Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sisters' Birthday Party

Today we had a belated birthday party for Sister Miriam, who turned 74 at the end of September. It was a party, with chocolate cake on china, and also a bit of a team-building exercise. It was held in the "lay break room," which means the break room where lay people who work for the monastery can eat their lunch and take their breaks. Currently, there are six of us laypeople who work in the offices alongside the leadership team (prioress, sub-prioress, treasurer, secretary) and development/communications team.

For party games, Sister Gen had brought in a box of cards with questions on them. Some were simple: "Would you rather live by the ocean or in the mountains?" and some were not so simple: "What's the hardest thing you've ever done?"

It was immediately apparent the game was not written for groups of nuns to play. Sister Rosemary went first, and the card she pulled out asked, "'If you didn't have to worry about money'-- well, that's not me. I don't have to worry about money. This card might not apply to me... 'If you didn't have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?'" The question was unanswerable. She had a vocation. She'd clearly be doing exactly what she was doing now.

We let her choose another card, which read: "If you were to be cremated, where would you like your ashes scattered?" "Oh, that's easy," she said. "I'd want them scattered all over the monastery cemetery."

A few cards went by and then S. Miriam took one from the box: "What would you like to ask God?" This is a woman who prays 5 times a day. Anything she'd like to ask God, she's pretty much asked. If she thinks of something, she goes ahead and asks. She did offer that there are many strange things created by God, and although she couldn't think of one right at the moment, she'd like to ask him what he was thinking when he created those things.

It's not always clear how nuns are different from other people. Until you pick up a card game like that.

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