Sunday, May 10, 2009

Have Some Mercy: Adopt a Nun

Twelve years of my life were spent studying, or pretending to, at the feet of the masters: The Religious Sisters of Mercy. These ladies are a powerful group of women who, since 1843, have been directing souls toward redemption and education in the greater Pittsburgh area and around the world. Established in Ireland by Mother McAuley in 1831, this order landed in Pittsburgh and then moved on to other locations. For decades they pulled from the Irish districts recruiting young ladies to give their lives to the Lord. Powerful, yes; however, their order sets the tone for money when each nun takes the vow of poverty.

Poverty. Hmmmm. What kind of person actually takes a vow to be impoverished? These gals.

WARNING: These guys are the musical group THE SISTERS OF MERCY, but should not be confused with the RELIGIOUS SISTERS OF MERCY

The Sisters of Mercy, much like other religious orders, are experiencing financial challenges as their community members age. Most functional organizations are formed in the shape of a triangle so the base supports the point. Most convents operate as inverted triangles with the majority of their population being well into the retirement age.

One order, the Salesians, are approaching the situation with a novel method: ADOPT A NUN.

Their web site states:

A suggested donation of $160-$500 will enroll you in the "Adopt a Sister" program for 1 year. Your gift will help provide for the Sisters' retirement needs, and in gratitude for your faith and friendship, your "adopted" Sister will pray for you each day for a year.
Damn, er, I mean, Gee Willykers, that sounds like a bargain to me. And wait, there's more. For every nun you adopt you will also receive:
  • A biography of your "adopted" Sister (with her photo, address, phone number and birthday)
  • A certificate
  • Our bimonthly magazine - Partners in Giving

Sorry, no "Cap Snafflers", alarm clocks, traveler mugs, premium gifts or Billy Mays (another Pittsburgher) to sway you. That is unless you consider a substantial boost along the road to your eternal reward.

Back in the day, Mom would pull out a tattered envelope with S&H Green stamps and a paper booklet to fill with them. We'd lick those suckers and fill the pages because she'd take us for a treat after we'd pick up her new appliance at the redemption center. I would always wrestle through the pile of stamps hoping for the 100 point single stamps. One juicy lick and the page was filled with one lonely stamp. Well, folks, these nuns are the human equivalent of an entire book of 100 point stamps. You get a better deal than a Magic Chef Mix-Master at the redemption center too. You will get to join me sitting on a cloud well on the right hand side of the Lord. Why? Because I plan on jumping on this freight train to heaven.

That's right. I have already emailed the good Sister Mary Digital, RSM to see if they are up for the program. The Salesian nuns are grand ladies too, but they didn't lay down their lives so I could conjugate verbs and learn about the sacraments. So, I'm checking into adopting a nun from the Mercy Order Mother House in Pittsburgh. Most of the nuns I knew have probably passed on; but, Sister Mary Digital is checking on that fine point as well. I've asked about a few who served their time at Saint Paul Cathedral and hope there is a hit. Regardless, I'm prepared to go forward with any of them for my new best friend.

If you are interested in jumping on this soulful bandwagon, let me know; perhaps we could share.
Some folks call nuns The Penguins. Now, we all know The Penguins are really the screaming hot Pittsburgh hockey team. So, one might say that both my Penguin teams are rooted in Pittsburgh.
GO PENS!!! GO CAPS!!! GO SISTER MARY DIGITAL!!!,28804,1894410_1894289_1894282,00.html
Meanwhile, these gals have changed from the days when the metal rulers flew. No more shirt waist dresses either. Sister Mary Scullion of Philadelphia has been named in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People for 2009. Not too shabby!

WARNING: This is a picture of the "Old School" (hey, that is pretty funny) habit of the Religious Sisters of Mercy. DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WOMAN WITH ANYONE IN A ROCK GROUP.

1 comment:

  1. HA!
    Having spent a full EIGHTEEN YEARS with the Mercy Nuns I think I've already earned my cloud space, thank you.

    Even though I was not allowed to bless my presence at Cathedral, I went to grade school at St. Mary's,HS--St. Augs,college-- Mercyhurst, post grad--Duquesne, 18, count them, EIGHTEEN YEARS! You don't even have to attend that many years of catholic schooling to BE a Sister of Mercy for cryin' out loud.

    By the way, I also blame them for the arthritis in my knuckles. Way too many ruler swipes at my knuckles expense. (Not that I hold a grudge or anything!)