Wednesday, 10 June 2015 17:00

Digital World: Where Nuns can still be God’s Heart, Hands and Feet

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Sr silvana dellanegra

As a teenager, my family belonged to a parish run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. We admired many of the seminarians, religious priests and nuns who worked in our parish. After all, their charisma and goal is to bring young people closer to Christ. We attended youth retreats, recollections and summer youth sports events, facilitated kids' groups such as (St Dominic) Savio Friends Club, joined the Parish Youth Choir, planned the liturgy for Children's Mass, prepared catechism classes, and animated the altar boys.

With this kind of exposure in parish life and a healthy admiration for the religious men and women working in our parish at that time, it is no surprise that a number of the youth in our parish wanted to either join a seminary or a religious congregation of nuns. My friends and I went to "search-ins" with different religious congregations until I was twenty-five. Although I did not end up as a religious nun, a few of my friends are still meaningfully living the life of religious women. Just a few years ago, I got in contact with a few of them through Facebook!


Recently, while going through my emails, I read an article in The Guardian by Rachel Obordo about Sr Silvana Dallanegra, RSCJ on her life before and after she became a nun. She said, "in my mid-twenties, I was an independent, politically active, professional young woman. I was working for NALGO (which later became Unison), had my own flat, a boyfriend, career, social life... "

Now, as a nun, she works as a Warden of a hostel for postgraduates in Oxford, UK. She says, "my door's open most of the time so that students can say hello or if they need someone to talk to they can. I have a mantra which is that 'God will provide' which the students like and believe it helps for solutions."


"I'm also responsible for the province's website and social media presence, so I 'waste' a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter! I think it's vitally important to be in these places especially if you're working with young people."
Sr Silvana tells young women interested in the religious life to 'Go for it girl!'

Booth Sr Rosie with Visitor 640 x 427 MedReligious nuns now do a variety of work just being present in different places and institutions they are assigned in. At the Catholic Spirtuality Booth in the MindBodySpirit Festival in Sydney, a young nun, Sr Rosie Drum from the Missionaries of God's Love, was present to listen to questions or sharings of the visitors to the booth.  And at the Mission Conference I attended also in Sydney a few weeks ago, many nuns were either sharing about their missionary journey in small groups or dancing and singing with the musicians at the hall during lunch breaks. Many of them were over sixty but still actively working - their work was as varied as you can imagine. From the missions in Papua New Guinea to the schools and parishes in the Northern Territory to the Headquarters of their Congregations in Rome, they are all working tirelessly in the Lord's vineyard for the glory of God.
Young women of today join religious congregations where they can use social media, do blogging, manage websites, talk on radio and podcasts, write books, go on mission in a remote country town or a university hostel, pray for world peace or just be a listening ear in hospitals and aged care facilities.


So, although many nuns have left teaching in schools, the fact still remains that there is no limit as to what a religious nun can do as God's heart, hands and feet in this modern and digital world in which we live!