by Kleitia Vaso

Nuns are not something I think about every day. Yet, when I see one walking in the street, I always carefully look at her in order to somewhat crack the shell of mystery surrounding their being. Their existence, as I imagine it based on films rather than reality, seems both extremely difficult and easy: difficult to give up the pleasures of the earthly world which in my humble opinion are all we know of happiness, and easy because basically everything that causes stress is avoided. More or less, the world I imagine can both appear as a safe, peaceful haven – aesthetically, I envision it as a green oasis – away from the stressful world where someone can read, talk, eat, and, I guess, pray…or a hellishly boring place filled with frustrated, lonely, and physically uncultivated women, a place that seems to be the fulfillment of severely masochistic people’s desires. Sometimes, when I happen to see nuns, frightened by some dark thought or tired at the thought of all the details of  daily life, I think that nunnery might be a nice retirement plan. Can someone join a convent when one is really old?!

I was therefore very childishly curious and excited when so many of them came to Tirana as a result of the Pope’s visit. Although there were many of them, from different countries and ethnicities, what was immediately noticeable was their (a generalization, as exceptions always exist) incredible physical awkwardness. I couldn’t help but think – despite a slight fear of committing blasphemy based on feelings absorbed by history and others rather than an inherent belief – that their physical appearance must have certainly helped them in choosing divine rather than earthly love. These women, I suppose, are looked upon as the pinnacle of purity, moral strength, and all values upheld as positive. And, I also presume that they, somewhat, decide and shape the meaning of concepts like morality, purity, charity, etc, by words and examples. I have the sneaking suspicion that all their lives devoted to God and others fulfill the deviated need for earthly happiness and love; but, unlike Eve, they might not have what it takes to invite the serpent to tempt them. In short, they have not been tested. And this applies to their lesser pedestrian sisters and brothers: the self-claimed morally superior people who freely judge others. I suspect that part of the reason for their moral purity is the devil’s neglect of them.

by Kleitia Vaso