Some of the most influential figures in my life have been nuns.
Foremost, there was my aunt, Sister Margaret Mary, a Sister of Charity, who not only had a Ph.D in Classics from Columbia University but also was the dean of students at the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Bronx. Talk about a role model!
Then there were the Sisters of St. Joseph at Our Lady of Victory School in Lackawanna where my brothers and I attended grade school -- great teachers and intelligent, thoughtful women.
Later, when my children attended St. Mark's School, the leadership and drive of Sister Jeanne Eberle made that school exemplary in many ways.
I also have tremendous respect for some of the sisters who I've come to know in their leadership roles in Buffalo higher education: Sister Denise Roche at D'Youville and Sister Margaret Carney at St. Bonaventure, in particular.
So, I think very highly of the nuns I've known personally. And I'm more than a little uncomfortable with the Vatican's recent move to restrain what it calls the "radical feminism" of the group that represents most of the nuns in America.
I'd love to hear from readers on this subject, either in comments here or in any of the following ways:
Here are a few links to articles around the country on this topic.
NPR had a good summary of the Vatican's move.
The New York Times published a strong felt but carefully worded editorial.
And in a letter to the Times, a New Jersey reader describing herself as a lifelong Catholic, Patricia Burns, defends the nuns she feels have been unfairly characterized.
Mary Schmich, the Chicago Tribune columnist who just won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary, offers this column.