Nicholas Kristof, writing of Jo Piazza’s forthcoming book If Nuns Ruled the World in today’s New York Times, says he has become a huge fan of nuns because “I see them so often risking their lives around the world, confronting warlords, pimps and thugs, while speaking the local languages fluently. In a selfish world, they epitomize selflessness and compassion.”
One of my clients last year was a nun and his article struck a chord with me.
My client Sister Mary Lucy is in fact a cloistered nun rather than an out-in-the world nun, and probably spends much of her time in prayer. Her every email opened with either “May grace and peace be yours in abundance!” or something like “Joy to you this day!”. When I spoke to her via skype (her convent is in Buffalo) her voice conveyed a deep calm that I can only presume is the fruit of her hours of prayer and contemplation.
Her emails sometimes had subject lines like “All Shall Be Well, and All Shall Be Well, and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well” (which I learned was originally penned by Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic). They’d sometimes include smiley faces. They’d most often end “with love and prayers” (for both myself and Munir, the programmer who coded up the work).
One of the sweetest things I remember from that year was the sense of what a great gift it is to work with someone who has made such space in her life to do everything with love.
All my clients are in a process of reaching out to the world. That’s what websites are for and it’s what makes my work a pleasure. There’s an element of love, of passion, in all of it. Everyone is on a path of growth. And yet — myself included — we all too often want an end result so much that the space of the moment, the space of love, gets squished.
Nicholas Kristof’s article includes stories of activist nuns who have stood with strength in support of the unsupported and in opposition to perceived abuse of power. He notes their iron strength. He notes their “Love is the important thing here” vision. And he ends by suggesting that we might all spend more time emulating nuns. I will second that.