THE COURAGE TO CHOOSE: An American Nun's Story by Mary Griffin

THE COURAGE TO CHOOSE: An American Nun's Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The post-Vatican II nun is be-coming. Once a comfortable otherworldly sign of unalterable faith, she functions today as a prickly, frequently unwelcome reminder of what society would like to forget--the disjointed post-Christian character of our times and the responsibilities we all share for this."" Mary Griffin signed her indult for secularization in 1974, after having been a nun in the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 31 years. This is her review--with humor, little rancor and both sadness and spirit--of the military-familial authoritarian code of the old convent life and the startling, exciting process of change generated by Vatican II in which she and other members of BVM participated. The new terminology symbolized the basic innovations: ""common life"" became ""community""; ""superiors"" became ""community representatives""; ""blind obedience"" was modified to ""collegiality."" Matters like the modernization of dress, living in small groups rather than in convents, choosing one's own job, indicated a thrust toward involvement with the world rather than withdrawal from it. The author offers a variety of evolving interpretations of the vows of chastity and obedience, a spot check of some feminist consciousness-raising and action among the religious, and a prospective for the future. The Church will, she believes, eventually become more committed to the practices as well as teachings of contemporary morality. And the drive for this transformation will come in part from ""deeply charismatic, radically Christian communities, canonical or not."" Although Griffin does not really come to grips with the situation and needs of the contemplative, this is a deeply felt, forthright--at times militant--position paper on the emerging radicalism of Catholic religious commitment.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1975
Publisher: Little, Brown