The Washington Post published an interview today with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi whose book Know Your Power just came out. The interview, “Nancy Pelosi Airs Some Clean Laundry in ‘Power’” by Libby Copeland (July 29, 2008; Page C01) mentions that Pelosi’s mom always wanted her to be a nun …
Your mom wanted you to become a nun.
When did she stop pressing that?
She always pressed that. From being a little girl, she would always be talking about how she wanted me to be a nun. . . . It was always something that she thought would be a beautiful life, free from the hardships of life — and prayerful and making a contribution to society.
My mother was a very devout Catholic. One of my brothers went into the seminary, and oh my, she was as happy as she could be. He didn’t stay.
I do like the line about being a nun means being “prayerful and making a contribution to society” although this is something that all people are called to do and I trust that Pelosi is doing this in her life and ministry right now as Speaker of the House. What is not so accurate is that being a nun does not mean that we can ever “be free from the hardships of life.” Nuns — contemplative ones or cloistered ones, or ones in the world, apostolic ones — are never separate from the world and its hardships. We experience them just as much as others and in fact we have to be in tuned with them so as to be able to truly meet people where they are.
I’d love to hear from Pelosi about how she lives a “beautiful life” that is “prayerful” and allows her to make a contribution to society. What she is doing, as are all our public servants (underscore servants) is a real ministry, or at least is supposed to be because they are serving people and hold the common good as an important value.
Melissa July 29, 2008 at 7:16 pm
I find it funny her mom wanted her to and she didn’t want it for herself. I have the opposite issue: I want to be a nun and my mom isn’t so crazy about it. She says stuff like “What if they send you far away” and tries to make me feel guilty. She tries to say she wants me to be happy but I think she means within her terms. I have decided I want to any how.
Jen July 29, 2008 at 10:22 pm
Hey Melissa, as one who’s faced a lot of adversity from parents on the subject of one’s vocation in life, if it’s really your vocation, you’ll find people to support you in it. Looking back there were people to guide me, know what I mean?
Melissa July 30, 2008 at 5:02 am
Yes. I find the sisters at IHM very supportive.
Sister Julie July 30, 2008 at 8:06 am
Parents and family often struggle to understand decisions we make around our life choices. Sometimes it’s good to be challenged (in a reasonably way) because it helps us go deeper into the decision we’ve made and consider new ways of looking at it. It also gives us a chance to really articulate how we feel and to connect with people who love us, letting them know how we are doing. It’s definitely not easy but worth tangling with.
Your vocation affects all those around you — true for anyone who makes a life commitment. It affects all of us. It’s like those around us have a “follow-up” call to understand the person discerning in a new way. They’ve got to work through this too in their own way. And know God is working within them, just as God is working within you.
marina July 30, 2008 at 5:41 pm
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Sister Julie July 31, 2008 at 4:34 am
Hi Marina! Thanks for visiting. I stopped over at your blog — what a warm and welcoming place. Hope to see you again.