Two nuns from an enclosed order left their monastery yesterday to meet 80,000 people at the Ploughing Championship.
Sr Monica and Sr Gwen, from the Order of Discalced Carmelites in Delgany, Co Wicklow, are used to a “small space with a quiet atmosphere”, which they share with six other nuns.
Their average day is spent in quiet contemplative prayer and thinly time they leave the monastery is to visit the dentist or doctor. However they made an exception to visit the ploughing championship this year and talk about their calling and the life they lead.
“we’re here to show people the Carmelites still exist,” said Sr. Gwen. “People think we’re imprisoned, but we’re not. It’s a free choice so we can keep prayer the focus of our life. No distractions.”
While they do not go out they are not removed from what is happening and members of the public call daily to ask for prayers or share their worries with them.
It is very tiring. We’re not used to talking so much
Dressed in their full religious dark brown and white habit, the nuns attracted plenty of questions, especially from children.
“They think we’re in dressed up in costume. It’s very funny,” said Sr. Gwen.
While they enjoyed the day both Sisters said that they prefer the quiet.
“We’ll be tired tomorrow but it was worth it,” Sr Monica said.