Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Better Bread Needed


Nun still hungry for experiences

'I want the church to be relevant,' the skydiving, bungee jumping and 88-year-old former NASA employee says

Why doesn’t sister think that the Church is relevant? Let’s look at her career:

Lolich is a nun with the Community of the Holy Spirit, a Catholic order she and 15 other sisters created when they left the more restrictive Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in 1970.

It was within this new community that she was able to do something unusual for a nun — work outside of the order. For years she was employed by NASA and broke the stereotype of what people typically associate with nuns. In her 70s, she bungee-jumped, and skydived on her 80th birthday — her third time.

Okay, so she helped form a looser religious life, and worked in the world for a scientific organization. So she’s really not so different from us lay-folk, right? What drove her quest for a different religious order?

"The rules were anachronistic," said Lolich, of the order that had very strict rules requiring them to wear wool habits, travel in pairs and not have any money with them.

In 1970, after Vatican II — when the Pope decreed to renew the church, and to lessen the restrictions set on nuns — Lolich and 15 others decided to form the Community of the Holy Spirit, knowing the Dominican Sisters would resist change.

Ahh, yes, the Spirit of Vatican II™, vent of all discontent and dissatisfaction with all things Catholic. Not that the Second Vatican Council was at all bad, but it gave many folks enough rope, like poor Sister here, and now they’re spiritually dangling in the wind.

"We were searching for a way to be authentically religious women, but have the opportunities to develop and grow according to our God-given talents," she said. "That was an innovative thing to do at the time — creating the community from the ground up, and making sure we were well founded."

Faith is not built from the ground up, but centers on Christ, and builds outward. The order may have been well founded, but well formed would have been better. The article leads on to believe that this nun's order was more about personal fulfillment with the veneer of religious life.

And it was within that community where Lolich was able to find her niche in aerospace education.

In 1976, she became an education specialist for NASA at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Mountain View. For six years, Lolich traveled alone in a white work van filled with moon rocks, space suits and models of spacecraft, visiting school assemblies and classroom programs.
After that, she visited inner city schools for NASA's headquarters in Washington, D.C., for another six years.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Sister that instead of evangelizing for NASA, she could have rode around in a van proclaiming Christ to children and adults, or even teaching in a nearby catholic school.

Here’s the whole hook of the story, now that they’ve painted a saintly, albeit secular as possible, portrait of our nun:

She also wants to see change in the Catholic Church.
"I want the church to be relevant," said Lolich who still has close ties with the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. "I want priests to be allowed to marry if they wish, I want women priests, and bishops selected by the people. I may not see those happen, but I think it will be possible that you will.

Going back to the headline, let’s see if there’s an answer for Sister’s hunger:

John 6:32-36
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
"But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.”

h/t CWNews


Dad29 said...

She sure missed a lot of opportunities in using all that time for NASA...

David L Alexander said...

It seems to me that the good Sister has become a stereotype herself, purporting to have broken out of a mold that is scarcely there anymore. In the end, there isn't much point. She could have just remained a spinster career woman with sensible shoes for all the difference she has made.