Sister Caridad Inda doesn’t really have a full-time home. Appropriately named “Charity” in Spanish, her life is one of service, and she goes to where those need her most. However, this week she is defending her fellow sisters. She has just driven nearly five hours from one of her bases in Davenport, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri to demonstrate her support of the 57,000 nuns in the U.S. accused of straying far from Roman Catholic doctrine.
Born in Mexico, Sr. Inda has faithfully taught Spanish to American clergy through her non-profit CIRIMEX, and she’s also been a devout nun in the Catholic Church for 60 years.
“There are different points of view in terms of where you stand,” says Sr. Inda. “A person in the hierarchy looks at things differently than the people in the pew. It’s important to be more understanding of others.”
Nearly 1,000 nuns, representing different communities across the country, are expected to be in attendance at the national assembly, which starts Tuesday, August 7 at 5pm in St. Louis and ends on August 10.
“There is a clash of two world views,” says Jim FitzGerald, executive director of Call to Action, one of the groups present today at the assembly. “One from the Vatican saying you’ve got to follow the rules, and the other view of we stand with those individuals in the margins and we minister them.”
He says he feels the nuns are the backbone of the Church who have a long history of visiting the poor and oppressed, and they are being faulted for placing an emphasis on the poor and not enough emphasis on eradicating abortion and same-sex marriage.
Sr. Inda says she knows about the differences among people, because she’s traveled much throughout her life and says we all have lived through unique experiences.
“Some sisters have been brought up in a very traditional way, and some are still wearing habits,” she says. “We have people who are more liberal and more conservative, but I think all the sisters are really trying to follow the Gospel and the direction that came from the Vatican too.”
She says on the whole they want to continue to listen to the poor.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all these years,” says Sr. Inda. “We need to be concerned with those issues, and we need to be strongly in favor of change in that direction. We want the Church to change in its view, and that’s really what we’re here about.”
She adds she is not sure there will be an answer in four days.
“I think this is going to be a long drawn out thing,” says Sr. Inda. It’s not going to be easy to get to an answer…but we hope this is a step to more understanding of ourselves, and what the future holds, and what we need to do about that.”