Working among nuns and radicals

On a post about five or so months ago, where I told of my relocation up North, I ended by saying I got a job at a hospital near our house.

Maybe you wondered why I never mentioned this job again? Or maybe you never thought about it, which is completely understandable because why would you?

The reason I never talked about the job was because 10 days into said job, I quit.

Have you ever started working at a place and as you stood there watching the other employees do their thing, know deep in your heart it’s not your thing and never would be your thing and what in God’s name ever made you think it could be your thing?

Also, what I was told would be my schedule turned out to be more theory than practice. It might one day be my schedule, but for now it was anything goes. So I went.

What followed was a time of self-reflection, doubt, and existential malaise. Or, what is commonly known as, a job search.

grumpy-cat-300x200I forget how many interviews I had. Or how many times Indeed-dot-com notified me with: “______ looked at your resume!” Without bothering to note that “_____” was in California or Florida or Guam.

I tried to stay positive.

Hey, with all this free time, I can write blog posts galore! Resuscitate its Facebook page, update the blog theme, tidy up the sidebar!

Gosh, maybe I’ll even dig out that novel I’ve been working on for… oh gee, I don’t know… 15 years? Hey, now I can be a full-time writer!

Oh, if only I had a smoking jacket! Or smoked!

But lo, this writer’s dream was not to be. I found that with no pressure on my time, I make sad use of it. I needed to get out of the house. I needed a sense of purpose. I needed—gasp!—I needed to be around people. (For an introvert, this is a startling revelation.)

Then Husband found a help wanted ad in the paper:

Administrative Assistant with desktop publishing and database skills; ability to write and format newsletters; creativity and good writing skills a must; knowledge of video editing software a plus. Please send letter of introduction with resume.

There was one peculiar addition:

Must be knowledgeable of Franciscan spirituality or willing to learn.

Forgot to mention, the job was at a convent.

So, yeah. I’m working at a convent now. Have been for a little over a month. It’s a fascinating place.

I don’t mean to put down men—honestly, I love you guys—but there’s something about women who choose to live without them. It’s like they come into their own.

Also, this Franciscan thing.

The couple I work for–they’re a lay couple who oversee two of the convent’s ministries–they give me books to read so I can understand their work better. They reserve a quiet room for me, I can get free popcorn at the convent’s top-notch cafeteria. We meet afterwards to discuss what I read.

It’s like I’m getting paid to attend a book club.

Things I’ve learned: St. Francis was a radical. And here I thought he was just a guy who liked birds.

St FrancisThese nuns can be pretty radical too. Never before have I worked with a group of people who are so focused outwardly. Even things like tossing a piece of paper in the garbage—Wait! That can be recycled!—Wait! Did we write on both sides first?

The woman I work for, let’s call her Mrs. Boss, said if anything were to happen in town—if some injustice was occurring—these sisters would be the first ones marching out the door, carrying signs in protest.

And I can see it happening, too. Though it would be a slow procession, given their ages and several using walkers.

walkersSuch is my life now. Living in a blue state, working among Franciscan nuns.

And here I thought the biggest change for me would be the weather. 😉

Featured photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash


40 thoughts on “Working among nuns and radicals

  1. What a delight that must be, how wonderful! There’s a Franciscan monastery not far from me, but it’s for men (friars). It’s such a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. I also love freshly made popcorn.

    1. It’s funny, I’ve lived in Catholic communities before but never paid attention to the different orders. Their history is fascinating. And yes, without a doubt it’s the most peaceful place I’ve ever worked at. Especially as my last job was at a public high school! 🙂

    1. They have a great IT department, and those are words I have NEVER said. They actually seem to know what they’re doing and respond to problems quickly. It’s amaaaazing! Sadly, they don’t have any openings, but I’ll keep my eyes open. I mean, one of those women looks a little old, so… 😉

  2. I am so happy for you. It sounds like this job brings you joy! Miss you lots and let me know if you want to visit. We are practically neighbors now!! Haha, well, compared to Arizona. Stay warm.

    1. Hi Sue! Fancy meeting you here!
      We’re hoping to travel over in your neighborhood next summer, right now it’s still in the hoping stages. We’ll definitely drop you a line when/if it gets more concrete. 🙂

  3. I did wonder what happened with the job at the hospital. Sounds like you found a perfect fit! I’ve been in your shoes, quite recently, and I know how it feels to find the perfect job at the right time. Yay for you! And for those radical nuns too!

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. I feel pretty blessed, especially when I found out how seldom jobs open up at this place. Once people get in, they don’t want to leave!
      Maybe it’s the free popcorn? 😉

  4. To be honest, when you disappeared from the writing scene for sometime, I wondered where you had gone- I did think it was pastoral duties that kept you busy but how exciting to know what you have been doing. It is like God’s call for you. I mean, what a miracle- to be able to work in a serene, religious atmosphere and learn that there is a place near utopia on earth( I mean that in a good way).
    I am glad you gave up the job that was not a good fit. I am at a job where I am not a good fit except for the money, which I like.
    I have worked with nuns before- nuns who were nurses and doctors. I enjoyed their discipline and their habits. Your nuns don’t seem to be wearing uniforms- mine did. But they were quite modern otherwise. I am glad your nuns take a stand where a stand must be taken.

    1. Thanks, Susie!
      It’s true the majority of these nuns don’t wear habits. A few do, mostly the very oldest and even then, only the head covering.
      It’s funny you should use the phrase “God’s call.” Almost everything I’m doing at this job, I’m able to do because of some previous time or experience when I encountered it — but all seemingly unrelated and inconsequential. (Mysterious ways, indeed!) 😉

  5. In the stories about your new home I admit totally forgetting about the first job. This one sounds marvelous, Christi. You can help brush up my knowledge of the Franciscans. It’s been a while. Let’s see, that was around the time FirstBorn came to be. He will not be forty-something much longer. Maybe I’ll Google it… Thanks for another good, well-written story, Christi.

    1. Oh, so it’s not just me who went semi-brain-dead upon the birth of Child One? I swear, I can’t name a single movie, song, TV show or book that came out for those first five years, right about the time they started school! 😀

  6. I love this! It is especially timely for me. The other day I was in a discussion with our pastor (Methodist) about killing. He told me my thinking was very Franciscan. So,
    if you garner any insight about Franciscans and killing, I ‘d appreciate the intel.

    I thoroughly enjoyed ‘the twinkle in your eye’ that was apparent throughout this. It tells me that you never let life get your down. I like that too!!

    1. Hmm… well, if I was to take a guess, it probably has to do with how St. Francis viewed creation. If everything was created by God, then all are children of God, Which is why he referred to animals as Brother Wolf and Sister Raven, and also in nature, Sister Water and Brother Wind. So going with that thought, if all creation is one family, we are interdependent, and harming one harms us all.
      At least, that’s my beginner take on the situation. 🙂

  7. How is it that you innocently head off in one direction, end up in another, meet the most fascinating people and consistently find a happy place? It’s a gift, truly. Still, very pleased that you are pleased…

    1. Do I? Hmm. That’s an interesting observation. And one I’m going to have to give more thought to. In the meantime, I have to say that I’m pleased that you are pleased that I am pleased. 😉

  8. I, too, had forgotten about that job you were going to. This one sounds delightful! I know what you mean about the ones that just never fit. I used to not be able to work at home – I am easily distracted, but also an introvert. Now that I’ve relaxed into my new writing “career,” that problem seems to have gone away. Enjoy the popcorn!

  9. I worked at a Jesuit church once. It was odd how the priests had quite high security. No one without an appointment could come in to see them. Enjoyed reading this. Merry Christmas!

    1. I’ve lived among and befriended many Catholics, but I’ve only recently started learning about the different orders. Fascinating stuff.
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you’re enjoying a beautiful Christmas yourself!

  10. My aunt is a nun! She’s part of the Sisters of Providence in Indiana. Last time I visited her at her “convent” I had green hair and I never got so many compliments about my hair in my life! I was pleasantly surprised but I shouldn’t have been. My aunt is a pretty tough and sweet lady. You can’t underestimate those nuns they are ride or die rebels for the right cause. 😉

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