Catholic Herald Reporter
ANUN studying Russian goes to Moscow in lay clothes to conduct interviews on the Soviet revolution; another is offered a teaching job in the University of California: and in New York groups of nuns study the works of Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet.
This, reports Time magazine, is the work of "Sister Formation", a body now revolution. ising the education of 104,000 teaching nuns in the United States. The programme : "We prepare nuns for the 21st century."
The organisation was founded in 1954 by the National Catholic Education Association and the various women religious superiors. Its summer courses and monthly bulletin yield a more advanced theology than many seminaries for priests would allow. Episcopal nuns are included too.
The executive director, Minnesota psychologist Sister Annette Walters, believes that nuns should play a much wider and more active missionary role in the world.
Nuns taking their degrees in sociology at Missouri's Marillac College. for instance. spend long hours in the courts of St. Louis, and those at Mundelein study civil rights and the psychology of poverty.
Until a few years ago. Time magazine points out, U.S. nuns were barely prepared for the 19th century let alone for the 21st. Twelve years ago, only 13 out of the 255 religious communities had training programmes to provide nuns with degrees.
Thousands of nuns were teaching in parish schools with nothing behind them but a two-year spiritual novitiate.
up four full time centres for nuns at woman's colleges and organised summer courses for nuns already involved in teaching.
Nine-tenths of the nation's religious congregations for women have added. in whole or part, a standard five-year curriculum with heavy emphasis on liberal arts and a lighter stress on professional education courses.
It is considered likely that within a decade nuns will be providing America with its best teachers.