After spending a weekend with the sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullinan, Ala., I have a few comments:
It is hard not to envy their surroundings and pace of life. What a place to live every day! Not only are their gardens and lake beautiful, but the chapel is gorgeous too. When we ever learn that beauty brings us closer to God?
The Benedictine sisters there are pledged to a life of service through their vows.
Are we not too? Oh, you say, but we have to live life too--so do they. Some of them go out into the town to teach school, practice law, nurse and other vocations.
Of course others are cloistered to serve the Sacred Heart community and those people who visit there. How serious are we about our vows? Do we listen to God's call or strangely go deaf at his voice in our ears?
Does the voice of God speak to them differently because they are nuns? Or do I just choose to respond differently? And to get to the nitty-gritty, do I have an ear for my calling?
Of course the sisters give up so much for their vows of service and cloister--they don't have the freedom I have, the grandchildren I have, the money I have, the opportunities in the community I have. But the promise of being cared for all your life sounds pretty good to me. The monastery has a retirement home attached where they can go at the end of life. Those in the infirmary (also at the monastery) are cared for as in any good hospital and are visited every day by colleagues. They don't have to worry about current fashions (not that I am!). All meals are furnished.Daily prayers are required and growth is highly recommended. They have a library, wide porches for sitting and rocking, and a guaranteed support group.
Our group was welcomed warmly and genuinely. We got some services planned, got to know each other better and ate Blue Bell together. Who can ask for anything more out of a weekend?