In this Random Nun Clip, we talk with BVM Sisters Lou and Paulette about the relationship of prayer and freedom. Hear the full Ask Sister podcast episode at AS181.
This Random Nun Clip is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry. Welcome back to a Motherhouse Road Trip edition of Ask Sister. You're here with Sister Maxine and Sister Julie of A Nun's Life Ministry and our guests, Sister Lou Anglin and Sister Paulette Skiba, of the BVM sisters here in Dubuque, Iowa.
One of the significant pieces of the BVM constitution is the mission is described as being freed and helping others enjoy freedom and God's steadfast love. I'd love to take this thread of that freedom and to ask you, what does that mean for you in prayer? Sister Lou, I'd ask you to respond to that first.
Our mission of freedom is really very important to me. I think it's core to my call. And I think part of that freedom for me too, in prayer, is that prayer happens anywhere, and everywhere. And it's more of my paying attention. Whether it's the encounter with one of you in the hallway, or walking outside and seeing this beautiful spot that we have on the Mississippi, or if it was in a classroom, listening to a child just unload what's going on in their family--it's more the sense of freedom just opened up what prayer could be. You know, my own personal prayer right now is a lot of silence and a lot of quiet, and making space for God to work. The whole freedom thing, in prayer--there's just no walls to it any more.
What about for you, Sister Paulette?
Well, I always think of freedom--you know, we have four core values: freedom, education, charity, and justice. And freedom is the one where prayer is grounded. Because Mary Frances Clarke, our foundress, often repeated that God's will be done. To do the will of God. And I think that is freedom: to do the will of God. And how BVMs have kind of summarized this--and I don't think it's a quote that comes from Mary Frances Clarke, though it's often attributed to her. It's that freedom means to be able to do the most loving thing. And I think that that's just a guideline. So there's something about BVM spirituality. You have that personal prayer time, the communal prayer time. But it's that contemplative inaction, the sense of what is it to be, to do the most loving thing. And that often requires freedom because sometimes to do the most loving thing isn't to do the most expected thing. Isn't to do the rule. Like one of our favorite quotes of Mary Frances Clarke's is when she writes sisters, and she says to sisters who are teaching all day, "You know, it just wouldn't be good for you to keep the [unclear]. So give up a little time of recreation." And then she adds, "But don't tell anyone about not keeping the [unclear]." But it's that it that freedom, the sense of what is going to be the most loving thing.
To hear full episodes of A Nun's Life podcast, visit the podcast page at a nunslife.org/podcasts.