Carcassonne: we talked about love, vows of poverty and chastity with the good sisters of Saint

They are discreet and rarely speak in the media. However, they agreed to answer our questions. To our dozens of questions about this life governed by the one we call “God”. Meeting with Sister Suzanne and Sister Mercy, two of the four nuns of the Dominican community of Carcassonne.

“Religious life cannot be explained”. Several times during the interview she granted us, Sister Suzanne would say these few words. Yet we tried. Trying to understand why and how does one decide to devote one’s existence to God, one’s entire life to religion? Why do we decide to renounce the family, carnal pleasures, to take a vow of celibacy, chastity, poverty and obedience at the dawn of our life? Would life be better that way? We don’t have the answer. On the other hand, the Dominicans gave us to see a part of their peaceful life, made up of spirituality, faith, friendships, sometimes doubts. “I will never regret the life I had. It surprised me from start to finish.”

“One fine day, it crossed me”

“Before responding to the call of the lord, I had never really thought about it. During my young years, I studied natural sciences in Montpellier. After that, I worked for two years. It was during those years that I wondered what I was going to do with my life. I was waiting for a good meeting to start a family… I was something like 23 years old and one fine day, that crossed. It was an evening of August 15. I understood that my beautiful encounter, my love, was God. At the start, it was not easy to accept.” Nothing predisposed Suzanne to become a nun. Nothing, not even his family environment. Today, at the age of 80, Suzanne evolves at the Saint-Joseph church in Carcassonne. Since 2016. Before that, his ecclesiastical career led him to join several communities around the world. In Peru for about twenty years and ten more in Italy, in Rome before joining the Dominican sisters. A small community made up of four nuns. Two French women: Sister Suzanne and Sister Alice; and two foreigners: Sister Ashi from Pakistan and Sister Mercy from Nigeria.

By deciding to rely on the word of God, you have to make concessions and accept not to lead your life exactly as you wish.

They admit it, this path, they took it to “Find God’s Unconditional Love”. A love that has a price, that of concessions. “We are not angels. We are human. There are moments of discouragement. By risking yourself on this road and deciding to rely on a word, you have to make concessions and accept not to lead your life any longer. live exactly the way you want”confesses Sister Suzanne. “This life is about learning to surrender because to love is to give one’s life. For example, we don’t have a personal bank account and therefore cannot buy what we want. When we needs something, you have to ask the community first“, adds Sister Mercy, 40 years younger than Sister Suzanne.

Eat Pray Love

Their days at Saint-Joseph Church are punctuated by a very specific agenda. Every day, at 7:30 a.m., the four sisters pray together, that’s the rule. The daily mass follows at 8.30 am. After that, Suzanne, Alice, Mercy and Ashi can “get down to the activities of daily life: shopping at the supermarket, cleaning, cooking…”, without forgetting to dedicate at least an hour of their time to study. “The statute that brings us together asks us to set aside one hour a day to meet with the word of God. It is a kind of time for personal formation”says Sister Mercy.

In the evening, after dinner served at 7:30 p.m., time for a second time of common prayer. A life punctuated up and down and across by God, well beyond 35 hours a week. From the outside, this life may seem restrictive and subjugating, but the nuns assure us, “there are moments of recreation, camaraderie, cronyism, especially at mealtimes. We did not choose to live all four under the same roof, it is something that must be cultivated, it does not doesn’t happen on its own.”

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Carcassonne: a week in the shoes of priest Luc Caraguel

One last question ladies – maybe a little naive – does this life make you happy? “God loves me as I am. With my qualities and my big faults. I feel loved. Whatever my weaknesses, my doubts, he has always looked at me positively. When I go through difficult things that seem impossible to me to overcome, he tells me that it is possible. He gives meaning to my life. I told you, religious life cannot be explained.”

Carcassonne: we talked about love, vows of poverty and chastity with the good sisters of Saint-Joseph church