I've just got a new TV/entertainment system cabinet because my cousin is becoming a nun!
Uh... I haven't bought it in celebration of her upcoming novitiate.
In August she's entering the convent for her three months of contemplation/extra meditation/xtreme nunning and as such she's been busily giving away her superfluous worldly goods*.
I expect I'm supposed to say I was surprised when she told me what she was planning but I honestly wasn't.
That's not to say I've ever looked at her and thought 'girl is gonna end up a nun'.
She's an attractive, accomplished and personable woman with all sorts of life paths open to her and whilst she's been a practicing Catholic for years she's never been overtly religious or expressed any prior intentions in this direction.
But I can see how it makes sense for her.
And she's one of the few people I know who has the personality, the temperament and the sense of moral responsibility to carry it through.
She's been a teacher for almost 10 years and in that time she's helped a heck of a lot of people, in the course of her work at the school, within her community and parish, and by donating her time to teaching disadvantaged children in other countries on working holidays.
She's been on several pilgrimages with our Grandmother** which I thought she was undertaking predominantly as an aide/chaperone to help 80-to-85-year-old Grandma get around the less accessible parts of the Holy Land, but they obviously stuck with her personally.
She's always been a spiritual person, not a preachy person but an introspective/meditative one and she has a firm sense of social justice.
When I said 'moral responsibility' I didn't mean it in the self-righteousness or blinkered morality way that some might use it, I meant that she is the kind of person to take responsibility for her own actions, to act for the good of others and to take a religious position seriously as an act of service to the community as well as to the church.
I think she'll do well in the vocation if she chooses to take vows and she'll do a lot to help others who need help without asking anything of them in return***.
I'm happy for her.
I am also not unhappy for me and my new TV/entertainment system cabinet.
I've been meaning to get one for ages but never really got around to it...
*most of her furniture, kitchen bits, books and DVDs, anything without deep emotional or personal meaning
**who has entered the pilgrimage phase of being an Italian/Irish matriarch
***up to and including not expecting people to pay lip service to religion in order to receive help, that is not her style