Read

Learning from the Social-Distance Experts

Published:
May 21, 2024
March 18, 2020
Read what we can learn from monastic life while we are practicing social distance.|Read what we can learn from monastic life while we are practicing social distance.

We’ve always been fascinated by the witness and stories of men and women who live in religious life. They step away from many daily concerns to narrow their focus on prayer and work. Some of those nuns and monks live set apart in monasteries — some of them even in cloistered monasteries.

Now that we’re in an age of social distancing, we’re returning to these stories with a new perspective. What can we learn from religious men and women who have spent their whole lives practicing social distance? If they can thrive in a monastery, and use the space to grow more fully into the people they are created to be, can they teach us how to capitalize on the time we are spending at home?

Sister Mary Catherine Perry is a Dominican nun in Summit, New Jersey, who wrote an opinion piece for her local paper: “I’m a nun and I’ve been social distancing for 29 years. Here are tips for staying home amid coronavirus fears.” The wisdom she shares runs deep and is directly applicable to our lives now that we’re limiting social contact. The whole piece is worth a read, but the three takeaways she offers include establishing structure, being intentional about loving others, and using the time for self-reflection and relaxation.

We’ve been telling these kinds of stories at Grotto for some time now because religious men and women remind us of the lasting and important values in life — that nothing we achieve or earn changes God’s love for us, and that the greatest joy in life is to live in that love. Their lives are testament to the fact that we can strip away everything in a life and if we hold on to that one thing — God’s love — we can find true joy.

Take Brother Paul Quenon, a Trappist monk living in Kentucky, for example. He has written about the monastic life as a reminder that the ordinary is miraculous if we have the eyes to see it. “The daily routine of the monastery eventually levels you to the plateau of your ordinariness,” he says in this video. “Ambition and striving fade into the background, and life lived in God is sufficient.”

 

Sister Clare Joseph, a Carmelite nun in Indiana, is another good example. She lives in a cloistered monastery with extremely limited contact with the outside world. “We come here and we have nothing,” she says in this video, “but it doesn’t feel like we have nothing. It feels like we have everything.”

 

So, let’s not be fearful of social distancing. These religious men and women are trailblazers who show us that it’s a great opportunity to deepen our interior lives if we approach it with intentionality. It’s also an opportunity to love one another in new ways — social distancing does not mean social isolation. Inspired by these examples, let’s thoughtfully embrace this new practice so that we can emerge on the other side of it transformed.

Creators:
Grotto Shares
Published:
May 21, 2024
March 18, 2020
On a related note...
Marine Restorer Educates and Inspires Children

Marine Restorer Educates and Inspires Children

Grotto

St. Rose of Lima Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

St. Rose of Lima Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

Good and Decent EP 23: Free Listening

Good and Decent EP 23: Free Listening

Grotto

Pentecost Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Pentecost Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

St. Edith Stein Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

St. Edith Stein Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

6 Tips for Budgeting on a Year-of-Service Stipend

6 Tips for Budgeting on a Year-of-Service Stipend

Molly Gettinger

Why Thoughts and Prayers Do Make a Difference

Why Thoughts and Prayers Do Make a Difference

Emily Mae Mentock

What Tony Reali's Monologue Taught Me About Grief

What Tony Reali's Monologue Taught Me About Grief

Josh Flynt

Learning to Say ‘God is Love’ When You’re Gay

Learning to Say ‘God is Love’ When You’re Gay

Eve Tushnet

Catholic Female Saints Party Game

Catholic Female Saints Party Game

Grotto

Everything You Need to Know About National Migration Week 2018

Everything You Need to Know About National Migration Week 2018

Grotto Shares

Milk is Life-Saving Medicine

Milk is Life-Saving Medicine

Grotto

Need a Dose of Joy? Try This Cookie Recipe From a Medieval Saint

Need a Dose of Joy? Try This Cookie Recipe From a Medieval Saint

Maureen O'Brien

'Street Nun' Formed a Community Through Canning

'Street Nun' Formed a Community Through Canning

Grotto

Raising Awareness to Prevent Drowning

Raising Awareness to Prevent Drowning

Grotto

Pizza: The Ultimate Communal Food

Pizza: The Ultimate Communal Food

Mike Jordan Laskey

A reflective narrative by Mike Jordan Laskey.

5 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

5 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

Josie Kuhlman

How a Daily Journaling Practice Transformed My Lent

How a Daily Journaling Practice Transformed My Lent

Marye Colleen Larme

St. Francis Xavier Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

St. Francis Xavier Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

Lifting Up Black Stories: 3 Neighbors Transforming their Communities

Lifting Up Black Stories: 3 Neighbors Transforming their Communities

Grotto

newsletter

We’d love to be pals.

Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll meet you in your inbox each week.