Listen. I was expecting to not like it.
Honestly... I didn't want to like it.
And, well, the short of it is...
It's always so worrisome when a big time network, in this case Lifetime, talks about our faith. My first inclination is to be on the defensive. Ready to counteract the things they get wrong. I am very critical. I am ready to be annoyed (and then not surprised) that they get it wrong!
Ha. I wonder what that says about me? No need to answer. :)
Anyway... discernment. Religious life. Convents.
These are things that the general population have no idea about. It's a foreign world. Only the very holy, "perfect" women.... or the ladies that aren't pretty enough/have to settle with never getting married, are the ones who become nuns. You have to give up your whole life to what? Sit around an old convent all day? You can never have sex! You have to live with all women! So many misconceptions and presumptions about the religious life. But there is so much beauty and awesomeness, too... and I believe the show captured that very, very well.
I did find some parts of the show cheesy and the drama was kicked up (hello, ratings!) way more than it needed to be. It's a TV show first, so they have to keep people interested, I get it. But, I am worried that it can leave a bad taste in people's mouth about the entire discernment process. I am sure it really wasn't as bad as they made it seem. Gotta love editing! I, also found it annoying that the tag for the show is something like, "...and after six weeks, the ladies will decide: do they walk away, or do they choose to enter the convent?" DUN DUN DUN! In the dramatic voice.
Because, obviously, 6 weeks is the magical number that one would know if they are ready to "enter the convent." Someone who has no idea about the religious life may think that one HAS to decide in that amount of time. It's just not the case. It's a process. Some women may know after 6 weeks of fervent prayer and deep reflection, while others may take years. And just because some of the ladies (spoiler alert!!) do take the first step to becoming a postulant, they are not taking any sort of vow. They are continuing the discernment process, to see if this life is really for them.
Most of you know that already. I digress. :)
This is what I loved about the show, though:
THE SISTERS!!! :) :)
I mean... who wouldn't?! Each community was awesome in it's own way. The sisters that were interviewed gave such a positive and genuine view of religious life. They were honest, real, tough, funny, genuine and joyful. Their love for the Lord- so palpable. They were the real stars of the show! I appreciated that we got to see three very different communities. Three very different ministries. So active. Living in the world, doing their thang! The religious communities around the world do SO much for their communities at large. It was nice that people had a glimpse into what they do. They don't just sit inside all day (even though there are communities whose sole ministry IS to pray for people. That takes some serious dedication.). The sisters use their gifts and talents to serve the world, just like we are all called to do.
They are real people. They have pasts. They have flaws. They are not perfect. They are women, just like you and me, who heard the call to dedicate their lives to the Lord in a bit more of a radical way. And they are awesome for doing it!
I also really appreciated that we were able to follow 5 very different ladies during this process. It reminds us that God can call us and speak to us wherever we are in life. No matter who we are, where we're from, what we've done (or didn't do!)... we are all worth God's love. We are capable of hearing God's call. If we know a lot about the faith, or hardly anything; we worship traditionally, or charismatically with our arms stretched; have dated before, or never dated; been in love, or never been in love; never say stupid things (ha!), or are kind of rude- none of those things really matter in the bigger picture. God loves you. And He will speak to you through those things.
Part of the discernment process is to learn more about God's love and to realize HOW important you are to Him. It's a process of discovery. To realize that you are a beautiful daughter of the King and you have a special place in this world to serve God, as a wife, mom, religious sister, consecrated single, missionary, etc. We owe it to God, and ourselves, to take the time to figure that out.
I feel very blessed to have watched The Sisterhood. As the Year of Consecrated Life begins, it was the perfect way to remind me, and the world, of the beauty of religious life. To see another way to live. To build up the Kingdom of God. I pray so much for Christi, Clare, Stacey, Francesca and Eseni. Thank you for letting us follow along. Thank you for your joy, love for the Lord, tears, and honesty (even though some things were edited and maybe even staged!!). So many prayers for you, ladies, AND to all those discerning right now. May God's will be done in your life.
Catch up on The Sisterhood here. :)
Check out Imagine Sisters / Facebook for more info on the religious life.
Some more articles/blogs I found interesting about The Sisterhood: here, here, here.