Nuns a dying way of life

The San Francisco Chronicle had an interesting article today about how few women choose to become nuns in today’s world. In the 1960s, the article reports, there were 180,000 women who were nuns in the U.S.–today, there are only 65,000 and most of them are past middle-age.  They interviewed a 22-year-old who is planning to become a nun at the Mission San Jose, where she will be the youngest nun by about twenty years. She chose to become a nun because recognized that “the sisters, in their stiff black veils and dowdy shifts, were the freest women she knew. They weren’t preoccupied with makeup or clothes, with how they measured up against other women. Dulce had never seen women laugh or dance as much as the sisters, or drop everything to sit through the night with a grieving family.”

What struck me was not the 2/3 reduced number so much as the nuns’ acceptance of what was happening to their way of life: “Dulce’s faith — and the sisters’ faith — allows them the freedom, they say, to trust that if sisters disappear, God must be making way for a different kind of religious life for women, something reconfigured and updated for modern times.”

The SF Chronicle had another interesting article about religion, a personal essay about a woman whose mother, a committed Hindu, was always interested in exploring the truths and values of other religions–not to convert, but because it was part of her Hinduism. For awhile, she would be actively involved in, for example, neighborhood Mormon life–until the Mormons figured out she wasn’t going to convert and then the friendship was dropped. (Sad but not unexpected.)

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