Dear Sinéad O’Connor,
First, let me say that I have a great appreciation for you as a musician and as an advocate for women. I love the song “This is Mother to You” that you did with Mary J. Blige in support of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS).
As a Catholic nun, I too share your passion for advocating for girls and women. My religious congregation, the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters of Monroe, Michigan, works tirelessly on behalf of girls and women through education, advocacy, social justice and systemic change, mentoring, and more.
Now I’m wondering about a curious statement that you made recently in a column for the Irish Independent (August 22, 2011): ”I am in the peak of my sexual prime and way too lovely to be living like a nun, and it’s VERY depressing.” While I am sure much support is pouring in to assist you in your search for a companion, I wish only to offer a bit of advice on your mischaracterization of nuns. To reduce the entire life of a nun to the state of not having sex is at best wrong, and at worst a gross offense to the countless women religious who have served and continue to serve people throughout the world, including yourself, I might add.
The life of a nun is the most wild and unforgettable adventure that a person will ever have. Whether a woman chooses to be a contemplative, cloistered nun or an active religious sister — she is continually ministering on behalf of the needs of the world, celebrating the joys and the beauty of life, and bringing a compassionate presence in the midst of sorrow and suffering. A nun’s life is one of savoring this good life that God has given all of us, and working tirelessly to change systems that degrade life, to mend broken hearts, and to call ourselves and all of us to our best selves.
I feel bad that this essence of a nun’s life has eluded you and that the joy and meaning that you seek seems to have been reduced to sex and a stubbly companion. While both of these things can truly be awesome, they are not what makes you who you are as a person. That starts from within.
My prayers are with you, Sinéad, and should you ever feel up for the adventure of being a nun, you know where to find us.