Photo via Roman Catholic Vocations
~from CNS. I spent the past weekend with a couple of the Sisters from Nashville. The wind was blowing so hard that I teased one of them about becoming a flying nun. I got sand in my eyes as an answer.....
Everywhere they go in Sydney, the three Dominican nuns from Tennessee keep turning heads. Dressed in their distinctive white habits and black and white veils, the sisters stand out in the crowd.Read more
At Sydney Harbor, where the tourists fix their cameras on the iconic Opera House and bridge, the arrival of Sisters Anna Wray, Mary Rachel Capets and Mary Madeline Todd gets everybody's viewfinders swinging in their direction.
The reaction of local residents in Belmore, the multicultural suburb where they are staying, is similar. The Vietnamese baker and his wife tell them of the kindness of Catholic nuns to war orphans in their homeland. The older people in the street stop to reminisce about the nuns who taught them at school. The "hijab"-wearing Muslim women, at first surprised at the sight of the nuns' veils, smile broadly with the recognition of the love of a common God.
"You're making our neighborhood a different place," the Lebanese shopkeeper told them. And when his customers ask if he has seen the strange new nuns about, the shopkeeper boasts: "Yes, of course! They are my friends!"
The nuns are in Sydney at the invitation of Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher, World Youth Day 2008 coordinator and fellow Dominican. Normally they would be at home teaching, but their motherhouse in Nashville has sent delegations to assist with preparations for each World Youth Day since Denver was the host city in 1993.
"It's part of our apostolic mission to spread God's love to the youth of the world," said Sister Anna, 28, noting that as Dominicans their lives are balanced between "contemplation and action."
"Wherever we are, we live by our values. Our founder Dominic was about taking God's word into the world and influencing people. We have a capacity to be adaptive, you could say. We know that people won't listen to us unless we are clearly living what we preach," she said.
A colleague at the Sydney Archdiocese describes the three as a "breath of fresh air about the place."