Friday, July 19, 2019

9. Actions not words

"Actions not words" is the slogan of the order of nuns that taught me in high school. I hated the school. HATED IT. We'd moved from the city of Philadelphia to the suburbs. I missed the controllable, small-town feel of our neighborhood. I didn't fit in with girls (it was an all-girls convent school) who played field hockey and knew each other. (Reader, I got over it . . . sort of).

I did, however, love "Actions not words," which is something I have yet to master. I also admired the nuns who taught in the school. Despite their medieval habits which flapped in the air when they walked swiftly (apparently, they were taught to lope, to avoid looking too womanly or sensual), the nuns were intelligent, well-educated, and accomplished. I was terrified of possibly having a vocation to the convent, but impressed that these nun-women followed and forged their own paths.

Today, when going through email, I clicked on a video from the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, showing jubilee celebrations. The nuns now wear contemporary street clothes and look pretty much like any woman one 60 or 70 or 80. The video ended with a thank you to the sisters for their "Actions not words" and a prompt to donate.

Well, of course I had to act. I conquered my fear of being roped into more donations and fear of being that passive good Catholic girl of yore and donated a small amount to be used for the sisters's retirement. My donation was in honor of Stephanie Walsh Beilman, one of the few very cool girls (she was very "fast" in high school) who didn't make me feel uncool and unwanted and who, unfortunately, was felled by a virulent cancer almost two years ago.

So, here's to really living "Actions not words." Maybe that oppressive convent school wasn't so horrid after all.

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