Prior to last year, when anyone asked me if I would ever consider entering the convent, I would have scoffed and gave them an overly sarcastic answer, something to the effect of, yup, and the year after, Im going to be canonized a saint. But, if asked the very same question today, I would reply with an earnest: Its definitely something Im considering.
What could possibly make a fun loving, boy-crazy, career-driven diva aspire to take a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience? Well, lots of things.<br>
This summer my days were spent in two places: the beige, fluorescent-lit cubicle of a prominent investing firm and the infirmary of a convent. Though the word firm is about all these places shared in common, together they made me realize what really matters most.
All my life I had always wanted to be an investment banker. I loved the adrenaline rush of the daily highs and lows of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and to the best of my knowledge, I was the only 5th grader at St. Pius who knew Alan Greenspan was or what the heck he did. So as you can imagine, when I found out I had been chosen as a summer intern at Merrill Lynch, I was bouncing off the walls. I was getting paid to do something which I loved-what could be better? But after about three days of laboring over mundane statistics it hit me, maybe the business world I had always idealized just wasnt for me. By the time 5 oclock rolled around everyday, I could not wait to get out of there and go visit the nuns. It wasnt that I was lazy and preferred to go sit and chat instead of work, but at Merrill I learned about making money… and that was it, everyone was so caught up in money that they were oblivious to the outside world.
When I entered the 4th floor of the convent, I was immersed in a totally different atmosphere. The nuns, who range in age from 80 to 102 had a comforting demeanor that I had never experienced before. I remember asking myself early on how can these nuns be so content, lying in their beds dying without a penny to their name? Well, after hearing their stories, my question was quickly answered. They were content because instead of having to worry about making money, they were able to go out and focus on issues that really concerned them. As I would help Sister Sebastian exercise-a stroke victim and my favorite sister- she would tell me of her trips to Rome, studying Latin, one of our many shared interests. On other days, she would tell me of her experiences down in Harlan Kentucky spearheading a school for impoverished children in the Appalachian Mountains. This all sounded so appealing and rewarding-helping others while enjoying yourself? It definitely undermined my cut and dry definition of success, which was composed of getting married and making lots of money. So the question I pose to myself is this: wouldnt I rather be oblivious to money because Im too caught up in the world around me, rather than the other way around?