Page 2, 17th March 1950

17th March 1950
Page 2
Page 2, 17th March 1950 — A GRADUATE .WISHES TO BECOME A NUN

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Organisations: His Church, English Mission


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SIR, A group of University students, in THE CATHOLIC HERALD Of January 30, gave a number of reasons why they will not become nuns. May 1, as a University graduate, take their reasons one by one as a basis for stating a few of the reasons why 1 am going, God willing, to be a nun ? I wish to be a nun because I wish to depend utterly on someone-on Our Lord Himself, on Whom all of us, however unconsciously, whether as solitaries or as families, depend for every crumb of happiness we can receive.

I wish to become a nun because I hope in this way, by God's grace, to realise what is merely the life of a Christian: that is, something utterly alien to our fallen naturethe death and resurrection of that nature in and through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ Our Lord, Who, as man, found this no more " bearable" than anyone else.

I wish to become a nun, one of a community living in Christ, because it is a good and pleasant thing for brethren, and sisters. to dwell together in unity, a miniature of the Mystical Body. (I am not in the least unaware of the irritating effect of women on one another.) I wish to become a nun because no good at all can be done by any of us, whether in the world or in a cloister, by any power of our own. Union with God in Christ alone makes us powerful, whether in prayer or in activity, on behalf of our brothers and sisters: the religious life is a gift meant to bring about that union in us.

I wish to be a nun, though in fear and trembling, because nuns, so far from shutting themselves off from their responsibilities, accept a privileged advance post in the Church's battle with the world, the flesh and the Devil a privileged share, that is. in Our Lord's sufferings, by which alone the victory is won. If we do not love Him, Who died for us, enough to suffer with Him, how can we love and help out fellows, whatever sense of responsibility we may have ?

I wish to be a nun because, though " unbearable " is a word that springs to one's lips at the thought of separation from family and friends. this separation is precisely that fruitful separation. to be made up a thousand times in eternity. which Our Lord claims from all His followers. which His Mother accepted as His only gift to her all during His public life. which in fact He Himself underwent, even to the lonely death on the Cross.

I wish to be a nun because. though countless nuns, as well as layfolk, may " sentimentalise " religion. the religious life, truly embraced. is a way of turning from any attempt to effect a compromise between Christ's claims and selfish claims, it is this compromise which is the real " sentimentalising " of religion.

I wish to he a nun because I dislike the idea of rules and regulations as much as is normal: which makes a life of obedience the way to defeat the Devil. by killing pride. and to give one's self wholly to God. There can be no crucifix without a hard. straight. wooden cross.

A secular career can be worthwhile only because it can be a different form of the life in Christ at which the religious life directly aims. Human marriage can be Christian only because marriage with a human being can be the sacrament of that marriage into which Christ enters with His Church. and with every soul as a miniature of the Church: the marriage of v. hich the religious life is the direct realisation and expression.

And finally, the fourth spokeswoman of the group summed up. in relation to teaching orders. what is in fact simoly the life of a Christian, to which we are committed by our Baptism: " you must he of the world but apart from it."


B.A., Oxon.

148 Abbey Road. N.W.6.


SIR. I certainly agree with L. Fox. I think we ought to be very careful to speak of the restoration of the Diocesan Hierarchy in 1850, while at the same time making clear that if for a time in a persecuted country a " diocesan " hierarchy is not practicable. the Holy See has many varied expedients for maintaining control over the Catholics in such a country and providing them with priests or Bishops. Such was the office, as I have frequently explained, of the Archpriests or Auxiliary Bishops in England before 1850; "continuity " was never lost and jurisdiction (which derives ultimately from the Holy See) was not in fact and could not be. even in theory. abandoned. The whole story of the " English Mission '' from the start is a glorious one: and many a convert too played his part in that heroic work. C. G. MORTIMER.

2 White Buildings, Lee-on-Solent,

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