Forming Christ in Russia
An archbishop friend of mine who speaks perfect Russian was in Russia not long ago. He wandered to a town in the southern part of the country and into a large church. The church was empty except for a coffin and three nuns on either side. Evidently they were praying for the person who was before them. The archbishop knew that someone had followed him. Afraid that he had been followed by a government agent, he decided not to talk to the sisters. They were dressed in a crazy-quilt combination of rags. Evidently they had collected thousands of pieces of different-colored cloth and made habits. They were recognizable, even in Russia.
In order to find out who had followed him the archbishop said to the man, “Someone dead, eh?”
The man said, “Yes, she's my sister.”
So the archbishop then read a funeral service for her. Then this man brought him to a small walled yard at the edge of the city, where there was a hole in the lower part of the wall. He went in and talked to several sisters; he heard beautiful choral singing coming from another room. He said it was heavenly.
He asked one of the sisters, “Whose voices are these?”
She said, “These are our novices, our new vocations.”
“May I see them?” he asked.
‘'No, no one may see them,” replied the sister.
He said, “What is your purpose?” She said, “We live in a godless world and our purpose is to bring back Christ. The only way that we can ever bring him back is by imitating the Blessed Mother. People drop rags in that hole you saw in the wall and drop in pieces of food; that's how we live. Out of those rags we make a habit. And we have dedicated ourselves to the Blessed Mother who formed Christ in her body. We beg her every day to help form Christ in us, that he may once again return to our country.”