I remember well my first Lent in a religious community in the 1980s. Most of us seminarians, like many people out in the world, gave up sweets for 40 days. The one time that this penance really came into play was during the afternoon coffee break. The nearby Au Bon Pain restaurant donated day-old pastries to the seminary, and these were typically brought out to give us a little sugar boost to get us through metaphysics and epistemology.
So, while the rest of us were wistfully looking at the full tray of Au Bon Pain goodies, one delightfully chubby seminarian walked up and started munching on a big chocolate croissant. In between bites (barely) he told me, “This year I decided to do positive penance, so I’m just going to be charitable.”
The seminarian was joking, but this did illustrate how our image of ”Lenten penance” can become skewed. With Ash Wednesday just around the corner, I thought I would point out four approaches to Lent that seem a little disordered. Continue reading Give It Up!
Yesterday we received a letter from our delightful daughter, Sr. Mary Kate. This one was special as it’s the last letter we will receive from her until after Easter.
One area of discernment and discussion among the postulants is the new religious name they will receive upon entering the novitiate this summer. The postulants have considerable input on this, though the final decision comes from the mother superior.
Anyway, Sr. Mary Kate said that she and some other postulants had fun one afternoon coming up with a list of names never to take–a process of elimination, of sorts. So, for your amusement, here are some of the names they came up with:
- Sr. Rosary Bede (after Venerable Bede, of course)
- Sr. Polycarp Esther (or Sr. Polyesther, for short)
- Sr. Chrysostom Chrysologus
- Sr. Esther Sylvester
- Sr. Dies Domini (although every Sunday would be her feast day!)
- Sr. Michael Jordan
- Sr. Immolata Victima Sanguine (one of the professed suggested this, with a straight face, to a peppy, personable postulant)
Can you come up with any other religious names to avoid?