In the habit of praying

The Baltimore Sun has an interesting series at the moment on “Hidden Maryland”, various cultural aspects that would normally be overlooked. It has a piece up at the moment on the Carmeltie religious order, which I think is a nice way of showing how certain institutions can stay close to their historical roots while at the same time finding ways to make themselves more relevant to the current day:

For 185 years, the nuns practiced strict seclusion. They wore habits and veils, stayed behind grates when interacting with the public and rarely left the grounds.

Then came the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, which sought to modernize Roman Catholicism.

Baltimore Carmel, like many others, adapted. To some, it was a relief.

“I was fine with the old ways at the time, but the habits were heavy and hot, we looked like penguins, and I still have bald spots from the veils,” says a chuckling Sister Barbara Jean LaRochester, 80, who joined in the 1950s. “I’m glad we left those days behind.”

I have a fondness for monasteries, though it doesn’t have anything to do with Bede. It’s something to do with the quietness and pace of life, which may be a quietness and slow pace that exists only in my head for all I know.

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