I remember the days when I was young and filled with zeal for the Roman Catholic Church.
I was accepted and entered into a Dominican Convent. My fellow postulants, a large class of 27 bright and beautiful ladies, also seemed to be devout and willing to learn a monastic way of life in order to become saints. Most of us, though, did not really understand the demands that would be placed on us.
I do not know how many here have read the book or have seen the movie, The Nun's Story
, but many of the things that happened in that movie really happened in the convent. For example, nuns did make prostrations. Novices and professed sisters had to make prostrations before the Mother Superior if they failed to observe certain rules, but we were told that as postulants, we were not required to make any prostrations.
On that first evening of our religious lives, before we entered the chapel for Vespers and Compline, the Novice Mistress informed us about Prostrations. Several girls had positively horrid looks on their faces. Like, "Oh, no, what did I get myself into." The next morning, we were told that one of the girls had cried in panic all night, so that her parents had to come and get her. She was the first postulant to leave our group, now we were down to 26.
As this was post-Vatican II, some changes were already affecting us.
Habits were being modified, and some rules were being changed.
In other words, we were being modernized to fit into the modern world.
Middle Age customs designed to help us become saints were being discarded.
Six months later, after we were clothed in the Dominican Habit, we became novices. It was at that point, however, that some upsetting things happened.
We were given a book to read called The Sister's Vow of Chastity,
which included a detailed course in human sexuality. After reading an in depth description of marital love, about four novices decided to leave us, realizing that they could not take the vow of chastity, because they missed their boyfriends and now wanted to get married. Other chapters talked about "secret friendships" which we later learned were condemned by St. Paul in Romans 1:27. We were learning about serious sins and abnormal lifestyles that destroyed the life of God in our souls. Why were they teaching us things that we did not need need to know? Why were they perverting us?
Even though we read great theological books like those penned by Dominican Father Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, other books written by modernists challenged us to dump repetitive prayers like the Rosary or the Litanies to the Sacred Heart, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to other Saints. After reading those books, some of the novices would start laughing when the Litany to the Sacred Heart was being sung. Shortly after that, those litanies were no longer sung in church.
It seemed like everything was being questioned, and that we were being perverted from WITHIN the convent, which should have been a safe haven, a port of safety, a little piece of heaven.
Finally, I left the convent because I was so shocked. I was not learning to love Christ, I was being drawn away from Him. Years later, I visited that same convent. Nuns were wearing civilian clothes. Gone was the holiness of life, gone was their innocence.
Today, I was reading http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/08/woodburn_priests_arrest_focuse.html
about the quandary facing those who run seminaries.
How do they detect perverts before they become priests?
Perhaps the question should be, "Are seminaries and convents producing perverts?"