by Fr. Nicholas A.
Marziani, Jr., D.Min.

I am no aficionado of late-night talk shows, so I would have missed this little tidbit, probably best left “unattended” given its unfortunate message. Turns out that Jimmy Kimmel used the occasion of the recent Met Gala’s “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” event to poke some “light-hearted” (or maybe just plain rude and ignorant) “fun” at traditionally attired vowed religious women in the Church. I personally prefer that fuller reference to the ladies among us generally simply referred to as “nuns”. Or even just “sisters”, like our local Sisters of St. Joseph with whom I often have the privilege of celebrating Mass at their Motherhouse on St. George Street.

Mr. William McGurn in his Wall Street Journal column “Main Street” made mention of Mr. Kimmel’s less than gracious reference to a photograph of a real “sister” by the name of Patricia Pompa, who is the principal of a Catholic academy for girls in Morristown, N.J., the very institution that two of his own daughters attend. Kimmel called her by a fictitious name, but essentially “dissed” religious women everywhere by calling this dear lady’s habit “the latest from JCPenny.” Very funny. Yea, right.

McGurn went on to speak of the incredible sacrifices that Sr. Patricia and her sisters engage in as they minister to the academic, emotional, and spiritual needs of their charges, 250 girls in all. Having spent just a few years as a part-time instructor at our own local St. Gerard Campus, personally teaching approximately fifty or sixty pregnant and newly-minted young mothers over that time span (a drop in the bucket of the thousands and thousands of young women that have been served over the three going on four decades at their U.S. 1 location), I can only stand in awe at what the Religious Teachers Filippini in New Jersey achieve in their own setting.

I very much appreciate Mr. McGurn’s concluding observation. If Kimmel and friends could look beyond their own prejudices and caricatures, “they would be astonished by the strength, selflessness and accomplishment they would find” among the sisters and laity alike, in a sacred mission, to build strong women. A hearty “Amen” from this relative novice in a similar endeavor.

God bless and love you all,

Fr. Nick