I have a vinyl sticker on the back window of my car that reads, Jesus Inside. It's an effective conversation starter because it frequently invites teasing: "So, where does Jesus sit?" "Hey, did you know Jesus is inside your parked car?"
That decal came to mind while I read this weekend about young Catholic women who have joined the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville. This year, the traditional convent, replete with flowing black-and-white habits, is accepting a novitiate class that, at 27 women, is the largest in the U.S. The women are joining a convent whose median age is 36. At the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, another thriving and traditional convent in Ann Arbor, the average age is about 28. Sisters of Mary reports a highly educated new class of 22 candidates, including one Harvard graduate who spoke in Latin about her decision to take vows during her commencement speech. These young nuns-in-training are taking a modern path back to a traditional way of serving God.
Many Protestant women lack a precise spiritual equivalent to joining a convent. Many, of course, have shown sacrifice and dedication in various ways, such as overseas missions work and teaching at third-world schools. But others of us, including myself, lack a clear path to establishing lives of devotion. I am a woman devoted to God, and, incidentally, chaste. But I wonder how many situations I have been in where nobody knows that about me. Is my vinyl decal acting as my Protestant nun's habit?.
Some of the older sisters quoted in the AP article theorize that young women want to do something "radical" for God. As a young woman trying to figure out the fundamentals of life—where I'll live, who I'll live with, where I'll ...1
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