A nun and AA

At times V&B will post quotes to articles or essays that explore themes related to our mission and purpose.

If you happen to be looking for something to read this weekend, may I recommend this essay AA Envy by Helen Andrews at The Hedgehog review. It has plenty to think about but what stood out to me was this section on what was lost in the turning from the traditional practices for the life of one nun. Here's that section but give the whole thing a read and let us know what you think. 

Molly Monahan used to think she was just a nice nun who drank too much. Then she joined AA—an unusual step for a nun, though not as unusual as you might think. As she describes it in her memoir Seeds of Grace, she found in AA many of the practices she was drawn to in convent life but that had been swept away by Vatican II: “weekly confession, the daily examination of conscience, or the ‘examen,’ practiced by me twice daily as a young nun,” and the emphasis on personal salvation rather than “social concerns like poverty, racism, hunger, and homelessness.” Monahan doesn’t say it, but her reflections leave the reader wondering whether AA hasn’t preserved the spirit of Christianity better than some churches have.

Whether fairly or unfairly, churches have developed a reputation for being quick to judge. Secular Americans have the vague idea that if they were to admit their faults to a group of churchgoers, a gang of old biddies would start shooing them out the door with great whacks of their pocketbooks. AA, on the other hand, has somehow managed to uphold strict moral expectations while still reassuring the public that it really means it when it says that the only requirement for membership is a sincere desire to stop drinking. This despite the protestations of the churches that Mark 2:17 (“It is not the healthy who need a doctor”) is their line.
— Helen Andrews
Matthew SheddenComment