Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

06 July 2006

The World According to Porcinus

Today is the feast of Saint Maria Goretti (to be exact, it's an optional memorial in the Catholic Church's calendar). This fact will go unnoticed by most of the world, including most Catholics, but not in San Lorenzo Monastery. Not as long as we have Brother Porcinus, anyway. The story of how a twelve-year old Italian girl preferred death to rape is, according to Brother P, the perfect teaching tool for a bunch of old, obese monks—in case we are ever faced with a situation in which an older man attempts to rape us. Maria's story has everything Brother P could want in a story: sex, violence and imprisonment. These are, essentially, the filters through which he looks at the world.

In his homily this morning, he retold the story in breathless tones and expansive gestures, repeating at least twice that she was stabbed fourteen times. By the end of the homily, I was thinking how lucky she was. He finished by explaining how important the repentance of Maria's murderer was to all the world's sex addicts (I guess he runs in different circles than I do).

To put a positive spin on it, I guess I am now more prepared in case I ever find myself in the position of being a twelve-year old girl.


Anonymous heather said...

I'm caught between cringing and laughing. Not a good place.

06 July, 2006 23:37  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

I recommend cringing.

07 July, 2006 02:22  
Blogger kim said...

*giggles* it seems like such a fun place you live brolo :)
where is it the catholic church and you brothers stand on the whole reincarnation thing? and what are the chances you would really come back as a 12 yr old girl lol

07 July, 2006 06:46  
Anonymous pog said...

Hmm. Sounds like Brother Porky rather relished that tale. Euwww ..

07 July, 2006 10:56  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

The RCC takes a rather dim view of reincarnation, Kim (can you spell "heresy"?). If you give people too many chances to get things right, they just get lazy. No, if you can't get it right the first time around, you'll never get it right. So much for my dreams of coming back as the drummer in a big hair band!

You are right, Pog, but even creepier is that he relishes playing the part of the twelve-year old. He constantly worries that someone will break into the house at night and molest him. Anyone who has taken Psych 101 will realize that his biggest fear is really his biggest hope.

07 July, 2006 15:49  
Anonymous Moobs said...

The most fearsome nun in teh convent primary school I attended was "Sister Maria Goretti". She was a pint-sized Irishwoman who disciplinary specialty was a blow to the head that was half slap and half karate chop. A specialist in violence I tremble to think what would have happened to any man who had tried to assault her. She was known, for reasons, which may be becoming obvious, as "Sister Maria Garotti"

To my shame I did not know the background to her name but now I do I can only feel a certain queasiness that her mother chose that name for her.

07 July, 2006 16:18  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Until the late 70's or early 80's, religious sisters and brothers received a new name at their profession of vows. It is most likely, therefore, that her mother did not choose the name. Knowing that it was her religious superiors who gave her the name may not alleviate your queasiness, however.

07 July, 2006 20:31  
Anonymous belgianwaffle said...

My mother has a friend called Goretti and G's sister is called Laboure. And Ireland is full of Gerards (for boys) and Majellas (for girls). Religious fervour on the part of your parents can make for a lifetime of misery, though I suppose Gerard isn't so bad. By the way, can I say how much I enjoyed hearing that there are people who get up at 5.45 to meditate. At least I'm getting up at 5.45 to deal with screaming.

07 July, 2006 23:43  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

I know what you mean, BW. But is it any worse than "Shaniqua", "Keeshawn" or one of the other modern inventions?

08 July, 2006 02:53  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

And another thing, BW. Do you not get enough sympathy on you own blog? Do you need to steal some of mine, too?

08 July, 2006 18:28  

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