Why Am I Catholic (cont.) by Sister Anne Marie Lom, OSF
I ask myself, where would I go? What would I do? Where is my vision of God, the reign of God, the community of faith likely to be any better? Thus far, I have not found any place better than where I am; so I stay. I will limit my comments to being a Catholic now; though I could expand into being a Franciscan Sister if I had more time.
I stay in the Catholic Church because any institution that has lasted for over 2,000 years must be doing something right. I can’t always name what that “something” might be; but intuitively I know that countries and institutions balance themselves out and are self-correcting if they continue to exist. I see the Catholic Church doing that and being influenced by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Read more.
A study of Church history was a great blessing to me because the Church has been through diffic.ult times; has had corrupt leaders; has shown poor judgment and apologized for her mistakes. Someone is guiding and directing this church who has a power beyond good business sense. There is nothing in the church that has not been faced and dealt with in an age prior to our own.
I also stay because the Catholic Church I know is multi ethnic and multi cultural. I have celebrated Mass with people in Italy, Mexico, Peru, and Canada. I was blessed to study in San Francisco, CA, and at St. Bonaventure in upstate NY. I spent time with our sisters who teach on the reservations in WI and in Arizona and watched students do Native American dances as part of the entrance procession. I’ve been with our sisters who work in the projects in Chicago where the sign of peace lasts ½ hour so all in church are greeted by each other.
I love our church because we are not only Caucasian, not only American, not only democrats, not only republicans, not only wealthy, not only poor, not only suburban, not only rural, not only metropolitan, not only intellectuals, and not only blue collar workers.
We are Asian, African, North American, European, Australian and South American. I could not verify that there are catholic churches in Antarctica but Catholics have been there.
We are Caucasian, black, Latino, Eskimo, Native American and any other ethnic or geographical subset you can think of.
We are everywhere on the globe and our core is Jesus. Our 2,000 year old tradition binds us to the past and propels us into the future.
We have saints, models of holiness, who were Cradle Catholics, Sinners, Converts, Martyrs, Political activists and political pacifists.
We have women, men, lay and ordained, children, and angels to whom we look for a role model of holiness.
We have active models like Vincent de Paul, Francis, Dominic and Mother Teresa who spent their lives serving the poor and marginalized and we have cloistered models like Therese of Liseux and Thomas Merton who spent their entire lives in one geographical area and lived hidden and contemplative lives.
We are concerned for the poor, for justice, for peace, for life in all its stages and for the environment.
We celebrate weekly and sometimes daily Eucharist, bless pets, go on mission trips, adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, pray the rosary, go on pilgrimages, keep holy cards, have more fund raisers than most organizations, have a ritual for every important stage of life, teach boldly and then forgive and welcome those who can’t always follow our teachings and those who struggle to live what we uphold.
We have the richest variety I know of and the most pastoral and forgiving ways, even when we disagree. I think we can contain all of this variety because Jesus is our center and no one of us has a “corner” on Jesus and the work of the kingdom of God.
- Prostitutes in each country being met by religious sisters
- Geroid from Ireland working in El Salvador sending catechists to Canada for safety and then meeting up with them when we studied together.
- Nun who works in Fon du lac runs an AIDS orphan project in Africa
- Pagan babies: I have girls named Anne Marie all over the world
Summary: I’m not happy with everything that happens in our church and I have preferences and opinions on just about everything. I just don’t know where I’d go to find anything better; any group that would forgive and take me back over and over and where there is always someone who can say, “I’ve been there and you’re OK.”
So I can summarize my reason for staying in the church in the biblical phrase: “Lord, to whom else would I go?”