Religious Tolerance

In our continuing video series Ask A Nun, Sister Nancy Dawson, General Superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, answers the question “What are your attitudes toward other religions?”



Sister Nancy Dawson:

Well, I’m an instructor at YSU [Youngstown State University] in the Philosophy and Religion Department., and I would have to say that my idea of other religions is the idea that we have more in common thank we have differences.

And I really enjoy the students – who come from all ages, ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, racial backgrounds – and I try to show them the commonality and invite them to open their hearts to hear the beliefs and the stories, and the rituals, and the community life of all of these other religions, and to share their symbols and their artifacts.

I also try to teach them that when they respond to differences they can do that in a non-violent way and without dualistic thinking that one is right, and one in wrong. I teach them that God can be named many things from many different religions – Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Brahman — but that we need to listen to their stories no matter what name we give to that reality.

I find teaching a wonderful way to positively influence young people today and I never cease to become a learner in those classes from the students I teach. Truly, I learn a great deal from them and I’m very grateful for the gifts they give to me and for the gifts God give me to give to them.

Wonderful question, thank you!

Contact the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown at [email protected] or 330-792-7636.

Do All Nuns Have to Live in A Convent?

Welcome to our “Ask a Nun” series. Today, Sister Norma discusses a question we received from several readers: “Do all nuns have to live in a convent?”

Many nuns live in a convent where there is a chapel and other rooms that are shared for daily living activities such as the kitchen,dining room, laundry rooms, living rooms. Space similar to space shared by a family.

There are various living arrangements. Some nuns live in larger convents of twenty sisters or more and may share some responsibilities together.

Some Sisters live together in small groups.They share the responsibility for daily activities such as cooking and cleaning. They make time to pray together even though there may not be a chapel in the home.
There are situations where sisters live alone-at least for a time. A Sister may be serving in a location where there are no other sisters nearby.

A Sister may choose to live alone for personal reasons. This can be arranged through communication with the Community. Even though a Sister may be living alone in an apartment, she
remains connected to the larger Ursuline Community through her relationships with other Sisters and by attending the regular Community gatherings.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in a Convent?

Welcome to our “Ask a Nun” series. Today, Sister Norma discusses some advntages and disadvantages of living in a convent.

A convent is a house where a group of Sisters share their lives and their space with each other. There is a chapel in the central part of the house because our relationship with God is the center of our lives.

The convent where I live is in Canfield, Ohio where there are 30 of us Ursuline Sisters living together. I see many more advantages for living in a convent than disadvantages:I have a spacious private room which looks out on the woods. I often enjoy the sunrise from my window. At the same time, I enjoy the presence and interaction of other women of faith -women of all ages.Their support and encouragement helps me to maintain a healthy, happy life.Our life style is simple and fulfilling as we gather for prayer and Eucharist and spend time together when we are not engaged in ministry.

At times, I experience the schedule as a disadvantage. For example, the individual sister does not choose the schedule for prayer and meals. The schedule is determined by everyone talking together and deciding what is best for the group life.