Kui naistest said nunnad, et saada head haridust

Kui naistest said nunnad, et saada head haridust


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Korralikku haridust oli keskajal meestel ja eriti naistel raske saada. Kui naised tahtsid saada kõrgharidust, pidid nad jõudma kõrgema kutseni - ja astuma kloostrisse.

Selleks ajaks, kui Rooma impeerium 5. sajandil langes, olid võitlusoskused ja sõjaline oskus hariduse kriitilisemaks asendanud. Kui keskajal olid sotsiaalsed ja seadusandlikud normid tugevalt juurdunud Rooma ja germaani päritolust, siis haridusasutusest loobuti mõneks ajaks. Kui aga kiriku võim hakkas suurenema, täitis see tühimiku, arendades välja religioossetel eesmärkidel haridussüsteemi.

Peagi muutusid kloostrid ja kloostrid õppimiskeskusteks ning põhiliselt said privilegeeritud - noored mehed aadlist ja kõrgemast keskklassist -, kes said põhjaliku hariduse. Sel ajal ei olnud naiste haridus esmatähtis, kuna arvati, et naised on intellektuaalselt halvemad.

Jõukatelt naistelt nõuti keskajal mõningast kirjaoskust, kuid nende õppimise eesmärk oli valmistada neid ette auväärseteks naisteks ja emadeks. Seevastu soodustati nunnade kõrgharidust, sest neilt nõuti Piibli õpetuste mõistmist. Seega polnud juhus, et paljud varasemad naisintellektuaalid olid nunnad.

Mõned kloostri pakkumised hõlmasid ladina keeles lugemist ja kirjutamist, aritmeetikat, grammatikat, muusikat, moraali, retoorikat, geomeetriat ja astronoomiat, vastavalt Shirley Kersey 1980. aasta artiklile (kd 58, nr 4). Ketramine, kudumine ja tikkimine olid samuti suur osa nunna haridusest ja tööst, kirjutab Kersey, eriti jõukatest peredest pärit nunnade seas. Väiksematelt vahenditelt tulnud nunnadelt oodati usuelu osana raskemat tööd.

Nunnasid, kes pühendusid kõrgeimale stipendiumile, koheldi võrdselt nende sotsiaalse auastmega meestega. Neid austati kloostri juhtidena ja neil oli rohkem võimu kui nende kaasaegsetel naistel.

Õde Juliana Morell: esimene naine, kes sai ülikooli kraadi

Varasemate nunnateadlaste hulgas oli 17. sajandil Hispaania Dominikaani nunn Juliana Morell, kes arvatakse olevat esimene naine läänemaailmas, kes on ülikoolikraadi omandanud. 16. veebruaril 1594 Barcelonas sündinud Morell oli noor imelaps ja tema silmapaistev pankurist isa julgustas teda omandama kõrgeimat haridust, vastavalt S. Griswoldi 1941. aasta artiklile. Hispanic Review (9. kd, nr 1).

Mõni aasta pärast Morelli ema surma põgenes isa koos tolleaegse seitsmeaastase tütrega Prantsusmaale Lyoni, et pääseda tapmissüüdistustest. Just seal jätkas Morell haridusteed, õppides mitmesuguseid erialasid: ladina, kreeka, heebrea, matemaatika, retoorika, samuti õiguse ja muusika.

Kui ta oli 12 -aastane, kaitses Morell avalikult oma teese loogika ja moraali kohta. Ta jätkas haridustee rikastamist, õppides tsiviilõigust, füüsikat ja kaanonit, ning kaitses varsti pärast seda Avignonis paavstluse auväärsete külaliste ees oma õigusteadust.

Kuigi pole teada, milline organ andis Morellile kraadi, sai ta 1608. aastal 14 -aastaselt õigusteaduste doktorikraadi. Selle aasta sügisel astus Morell Avignonis Dominikaani kloostrisse ja andis kolm aastat hiljem suvel oma viimased tõotused 1610. aastal, tõustes lõpuks auhinnaks.

Oma 30-aastase nunnase ametiaja jooksul avaldas Morell mitmesuguseid teoseid, sealhulgas: Frior Vincent Ferreri raamatu tõlge ladina-prantsuse keelde Vaimne elu (1617). Morell suri 26. juunil 1653.


Helistan lauatelefonil vanem Silvanale ja ta vabandab, et tal pole mobiilsignaali - ta oli keldris. Mitte vaikida kloostris vaikuses, vaid juhtida hosteli ja aidata õpilasi, kellega ta töötab. Suur osa meie vestlusest kulub koolist rääkimisele (käisin ühel Püha Südame Seltsi juhtimisel) ja inimestest, keda me teame, enne kui mõistan, et raiskan väärtuslikku intervjueerimisaega, kuigi ta kinnitab mulle lahkelt, et tekitasin lihtsalt närvilise külalise tunde enne seltsiga liitumist oma elust rääkimist.

"Ma olen hällikatoliiklane. Ma läksin kloostri keskkooli, kus mõned meist flirdisid arusaamadega kloostri elust, looridest ja usunimedest. Kahekümnendate aastate keskel olin aga iseseisev, poliitiliselt aktiivne ja professionaalne noor naine. Töötasin NALGO -s (millest hiljem sai Unison), mul oli oma korter, poiss -sõber, karjäär, seltsielu. Ma isegi loen Guardianit iga päev! Ja ometi hakkasin sügaval sisimas tundma end rahutuna, sest otsisin Jumalat. Tulin kohtuma ja tundma Püha Südame Seltsi, kui avastasin, et üks meie liidu liikmetest on õde. See oli aastal 1993 ja ma olen siiani siin! ”

Oxfordis aspirantide hosteli valvur Sr Silvana selgitab, kuidas tema töö iseloom tähendab, et pole kahte ühesugust päeva.

„Minu uks on enamiku ajast avatud, et õpilased saaksid tere öelda või kui neil on vaja kellegagi rääkida. Mul on mantra, mille kohaselt „Jumal annab”, mis õpilastele meeldib ja usub, et see aitab lahendusi leida. Vastutan ka provintsi veebisaidi ja sotsiaalmeedia kohaloleku eest, nii et raiskan Facebookis ja Twitteris palju aega! Ma arvan, et on ülimalt oluline nendes kohtades viibida, eriti kui töötate noortega. ”

Nägin Twitteris kedagi ütlemas: "Miks peaks kuradil olema kõik parimad säutsud?"

Sr Silvana Dallanegra RSCJ armastab kokata, lugeda ja pildistada Foto: Sr Silvana Dallanegra RSCJ

“Meid kutsutakse sageli nunnadeks. See on omamoodi lühikirjeldus - kergesti mõistetav üldnimetus, mis tuleneb suuresti teadmiste puudumisest või on ainult õde -aktust vaadanud (nunnad elavad „suletud” elu ja lahkuvad oma kloostritest harva, samas kui õed väljendavad oma kutsumust, olles kogukondades „aktiivsed”. Kuigi asja segasemaks muutmiseks kutsute nunna tema poole pöördudes õeks). On möödunud rohkem kui 40 aastat sellest, kui religioosne on oma harjumustest välja tulnud. Olime üks esimesi kogudusi, kus see 70ndatel vabatahtlikuks sai, kuid siiski kasutab meedia kogu religioosse elu kirjeldamiseks endiselt harjumuspäraseid kujutlusi harjumustes.

"Loodan, et õdesid on võimalik ära tunda muude asjade järgi, näiteks selle järgi, kuidas nad inimestena on. Kui olin Hispaanias, pidi üks meie õde, keda ma väga hästi ei tundnud, mulle menüüd selgitama. Kui olime tellinud, küsis meie kõrval laual olev daam, kas me oleme religioossed õed. Me ei kandnud usulisi sümboleid, nii et ma küsisin, kuidas ta seda teab. Kas sa tead, mida ta ütles? „Nii kohtlesite te üksteist.” Tema tütar läks Püha Südame kooli ja oli jälginud, kuidas õed koos olid. "Oli selge, et te ei tunne teineteist tegelikult, aga see oli see, kuidas te üksteisega koos olite." See oli mulle õnnistus, et midagi sellist juhtus minu religioosse elu alguses. "

Naiste kutsed usuellu saavutasid sel aastal Inglismaa ja Walesi katoliku kirikus 25 aasta kõrgeima taseme. Kutsega, mis tuli Facebooki kaudu (ta andis tõotused mullu septembris), jagab vanem Silvana oma nõuandeid naistele, kes mõtlevad sama sammu astumisele.

„Jah, usuelus võib olla raskeid asju, kuid igas eluvaldkonnas on raskeid külgi - abielu või laste kasvatamine ei ole roosipeenar. Äratundmises on lihtne halvatuks jääda. Üks meie õdedest, kes sisenesid 60ndatel, mäletas selle pärast piinlemist. Keegi ütles talle: „Sa tahad, et taevas langeks tahvlile ja ütleks, et liitud õdedega ja oled õnnelik. Aga seda ei juhtu! ’See on suurepärane elu. Kui teid kutsutakse, siis saate naiseks, kelleks peate olema. Minge tüdrukule! "


Naiste staatus keskaegses Euroopas

Castle Eltz, üks kuulsamaid ja ilusamaid keskaegseid losse Saksamaal.
(Pilt: Julia700702/Shutterstock)

Tsiviilõigus ja abielu keskaegses Euroopas

Naised keskaegses Euroopas olid juriidiliselt oma mehest sõltuvad. Tsiviilõiguse kohaldamisalas piirati naisi lepingute allkirjastamisest, kohtus tunnistajaks olemisest või nende nimel raha laenamisest. Kõik see tuli läbi viia nende abikaasade seadusliku volituse alusel. Lühidalt öeldes olid abielus naised oma abikaasadest märkimisväärselt sõltuvad. Huvitaval kombel kehtisid need piirangud paljudes Euroopa riikides kuni viimase ajani.

Võib -olla olete üllatunud, kui teate, et neid seadusi ei kohaldatud vallaliste täiskasvanud naiste suhtes, kellel lubati lepinguid sõlmida, raha laenata ja teha asju, mida võiks oodata seaduslikult vastutustundlikult täiskasvanult. See oli Rooma impeeriumiga võrreldes üsna märkimisväärne eelis. Sel ajastul vajasid kõik naised, olenemata nende perekonnaseisust ja vanusest, meessoost eestkostjat.

See on ärakiri videosarjast Kõrge keskaeg. Vaadake seda nüüd Wondriumis.

Ärinaised suutsid keskaegses Euroopas kaitsta oma vara, kui nad tegelesid oma abikaasade omast erineva kaubandusega. Näiteks kui naine töötas rätsepana ja tema mees oli õlletootja, olid nende varad üksteisest täiesti lahus. Seega, kui abikaasa seisis silmitsi pankrotiga, ei olnud tema naisel juriidilist kohustust võlausaldajatele maksta. Termin naistetald (sõna otseses mõttes “naine üksi ”) loodi nende naiste kirjeldamiseks.

Kriminaalõigus ja surmanuhtlus

Vastupidiselt tsiviilõigusele ei olnud naise perekonnaseis kunagi kriminaalõigusele oluline. Teisisõnu, kui abielunaine pani toime kuriteo, kohaldati talle samu karistusi kui vallalisel. Ainus erand oli rasedus: rasedad naised vabastati hukkamisest või igasugusest piinamisest. Lisaks, olenemata nende perekonnaseisust, vabastati keskaegsed kohtud kõik naised teatud piinamisvormidest. Näiteks ei saanud naisi roolis murda.

Kurjategijate hukkamise koht keskaegses Euroopas - tükeldamisplokk ja puuplatvormil olevad puuplatvormid. (Pilt: Zhuravlev Andrey/Shutterstock)

Mõnel juhul kohtles kõrgkeskaja kohtusüsteem naiskurjategijaid leebemalt. Näiteks samasoolised suhted, millega kaasnes meeste surmanuhtlus, ei olnud naiste jaoks üldse kuriteod, sest selline suhe ei mõjutanud inimeste paljunemist.

Naistel, kes tunnistati süüdi kapitaalsüüteos, polnud siiski nii palju õnne. Tegelikult pidid nad kannatama tolle aja kõige julmema ja valusama hukkamiste tüübi: põletamise tuleriidal. Erinevalt meestest, kellele määrati eri tüüpi hukkamine sõltuvalt nende kuritegude tõsidusest, oli naiste hukkamine ainult ühel kujul.

Kaasaegsed väitsid, et see on vajalik naiste tagasihoidlikkuse säilitamiseks, sest muid hukkamisviise peeti naiste jaoks ebasobivaks. Kuigi selles põhjenduses võib olla tõde, on tänapäeva ajaloolased selle praktika algpõhjuseks nimetanud naistevihkamise, aga ka meeste sügavalt juurdunud kahtluse ja vastumeelsuse naiste vastu.

Poliitika ja naised keskaegses Euroopas

Poliitiliselt suutsid naised tõusta suveräänsuse kõrgeimatele tasanditele. Nad võivad saada kuningannadeks ja valitseda kuningriikide üle või saada regentideks ja valitseda alaealise lapse nimel. Ükskõik, kas naine oli kuninganna või regent, kes valitses kas ajutiselt või alaliselt, ei erinenud tema volitused meesvalitseja omadest.

See võimude võrdsus oli tingitud ainult sellest, et keskaegne poliitika oli dünastiline. Teisisõnu, ametid läksid isadelt poegadele. Seetõttu võib seadusliku meespärija puudumisel kontor sattuda naise kätte. See kehtis nii kuningriikide kui ka väiksemate poliitiliste üksuste kohta. Maakonnad kulgesid pereliikmete, hertsogkondade ja isegi linnakodanike vahel ning ühe kastella kontrolli all olevad piirkonnad 15 või 20 miili raadiuses. Harvadel juhtudel valitsesid neid alasid naised.

Naised keskaegses Euroopas puudusid aga avalikes poliitilistes rollides. See oli peamiselt tingitud sellest, et keskaegsed linnad järgisid vabariiklikumat valitsemisvormi, kus ametnikud valiti ja teenistati kindlaksmääratud ajaks. Seetõttu ei saanud naine pärida poliitilist ametit. Olukord muutus alles viimasel ajal. Irooniline, et demokraatia on läbi ajaloo olnud naiste osalusele väga ebasõbralik.

Majandus ja (peaaegu) võrdsed võimalused

Keskaegses Euroopas tegutsesid naised turul suhteliselt aktiivselt. 1300. aastal Pariisis 100 gildi küsitlus näitas, et 86 protsenti oli valmis naistöötajaid vastu võtma. Kuigi mõned ettevõtted nõudsid naise ja mehe nõusolekut, polnud töö saamine võimatu.

Ka koolituse osas oli tunda teatud võrdsust. Naissoost spetsialistid suutsid praktikante koolitada olenemata nende soost. Keegi ei tundunud arvavat, et mees, kes treenib meest, on veider.

Nunna skulptuur hea karjase katedraali fassaadil San Sebastianis, Baskimaal, Hispaanias. (Pilt: Roman Belogorodov/Shutterstock)

Religioon ja nunnakloostrid keskaegses Euroopas

On mõistlik oodata sarnaseid suundumusi religioossetes oludes, kus naised puudusid mõnes valdkonnas ja olid teistes siiski aktiivsed. Näiteks oli naiste seas levinud kloostrilisus. Naine sai hõlpsalt valida, kas hakata nunnadeks ja elada nunnakloostris. Nad võisid isegi auastmetest tõusta ja ühel päeval käsutada nunnakloostrit. Veel keskajal olid kloostrid suured organisatsioonid erinevate asjaajamistega ja neis asus kümneid inimesi. Niisiis võimaldas nunnakloostri juht olla naistel teiste üle võimu avaldada. See jõud meeldis eriti kõrgelt sündinud naistele, kes ei suutnud muul viisil jõuda autoriteedi staatuseni.

Naised ei saanud aga kunagi preesterluse valdkondadesse siseneda. Teisisõnu, neil ei lubatud asuda ‘ sekulaarsete vaimulike ametisse ’, kuna nad olid ordineerimata kiriku liikmed, kes ei elanud usuinstituudis ega järginud konkreetseid usureegleid.

Üldised küsimused naiste staatuse kohta keskaegses Euroopas

Keskaegses Euroopas oli meeste ja naiste vahel suur ebavõrdsus. Naistel polnud õigust hääletada ega valida, kas nad soovivad abielluda, lapsi saada või isegi mõnel juhul töötada.

Naised said keskajal töötada käsitööna, omada gildi ja teenida raha omal moel. Samuti võisid nad teatud tingimustel oma mehest lahutada. Selles vanuses elas palju silmapaistvaid naisautoreid, teadlasi ja ettevõtete omanikke.

Naised keskaegses Euroopas said töötada enamikus gildides. Peale selle, et nad olid naised või emad, otsustasid nad sageli saada käsitöölisteks või nunnadeks.

Enamik naisi kandis keskajal kirtleid, hüppeliigestest põrandani kleidid, mis olid valmistatud värvitud linast. Taluperenaiste seas oli vill soodsam ja taskukohasem variant. Naiste riided koosnesid ka aluspüksist, mida nimetatakse sukkiks või kemikaaliks.


Nunnad, kes ostsid ja müüsid inimesi

Ameerika nunnad hakkavad silmitsi seisma oma seostega orjusega, kuid kahetsuseni on veel pikk tee.

Krediit. Illustratsioon Katrien De Blauwer, fotod C.M. Bell ja Joseph John Kirkbride, Washingtoni Kongressi raamatukogu trükiste ja fotode osakonna kaudu

Pr Swarns on ajakirja The Times kaasautor.

Georgetowni visiitide ettevalmistuskool, üks rahva vanimaid rooma -katoliku tütarlastekoole, on juba pikka aega tähistanud oma asutajate visiooni ja suuremeelsust: sihikindel katoliku nunnade rühm, kes toetas 1800ndate alguses vaeste tasuta haridust.

Õed, kes rajasid Washingtonis eliitakadeemia, pidasid ka „laupäevakooli, mis oli tasuta kõigile noortele tüdrukutele, kes soovisid õppida - kaasa arvatud orjad - ajal, mil riigikoolid olid peaaegu olematud ja orjade lugema õpetamine oli ebaseaduslik. ”Vastavalt mitmel aastal kooli kodulehele postitatud ametlikule ajaloole.

Kui aga hiljuti palgatud kooli arhivaar ja ajaloolane hakkas paar aastat tagasi kloostri ülestähendusi uurima, ei leidnud ta mingeid tõendeid selle kohta, et nunnad oleksid orjastatud lapsi lugema või kirjutama õpetanud. Selle asemel leidis ta kirjeid, mis dokumenteerisid tellimuse ajaloo tumedama poole.

Andmetest selgub, et õdedele Georgetown Visitationile kuulus vähemalt 107 orjastatud meest, naist ja last. Ja nad müüsid kümneid neid inimesi, et maksta võlgu ja aidata rahastada nende kooli laiendamist ja uue kabeli ehitamist.

Pilt

"Midagi muud teha pole, kui neegrite perekond ära anda," kirjutas kloostri ülemus ema Agnes Brent 1821. aastal, kui kiitis heaks paari ja nende kahe väikese lapse müügi. Orjastatud naine oli vaid mõne päeva kaugusel kolmanda lapse sünnitamisest.

Nunnad käsutamine mustadest peredest? Olen juba mitu aastat uurinud 19. sajandi kirikuraamatuid ja selline juhuslik julmus usuliidrite poolt võtab siiani hinge. Olen mustanahaline ajakirjanik ja mustanahaline katoliiklane. Ometi kasvasin ma üles, teadmata midagi nunnadest, kes inimesi ostsid ja müüsid.

Orjastatud inimesed on põlvkondade jooksul katoliku kirikust traditsiooniliselt räägitud päritoluloost suuresti kõrvale jäetud. Minu reportaaž Georgetowni ülikoolist, mis teenis rohkem kui 200 orja müügist, on viimastel aastatel aidanud juhtida tähelepanu ülikoolidele ja nende sidemetele orjusega. Kuid orjus aitas kaasa ka paljude kaasaegsete institutsioonide, sealhulgas mõnede kirikute ja usuorganisatsioonide kasvule.

Ajaloolased ütlevad, et peaaegu kõik katoliku õdede ordud, mis loodi 1820ndate lõpus, kuulusid orjadele. Tänapäeval on paljud katoliiklastest õed sotsiaalse õigluse otsekohesed tšempionid ja mõned maadlevad selle valusa ajalooga isegi siis, kui Kongressi seadusandjad ja presidendikandidaadid arutlevad, kas orjastatud inimeste järeltulijatele tuleks hüvitist maksta.

Nende lähenemisviisid on erineva ulatusega ja mõned õed on väljendanud kahtlusi, kartes, et mineviku paljastamine võib jätta nad kriitikale avatuks. Kuid kui nad otsivad oma arhiividest ja mõtisklevad edasise tee üle, töötavad mõned religioossed naised välja raamistikud, mis võivad olla teekaartideks teistele institutsioonidele, kes püüavad tunnistada ja lunastada nende osalemist Ameerika inimeste orjussüsteemis.

Georgetowni külastusõed ja kooliametnikud on korraldanud õpilastele, õppejõududele, töötajatele ja vilistlastele mitmeid arutelusid, sealhulgas aprillis palveteenistuse, kus mälestatakse orjastatud inimesi, „kelle tahtmatud ohverdused toetasid selle kooli kasvu”. Nad on avaldanud veebipõhise aruande kloostri orjapidamise kohta - kooli arhivaari ja ajaloolase artikkel ilmus sel kevadel ka ajakirjas The U.S. Catholic Historian - ning on digiteerinud oma orjusega seotud dokumendid, muutes need esmakordselt avalikkusele kättesaadavaks.

Püha südame religioon, kellele kuulus umbes 150 orjastatud inimest Louisiana osariigis ja Missouris, jälgis kümneid neile kunagi kuuluvate inimeste järeltulijaid ja kutsus nad mälestustseremooniale Grand Coteau's, La. Eelmisel sügisel toimunud tseremoonial avas kohalike kihelkonna kalmistu orjade mälestussamba ja tahvli vanal orjakvartalil. Samuti teatasid nad oma katoliku kooli stipendiumifondi loomisest Aafrika-Ameerika õpilastele, mille ehitasid osaliselt orjastatud töölised.

"See ei olnud lihtsalt minevikku vaatamise küsimus," ütles USA/Kanada Püha Südame Ühingu provintsi arhivaar õde Carolyn Osiek. "See oli:" Mida me sellega nüüd teeme? ""

Õde Osiek, kes juhtis Püha Südame Seltsi orjuse ja leppimise komiteed, ütles, et tema korraldus soovib, et järeltulijad teaksid, et nende esivanematel on olnud kloostri ja kooli arendamisel ja säilitamisel oluline roll. (Püha südame usund on Püha Südame Seltsi liikmed.)

"Ilma teieta poleks me seda suutnud," ütles ta, kirjeldades ordu provintsijuhi järeltulijatele edastatud sõnumit. "Me pole teid nii kaua tunnistanud ja meil on sellest kahju."

Kuid hingeotsinguid ei ole universaalselt omaks võetud. Mõned järeltulijad keeldusid Louisiana tseremoonial osalemast, pidades seda liiga valusaks. Ja mõned nunnad on väljendanud rahutust mineviku kaevamise otsuse pärast.

"Paljud kogukonnad on praegu väga pühendunud rassismiküsimuste käsitlemisele, kuid fakt on see, et nende endi ajalugu on problemaatiline," ütles Syracusa ülikooli ajaloolane Margaret Susan Thompson, kes on USA -s katoliku nunnasid ja rassi uurinud.

"Nad hakkavad silmitsi seisma oma rassismiga ja oma kaasosalusega mineviku rassismis," ütles ta, "kuid see on väga pikk tee."

Õde Irma L. Dillard, Aafrika-Ameerika Püha Südame Usu liige, ütles, et mõned valged nunnad tundsid vastumeelsust seda ajalugu uuesti vaadata, sest nad kartsid, et neid „peetakse rassistlikeks ja halbadeks”. Ta kiitis oma korraldusega seni võetud samme ja ütles, et loodab, et tehakse rohkem.

Ta ütles, et siiani on antud ainult üks stipendium, žest, mida ta kirjeldas kui „märki”.

Ja kuigi ta sooviks, et ordu orjapidamise ajalugu lisataks nende asutatud koolide õppekavasse, on vähesed neist koolidest oma päritolu avalikult tunnistanud, ütles ta, vaatamata ulatuslikele uuringutele.

"Ühelgi kooli veebisaidil pole orjastamise kohta midagi," ütles õde Dillard, kes oli ka ühiskonna orjuse, vastutuse ja leppimise komitee liige. "Oleme valgeks lubanud oma ajaloo."

Georgetowni visiidil avastas kooli arhivaar ja ajaloolane Susan Nalezyty, et ordu sidemed orjusega olid palju sügavamad, kui varem avaldati. Ükski ametlik ajalugu ei kirjeldanud õdede orjapidamise ulatust ega kirjeldanud nunnade kasumit inimeste müügist.

Ja rohkem kui kümme aastat kiitis kooli veebisait Georgetowni külastusnunnasid nende „vaimu suuremeelsuse” eest, kes õpetasid orje lugema, anekdoot, mis edastati suuliste traditsioonide kaudu, ütlesid kooli ametnikud. See keel, mis jääb põhjendamata, eemaldati veebisaidilt 2017.

"Komitee on õnnelik, kool on õnnelik, et tal on nüüd teavet, et saaksime sellest ajaloost autoriteetselt rääkida, tuginedes sellele, mida dokumentaalsed tõendid meile räägivad," ütles dr Nalezyty.

Just ajalugu on suures osas meie avalikust teadvusest tuhmunud, isegi paljude kolme miljoni musta katoliiklase seas, kes moodustavad umbes 3 protsenti USA katoliiklastest.

Kasvasin üles New Yorgis ja elasin vaid mõne kvartali kaugusel kloostrist, kus oli raamatupood ja kogukonnafestival, millest sai minu lapsepõlve suvi. Katoliiklikud nunnad õpetasid mu ema, tädisid, kolme onu ja mõlemat õde. Minu ema ja tema pere, kes emigreerusid Bahama saartelt Stateni saarele, elasid mõnda aega isegi talus, mida pidas katoliikliku töölisliikumise asutaja ja pühakuks kandideerija Dorothy Day. Kirik, mida tundsime, kippus Iiri ja Itaalia sisserändajatele, nende lastele ja lastelastele ning mustade perekondade hulgale. Me ei kujutanud ette, et mõnel selle usulisel korraldusel oleks sidemeid orjusega.

Darren W. Davis, Notre Dame'i ülikooli politoloog ja raamatu „Püsivus kihelkonnas?” Kaasautor. mustanahaliste katoliiklaste kohta ütles, et inimesed eeldavad sageli, et enamik mustanahalisi katoliiklasi on hiljuti pöördunud. Kuid paljud kuuluvad perekondadesse, kes on usu põlvest põlve edasi andnud.

Mõni võttis usu omaks pärast maandumist linnadesse nagu Chicago ja New York suure rände ajal, mis viis miljoneid afroameeriklasi põhja, ütles ta. Teistel on sügavamad juured. "Katoliiklus ulatub sajandite taha, eriti lõunapoolsetes peredes," ütles ta.

Ameerika vabariigi esimestel aastakümnetel lõi katoliku kirik oma esmase tugipunkti lõunas, kogukondades, kus orjapidamist peeti koguduste, vaimulike ja nunnade rikkuse ja prestiiži märgiks. Ei olnud ebatavaline, et Ameerikas sündinud preestrid ja nunnad kasvasid orjaperede peredes ning paljud ordud tuginesid orjatööle, väidavad ajaloolased.

Näiteks jesuiitidest preestrid, kes rajasid ja juhtisid Georgetowni, olid Marylandi suurimate orjapidajate hulgas. Ja kui naised hakkasid 18. sajandi lõpus ja 19. sajandi alguses astuma esimestesse katoliku kloostritesse, tõid mõned oma kaasavara kaasana kaasa ka oma inimvara, väidavad ajaloolased. (Ma sattusin selle ajaloo juurde Georgetowni reportaaži ajal.)

Ka rikkad toetajad ja nunnade sugulased annetasid kloostritele orjastatud inimesi. Vahepeal ostsid, müüsid ja vahetasid katolikuõed orjastatud inimesi. Mõned nunnad võtsid orjad oma koolidele õppemaksu tasumiseks vastu või andsid võlgade tasumiseks üle oma inimvara, näitavad andmed.

Mary Ewens, raamatu „Nunna roll XIX sajandi Ameerikas” autor, leidis, et Ameerika Ühendriikides asutatud katoliku nunnade kaheksast esimesest ordenist seitsmele kuulusid 1820. aastateks orjad. Ühes hiljutises uuringus paljastas Joseph G. Mannard, et kaheksandal järjel oli seda vähemalt vähemalt mõneks ajaks.

"Nad tõesti hakkasid USA -s katoliiklust määratlema," ütles dr Thompson nende varakatoliku nunnade kohta. „Aastatel 1810–1820 tulid õed Ameerika Ühendriikides preestreid rohkem. Nad seadsid alusmustrid sellele, mida õed USA -s tegid. ”

Mõned nunnad väljendasid vastumeelsust orjuse vastu, teised aga kirjeldasid oma vastumeelsust müüa neile kuuluvaid inimesi, ja protokollid dokumenteerivad mõningaid jõupingutusi perekondade koos hoidmiseks.

Nii Georgetowni külastuse kui ka püha südame õed ühendasid peresid, kus abikaasa oli nunnade ja naine kellegi teise käes. Igal juhul ostsid õed naised, et pere kokku tuua. (Georgetowni külastusnunnad ostsid ka pere lapsed.) Baltimore'i karmeliidid hoolitsesid mõne eaka orja eest, kui nad nõrgaks kasvasid. Kentucky osariigis asuvad Naatsareti heategevusõed olid oma endiste orjadega niivõrd seotud, et koos laste ja lastelastega naasesid punktid 1912. aastal kloostri sajanda sünnipäeva tähistamiseks.

Kuid Pennsylvania Indiana ülikooli ajaloolane dr Mannard ja teised teadlased on leidnud, et nunnade rahalised vajadused - ja tasustamata töö atraktiivsus - ületasid sageli igasuguse vastumeelsuse inimeste liikluses.

„Hoolimata minu vastumeelsusest neegriorjade olemasolu eest, võime olla kohustatud mõned neist ostma,” kirjutas Ameerika Ühendriikides Püha Südame Ühingu loonud Rose Philippine Duchesne aastal 1822. Aasta hiljem kirjutasid õed Püha Südame Grand Coteau ostis oma esimese isiku, orjastatud mehe nimega Frank Hawkins, 550 dollari eest.

Aastal 1830 viitasid õed karmeliidid murele, et nad peavad võtma „meie vaesed teenijad”, et aidata selgitada nende vastumeelsust kolida Marylandi maapiirkonna istandusest Baltimore'i. Kuid nad loobusid nendest vastuväidetest pärast seda, kui said teada, et müük aitab nende võlad ära maksta ja võimaldab neil oma maaomandit säilitada. Nad müüsid vähemalt 30 inimest, ütles dr Mannard.

Ligi kümme aastat hiljem nõustusid Emmitsburgis, Md. Asuvate St. Josephi heategevusõed, kelle asutas esimene põliselanik ameeriklanna Elizabeth Ann Seton, kes kuulutati pühakuks, ja nõustusid järgima oma usulise ülemuse nõuandeid, kes neile ütlesid nad võiksid müüa oma “kollased poisid” 10–12 -protsendilise kasumiga, “ilma et oleks kellelegi ülekohut teinud”.

Mis puudutab Georgetowni külastusnunnasid, siis orjade müügist saadav kasum muutuks laienemisperioodil eluliseks päästerõngaks. 1820. aastatel alustasid õed ehituskampaaniat, mis jättis nad võlgade alla. Rahalise pinge leevendamiseks müüsid nad aastatel 1819–1822 vähemalt 21 inimest, näitavad andmed.

Kui mõned ostjad maksete tegemisega hämmeldusid, viisid õed nad kohtusse, leidis dr Nalezyty.

Kentucky osariigis asuvad Naatsareti heategevusõed, kellele kuulus emantsipatsioonil 30 inimest, olid esimeste õdede hulgas, kes püüdsid heastada. Nad ühinesid kahe teise orduga - Saint Catharine'i dominiiklased ja Loretto õed -, et korraldada 2000. aastal palveteenistus, kus nad palusid ametlikult orjapidamise pärast vabandust. 2012. aastal püstitasid Naatsareti heategevusõed kalmistule monumendi, kuhu maeti palju orjastatud inimesi. Seni on nad tuvastanud kolm neile kunagi kuulunud inimeste järeltulijat.

"Nende panust eirati," ütles õde Theresa Knabel, kes uuris ordu ajalugu ja jõudis järeltulijateni. "Me pidime teadma, kes nad olid, teadma nende nimesid, teadma nende lugu ja tegema nad nähtavaks."

Roslyn Chenier, afroameerika tarkvarakonsultant Atlantas, sai teada, et tema esivanemad kuulusid püha südame religioonile, kui temaga võttis ühendust õde Maureen J. Chicoine, kes on uurinud ordu ajalugu ja tuvastanud kümneid järeltulijad.

"Ma olin üllatunud, üllatunud," ütles pr Chenier, kes osales õdede korraldatud tseremoonial Grand Coteau's eelmise aasta septembris. "See oli väga emotsionaalne."

Pr Chenier loobus harjutamisest aastaid tagasi. Kuid mõned tema sugulased on endiselt vagad. Teadmine, et nende esivanemad olid nunnade omandis, hämmastas neid. Kuid see pole nende usku kõigutanud, ütles ta. See pole ka tema tugevat katoliiklikku identiteeti kõigutanud.

See ei üllata isa Gregory C. Chisholmi, mustanahalist preestrit, kes juhib Harlemi Püha Charles Borromeo, ülestõusmise ja kõigi pühakute kogudust. Ta on pidanud mitmeid katoliku orjapidamise teemalisi vestlusi. Tema sõnul on vestlused sageli valusad, kuid vähesed mustanahalised on vaimulike seas rassismist kuuldes üllatunud.

Vanemad inimesed mäletavad endiselt eraldatud pinkide ja eraldatud kirikute aegu, ütles ta. Teised on rassismiga kokku puutunud oma kihelkondades ja oma religioossetes korraldustes, isegi kui nad hindavad õnnistusi, mida katoliiklus nende ellu toob.

"Kogu see asi paljastab viisid, kuidas religioon on meid mingil moel alt vedanud," ütles isa Chisholm, kelle sõnul julgustavad teda kiriku hiljutised püüdlused oma minevikku tunnustada. "See on raske. See on raske. Aga see on hea. See on meie kiriku uuendamise viis ja see peabki olema. Seda tuleb uuendada. ''

Ameerika Ühendriikide katoliku piiskoppide konverents käsitles novembris pastoraalses kirjas orjapidamist, milles arutati rassismi kirikus ja paluti andestust. 2017. aastal vabandas Kanada ja Ameerika Ühendriikide jesuiitide konverentsi president isa Timothy P. Kesicki 1838. aastal orjastatud inimeste müügi pärast, mis aitas Georgetowni ülikooli vee peal hoida.

Õed ütlevad, et neil on veel tööd teha. Georgetowni visiidil keskendub komisjon ajaloo sügavamale lisamisele kooli õppekavasse. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are creating a permanent exhibit on their campus that will highlight the contributions of African-Americans to their congregation. The Religious of the Sacred Heart are weighing additional steps to promote inclusion and diversity and to eradicate racism within their order and in the schools they sponsor.

Sister Dillard and other members of her committee have already visited some of the schools founded by their order, sharing the history that their sisters have unearthed and urging young people to commit themselves to combating systemic racism.

She wants to make sure that students no longer grow up, as I did, without learning about the enslaved people who helped to build the church. She wants to make sure that we all know their names.


When Women Became Nuns to Get a Good Education - HISTORY

Select the community to which you would like to donate:

Caribbean, Central America, South America

More than 60 sisters serving in eight countries. Administrative center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

More than 60 sisters serving in eight countries. Administrative center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Mid-Atlantic

Nearly 700 sisters serving in twenty states and two countries. Administrative center in Merion, Pennsylvania.

Nearly 700 sisters serving in twenty states and two countries. Administrative center in Merion, Pennsylvania.

New York, Pennsylvania West

More than 250 sisters serving in two states and the Philippines. Administrative center in Buffalo, New York.

More than 250 sisters serving in two states and the Philippines. Administrative center in Buffalo, New York.

Kirde

More than 500 sisters serve in New York (Albany and surrounding areas), Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

More than 500 sisters serve in New York (Albany and surrounding areas), Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

South Central

More than 400 sisters serving in 18 states and Jamaica. Administrative center in Belmont, North Carolina.

More than 400 sisters serving in 18 states and Jamaica. Administrative center in Belmont, North Carolina.

West Midwest

Roughly 500 sisters serving in 16 states and one country. Administrative center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Roughly 500 sisters serving in 16 states and one country. Administrative center in Omaha, Nebraska.


Despite evidence demonstrating how central girls’ education is to development, gender disparities in education persist.

Around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, including 34.3 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age. In countries affected by conflict, girls are more than twice as likely to be out of school than girls living in non-affected countries.

Worldwide, 132 million girls are out of school.

Only 66 per cent of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education. At the secondary level, the gap widens: 45 per cent of countries have achieved gender parity in lower secondary education, and 25 per cent in upper secondary education.

The reasons are many. Barriers to girls’ education – like poverty, child marriage and gender-based violence – vary among countries and communities. Poor families often favour boys when investing in education.

In some places, schools do not meet the safety, hygiene or sanitation needs of girls. In others, teaching practices are not gender-responsive and result in gender gaps in learning and skills development.


When Women Became Nuns to Get a Good Education - HISTORY

As caretakers of children, family and community, it was natural that women were the nurses, the caregivers, as human society evolved. Nursing may be the oldest known profession, as some nurses were paid for their services from the beginning. This was especially true of wet nurses, who nursed a baby when the mother died or could not nurse her child. A woman whose infant did not survive birth, or who was ready to wean her child, or who was capable of nursing more than one baby, would accept employment as a wet nurse, usually going to live in the home of her employer.

The home, in fact, was the center of health care, and for the first two centuries after European exploration of North America, all nursing was home nursing. Even when the nation’s first hospital began in Philadelphia in 1751, it was thought of primarily as an asylum or poorhouse another century or more would pass before the public viewed hospitals as reputable and safe.

The Civil War gave enormous impetus to the building of hospitals and to the development of nursing as a credentialed profession. Initial wartime volunteers, however, often were seen as no different from “camp followers,” the women (sometimes mistresses and sometimes wives) who followed their soldier men. It was an era of sharp class definitions, and especially in the South, “respectable” women could not be seen in a military hospital.

Some women had the courage and common sense to defy decorum, though, especially in the North, where the US Sanitary Commission became the forerunner to the Red Cross. The best known of these women, of course, is Clara Barton—but her genius was in supply distribution and in development of systems for the missing and dead, not in nursing. Barton herself acknowledged that she actually nursed for only about six months of the four-year war and that other women did much more.

Perhaps the best known nurse at the time, was Mary Ann Bickerdyke of Illinois. A middle-aged widow, her accidental career began when she delivered money raised by local charities to the giant, if temporary, hospitals that the Union built at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. After witnessing suffering soldiers who had literally no one to care for them, she went on to be the only woman that General William T. Sherman allowed with his army. At the Tennessee battle of Lookout Mountain, she was the sole nurse for some two thousand men.

In the Confederacy, the most prominent nurses were Captain Sally Tompkins and Phoebe Pember. Tompkins was commissioned as an officer in the Confederate army so that she could have the power to commandeer supplies. She converted her Richmond mansion into Robertson Hospital and established a reputation for extraordinary quality: Tompkins’ hospital had by far the lowest death rate of any facility in the North or South, even though physicians sent their worst cases to her. Her staff of six—four of whom were black women still in slavery—treated more than 1,600 patients and lost only 73, an uncommonly low number in an era before germ theory was understood.

Phoebe Levy Pember c. 1855

Phoebe Levy Pember has become somewhat better known since the Post Office recently included her on a series of Civil War stamps. A young widow from a wealthy, Jewish family based in Charleston and Atlanta, she went north to the Confederate capital of Richmond and eventually ran the world’s largest hospital. On an average day, Pember supervised the treatment of 15,000 patients, most of them cared for by nearly 300 slave women.

The war thus led to greater respect for nurses, something that Congress acknowledged in 1892, when it belatedly passed a bill providing pensions to Civil War nurses. More important, the war served as the beginning of moving the profession from the home to the hospital and clinic. The result was an explosion of nursing schools in the late nineteenth century. Usually these schools were closely associated with a hospital, and nurses—all of whom were assumed to be female—lived and worked at the hospital.

Often called “sisters” (as British nurses still are), their lives were indeed similar to those of nuns. Forbidden to marry, they were cloistered in “nurses’ homes” on hospital grounds, where every aspect of life was strictly disciplined. Student nurses were not paid at all, and because too many hospitals valued this free labor over classroom and laboratory time, many spent their days scrubbing floors, doing laundry, and other menial tasks. Curricula improved, however, in part because of the development of a tradition with caps: each nursing school had a distinctive cap that women wore after graduation, and because her educational background was literally visible every day, schools soon raised standards so that their graduates would affirm their quality.

There were more female physicians (and hospital administrators) during the 19 th century than most people realize today—and some of these female physicians recognized the need for nurses and worked to professionalize the occupation. Dr. Marie Zakrewska founded a medical school for women in Boston that was affiliated with her New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1862, during the Civil War—and a decade later, in 1872, she began an associated nursing school that was the nation’s first.

Linda Richards was its first graduate and thus is known as America’s first professionally trained nurse. Richards went on to establish her own precedent-setting programs as superintendent of nursing at New York’s Bellevue Hospital and at Massachusetts General Hospital she also set up the first nursing school in Japan.

Like most educational institutions at the time, these schools did not admit African Americans, and the informally trained black women who nursed during the Civil War seldom were able to obtain credentials. The first credentialed black nurse was Mary Mahoney, who graduated in 1879 from Dr. Zakrewska’s nursing school in Boston. As segregation remained the rule far into the 20th century, Mahoney led the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, which began in 1908.

During the four decades between the Civil War and the beginning of the twentieth century, the image of nurses moved from being viewed as somewhat less than honorable to a respected profession. The next century would bring still more changes, and nurses of the 19 th century would scarcely recognize the occupation as it is in the 21 st century. They would, however, agree that a world of difference has occurred in the care of patients, and that has been an unmitigated good—achieved primarily by women.


Empress Wu Zetian

The Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) was a time of relative freedom for women. They did not bind their feet nor lead submissive lives. It was a time in which a number of exceptional women contributed in the areas of culture and politics. So it is no surprise that Wu, born into a rich and noble family, was taught to play music, write, and read the Chinese classics. By thirteen years of age she was known for her wit, intelligence, and beauty, and was recruited to the court of Emperor Tai Tsung. She soon became his favorite concubine. But she also had eyes for his son, Kao Tsung.

When the emperor died and Kao Tsung took over, Wu was now twenty seven years old. In time she became a favorite concubine of the new emperor, giving birth to the sons he wanted. As mother of the future emperor of China, she grew in power. She managed to eliminate Kao Tsung's wife, Empress Wang, by accusing her of killing Wu's newborn daughter. Kao Tsung believed Wu, and replaced Empress Wang to marry the up and coming Wu Zetian.

Within five years of their marriage, Emperor Kao Tsung suffered a crippling stroke. The Empress Wu took over the administrative duties of the court, a position equal to the emperor. She created a secret police force to spy on her opposition, and cruelly jailed or killed anyone who stood in her way, including the unfortunate Empress Wang. With the death of Emperor Kao Tsung, Wu managed to outflank her eldest sons and moved her youngest, and much weaker son, into power. She in effect ruled, telling him what to do.

In order to challenge Confucian beliefs against rule by women, Wu began a campaign to elevate the position of women. She had scholars write biographies of famous women, and raised the position of her mother's clan by giving her relatives high political posts. She moved her court away from the seat of traditional male power and tried to establish a new dynasty. She said that the ideal ruler was one who ruled like a mother does over her children.

In 690, Wu's youngest son removed himself from office, and Wu Zetian was declared emperor of China. In spite of her ruthless climb to power, her rule proved to be benign. She found the best people she could to run the government, and treated those she trusted fairly. She reduced the army's size and stopped the influence of aristocratic military men on government by replacing them with scholars. Everyone had to compete for government positions by taking exams, thus setting the practice of government run by scholars. Wu also was fair to peasants, lowering oppressive taxes, raising agricultural production, and strengthening public works.

During her reign, Empress Wu placed Buddhism over Daoism as the favored state religion. She invited the most gifted scholars to China and built Buddhist temples and cave sculptures. Chinese Buddhism achieved its highest development under the reign of Wu Zetian.

As she grew older, Empress Wu lessened the power of her secret police. But she become increasingly superstitious and fearful. Sorcerers and corrupt court favorites flattered her. Finally, in 705, she was pressured to give up the throne in favor of her third son, who was waiting all these years in the wings. Wu Zetian died peacefully at age eighty the same year.

Want information on resources on Empress Wu? Clink here.

For a discussion of women within the family: Ancient China and India. Click here.

The unit Eyes of the Empress: Women in Tang Dynasty will tell you more about Empress Wu Zetian and other women of the period, and daily life in the glorious years of the Tang Dynasty,

Statue of seated Buddha that the Empress Wu Zetian had carved into the 1000 Buddha Caves at Luoyang, China. The face is suppose to resemble the empress.

Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
Click for Author Information


Nun Abuse: How My Mother, a Former Nun, Suffered at the Hands of 'The Good Sisters'

Catholic priests have become synonymous with “abuse” in recent years, but they’ve never been the only people of the cloth guilty of inflicting physical and emotional pain on innocent victims. Seldom talked about are the rarely maligned women of the Church: sisters who intentionally abused fellow nuns behind convent walls. Nun abuse is that other dirty little secret of the Catholic Church—and it’s a secret that affected, and crushed, the spirits of scores of young women. My mother was one of them.

My mother entered the convent in the fall of 1957 at the age of 21, determined to save the world through her faith. She left nearly a decade later, beaten down physically and mentally, emaciated and fragile. On the early morning in which she finally exited, her head was bald in patches, owing to the hatchet-job-style haircuts the convent had subjected her to for years. She had no civilian clothes to wear—having given all of her worldly possessions up upon entering the convent—and so was forced by a pair of presiding nuns to wear ill-fitting clothing that she said smelled and a pair of mismatched shoes. She shook uncontrollably. Worst of all were her eyes. Her large brown eyes, wide and excited when she’d entered the convent, went listless and flat. In the words of my uncle, my mother’s youngest brother, who was horrified at the sight of her the morning she returned to their childhood home, “She looked like a mangy dog. A beat-up, mangy dog.”

“It was those nuns,” my uncle said, growing angry. “They were supposed to protect her, but they did just the opposite.”

Nun abuse remains little talked about in the church. There are a few studies that have been conducted, including one in 1996 that reported that as many as 40 percent of Catholic nuns in the United States (or around 34,000 sisters at that time) claimed to have been sexually abused in some capacity and that “all nuns who claimed repeated sexual exploitation reported that they were pressured by religious superiors for sexual favors.”

But most cases of the variety of nun abuse my mother was subjected to—emotional pain and physical tolls intentionally inflected upon nuns by nuns in positions of power—have gone unreported. In cases like my mother’s, the tales of abuse were passed along in hushed whispers, first in psychiatrists’ offices, then, later, to family members. In many instances, sisters suffered in silence, resigned to their fate, afraid to come forward. Nuns take vows of obedience. Historically, there were few, if any, means of reporting wrongdoing without breaking strict and rather ancient rules of church hierarchy. Consequently, there’s been little to no accountability. Young sisters, in particular, have been particularly vulnerable, as they’ve always been the lowest on the totem pole and expected to be the most obedient.

In my mother’s case, the stories of abuse came out in bits and pieces over the decades, mostly in the wake of two nervous breakdowns. Her hesitation to come forward was twofold. First, she, like so many victims of abuse—within or without the Church—felt as if it was her fault and that no one would believe her. Who, she wondered, would believe that “good sisters” could be so mean? Second, she worried that speaking up meant going against the Church she continued to love and believe in, even after she left the convent.

My mother had gone to live at a convent in Indiana just three months after graduating from college. She’d graduated with honors, and with an impressive resume. As a teenager, she’d met privately with President Harry S. Truman in the White House’s Rose Garden after being recognized for her work in student government. But it was a life of prayer—not politics—that most appealed to her. And so she sought out the “good sisters” of her convent. Her goal was to use her degree to educate and feed the poor.

When men become priests, they get to keep their names, cars, even bank accounts. Not nuns. When my mother entered the convent, she gave up virtually everything. And by everything, I mean everything. When my mother became a sister, she surrendered all of her belongings as part of her vow of poverty. That meant that her poodle skirts and saddle shoes, even the stories and plays she’d written in high school, were destroyed. She also lost her name. She entered the convent as Anne Virginia Diener and was promptly renamed Sister Aurelia Mary. She had no say in its selection it was decided upon by presiding nuns.

Visits home for a young nun were forbidden. Visits from family members were closely supervised. Incoming mail was censored, often seized. Letters from my her old college boyfriend? None of them ever reached my mother. They were intercepted by the presiding Mother Superior, as were packages from doting grandparents deemed “too excessive.”

My mother was at peace with her new name and surrendering her privacy. But soon came more invasive controls. There was the hair. Even though my mother’s brown curls could easily have been covered by the enormous habit she wore (her veil was like something out of The Flying Nun and could have covered any hair length), she was forced to have it cut off by the presiding sisters. The goal of the closely-shorn head, explained my mother’s younger sister, who also became a nun in the 1950s, was “to make everyone forget that we were women.”

Then there was the food, or lack thereof. Sisters were expected to fast for hours, sometime entire days, in a bid to show their faith. Those with low blood sugar, like my mother, passed out during peak fasting times. They were considered “unfaithful.” Instead of being given food to prevent additional fainting spells, they were told to pray harder. My mother did so, but passed out again. Her punishment? Longer periods of enforced fasting.

Even worse than food deprivation, my mother would later recount, was the lack of medical care. Sisters who complained of medical maladies were told to “pray it off.”

“Sisters who said they were sick were treated like they were making things up to get attention,” my mother’s friend Marian, who was also a sister at her convent in the 1950s, told me.

Even when my mother doubled over in physical agony, owing to abdominal cramps, and was scarcely capable of moving, she was ordered to get out of bed. Her pleas for medical care fell on deaf ears. It was a priest affiliated with the religious academy in which she taught who ultimately insisted upon getting her treatment, ordering a pair of nuns to take her to the doctor. The doctor on duty was appalled at her appearance, calling her a “bag of bones” before sending her on to the hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery on her tipped uterus. She was additionally diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder, which explained her extreme fatigue.

My mother was fortunate on a pair of levels. First, someone had intervened on her behalf—someone who held the most power in her convent community: a man of the cloth. His actions enabled my mother to circumvent the system. Sisters were property of the Catholic Church, and it was the presiding group of nuns who determined when, and if, any sister ventured out to receive anything, even medical care, from the outside world. “No sister was allowed to seek medical care on her own,” Marian told me. “Always she had to have at least one escort to any doctor’s appointment. If an appointment was allowed.”

Second, my mother’s treatment came in time. Other sisters in her convent weren’t so lucky, like one of her fellow nuns who complained repeatedly of a bad headache. “She complained for weeks, months,” Marian remembered. “By the time she finally got them to take her to the hospital, it was too late. They took a biopsy from the roof of her mouth and discovered cancer. It was everywhere. A big portion of her brain and a large section of her face had to be removed. It was horrible.”

My mother’s growing friendship with the priest who had helped save her—coupled with her popularity in the classroom with her young students—did not go over well with the nuns in command. She was removed from the classroom, with no opportunity to say goodbye to her young students, then demoted and assigned to the tasks of scrubbing floors and sorting convent correspondence. Pleas to re-enter the classroom resulted in more reprimands, more periods of enforced silence. That’s when the tears started, and didn’t stop.

In an effort to silence my mother and what the convent called her “nervous habits,” the punishments grew, my mother would tell me, “more severe.” It’s hard to gauge what exactly she meant, but family members report there were unexplained bruises. And my father has suspected that sexual abuse was a factor, owing to her later behavior in their marriage, but she never explicitly told him about inappropriate sexual contact. What is clear is that a piece of my mother died behind those convent walls.

My mother ultimately left the convent at the encouragement of the priest who had worked to get her medical care. It was the 1960s, and, he told her, with the coming of Vatican II and the growing women’s movement, there were new opportunities for women like my mother to lead a meaningful life and serve the Church as a layperson.

My mother was among the first in her “class” of nuns to muster the courage to leave. But she was hardly the last. Scores more would follow. Today, the once burgeoning population of nuns at her convent—some 800—has dwindled to a few dozen. Nationally, the population has similarly plummeted. In the 1960s, when my mother last wore her habit, there were 180,000 American nuns. Today, the figure has dropped by more than 75 percent, to just over 40,000, with new convents shuttering every year, owing to a depletion of funds, and interest. A 2008 study found only eight percent of Millennials have “ever” considered becoming a nun.

Many Catholics wring their hands over “the nun shortage,” lamenting the end of an era. I remain Catholic and my husband and I are sending our children to Catholic school, and so I understand, to a degree, the feelings of nostalgia. Good nuns and good convents can and do exist. And when they do, both are special things. But I understand something more. In my family, convents are not synonymous with warm, fuzzy places in which all is good and holy. In my family, a convent is known as the place that killed the spirit of my mother and the spirit of countless other young women.

Mary Pflum Peterson is a multi-Emmy-Award-winning producer for ABC News/ Tere hommikust Ameerika. She chronicles her mother’s time in the convent, and the story of three generations of women in a decidedly complicated Catholic family, in her new memoir, White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughter .

Illustration by Tara Jacoby. Photos courtesy of the author.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

My one aunt is a former nun, who left the convent and became a Jew. I have another aunt who is still a nun, and she absolutely hates it. She is a free spirit, and only joined to escape a bad, abusive home situation, just like her sister did. The other nuns are terrible to her- they force her to eat in silence, they are verbally abusive, they make her feel like shit because she likes to wear the earrings, necklaces and bracelets I make her. She is an intelligent, beautiful, creative woman with so much to offer this world, but because she is nearing seventy, she cannot simply leave the convent. Miks? Because she has not paid into social security, she has no retirement despite working as a professor at the same university for more than for decades and having a PHD, and our family is not a family that comes from money. So she stays, miserable and depressed. She doesn’t even believe in god anymore, is disgusted by the pedophilia scandals and the church’s response to them, and is completely beside herself.

It makes me sad when I think about all of the things my Ciocia Asia would have done had she not joined, or left the convent like my Ciocia Mania. I know she never would have married and had children, but she’s the sort of person that would have joined the Peace Corps, and lived a life of service and activism. She’s pro-choice, she is pro gay rights and considers Cindymoo to be her niece and even bought us an iron with the little money she has when we got our own place. There are some really cool nuns out there, don’t get me wrong. Little Sisters of the Poor is an amazing organization. But a lot of nuns are cruel and awful, something I know from personal experience and from the experience of my Ciocia Asia and Ciocia Mania.


The Meaning of the Terms Nun, Sister, Monk, Priest, and Brother

Is there any difference between a nun and a sister? What about a monk are they priests or brothers? I have always been confused by these terms.

These terms are indeed confusing, because they are often used interchangeably even though they have technical differences. First, let's look at the difference between nuns and sisters. A nun is a woman who belongs to a religious order and takes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Their vows are publicly accepted by superiors in the name of the Church and solemn. In general, solemn vows are professed by members of religious orders after a period of temporary, simple vows. When bound by solemn vows, a woman is a nun but is commonly called "Sister" (although some orders use another formal title, like "Dame" or "Mother") when bound by simple vows, a woman is a sister, not a nun, and thereby called "Sister." Nuns recite the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office in common, and engage in some work to help support themselves.

Another distinguishing mark of nuns is that they live a contemplative, cloistered life in a monastery. "Cloistered" refers to living within the confines of the monastery behind the "papal enclosure." Nuns are permitted to leave the cloister only under special circumstances and with the proper permission. Moreover, visitors are not be permitted to enter into the cloistered area. When visiting these monasteries, like the Poor Clares' Monastery in Alexandria, a person may enter the public area of the chapel, but a wrought-iron screen separates it from the nun's side or "cloistered" side of the chapel. Also when visiting one of the nuns, the visitor is physically separated by a grill or other barrier from the nun who is in the cloister. Besides the Poor Clares, other strictly cloistered nuns are the Carmelites and Benedictines.

In some cases, the cloister restrictions are not as strictly enforced. Some orders of nuns, while technically cloistered, conduct works of charity or education, interacting with the public. For example, the Visitation Sisters are technically cloistered nuns but teach school.

With this understanding of the term "nun," the title "Sister" denotes a woman religious under simple vows, who is a member of a particular religious congregation. (The distinction between a "solemn vow" and a "simple vow" is a determination made by the Church when the religious community is established: members of religious orders make a final profession of solemn vows, and members of religious institutes or religious congregations make a final profession of perpetual simple vows, after a period of temporary simple vows.) These women religious also take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience live in community in a convent and share in a particular apostolate. These religious congregations may serve either a particular diocese under the immediate jurisdiction of the local bishop, or serve throughout the universal Church under the immediate jurisdiction of the Pope. Examples of these communities are the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sisters of the Holy Cross, and Daughters of St. Paul.

Since the 6th century, monks and nuns following the Rule of Saint Benedict have been making the so-called Benedictine vow at their public profession of obedience (placing oneself under the direction of the abbot/abbess or prior/prioress), stability (committing oneself to a particular monastery), and "conversion of manners" (which includes forgoing private ownership and celibate chastity). A monk may be a priest or a deacon, who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or a religious brother, who is not ordained. Monks live in a monastery, the word from which "monk" is derived. Depending upon the circumstances of the particular order, they may have a very strict contemplative, cloistered lifestyle, like the Order of Cistercians of Strict Observance (commonly known as the Trappists), or a less strictly cloistered lifestyle, like the Benedictines.

Just as an aside, these monasteries are referred to as abbeys when they are independent, self-sufficient, and have a certain number of monks or nuns. The head of the abbey is either the abbot or abbess.

Moreover, religious institutes or congregations of men include those of both priests and brothers, like the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and those of only brothers, like the Brothers of the Sacred Heart or Brothers of St. Francis Xavier. These men religious also take the simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, live in community, and share in a particular apostolate, like education, health care, or other charitable work.

While this article has dealt with the fine distinctions of terminology, we must not forget that these individuals have totally dedicated their lives to God taken the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience serve the Church in special way work for the salvation of the world and strive for the perfection of charity in their own lives. They are an outstanding sign of the Church, and a witness to Jesus Christ.

Saunders, Rev. William. "The Meaning of the Terms Nun, Sister, Monk, Priest, and Brother." Arlington Catholic Herald.

This article is reprinted with permission from Arlington Catholic Herald.


Vaata videot: Segadusseajav liiklusülesanne: Jõhvi turboring