The Deacon's Bench

I missed Oprah and her Dominicans sisters — I was otherwise engaged at that hour — but The Anchoress was impressed:

Really good show. Winfrey teased but was never disrespectful, and the whole discussion -from leaving parents, to leaving relationships, to giving up what is thought of as “normal,” was a healthy back-and-forth. Winfrey was so much better than I had anticipated, that I must admit to having been more cynical about this show than was probably healthy!

Meantime, Oprah’s website has a full report — plus video excerpts! — and a few details:

20100204-tows-nunnery-9-300x205.jpgThe vow that most nonclergy are curious about is the vow of chastity. Instead of giving their sexuality to another person, nuns instead give it to Jesus. “He’s a hard husband to be married to because if something goes wrong in the relationship, I know it’s me,” Sister Mary Judith jokes.

“A lot of times people will think that we’re repressed because we don’t have sex or we’re not indulging in the same kind of things that most people our age are indulging in,” Sister Mary Judith says. “I feel like I’ve reclaimed my sexuality from an oversaturated, sexualized world and that I don’t want to be an object. I view my sexuality as a precious thing.”

Sister Mary Judith says sexual urgings don’t go away once a woman becomes a nun–sisters just have a different way of approaching them. “I think that there’s a common concept that sexuality or sexual urges or sexual feelings are bad and dark,” she says. “It’s an integrated part of who we are and expresses a part of who we are. It is not all that we are.”

Sexual feelings are kind of like chocolate, she says. “Just because I have this desire for chocolate all the time doesn’t mean I’m going to have to eat chocolate every time,” she says. “It’s using the desires, the same desires I have for a greater calling and for a greater cause.”

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