They're all around and no matter how much cloister nuns attempt to educate people about our life, the myths continue. We've heard them all! So, this will be the first of occasional posts on "Debunking Cloister Myths".
CLOISTERED NUNS NEVER GO OUT....
as in never go out of doors and never go out of the enclosure.
If it never dawned on you that people think that cloistered nuns never go out of doors within the monastery gardens, well, you'd be amazed at how many people, including "devout" catholics think this is true. It's not unusual for a group of kids from a local school or bible camp to come full of questions. One little kid raises his hand energetically, "Sister, Sister, do you go out?"
Sister: "Do you mean outside in the garden?"
Little Tyke: "Yeah!"
Sister: "Why of course! We love going outdoors in the garden. We have flower gardens and vegetable gardens and paths for walking. In the winter we even go sledding. Some of like to make our medition out side, contemplating the beauty of God's creation. It's even fun to walk in the rain! In fact the cloister garden was traditionally called the "Paradise" because it was supposed to be reminder of the Garden of Eden."
Eyes of Little Tyke get bigger.
Parent standing in the background stands with mouth wide open.
Parent: You mean you go OUT DOORS! I thought you were cloistered and could NEVER GO OUT!
So, Sister quietly and calmly repeats what she just told Little Tyke. Kids and Parents are so relieved. Wow! The nuns are human after all!
Sometimes we're asked if we ever leave our part of the monastery—the enclosure.
Yes, in fact we are permitted by the current legislation of Papal Enclosure to leave the enclosure for necessary business for doctors appointments and for the occasionally meetings held with the different monasteries. Some monasteries also have permission for the nuns to go home to visit their parents when they are very old and can't travel or when their parents are seriously ill and for their funerals which we do. The fact is that any exit from the enclosure is quite a sacrifice and we're more than happy to be back home. We feel like fish out of water outside the monastery.