"In fact, woman has a genius all her own,
which is vitally essential to both society and the Church." --John Paul II

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feminine Geniuses in the News: Dominican Sisters (and Sayuki the Geisha) on Oprah

Updated with more Oprah linkage

Today!  On Oprah!  Sex!  Geishas!  who are not sex workers!  And nuns!  Who don't have sex!  And live in hidden worlds!  And no sex!  Ever!  Sex!

Did we mention sex?

Nobody -- nobody -- but Mother Assumpta Long and the Ann Arbor Dominicans could have gotten me to watch Oprah.  Some random notes and impressions from the sisters' segment:

  • "Not everybody who hits a crisis point in their life... is called to be a nun.  Especially if they're men!"  --Sister Mary Judith

  • Oprah:  But what about sex???

  • I am amused by Oprah agreeing that our culture bombards us with messages of materialism and sex.

  • "[Christ]" is a hard husband to be married to because if something goes wrong in the relationship I know that it's me!"  -- Sister Mary Judith, rocking the audience.
  • The sisters are completely rocking the show: they're ready for the awkward, salacious questions (what about sex?  what about breaking the vows?!) and are turning them around to focus on the joy and dignity of their vocations.

  • "Every women is called to be a mother."  --Mother Assumpta Long

  • "[The sisters' lives] are actually very liberating." -- Oprah's correspondent Lisa Ling

  • I wonder what the discussion boards on Oprah's website are going to be like?

  • Has Oprah always been this... coarse?  Not just in terms of titillating subject material (did we mention sex?) but just her tone of voice and her manner?  Or have I been watching too many Jane Austen movies lately?

  • "After the Show" footage of the Sisters of Mary

I'm glad I was able to stifle my impatience long enough to watch the show.  And there's fuel for reflection on the compare-and-contrast between the life of geisha and the life of religious.  There are the superficial similarities -- the dedication, the life apart, the apprenticeship, the special clothes -- but where the life of the geisha turns the feminine genius into a commodity, the life of the vowed religious turns it toward profound relationship and the utter gift of self.


  1. Bravo! Excellent insights -- excellent post! Did I mention sex? Sorry, sarcasm always at the ready!

  2. Excellent Post you Feminine Genius!! I watched the whole thing and was most put off by Miss Winfry's course manner. The sister's rocked the house! They did more to promote vocations in 45 minutes than most could do in a lifetime. Well done ladies!!


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