Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mother Superior

I was recently thinking about The Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite stories. The true story of the Von Trapp family is extremely powerful and moving, if you have a chance... look up a little extra information sometime.

But back to what I was thinking about: in the movie, the characters of Maria and Captain Von Trapp are the central figures, along with the Von Trapp children. However, there is one person in the film whose role should not be underestimated. In the movie, the Mother Superior of the convent is kind, benevolent and understanding. She encourages Maria to return to the Von Trapp household, to consider that she might not be cut out to be a nun and then sings the powerful "Climb Ev'ry Mountain".

The strength and spiritual leadership of this woman cannot be stressed enough. Both in real life and in the film, this woman is tasked with the continuation of the life of faith of women within the walls of a convent. She took this job so seriously that she was able to guide a young woman to vows far different from her own (marriage v. poverty/chastity/obedience). What an amazing witness to the Mother Superior's understanding of vocation and openness to the Holy Spirit.

This leads me to think about the people who have been "Mother Superiors" to me. The main one that comes to mind was my very first religion professor. I took a couple classes from him, but also spent time with him in other contexts. His firmest advice to me was to always seize the opportunity you don't think will come again. Under that advice, I chose to move to Nome, Alaska when I graduated from college to work for a Catholic radio station. And my life has never been the same.

Today I encourage you to think of your own "mother superior". Offer a prayer of thanks for their influence in your life. Whether they are among God's living saints or among the great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us, their legacy lives on in choices you and I make daily. Have you considered to whom you might be a "mother superior"?

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