PHILADELPHIA – The monastery’s gray stone mother house stands stoically amid lonesome pine trees and statues of saints. At one time, the Sisters of St. Basil the Great on Fox Chase Road numbered about 150. Today most sisters have quietly retired from
Faint voices floated from behind the faded drapes that separated the nuns’ portion of the parlor from their visitors’. On my side, an armchair was stationed in front of the curtains, like a theater set for an audience of one. I could only wonder what was waiting on the other side.
Pope John Paul II, who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his papacy, has issued strong denunciations of women who have tried to widen their role in the Catholic Church. Just a week before the liberal Loretto Sisters met, he called for “just punishment,” including excommunication, for those who support ordination of women.