The other day I saw news floating around that Lifetime TV is producing a new reality show called “The Sisterhood”, which will follow five twenty-somethings as they discern a possible vocation to religious life.

Note: Not the cast of Sisterhood. (CNA image)

Note: Not the cast of Sisterhood. (CNA image)

Why I’m excited:

As a young, single Catholic woman, I almost feel like I know more about the priesthood than about religious life.

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I have heard countless homilies about the need for priests and the vocation of the priesthood and have several friends who have been in seminary at some point, but I very rarely hear about the religious life for women unless I specifically seek it out.

For the most part, I get it. The Church absolutely needs more priests than it currently has- she literally needs more bodies (of men) that are able to distribute sacraments to people as current priests age and vocations wane (though the priesthood is much deeper and more personal than a body fulfilling a duty).

But if the number of priests needs to increase, so does the number of consecrated religious women. The constant prayers and spiritual motherhood of such women compliment the works of a priest, as men and women always compliment each other in relationships. By their nature as women, sisters nurture the Church in ways men simply can not.

Maybe this show could shed some much-needed light on the vocation, and inspire more young women to discern religious life themselves. Maybe. (But I gotta say, Imagine Sisters is currently my favorite movement promoting the religious life.)

 

Do nuns still wear hats like this? I want to join that order.

Do nuns still wear hats like this? I want to join that order.

But here’s why I’m nervous:

Let’s be real (pun not intended), reality T.V. loves conflict.

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What’s the point of sticking men and women on a deserted island with physical challenges and having them vote each other off, if not for the ensuing conflict?

What’s the point of watching Bridezillas choose their wedding dress with their in-laws, if not to revel in the conflict?

What’s the point of having one woman choose between dozens of pre-selected men, if not for the conflict?

Ok by now you probably get the point. Somehow, I don’t think Lifetime T.V. will be content watching these young women spend a lot of time in the chapel and in spiritual direction and helping the elderly, which is probably what most aspirants to these particular orders do.

These nuns would make for exciting television. (Credit lucyfrench123 via Flickr CC by 2.0)

These nuns would make for exciting television. (Credit lucyfrench123 via Flickr CC by 2.0)

The last thing I would want as I’m trying to navigate God’s will for my life is a camera crew following me around trying to stir the pot even more.

Hopefully, these sisters and potential sisters-to-be are spiritually and emotionally secure enough to handle the stress. I know the A&E network ran a similar show a while back in 2006, Called God or the Girl, which followed four seminarians discerning the priesthood (only one became a priest). I didn’t watch that mini series, although the title makes me wonder about the focus of the show.

Maybe my criticism of the concept of this reality show is all for naught, and Lifetime will truly respect and celebrate women religious, just in time for the Year of Consecrated Life in 2015. 

But considering the secular media’s track record with understanding (read: completely botching) Catholicism, I’m staying skeptical until proven wrong.

The Sisterhood is premiering on Tuesday, November 25, at 10pm ET/PT on Lifetime.