by Nicholas Kristof, The NY Times
In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need
superheroes. And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may
have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns.
“I may not believe in God, but I do believe in nuns,” writes Jo Piazza, in her forthcoming book, “If Nuns Ruled the World.” Piazza is an agnostic living in New York City who began interviewing nuns and
found herself utterly charmed and inspired.
“They eschew the spotlight by their very nature, and yet they’re out there in the world every day, living the Gospel and caring for the poor,” Piazza writes. “They don’t hide behind fancy and expensive vestments, a pulpit, or a sermon. I have never met a nun who rides a Mercedes-Benz or a Cadillac. They walk a lot; they ride bikes.”
One of the most erroneous caricatures of nuns is that they are prim,
Victorian figures cloistered in convents. On the contrary, I’ve become
a huge fan of nuns because I see them so often risking their lives
around the world, confronting warlords, pimps and thugs, while
speaking the local languages fluently. In a selfish world, they
epitomize selflessness and compassion.
There are also plenty of formidable nuns whom even warlords don’t want
to mess with, who combine reverence with ferocity, who defy the Roman
Catholic Church by handing out condoms to prostitutes to protect them
from H.I.V. (They surely don’t mention that to the bishops.)
One of the nuns whom Piazza profiles is Sister Megan Rice. She earned
a graduate degree at Boston College and then moved to Nigeria in 1962
to run a school for girls she had helped establish in a remote area
with no electricity or running water. After eventually returning to
the United States, she began campaigning against nuclear weapons…