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The "Nuns in the Hood"

Posted: July 31, 2015

Planning is underway for the Fall Forum Speaker Series with the, “Nuns in the Hood”
Last week we had an amazing meeting with “The Nuns in the Hood.” This is the name that neighbors and friends from North Minneapolis have affectionately used to describe the Visitation Sisters. You may be asking yourself, “What is a group of cloistered nuns doing in North Minneapolis?” Simply, “answering the call” and “loving their neighbors.”

They have shown up and stayed. Many other groups have come and gone over the years. Everyone we met said, “They are different.” It may seem like the nuns are a long way from their roots at the Visitation Convent in Mendota Heights. Many people in our community know them from their work teaching at an all-girls preparatory high school. But, after a decade of prayer and discernment, they felt called to North Minneapolis. Initially they started with a group of four nuns. Two were from Mendota and two arrived from St. Louis.

Over the last two decades, they have expanded their presence. There are now eight nuns and many “friends”. They have a Monastery, a retreat house and a beautiful garden. The sisters have developed deep and lasting friendships grounded in trust and faith. The sisters live in a community that is struggling with poverty, and violence. They are unafraid and consider North Minneapolis “home.”

The sisters are not running a social service agency. What they offer their community is a radical alternative. They are living, “the stance of love”. Their lives are centered on prayer, deep listening and hope. They offer hugs and friendship to all who show up at their doorstep whether it happens through luck, desperation or the word of a friend. Their core value of, “joy in embracing the present moment” with their friends and work is unmistakable.

Do not be fooled by their unassuming style, they are powerful women of faith that are doing holy work by their presence. Each time we have met with them has been a deeply spiritual encounter. Last week we also had an opportunity to meet some of their friends who shared their hopes, dreams and struggles. They also gave us some visibility into the vitality of their community and the work they are doing to make it stronger.

As many elected officials are calling citizens, “to arm themselves”… We believe that the, “Nuns in the Hood” are modeling something more powerful, and anti-intuitive which is, “seeking first to love.” This is the radical message that Jesus Christ preached. The Visitation Nuns are a living witness to this message.

We are grateful that the, “Nuns in the Hood” and their friends will be joining us on October 29 in St. Martin’s Hall to share their stories. We know it’s a night that you will not want to miss! As we develop the program, we will share more details with you! We will also hold an elder focused event on October 22! If you would like more details, contact Maura Schnorbach in Social Justice.