has many perceptual experiences of the female clergy. Nuns are typically associated with have oning a long black wont and a head covering ; life in a hermit and sheltered environment and praying all twenty-four hours amongst other nun & # 8217 ; s. The world is far different from these stereotypes. While true that most Nuns & # 8217 ; fall in the convent because they are wholly dedicated to God and wish to give their lives functioning him. Their servitude encompasses a battalion of different subjects ramping from renowned authors to going nurses.

The chief running subject throughout the book is change and most notably the transmutation that took topographic point in the adult females & # 8217 ; s spiritual motion after Vatican II. The Catholic Church has been historically under the direction of a male clergy and hierarchy. Female clergy have non been given equal chances in obtaining leading places. Vatican II produced an emerging adult females & # 8217 ; s motion that captured attending worldwide. It challenged the patriarchal tradition of the church and started doing serious headway toward its end: reconstructing the equality in theory and pattern that belongs to each Catholic. Vatican II embraced the sociological theory of civil rights and included the following written statement in its Pastoral Constitution: & # 8220 ; The Church in the Modern World & # 8221 ; stated, & # 8220 ; With regard to the cardinal rights of the individual, every type of favoritism, whether societal or cultural, whether based on sex, race, colour, societal status, linguistic communication or faith, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God & # 8217 ; s purpose & # 8221 ; ( No.29 ) .

Throughout the class of the book the reader is presented with elaborate illustrations of how life has changed for female clergy before and after Vatican II and their assorted responses to these alterations. The impact that Vatican II produced shows that patterned advance in the adult females & # 8217 ; s motion for societal justness and civil rights is besides found in the Roman Catholic Church. Chemical reactions in the church to the alterations of Vatican II vary from disenchantment to happy credence. Many times the reactions depended on the Nun & # 8217 ; s age, household upbringing, and her orders mentality. Many of the younger Nuns where more inclined to welcome the alterations that Vatican II brought while the older Sisters where non as accepting of the new alterations. The turning accent on Gospel spiritualty that Vatican II emphasized pointed spiritual adult females toward farther developments in societal order and allowed them a greater portion in determination devising towards peculiar issues that motivated them. An illustration of this is found in Sister Carita Pendergast unwritten history. Having ever had an semblance to go as a missional worker to China. Sister Carita was able to carry through her desire and committed 18 old ages of her life to charitable work in really hard fortunes. In her interview she remarks on her experiences: & # 8220 ; They were really hard old ages because China was in convulsion all the clip. Warlords. War with Japan. The Communist. That was the background & # 8221 ; ( Rogers, 36 ) .

In another narrative Sister Margaret Traxler Sister Margaret, a strong willed women’s rightist, depict how she spent many old ages recommending the Equal Rights Amendment, which in kernel provinces that work forces and adult females shall hold equal rights throughout the United States and every topographic point topic to its legal power. She believed that gender favoritism existed within the confines of the church. She besides describes the huge indifference toward female clergy and the ignoring of their possible within the whole organic structure of the ch

urch. “We had bishops stating nuns what clip they could acquire up, what clip they had to acquire to bed. No adult male should run our lives! That’s the error of clerics. They begin to believe as the feudal work forces used to believe of us, that we were their property” ( Rogers, 145 ) . Sister Margaret broad beliefs went every bit far as subscribing an ad in The New York Times, “Catholics for a Free Choice” , associating that there is a diverseness of sentiment in the Catholic Church on the issue of abortion and naming for a duologue. Not surprisingly, she was about dismissed for the abovementioned statement. Fortunately, with the aid of her higher-ups she was allowed to remain in the Sisters of Notre Dame and go on her work on women’s issues.

Another Sister by the name of Anne Montgomery tells her inspiring narrative of how she participated in civil noncompliance and other motions against disarming and atomic warfare. These protest even landed her several times in gaol. Besides recommending her strong ideals of peacekeeping, Sister Anne was besides proactive in the Catholic Worker Movement and its issues of labour equality. The Catholic Worker, a widely recognized monthly newspaper directed to the & # 8220 ; worker & # 8221 ; . The significance of worker was used in the broadest sense, i.e. mental, physical and religious work, but they concentrated chiefly of the hapless, the homeless, and the exploited.

A former Nun, Constance Merritt speaks about her life as a nun, her determination to go forth the convent, and her life after the convent. She has both positive and negative memories of her experience as a nun. She has affectionate remembrances of her work in the convent and speaks of a great resonance with her major higher-up. She was given the chance to foster her instruction at the Catholic University and it is during this clip that she decided to go forth the convent. She found spiritual life excessively confining, & # 8220 ; They could state me excessively much of what I could and couldn & # 8217 ; t do. I was losing my ain enterprise. And I besides saw maltreatments in the vow of poorness, which concerned me. If your household had money and could direct you on a trip to Europe or could afford to give you a auto, you could make that & # 8221 ; ( Rogers, 246 ) . Constance describes the emotional and fiscal troubles of go forthing the order. Her past sheltered environment left her wholly unprepared for her new life ; e.g. she did non cognize how to compose a cheque. It is during this clip that she seeks comfort and advice from an old friend that was a priest. Their relationship turned into a sexual one and this brought more confusion into Constance & # 8217 ; s life. She felt that he had taken advantage of her and this experience made her a spot more disbelieving of her relation with priests in the hereafter. Bodensee was eventually able to acquire her life in order and she is now merrily married and working as a counsel counsellor.

The Nun & # 8217 ; s that were interviewed have a positive and realistic mentality sing their life determinations. Sister-advocates for the hapless, lawyers, physicians, instructors, creative persons reflect upon their experience of the Catholic Church today and their hopes for the hereafter. Their profound histories of love and charity serve as traveling indicant that new signifiers of mission and committedness are already emerging for the millenary.

In their ain words, the nuns reveal themselves as a diverse group. They reflect adult females in society and are intelligent, articulate, and open-minded. They have taken an active function in the community and worked in contending racism, poorness, antisemitism, sexism, even homophobia, both in society and in the church. Although, on occasion one of the Nun & # 8217 ; s seems misinformed about of import issues ( the physician who refused to present babes because she didn & # 8217 ; t want to put on the line catching AIDS ) , but all of the adult females who portion their narratives have something to learn. The unwritten histories include adult females who have left the convent, and adult females who find their spiritual naming in secular work.

There is besides an cultural diverseness among the Nun & # 8217 ; s interviewed, i.e. Irish, German, Anglo, and Italian Americans, and African Americans. Although minorities were interviewed they were a little per centum of the overall interviewees. One thing I reflected on after reading this book was the manner that popular images of nuns are formed around a sexist apprehension of adult females: a kind of ageless & # 8220 ; dear maiden-aunt & # 8221 ; stereotype. The adult females I met in these unwritten histories are complex people, whose lives are more than a moral lesson. This book besides helps to interrupt many perceptual experiences that the outside universe has of female clergy.


Rogers, Carole G. Poverty, Chastity, and Change Lives of Contemporary American Nuns.

New York: Twane Publishing, 1986.

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