A few weeks ago I mentioned the Carmelite monastery in Mobile (here). The last four nuns were moving out, having grown old and infirm and in need of a good deal of assistance. I've been meaning to follow up on that story.
As with many religious orders, new vocations have not been arriving for many years, and so it seemed that when these last nuns died or grew to ill to remain, the Carmel would be finished. But through a complex series of providential events, there is a new group of nuns arriving to take their places. They are from Vietnam: in a beautiful turn of providence, a country within which the U.S. fought a terrible war against totalitarian atheism is now sending the bright green shoots of spiritual renewal to its former enemy, no doubt entirely unaware of the real significance of what it is doing. I don't know the whole story; perhaps part of it is that the Communist government is not terribly unhappy to get rid of a few religious people from time to time. Apparently it took a while, but the young nuns were eventually granted permission to leave.
I visited the monastery last weekend. I'd like to say more but once again an evening has slipped away from me, so for now I'll just post this picture of three pictures, one of the elderly departing nuns (with the Archbishop of Mobile) and two of the new group, taken before they left Vietnam. (They arrived here last Sunday). I'm not sure whether it will come through here, but I found it hard to look at the original pictures without smiling. (This is a photo of a bulletin board in the monastery on which the pictures were posted.)