Tuesday, March 22, 2011

a desultory sort of a day

Trying to put some kind of order into wht has gone on in my life since BE 4.0...let's see...

We came home on the Friday in good order, and then in a flurry of packing/unpacking I managed to fit in a piece of theatre -- Son Unit #2 in a local production, semi-concert style, of Jekyll & Hyde. There was really only one night I could go at all -- and that was Saturday. Other family were there so we had a chance to say "Hey" to each other before tottering off into the snow.

Up early on Sunday, that was last-before-Lent, or Quinquagesima, or T-Fig 1.0 -- was excused from the early celebration to convey Son Unit #2 and fiancee to the airport for an expedition to Germany and Austria. Caught up with the congregation in order to assist, a little, with a baptism...

Then back to the laundry big time and homework for the next jaunt which began Ash Wednesday morning early. Flew across the country into blizzard conditions and the contrasts with the week before were ACUTE. I had just got used to "Hola" and there I was back in the land of "Bonjour"...meditating on the beach at Tulum in view of "les gars" ice-fishing on the Lac des Deux Montagnes...just getting used to wallowing in luxury with 2100 other people and there I was with 11 others rattling around in a huge no-longer-in-use, eerily untouched and well-kept, Roman Catholic convent. A complete dearth of towel animals. Or mealtime flourishes with napkins.

Although I must admit when I went to lunch the first day without slippers, Sister Lucie pursued me with small nunny shrieks and a shopping bag full of hand-knit "pantoufles"...she didn't QUITE knock me to the floor, but definitely stood over me uncompromisingly until she had fitted me with a suitable pair.

I was in Montreal, for so it was, for a session of the national Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogue. Two other women -- both RC laywomen theologians, and very good ones too. The rest, clergy. Three bishops altogether; the other clergy (male) are for the most part teachers of theology, working actively in ecumenism. I think I'm the only "pure parish" clergyperson. I love these folks -- this is the second time I've met with them -- and our discussions are meat and drink to me. But oh good grief where are the points of contact between THIS koinonia and the one we enjoyed on the boat and continue to enjoy on-line?

One lovely lovely moment when, in discussions of communication and publicity for the great 40th anniversary celebration next November in Montreal, the Rambler brightly suggested that we should set up a Facebook page. "And they all moved away from me, there, on the Group W bench..." and looked deeply, deeply puzzled.

This anniversary celebration will be a service in Montreal in the "Oratoire de St. Joseph" atop Mount Royal, a kind of epitome-point for French-Canadian Roman Catholicism, with much architectural and liturgical splendor. And cardinals'n'them. I can hardly wait.

Oh and I had a wonderful conversation at the lunch table on our final day at the convent. A very large group of women, belonging to a local choir, were also at the convent for the day. The Rambler was in "her blacks" i.e. clericals, as one about to travel. There was whispered discussion and covert glances.

Finally the boldest of the group approached our table. You will have to imagine this all in the most elegant French (I can follow it, but I am slow to find the words to respond).

"Madame? My associates and I could not fail to notice that you, although a woman, are wearing a Roman collar? If it is not offensive to you, might one enquire why?"
"Certainly, it is because I am a priest in the Anglican church."
"AAAAahhh" (with noddings over her shoulder -- I thought, right, somebody in your group just won 25c on that one) "and are there many women in the priesthood, in your church?"
"Well, in our own diocese, at present, about half and half. And of course we rejoice in the minsitry of our SECOND feminine bishop."
"AAAAahhh. And would it be appropriate for one to felicitate you?"
"For the most part, certainly, thank you. On certain days, expressions of sympathy, perhaps?"
-- merry laughter on both sides. (And much mirth for the Catholic bishop sitting with me.)


Mary Beth said...

LOL'ing especially about the Group W bench. :)

Crimson Rambler said...

that's my never-fail li'l ol' generational marker, there!!!

hassopheret said...

Love this! I've gotten stooped by a couple of RC men - one at Hall as I was bout to give the invocation, the other at a toll booth. Neither had heard that there were women priests in any church. I couldn't help but wonder if they were some kind of retro Amish Catholics without TVs.

Crimson Rambler said...

usually they're much more straightforwardly ontological -- WHAT ARE YOU? they say. Good question, I say.