Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Convent Life

I realize I have been posting a lot about my journeys around the city and not focusing much on the real reason I am actually in Roma, which is to work with the Sisters daily and serve others. I want to go into a little detail about the convent and my experience there to date. 

I am very much enjoying my time thus far at the Sisters of Charity Convent. Every day, I experience and learn something new and fresh. I really do like every day there, but today was an especially good day, as I got to do SO MUCH COOKING!!! The Sisters were not there today, Sister Maria Gabriella (my boss) is at a two week retreat and I am unsure where Sister Claire was. It was just me and three other older Italian volunteers and we had the best time, cooking (with wine!! They loved when I pretended to drink the wine- key word: pretended)  washing dishes and eating treats ; ) It was thrilling and I am discovering an affection for preparing good, authentic, healthy food. I think I mentioned I never found cooking for myself to be that rewarding or enjoyable, but here- I just love it and I take great pride in cooking well and providing food and nourishment to those we are feeding. Between working at the Saint Mary's Alliance Food Bank all summer and now being a kitchen maid, I am discovering a passion for feeding others and have been conducting research on world hunger and what steps are being taken to eradicate it (some of you will find this new interest of mine very ironic- trust me, I do too). Being a privileged American, I truly didn't realize what a huge issue hunger is- both in America as I saw this summer and now here in Roma- I know what I have seen is nothing compared to what citizens of third world countries are really is very shocking, sad and overwhelming once you start reading and studying world hunger facts and stories. 

I go into the convent for a few hours in the mornings, five days a week (I usually take Thursdays and Saturdays off) and on Sundays I help the Sisters get the women who live at the convent to mass. The Sisters of Charity are quite different from other nuns I see around Roma (some of whom are always chatting on their iPhones- adorable!) as they don't generally leave the convent (like at all) and they are only allowed to go back home and visit their families once every ten years. They are allowed to watch TV once a year at Christmas, and they wear the traditional Sister outfits you always see photos of Mother Teresa in, with everything but their face being covered (they are white and blue). I will say....I do find the inequality between the priests and nuns to be very troublesome, I don't want to get started on this, as it will be saved for another blog post- but I am bothered by it so much- the priests are always going on vacations and such, while the Sisters go home once every ten years.....(I say that with much respect for priests and all they do, but trust me, the Sisters do just as much). 

This summer I was introduced to some pretty great Christian bands and music by none other than the Christian rock music goddess herself, Jessie ; ) I played a few Hillsong albums for the Sisters on Monday while we worked. I think they were a little nervous when I told them I had some music I wanted them to hear, they probably thought I was gonna bump Kayne or something (just kidding, they don't know who Kayne is) but they said they liked the songs, and I think they especially loved I was belting out the tunes, singing right along with a big smile on my face : ) DJ Sayah, a jack of all trades! LOL 

My favorite days to go into work are Wednesdays and Fridays, as that is when Nanita, the little old Italian lady who LOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEEESSSSSSS me is there. Truly, I LOVE this woman with all my heart. I can't even begin to describe the joy she brings me. She is such a Godly woman who radiates warmth, happiness, peace and LOVE. If there was anyway I could take her back to the states with me, I would do it in a heartbeat! All the Sisters and other volunteers laugh at us, because when we are together, it is quite the LOVE FEST. Every few minutes, we will look up from our veggies and say to each other, "Sayah/Nanita- I LOOOOVVEEEE YOU- THANK YOU VERY MUCH" (the only english words she knows) and then we kiss each others faces. In all honesty, I am sure some working with us find this just a tad annoying, but I don't even care because it makes me happy and I do LOVE this woman- and working at the convent has already taught me so much about LOVE. Nanita is just the best- she carries around a photo of the day she met Pope Francis and one of the Sisters told me she has been volunteering at the convent for ten years now. She wears this cute little khaki dress and it is often she who has to run upstairs and unlock the door when it is ringing (and it is always ringing). She runs all hunched over (probably what I looked like on mile 22 of my marathon, no joke- oh the pain!!!) but she does her work with pride and joy and LOVE and it is inspiring to spend time with her. 

I am intrigued by the stories of the women who live at the convent and how they came to be there....this is not something I have asked too many questions about yet, but I would like to know more- and I am very interested to know if any of the Sisters have medical backgrounds or training (I think they must) as they do care for some sick women. 

Overall, I am just thrilled with my decision to come here and work and really look forward to continuing my experience and time with the Sisters. I know I will come home at some point, but I can't even think of that right now as I am too busy enjoying what each day here in Roma teaches and offers me. I want to use these new understandings to better the world I live in, in whatever form that will be. 

I am meeting a friend from Enumclaw (who is in town for the week) for dinner tonight and tomorrow- then I am off to Germany this weekend for Oktoberfest with my cousins. I love Oktoberfest back home and have always enjoyed it in Leavenworth- actually going to it in Germany will be a dream! Too bad I don't have one of those traditional German dress things and a blonde braided wig to wear! I will have a mug of beer and a pretzel in my hand, though- good enough! 

Finally, another of my favorite mass songs I have been thinking of recently, which has new meaning for me now: 

Bread for the world: 
a world of hunger
Wine for all peoples: 
people who thirst
May we who eat 
be bread for others
May we who drink 
pour out our love

1. Lord Jesus Christ, 
you are the bread of life,
broken to reach 
and heal the wounds 
of human pain
Where we divide your people,
you are waiting there 
on bended knee
to wash our feet with endless care

2. Lord Jesus Christ, 
you are the wine of peace, 
poured into hearts once broken 
and where dryness sleeps
Where we are tired and weary,
you are waiting there 
to be the way which beckons us 
beyond despair

3. Lord Jesus Christ, 
you call us to your feast,
at which the rich and pow'rful 
have become the least
Where we survive on others 
in our human greed,
you walk among us 
begging for your ev'ry need

1 comment:

  1. Yes, mission accomplished! I knew my "God music" would come in handy and with the sisters nonetheless! You are missed but you amaze me and I love reading your journey. Proud of you!