SEEING MY NUN

Every so often I tootle off to see ‘my’ nun. Finding somebody who can act in the capacity of a ‘spiritual director’ can be a bit hit and miss. None of them like that title, it would seem: they don’t do any directing, they say. I prefer to call them ‘spiritual interpreters’ because I find it a great help if I’m stuck about something and I chat it over with my SD/SI, who helps me ‘interpret’ what God may be doing and saying.

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Sister Phoebe in her blue habit is tiny and elderly, with eyes that twinkle behind her glasses. She was born and brought up in what used to be Rhodesia, worked in Botswana for many years, speaks the language and also does a very accomplished South African accent. She’s intelligent, humorous, gifted, honest and down-to-earth. She does not rush to judgement, or even to comfort. She lets the silence happen, which gives God the chance to untangle the knots I’m in. When I’m ready, we talk about what’s happening. She doesn’t dish out advice. Occasionally she tells a story which illuminates what’s going on. She supports without being smothering or intense.

I come home more settled in my mind, and much more at peace.

I shall miss her when I go.

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20 thoughts on “SEEING MY NUN

  1. I well remember the summer of 1984. What a time. We were in the throes of the Miners’ Strike. I had spent all my working life in coal mines, and had risen to the post of Colliery Safety Engineer. Despite some sympathy for the miners’ cause ( I came from a line of miners) our job as management was to keep the pits safe so that they would be available for the men to return. My father, who had been forced to leave the mines in the 40’s through health problems, and had worked as long in the steel works still considered himself a ‘collier’. He couldn’t understand that I had to work because of my position, and it was a bone of contention between us. During the July of 84 he was admitted to hospital with stomach cancer, which also went into his bowel. He was not a church-going christian, but always insisted that his children went to church, and he went to all the ‘special’ services.Despite his pain and suffering, and despite some wonderful nursing care, the only thing that seemed to be ‘a little special’ for him was a regular visit by a Nun who went round the wards. He never stopped talkuing about her and how she had brought him comfort. He died shortly after, with his family around him, and whilst I was able to thankthe nursing staff in person, I never met the Nun who had brought dad so much comfort in his last hours.

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    1. That’s a wonderful story. I’m so glad that she was someone who brought him comfort. Going down the mines is very bad for the health! We lived and worked in mining parishes for 10 years (Daw Mill, still open) and my husband, as vicar, also went down the mines one day and frequently visited the Miners’ Welfare Club. We knew so many people who had been injured, some permanently.

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    1. She’s getting to be a friend, Peter – but it’s a bit one-sided as she is there to listen to me and help me understand … a friendship needs to be more two-sided, I think!

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      1. No, I don’t think it’s the same. I’m thinking of the Community of the Sisters of the Church who shared the St Katherine’s centre with CR for a while.

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      2. Ah! No….These sisters were of the Community of the Resurrection of Our Lord – founded in S.Africa…Mother House in Grahamstown….;)

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