Page 8, 30th April 1993

30th April 1993
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Page 8, 30th April 1993 — Second best answer to a calling?
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Second best answer to a calling?

Sr Kira Solhdoost chose to join the Congregation of the Cenacle because she felt its ministry came closest to that of the priest-hood WOULD you like to be ordained? If you ask an old nun, "Would you like to be a priest?", the answer you can expect is, "You're a bit late". But in the days when I was young enough to have wanted to make such a choice, the very notion of women priests belonged to the realm of impossibilities, to the categories of life style associated inextricably with the male of the human species, "soldier, sailor, tinker, tailor..." This was taught, this was accepted as an immutable condition of life, the order established by God. The depreciation of womanhood inherent in this ideology only dawned on me the first time I made an individually directed retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of St

Ignatius. I was an undergraduate, just turned 20. The Ignatian key meditation on "The Call of the Eternal King" struck me as an invitation to a radical following of Christ which could only be achieved in an identification with Him which implied the priesthood. I felt left out, cheated, deprived of the possibility of a total imitation of Christ because I was a woman, I could only choose a second best way of accepting His call and became a nun. Actually. I chose the Congregation of Our Lady of the Cenacle precisely because its ministry appeared to me to come closest to that of the priesthood. I had loved and admired the teaching Sisters who had provided my earlier education, and even toyed with the idea of joining them. But the exclusively spiritual pastoral mission of the Cenacle appeared to me as the closest I could come to a priest like calling, in the discharge of a ministry of retreats, spiritual direction, religious education. Have I ever wanted to be a priest? I have in the past not experienced any particular urge to officiate at the altar, but on many occasions I have longed to be able to say, "Ego te absolvo..." There have been many occasions when a person in the context of a retreat, of spiritual direction. of faith instruction has shared confidences or conscience problems in the hope of finding immediate interior peace. Yes, I have often desired and still do to speak words of Reconciliation in the name of the Church.

An octogenarian French Sister was recently asked what she thought of having womenpriests.

She replied: "The Holy Spirit has already spoken; there is shortage of priests, the Holy Spirit is not calling men any more. So, what are we waiting for?"




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