"You know how to surf?!" I nodded yes. "Holy Jealousy!" My friend Kate, now Sister Fiat Marie, exclaimed. She went on to tell me how surfing is one of the first things she wants to do once she's in heaven. I think even before she meets Peter, Paul, and Mary.
I ran into Sister Kate while I was out for a run in Michigan a few weeks ago. Her family has a place on the west shore of our lake, but Kate has been in New York City, living as a nun for nearly a decade. She "enlisted" at age 26, and has been wearing her nun garb ever since - even when she plays tennis and basketball. She explained to me she simply pins up her outfit so she can get around better while she is out on the courts. (I didn't ask if nuns get a choice in their bra wear - like, if she's allowed to wear a sports bra. You'd hope the Pope would at least grant the nuns some leeway in their undergarments and perhaps even allow them to own a piece or two from Victoria Secret.)
For a number of years Kate's order (i.e. nun group), was located in Harlem. There, they were known for being the nuns on roller blades who would block off their street and play field hockey. Their order is also known for taking in young women who are in a crisis pregnancy situations and simply loving on them through the pregnancy and for the first few months after they give birth.
Now, I'm not pregnant, but still, Kate invited me to visit her convent upon my return to New York. So this past Sunday my friend Ariel and I visited Kate's convent home on 51st Street. I explained to my friends at church that night, "You know, I'm just exploring various career possibilities."
To be perfectly honest, I'm shocked Kate became a nun - not because she isn't a good Catholic, but rather because in high school, Kate liked to laugh a lot and play pranks on people. She's far from a serious person, so I'm kind of surprised they let her in. In seeing her, I asked, "So do you all play pranks on each other at the convent." A sheepish look came over her face, and she started in, "Well, actually..." She filled me in on this statue of Mary at their convent that isn't the most pleasant looking. The nuns nicknamed the statue Scary Mary and one of their favorite pranks is to sneak Scary Mary into random places throughout the convent. You know, someone goes to take a shower, or opens a closet, and there's Scary Mary, out of nowhere.
Ariel and I intend to return to the convent when I return to the city this fall, so here is first blog entry of my ongoing nun series.