Monday, May 29, 2017

Nuns in the Umbrian hills

These are the nuns I'm going to go and spend a weekend visiting week after next. June 10-12.

They're a new thing, and normally I don't approve of new things, but they're trying to revive an old thing, and have done so quite successfully. The Sisters of Bethlehem were founded in 1950. They ran into a rough patch - as you do - a few years ago, but as far as I can tell they've got it sorted. They have a house in the middle of nowhere near Gubbio, which is a short train ride from here. They're having a group visit this coming weekend, so I'm in for the weekend after.

They don't do the Novus Ordo or Gregorian monastic chant as far as I've heard, but apparently do some kind of Byzantine thing. I'm game. I just am finding it nearly impossible to get my head to accept living disconnected from monastic life. I'm the worst Oblate in the world, but there was an interior connection with the monastery that everything in my life was founded on. Now that it's gone, no matter how well things go, I have a weird sense of being unmoored. Like a hot air balloon in danger of just drifting on the winds.

But I hope I can talk to them. Of all people, followers of St. Bruno (who use the Rule of St. Benedict, I've just learned) will perhaps be best able to tell me what I can do to learn to discipline myself to a regular life while staying at home.



Mark said...

I'm sure they're splendid but a traditional group of women dressing up as monks.... Interesting.

susan said...

I think it really is jarring to see these women trying to look like monks. Cross dressing in the religious realm has got to be even worse than in the secular....not really different from seeing monks wearing veils. Are they trying to deny ontological femininity? I'd be a bit wary.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Well, I think "traditional" isn't the word I'd use. They do quite a few weird things.

Anonymous said...

The sisters aren't "cross-dressing." For Pete's sake!

John said...

I once attended Vespers at their convent/ monastery in Livingston Manor in NY and it was quite a beautiful liturgy. It was very familiar since I'm used to the Byzantine liturgy. I was very edified by my short visit although being a male I obviously didn't interact much with the sisters. I wish they had a monastery for men here in the US so I could get to experience their liturgy and contemplative life more deeply. I hope you enjoy your visit with them and I look forward to hearing about your experience.