Growing up as a little girl in the ’60s, I was enamored with a television series called “The Flying Nun”. It was a fun family show about an awkward girl who was becoming a nun. She also had a special gift of being able to fly when the wind caught her hat. Sally Field played the young nun, and she was funny and always seemed to get into trouble. I loved that show.
On the weekends, my dad would pack the family in the car and drive to Dayton to go shopping. Across the street from the big mall was a convent of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. I can remember sitting in the back seat with my face pressed against the glass on many occasions looking for any glimpse of a nun on the property. These weren’t the flying ones, but hey, a girl could hope, couldn’t she? I was curious about the women who wore those long robes and kept everything covered up. They seemed to glide across the lawn on their way to the chapel. It was almost magical. –Holy. That’s the right word. Something in me wanted to be holy too.
I especially remember one trip, as we were driving by, (before we were ever required to wear seatbelts) standing up in the backseat and leaning forward to tell my dad that I was going to be a nun when I grew up. That drew some outrageous laughter from him as he stated that would be impossible as we were not even Catholic! (We didn’t attend any church on a regular basis.) His laughter squashed that dream. I was disheartened.
Well, dad was right. I didn’t become a nun because God had better plans for me. But I did become Catholic. And I married a Catholic and raised my kids to be Catholic. I guess I have always been drawn to the Catholic faith. There is something about it to me that is just so holy. And as I said, I’ve always wanted to be holy.
I think about all the priests and sisters, the saints and martyrs over hundreds of years who laid down their lives for Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church is steeped in tradition and rituals of the past. Did did you know that if you attend a Mass in any Catholic church in the world on a given Sunday, that the same Scriptures are read in every church? Everywhere. We’re all hearing the same message!
I’ve grown up a little since my Flying Nun infatuation. Now, my favorite “nun” is St. Teresa of Calcutta, who I still like to call Mother Teresa. She didn’t fly, but she was magical. Her care for the poor and dying was inspiring. People were drawn to her. She is my example of holiness and someone I want to grow up to be like.
The Catholic Church is getting ready to make some changes in our area. They are thinking about the future. There is a shortage of priests. And according to Fox News, “The Catholic Church is struggling to maintain its ranks of nuns in America. … In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic sisters in the United States. But according to the National Religious Retirement Office, in 2019, there were just 31,350 in 411 institutes.” Pray for those making decisions, that they make the right ones and find ways to encourage our young people to want to be priests and sisters for the future.
So get in your car and drive to a convent or monastery. Encourage your kids or grandkids to look for them walking on the grounds. Take them to shrines and basilicas and teach them the history of the Church. Take them to Mass. Pull up old episodes of “The Flying Nun” and have some fun.