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 …

Nancy PelosiYour mom wanted you to become a nun.

Oh, definitely.

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.