Sisters of the Poor

of Saint Catherine of Siena

Reality sometimes, reserves us many surprises

An abundance or wasted life?

On 2 February, when the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is celebrated, various sisters and confreres gathered together to celebrate the day dedicated to consecrated life.
Participating in the celebration, during lunch and Holy Mass, I realized that religious life is not as generally everyone believes it to be.

Many are convinced that choosing the way of the Lord means living a life of hardship and deprivation, but in reality it is not at all so. Choosing a kind of religious life, following the path to become a nun or a friar, means only adopting a simple lifestyle, without all those frills and excesses that sometimes frame our life but that in reality are not indispensable. Religious women live in simplicity of life, focusing on what is really important. Their being is turned towards God for spiritual growth, through prayer followed by good deeds, in this way they feel fulfilled.

Like any other in life, the monastic choice is a vocation, just as it is with lawyers, doctors or teachers. Those who choose to become a nun or a friar are convinced to be fulfilled in life just as those who have taken a different path, because they have responded to the Lord’s call.

Another very nice thing I noticed during lunch was the sense of community that every congregation is called to live. The sisters during lunch, despite the fact that they are all coming from different parts of the world, despite the language and cultural barrier that many times limit us human beings, talked and joked with each other and sometimes even tried to learn foreign names and were therefore able to share their differences. That lunch reminded me a lot of the evenings I spent with the girls of the Residenza Savina Petrilli in Siena, during dinner. 

In the end, there is nothing different between us and them: as we girls gather to eat something together and talk friendly, smiling and making jokes sometimes, even the sisters have the same attitude just like us and very often people do not see this because they are limited by stereotypes that are now well rooted within our society, but that we should tear down.

Another fascinating thing is that precisely these walls that could be created within the congregations for cultural causes, eventually collapse, because there is only one thing, but fundamental that unites them: faith. Faith is not just something that religious people have to believe in a higher entity. It is that thing that serves to create that sense of community, bond and affection that unites all these people regardless of the differences of each one. After all, the difference can never be bad: it helps us to grow, to improve ourselves, even conflicting ideas can form us. Sometimes a person needs in a particular way another person next to him different, the important thing is the affinity that is created between the two.

The life of the sisters is not a life of fulfillment just because they followed a vocation in my opinion. It is a satisfying life because the task of religious people is also to help others, to look after children or to care for the elderly. It is a road that leads you to be close to others and a kind-hearted person can only feel a happiness in the soul in doing so. She feels her heart light up with joy and this also encourages her to want to help more because she knows that as she does something good for someone she will do it with a smile.

So, in conclusion, I can say that today I have observed a kind of joyful and fun life, dedicated to the most virtuous activities that exist. Many times from the common idea comes a collective vision of those who want to undertake this life, framed in fixed schemes, an almost “obtuse” vision, without considering that what we feel and what we see with our eyes, often does not coincide. Reality sometimes holds many surprises in store for us.

Flavia Fulgione
Flavia Fulgione

Born in Eboli, province of Salerno, Italy on October 24, 2002. University student of Modern Literature