I can’t recall when I hurt this much over something I’ve read online … apparantly, a post on my little blog has put someone off their calling to religious life at Colwich Abbey simply because I posted a photograph and wrote on my blog, of my joy of my retreat experiences there.
A Colwich sister has just responded to this comment from an enquirer on the Colwich blog…
Here is the comment from the Colwich enquirer
Dear Sr. Marie Therese,
I saw a post with a picture on a blog that had a picture of your nun’s chapel with folding chairs up the aisle and the post said that a group of Union Catholic Mothers was attending a retreat or was there to hear a speaker or something.
I thought that chapel was for the nuns only. Do you have the public in your chapel a lot? Are the nuns there with the public when they are in the chapel? I thought Colwich had a public side to the chapel like other monasteries.
The blog page I saw is at: http://catholicconvert.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/union-of-catholic-mothers-retreat/
I was going to write about my vocation but I was strangely sad to see that picture and read the response the blogger gave to another woman with the same question.
But I do still love your blog and website and I will still write but I just wanted to know about this. Thanks, you do have a wonderful way of writing about your life, vocation and about Colwich Abbey!
Here is how Colwich Sr. Marie Therese responds….
Hi Jenn, thanks for letting us know about this, i checked out the site and we are shocked and a little hurt at the intimations of this picture and the comment especially as it has put you off talking about your vocation – this concerns us. People come here, take pictures without us knowing then put them up for the world to see without explaining. I have to go to midday office now, but i am going to post about this later today and explain the situation.
I am really glad you like our blog and have been supporting us with it and i hope my post later helps to clarify things a little for you and others. For now i will just say that this group comes once a year, for the day, they have a talk by a Bishop they have arranged to come, they have mass alone – we have already had ours early in the morning before they arrive, they have adoration alone – the sisters are not part of this. The chairs are there because many more come than we expect and we feel we can’t then turn them away. This is very unusual for us, it is not part of our ‘ordinary’ life – and this particularly bad picture gives the wrong impression. The group does join us for midday office – but that may now be under consideration.
Thanks once again for letting us know about this,
pax sr marie-therese.
In addition to this comment, I have also read another Colwich Sr’s comment stating that they do not interact with those on retreat and that they were unaware of any photographs being taken…this is simply untrue, the sisters I met while on retreat there, did indeed know about the photographs….some of the sisters were even IN the photographs and I have more photographs of them sitting cheerily alongside our UCM mothers…they were completely unperturbed to be photographed…. and they did mingle with us on retreat. As for the comments about my photographs being ‘intimation’ and ‘poor’ …I would like to know what that means exactly.
I don’t know if my comment response to Sr. Marie Therese will be printed on the Colwich blog, so I’ll put it here for all to see…
I do beg your pardon, but what on earth have I done wrong but speak of the joy i had on retreat on both occassions I visited your wonderful Abbey. I’m horrified and deeply hurt at your reaction to this.
I apologise if I have caused distress by merely highlighting your beautiful convent on my blog, and of speaking of the experience I enjoyed while there. I shall not make the mistake of thinking myself welcome in future.
As for the ‘particularly bad picture’ you refer to…as a photographer who was allowed (and given permission) to take photographs while on retreat, and a professional photographer for years, I am offended. What makes the photograph bad….the angle, the pixels, that I photographed what I saw? And what, please do be so kind as to tell me, are the ‘intimations’ to which you refer?
Gosh, Adele spoke such beautifully kind words to me in a question I wrote on this very page…and now I find that I am under attack?
All you had to do was to ask me to remove the posts about Colwich from my blog and I would have given it serious thought….here is a link to the other post where one of your sisters was indeed interacting with the public on one of my previous visits!
I have had conversations with sisters at Colwich despite your stressing that this is out of the ordinary…. with Sr. Davina in particular.
I used to really enjoy visiting your blog, reading and partaking in the Q and A page, supporting your blog in the Catholic Blog Awards, visiting you when possible on retreat….in fact, this very day I was speaking with a friend about my wonderful Colwich experience and of how I have remained single from my annulled marriage for almost 9 years and that I suspect that I may yet discern a calling to religious life when the children are old enough to care for themselves and are living independantly of me.
I’m crushed quite frankly.
I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. I just feel like quitting this whole blogging thing if I’m putting people off their religious vocations, or at least their vocations to certain convents. That’s a real pill to swallow.
How long will I get in Purgatory for that?
Seriously, I haven’t cried hard for at least a day or two so I’m just going to go and break my heart in the bath for a while and have a good think about what the hell I’m doing blogging anymore if sisters who have sat with me, talked with me, prayed with me….can speak of me as having been at fault for merely writing about my positive experience with them .
I have lost a lot of faith in the church (small c) over the last few months, but it now feels like I am losing so much more, that all that I thought was good and true isn’t as I thought it was at all. I’m not doubting my Catholic Faith folks, don’t worry…it’s just that things are difficult right now.
What did I do wrong?