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EULOGY - Second Edition by Mary Bergan Blanchard

EULOGY - Second Edition

by Mary Bergan Blanchard

354 pages
Ex-nun's memoir examining own and convent's metamorphosis during the 1960's.

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Category: Religion:Christianity
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About the Book
Eulogy is a tribute. It is neither a rant nor a diatribe. I am amazed that after ten years, since its first printing, the message remains human, current and vital.

One of the obvious threads that run through my memoir is my dissatisfaction with the totally masculine hierarchy. Most modern Religious Orders of Sisters began with a group of women of different ages and pursuits who gathered together to assist the poverty stricken, desolate after the chaos resulting from the Industrial Revolution. However, history points out that the minute any group of pious women gathered, the hierarchy felt it necessary to burden these women with their antiquated idea of cloister and reams of useless time-consuming penances that they did not bother to impose upon themselves. Such was religious life in the 1950's and the better part of the 1960's, and I was right there, at the time, a nun.

I resent the fact that the hierarchy has always written the rules. The foundresses in the 1800's wanted the sisters to have freedom to move about, to sense and understand the realities of the poor. The hierarchy wanted the nuns stowed away, under their thumb. However, despite them, the sisters usually managed to prevail, the clever ones discreetly working under cover. They were the first feminists who were administrators of large hospitals, school systems and colleges before these positions were open to women.

I hope the book dispels the caricatures of nuns…the ruler-wielding mean-spirited bully or the innocent simpleton. Many refuse to take the sister’s lives seriously, mainly because they cannot understand their motives. Their selfless work has been forgotten. In general, the nuns' contribution to American society is completely ignored. They were educators and nurses…social workers who gave their lives to others, true pillars of the Church. Yes, their ranks have gravely diminished, but, the remaining sisters, regardless of their advanced age, continue to work…running parishes, caring for the infirm, visiting the prisons, educating the young and aiding the needy.
But times have changed. Both self-absorption and secularism are on the rise. Although vocations to religious life are disappearing, perhaps these remaining women, in spite of the hierarchy, will come up with a new model that suits the times...reexamining and implementing both their own and the original ideas of their foundresses.

"Is this eulogy...a precursor to a lamentation for the institutional church as we know it?" Judith Bromberg, National Catholic Reporter.



About the Author
At age 17, in 1949, Mary Bergan Blanchard entered the convent. After 20 years, she left the Order, married a widower with five children and had a son of her own. She now serves as a Licensed Professional Counselor at Risen Savior Church in Albuquerque.



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