CREATIVE SEXUALITY – Memoirs of a Catholic Nun
Author: Barbaralie Stiefermann, OSF
Type of Book: Paperback
Publication Date: 2014
Publisher: School Sisters of St. Francis
Genre: Biography, Non-Fiction
Length: 154 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
* I received a free autographed copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I have a deep fascination and curiosity about people’s lives. Even so, when I was approached online about writing a review for “Creative Sexuality : Memoirs of a Catholic Nun” I had to think about it before I agreed to review the book. I was not sure exactly what this book would be about or if it would be something that might interest me. In the end, I agreed to read and review it and I am very glad I did. This book is NOT all about “Creative Sexuality”. It is the story of Barbaraeli Stiefermann’s life from childhood through to her present age of 83.
I am always fascinated by the choices people make and how they live their lives. Before deciding to review this book I had never read a biography of a nun and my curiosity was piqued.
Barbaralie Stiefermann was born in 1932 and this is the date that you would assume her autobiography would begin. Not so. Instead this book begins with a brief history of the town of Frankenstein, Missouri where Barbaralie was born and raised.
Starting her autobiography with descriptions not of her own family, but of her community is very telling. It illustrates the importance that she places on being part of something bigger than herself. If I had stopped reading after this first chapter I believe I would still have had at least a partial understanding of what makes her tick.
For those of us who have little experience with religion and absolutely zero knowledge of what a calling to God must entail, this is a particularly interesting book.
Barbaraeli was the second child of seven (one sibling died after only living for three very brief days) in her loving German/Irish Catholic family. She had plans for her life. Plans that did not include becoming a nun.
No matter what plans she may have thought she had, Barbaraeli started to hear the call to become a nun. “As I reflect on my call to religious life, I vividly remember the pain and struggle in responding. When I began hearing that call deep inside me, I did everything to smother the choice for a vocation to religious life.” When her pastor Father Rost told her that he thought God was calling her, her response was to tell him: “Father, even if God is calling me, I will not answer.”
Obviously she did decide to join the School Sisters of St. Francis and remains a ‘Sister’ to this day.
Whether or not you are a religious person (I am not) this book is brilliantly written and offers a rare glance into the life of a nun. Barbaraeli entered the ‘Sisters’ at the age of 14 and had many interesting life experiences. As she got older she was a witness to many changes within the Catholic Church, many of which are outlined in this book.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. It will make you laugh, it will make you shake your head in both wonder and bewilderment, and it will make you cry. This book is a testament to a life lived with beauty and grace. Barbaraeli Stiefermann is a wonder.
“What a deprived people we become when we indulge only in business, technology and science.”
“I feel strongly that when we are deprived of the power of expression, we will express ourselves in a drive for unharnessed and destructive power. It is through our creative powers, through the imagination, that peace will ultimately be achieved.”
* Proceeds from the purchase of this book go toward the support of retired School Sisters of St. Francis.