Southern Places

I have friends from all walks of life and that is the way it should be.  I enjoy listening to other people’s stories and learning from them.  Different views in my friends only help me to see more of the world I live in.  With that preface, this story is not a typical weekend for me but nonetheless really enjoyable.

On a trip to Nashville to visit my Catholic friend, I went to vespers at the Mother House, or Dominican Campus.  My friend works in the infirmary for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.  She is the most devout Catholic I’ve ever encountered (next to the nuns).  I greatly admire her morals and principles.  She has been an inspiration to me throughout our friendship.

If the Catholics had her on their side during the Protestant Reformation, all the dissenters would have quickly reverted back. My visit coincided with a sister’s funeral, which brings me to how I ended up in a convent for a couple hours on my Saturday.

The Dominican campus is beautiful, with a cemetery, gazebo and green space surrounding the chapel and main building.  It is a 19 acre oasis in the northern end of Nashville.  I felt like I had traveled back into time when I caught sight of a nun in her habit.  In my mind something was incongruent with the nuns and my twenty-first century thinking.Spending time at the Mother House forces you to look inwards and reevaluate yourself.  The reflection you see may not be the one you want but knowing this is the first step to making changes.

Sitting in the back pew while the nuns went through their prayers, especially to honor their deceased sister, was magical.  There are moments when you can feel God’s presence.  You might feel Him when you’re staring at the water stain in the shape of Virgin Mary or while praying for your family, but I felt him as I watched the love the nuns shared for their sister and their Lord.  The nuns’ faith that emits from their soul is palpable even standing near them with no exchange of words.

While I’m not a Catholic, my Mom is and I’ve grown up with enough Catholic upbringing to know my rosary.  Instead of their usual evening song, they knelt down to say the rosary as one voice. So I knelt down and raised my own voice.

Hail Mary, full of grace.

Our Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,

Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners,

now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

 So the next time you are in Nashville, take a couple hours to visit the Mother House.  Even if you are not Catholic, it’s an experience.

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