Monday, January 14, 2008

The Wonderful World of Teaching Sisters

I grew up a product of Catholic schools and have many happy memories of all the Sisters I've been blessed to know. When I was a teenager, I would have told you that I considered one of them to be my closest friend. No, not because I didn't get out much, but because she was a delightful fascinating woman, who was just fun to be around. I consider this Sister to have been one of the most influential people in my life.

My children had the opportunity to get to know teaching sisters for the two and a half years we lived on the Western Slope of Colorado, and even in that short a time, their lives were changed forever. I can teach the children Catechism; I can try to make the Church year come alive for them the best I can. But, the Sisters are a direct contact with Heaven. They are the Brides of Christ. One Sister we know and love joyfully and openly refers to Christ as her Husband. Oh, how I love that! I am so grateful my children got to reach for the Hand of God through them.

I'm so grateful for their touch on my life!

It's sad to me that the uninitiated world has such a backward impression of the Sisters. They're expected to be stern and serious ~ and, well, sometimes they are, when it's appropriate. Indeed, their vocations hold them in a higher position than most of us, and their responsibilities may be farther reaching, but they're essentially people just like us. When they don the habit, they don't remove their personalities.
And, in my experience, they're a joyful, happy, God loving, fun loving group!

I remember a tough teaching Sister who surprised her class on a very snowy day many moons ago by improvising sleds to go down the hill at our school. She used several gigantic silver "doughnut trays" (oversized cookie sheets, really) that she swiped from the kitchen! And did they all fly down that hill! Sister and the children! It seems I even remember her using wax paper to slick up the bottoms of the trays. Those Sisters are full of tricks!

One Sister we know teased about having shortwave radio in her veil. The pins were really antenna. But, she finally did admit it was shortwave to the Almighty. (We still think she could read minds, though...)

We've played baseball, tennis, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee with Sisters. They ice skate, they ski, they ride horses, they websurf (very prudently!)... Sisters can do anything. So long as it's pleasing to God.

And, they sing! Here's where you can order some CDs from the Singing Nuns, our favorite singing group outside of our own children's choirs.

And, Oh, you've got to take a look at this wonderful video we happened to chance upon! Click here and scroll down to the photo of the blue sisters skiing. We know two of these sisters personally! We were all just grinning from ear to ear to see them singing and skiing (a few years back) on our Colorado slopes! How blessed we are to have them in our lives! (SisterK and Sister B., if you are reading this, howcome you never told us you were television stars?)

It's always so nice to see the Religious getting good press. On that note, we recently stumbled across a book at the library we would like to recommend. It's called Snow Day, by Moira Fain. It's a children's book about a tough teaching Sister who surprises the children in her class by meeting them on a Snow Day for a sledding race.
Was this ever a book after our own hearts! The main character is from a family with six children and the Sisters are shown as positive role models with fun loving spirits. It got me to reminiscing about the Sister from my childhood sledding on the cookie trays. And it left us all missing our own dear Sisters over the mountains!
(Weather permitting, Sisters, I'm coming up for a visit this coming weekend!)


SuzyQ said...

This was a wonderfully heartwarming post:0)
I love the mental picture of nuns sledding on doughnut trays heehee!

Marie said...

My mom grew up Catholic and went to parochial schools. She had a terrible experience though, being only part American Indian in a school full of full blooded American Indians and Mexicans, she was teased mercilessly and the nuns did nothing to help, even blamed her. So I grew up with a not very nice idea of what a nun is.

But I recently read Unveiled by Cheryl Reed, and now I find myself relating to nuns and having a lot of respect for them and their choices.

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful post! I regret not having the experience of growing up Catholic and attending a Catholic school. We converts certainly have missed much by growing up outside the faith, imho! Please ask the sisters to pray for me and my family if you do make it out to visit them!

Alexandra said...

Great stories! How blessed you are to have those memories and friendships with the sisters. I went to Catholic school for early elementary, so don't remember much. We moved around a lot overseas. I would have loved to continue in Catholic school.

I'm just getting to know our sisters(Dominican) who teach at the Catholic elementary school. They seem very nice, but I have not introduced myself. I get the feeling they may know that we are homeschoolers. I wonder how they feel about Sunday I'll get up the courage to speak to them at length.

Lisa said...

Thank-you, Suzy! I'm pleased to have passed this mental image along. =gg= It's one of those ones I like to call up to cheer myself up sometimes!

Marie ~ I'm truly sorry your Mom had a bad experience in the Catholic schools. I know that those bad situations did and still do sometimes happen. What makes me sad, though, is that though this kind of thing happened at all kinds of schools all over the place, saecular and protestant,it seems to be identified with Catholic schools and Catholic nuns. It's unfortunate anywhere it happens. I do hope you get the opportunity to meet a good Catholic nun sometime! I wish you could meet our dear friends! Your whole impression would be so changed.

Raulito ~ I know what you mean. My husband is a convert and is only getting to get in on the fun. But, you know, I think he appreciates it more than I do! * * I will ask the Sisters to pray for you and your family this weekend! Pray it doesn't snow so I can go!

Laura said...

I so loved this eyes have tears in them. What a great week to post this!!! Thank you.
I love nuns.

Laura said...

Me again. I'm trying to find that book Snow Day online. Do you know where it can be purchased? I would be very grateful to know.

Lisa said...

Hi, Laura! &:o) If the link isn't working, you can go to, where they have oodles of the book available starting at less than a dollar used! Of course, by the time you add postage and handling, it'll be &5 or $6 probably, but that's still pretty darn good, huh? I'm ordering one of these to have for myself, too.

Laura said...

Did it.
Quite psyched. Gonna share it with my faculty next week when I give a short talk about vocations and the curriculum. BIG THANKS for the idea.

Donna said...

Hello! I am one of the students that went down the hill with Sister Rita! What fun we had that day! She was very strict, and most of us were scared to death of her. But, then she would do these wonderful things for us. She would also play soft ball and kick ball with us sometimes. She would hit, or kick, and one of us could run, we always had a home run! I am always sorry for those who have bad memories. I remember them both, but the good always stand out from the rest! That particular Nun, Sister Rita is very sick now with Parkinsins. So, if you all could keep her in your prayers! Thanks so much!

(Aunty) Donna

Lisa said...

Thanks, Don! Praying for Sr. Rita!
Also, a correction: I'm told that the Sisters were skiing in Washington state! I saw the channel 4 news logo, and assumed it was Denver's channel 4. One way or another, they sure can ski!

Laura said...

The book Snow Day has been passed around from teacher to teacher here in my school. We are trying to create a vocations library...and your recommendation got the ball rolling...keep em coming!!! AND THANKS!!!