'The Revised Nun Files' - Questions for my Oral History Interview

Well I am getting ready for my overnight trip for my interview. I am headed to the Canada border so it will be fun and all sorts of things. I am hoping to meet a few new online friends and classmates and even meet my favorite teacher. With the feedback I got from friends and other classmates as well as my esteemed professor, here are the new questions. :)

List of questions shared by both the ‘new’ and the ‘experienced’

1. Tell me a little about yourself. (Where were you born? How many siblings did you have? What did your parents do for a living?)

2. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
Did you attend a Catholic school when you were growing up and how did that influence you?

3. How were religious holidays (Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?

4. What stood out to you about the church as a child? Did you sing in the choir or do any other church activities?

5. What role did the church play in your life as a child? What role in your community did the church play?

6. Do you remember your confirmation as a child? What can you remember about it?

7. What do you remember your father telling you about religion? Your mother?

8. At what age did you decide you wanted to become a Nun? Did you always have a sense that you would become a nun/sister or did the notion come as a surprise to you?

9. Were your family/friends surprised that you became a nun/sister or did they tell you they knew or could tell this is what you would be? Has anyone else in your family become a nun, a priest or a monk?

10. Did anyone try to dissuade you from becoming a Nun?

11. Who was most supportive of your vocation? Who was the least supportive and why?

12.What was the process like of becoming a nun? What things needed to be accomplished?

13. How did you choose your order and what order are you affiliated with?

14. Have you ever lived in a convent and what was that experience like?

15. What particular spiritual practice is most important to you in your walk with the Lord and why?

16. Can you describe for me what your typical day looks like in your vocation?
Can you describe what a typical year looks like in your vocation? Is there such a thing?

17. What delights/surprises you about being a nun/sister?

18. What has been your most rewarding experience in religious life?

19. Have you ever experienced something that made you re-evaluate your vocation? How did you overcome that experience?

20. Some people think that the vow of poverty is one of the most difficult vows… what do you think about that? Do you have an experience wherein you really felt the weight of this particular vow?

21. How is the ‘church’ today different from what it was like when you were a child? (if this question is pertinent)

22. Is the church asking or getting enough of women’s religious views on Church related issues. Do you think there needs to be a change?

23. What one piece of advice would you give to someone considering a vocation as a nun/sister that you wish someone would have told you when you were first considering the vocation?

24. Have you ever been to the Vatican? What was that experience like?

Questions for the more experienced nun

1. How is being a nun/sister for you today different/the same from being a nun/sister in the past?

2. How has your order had to change in the last 50 years to keep the viability of your mission alive in the Church?

3. How have your views on your vocation changed through your experience?

4. Can you discuss the hierarchy of the church here in Maine? How has it changed over time?

5. The church has gone through numerous changes over the past few decades - for instance, it was not until 1983 that girls were allowed to be altar servers, before it was only altar boys.  Also, at one point, only men were allowed to be Eucharistic Ministers, but now women can play that role.  What do you think of these changes?
Do you agree or disagree… and how have they affected your practice?

6. There is a thought among some church members that nuns and priests should be allowed to marry… what are your thoughts on this touchy issue?

7. There seems to be fewer priests and nuns than there were compared to 20+ years ago? Do you agree with the generalization… and how does this change your job? Does it make it more difficult… and how? Also, are you able to give me figures on how many nuns and priests service Aroostook County/ Maine now… as opposed to when you first started?

I am getting pretty excited about this and the idea of a little travel sounds excellent! So we shall see how things go! :)

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