It would be nice to visit the contemplative Visitation monastery in rural Sussex as Sue Gaisford did for “The Tablet” (‘View from the Convent’, The Tablet, 29 May 2017). As a member of a mixed congregation (apostolic and contemplative) I have often wondered how sisters wholly devoted to contemplation apprehend today’s world. And clearly they do so effectively.
Long hours devoted to prayer obviously give them the wisdom and serenity to look out with understanding and compassion on a hyperactive world. Their up to date grasp of political events is not in doubt and diversity does not faze them at all. Living closely together, but retaining their individuality, these sisters propose an attractive model of public debate as Sr Jane Margaret suggests.
What is needed she thinks, “..is a proper national discussion about our vision and our values rather than this combative polarisation where we all slag each other off; where we demonise foreigners and those we feel are different from ourselves; where we insult each other. If only we could have more faith in each other. If we could only see what we all have in common in these islands. And in Europe. And beyond.”