I’m now a huge fan of Mother Dolores (Hart). I’m inspired by her choice (Hollywood or the convent) and continuing decision to stay in the religious life. How did I not know about her before?
I guess it’s because there has always been a rivalry albeit a healthy one between and among Congregations so it’s only rational that one promotes one’s own. Also the one and only TV in the convent back then was just for watching Maalaala Mo Kaya as these are based on true stories that was deemed relevant as source of learning. There too was a PC but only for the use of Mother Superior and her Assistant and the only few times I touched the thing was in order to repair it and anyway Internet had not arrived yet.
But yes one is awe struck as I was by the diversity in former occupations of those who enter the life. The year I went in, we were 22 in all which according to the Sisters was the largest batch ever in the Congregation’s history. I was one of the youngest– there was one other, a year younger than me. The gap between ours and the next older ones was quite big, they were in their late twenties. The eldest in our group was 40+, there were several of them, and me and the girl my age were, oh god, they’re like our aunts!
But age did not matter. I mean, each and every one of us got our turn at scrubbing tiles in the toilets and weeding and planting the garden even under the blazing sun sans sunscreen, of course. But maybe it did too because the older ones regarded us younger ones a bit kindlier. Like, I’ve always managed to persist on the older ones to let me take care of watering the plants because it meant I’d be under the shade most of the time. The convent had a mile-long water hose that I could hold from under the eaves and there project the water as far out onto the garden as I could. My justification was, we perform best when we like what we do. Nobody else but myself liked dragging the hose around the building and up and down the rather huge garden. And everyone else but I liked to stay under the sun to till the earth. So yes as they say we were quits.
Back to occupations. Several of us, the older ones, had been senior executives. Some were owners of their businesses.
So yes I often wondered at this so-called mystery of being called from wherever each of us were and however our background, circumstances, and jobs; called to form a community whose common goal is to be faithful to Someone who can’t be seen or touched in the material sense, the extreme opposite to how we as professionals regarded the concept of goal and goal-setting.
There were two from our batch who broke up with their fiances, a difficult decision of course. A few “ran away” from their homes because their folks were against them entering.
My own story is that of my boss calling my university professor who came at once in order to “put sense” into my head. She even went to the extent of offering me a deal: I stop the nonsense and I’d be put in a higher position in a premier agency. I guessed they were desperate for me. I heard them but I was also like, deaf.
I can’t explain it in definite terms but I guess it’s why being called is referred to as a mysterious experience. You’re merely conscious of the fact that once you answer the call and willingly say ‘Yes’ it’s like somebody who’s there waiting all along switches on the conveyor belt that you didn’t know you’re on and you’re immediately off to where the thing is supposed to take you. Uttering ‘yes’ formally releases you from your former life. In this respect, oaths of ‘Yes’ and ‘I do’ by one to another are powerful words in that even the ears of heaven prick up and angels are sent to assist which is how one is able to cross over those feelings and thoughts of doubt in the first place.
That is just the ‘being called’ part however as the complete statement is, ‘many are called but few are chosen‘. But this latter part is a subject for another post.