Congratulations to the "Nuns & Nones" project for being covered in The New York Times! The project received funding through an NCSW mini-grant, and we're proud that it is has continued to expand in scope and impact.
The Times article is fascinating (like the project itself), giving voice to young adults who have been surprised to discover how much wisdom Catholic sisters possess -- a revelation we hear again and again here at the National Catholic Sisters Project. Through "Nuns & Nones," millennials are invited to move into the convent and enjoy affordable housing along with the experience of communal living with women religious.
This passage from the Times article describes that experience:
The sisters were not sure what exactly the young people wanted to know about them, and the first meeting came as a shock.
“I was stunned, and I said to the other sisters, ‘You will never guess what the millennials want to talk about: the vows,’” said Sister Patsy Harney. “Everybody laughed. It was kind of like a joke, you know?”
But the millennials were nothing if not earnest.
Sister Harney found a book on the vows — poverty, obedience, chastity — that she had bought once but never read.
“I saw Alan creeping around with his cellphone to take a picture of the cover, and then next time I saw it Sarah had been reading it and it was full of Post-it notes all over,” Sister Harney said. “Millennials were looking at it like this is the glue. They were looking for the secret sauce of how we do this.”
The sisters and millennials found themselves learning a great deal from each other, the article goes on to note, and having a grand time together: "One night, a group of millennials and sisters were dancing and laughing. They got so loud that a security officer came and knocked on the door and told them the party would have to continue in the basement. It did."
Sister Janet Rozzano, 81, a Sister of Mercy, describes the unlikely bonds that emerged when the young visitors began using her kitchen. "We just had so much in common to talk about," she told the Times.
Inspired, she wrote a haiku about the unexpected friendships.
Eek. What will I say?
I’m too old for millennials.
Surprise, we’re soul mates!
Through Nuns & Nones, we have learned that sisters’ charisms have natural inheritors in a younger generation of seekers. Based on decades of experience living in self-governing, resource-sharing, women-led, “counter cultural” communities of contemplation and action, sisters have a wealth of wisdom to share with a younger generation setting out to serve and heal in a fractured world. Amidst the social and environmental crises of our times, we are hearing a common call to incubate new forms of community rooted in love and committed to justice.