Dear Friends of Carmel Mission,
When I was first ordained priest, one of my assignments was Chaplain to a Convent of nuns.. I said mass for them at the ungodly hour of 6:30am. (Those who attend our 7:00am mass will note how much I’ve changed – not!)
I also attended the community meetings of the Sisters each week. At those meetings the Sisters were given time to raise concerns and ask questions. Sr. Alice always had at least one question and was not shy about making her views known on issues raised by other Sisters. Her outspokenness astonished me, especially since she had not made her final profession.
I soon learnt that she was frequently called to account by the Reverend Mother for her reluctance to remain silent. The Reverend Mother had appointed a succession of Sisters to be her Mentor or Guide. I say a succession because no one Sister was successful in that role, and each in turn pleaded with Reverend Mother to be released from what they viewed as Purgatory. Alice was way too much for them.
It was at those community meetings that I heard both her current Mentor and some of her ex-mentors whisper, quite audibly, the words: SAY NOTHING, ALICE!
Alas, their audible whispers were in vain. Alice felt the need to express herself, and did so, unashamed and unabashed. I admired both her courage and her innocence. There was not a malicious thought in her head, nor a shred of bitterness in her heart.
Sometimes I summon up her courage to speak the truth, regardless of how people might react. More often, I remain silent as I listen to a chorus of Sisters singing in my inner ear:
SAY NOTHING, ALICE!
Whatever happened to Alice? you may ask.
Well, she never made her final profession and is married (happily, I pray) with three daughters. The Sisters remember her as a strong minded woman who had a problem with silence.
I remember her as a great teacher and preacher.
During this Lenten Season may God give us the wisdom to know when to speak and when to SAY NOTHING, ALICE!
Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.