The Sisterhood: A Reality Series About Would-Be Nuns

Posted on November 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Lifetime’s new reality series “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns” is one of the best shows on television right now. It follows a group of five young women who are considering becoming nuns and have entered into a process called “discerning.” They spend time in three convents, which for the first time opened up their world to cameras. They are The Carmelites for the Aged and Infirm in Germantown, New York; The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in Chicago, Illinois; and The Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker in Walton, Kentucky.

The girls come across as shockingly unprepared for what they have undertaken, most of them with little practical or theological understanding, looking stunned when their cell phones are taken away and they are told that there is no make-up allowed. They bring a lot of luggage (literally as well as metaphorically) and seem to have no idea that they will be wearing the same simple uniform every day. A senior nun quietly explains, “Things you may have used our in society, they don’t really help you to grow with integrity and to see yourself as the gift you are that God sees you.” I’m pretty sure the one with the fancy nails, the (fake) Vuitton bag, and the boyfriend isn’t going to make it. I also have my doubts about the one who gushes about being proposed to by Jesus like she’s on “The Bachelor” and he handed her a rose.

What is deeply moving and inspiring here is not the halting steps of these young women but the deeply spiritual sisters who are guiding them. They present religious life as a truly holy undertaking on the most profound level. They are warm and welcoming to the young women but their comments and choices reflect the way that their faith has anchored and illuminated their lives and made it possible for them to devote themselves to worship and good deeds.

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