Now the Vatican is Gunning for the Sisters!
More than likely you have read or have heard about the Vatican's attempt to pay particular attention to the religious sisters in the church.
I should preface this for you with the facts about our modern day sisters. In the past, they were more likely to be called "nuns" and they were very often mean women who found some justification in their calling to be physically abusive to children in their classes. Those classes were often groups of 50-70 children [I kid you not] and all these nuns could do to maintain order was to be cruel and deluded servants of the church. I never experienced this myself, but I saw that it was going on...and that the parents often didn't know because the parents would have considered themselves sinful if they had sided with the reports of their own children. Considering the mangnitude of this problem is so large that it was considered a "given" for so long is disturbing as I look back on it. Perhaps they were acting miserably because their religious "habits" were uncomfortable and kept them annoyed.
Having illustrated the nuns of the past, I can now give you my findings with the the religious women of today. They are most often dressed in "normal" clothes and they are very much in tune with the mission of the Roman Catholic Church to be a living witness of the way Blessed John XXIII had begun a true renewal. The buzz word back then was "aggoriomento" which was translated to mean an opening of the windows of the church to let in some fresh air.
Today's Sister is very often more of a "sister" to people. Some may still be teaching in Catholic grammar schools or academies, but the majority are serving as pastoral associates, counselors, high school and college educators. In a very concrete way they mirror the Blessed Virgin Mary as they reflect the warm, loving, gentle, feminine face of God. I believe I am correct in saying that the woman who lives her vocation as a religious sister does so only because it is her desire to remain. We had unhappy nuns before, but they somehow recognized they were in the wrong profession and left. Deo gratias!
There has always been controversy about the place of women in the church. It all centers on a fear of women from an all male hierarchy. We don't have women priests because we are told that Jesus only chose men as the first priests, the apostles. But this doesn't impress because all of those apostles, except one, were married men. However the women we call Sisters very often teach in seminaries, write theological books. The big concession (which is not held in unanimous regard) was allowing girls to be altar servers. I understand that several dioceses have refused to follow this practice.
Perhaps I digressed too much, so I'll briefly explain what's happening: After about a two year investigation of the majority of religious orders in the United States (by a woman who is a sister herself) a mandate was issued by the Vatican (Benedict XV) that there was to be oversight of all the religious orders belonging to the LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS-- an umbrella organization representing 80% of the women religious in this country. This oversight is composed of members of the male hierarchy!
This posting has been sketchy but you can Google specific details on this situation.
My experience has been most often with the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Many have been supportive of the GLBT initiatives in this country, and this is one of the reasons they are being put under the microscope. It is my hope that none of these Sisters lose heart and that they somehow contribute to the establishment of what I have wanted for years, an American Catholic Church. We give them our love, our support, and our great admiration for doing enough to put the fear of God into our hierarchy. Were this not true, there would be no need to appoint the watchdogs!
And as a final observation, might we all ask the male hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church to get their own houses in order and not divert attention to the sisters. How many millions of dollars have been spent in settlements for sexual crimes committed by Catholic men? WHY HAS THERE BEEN NO SPECIAL APPOINTMENT OF MONITORS OF WHAT HAS STILL NOT BEEN SETTLED? COULD WE NOT GIVE BIRTH TO A FEMALE ADVISORY COMMISSION TO CAPTURE THE PREDATORY PRIESTS & BISHOPS?????