Nun responds to Vatican with song of protest

Sister Kathy Sherman of the Congregation of St. Joseph responded to the harsh assessment of women religious in the US with a song that has become the anthem of support for the sisters. Reported in the New York Times

When Kathy Sherman was in college during the final years of the Vietnam War, she played the guitar with friends in her dorm room and sang folk and protest songs over bowls of popcorn. They sang Peter, Paul and Mary and Joan Baez, and some friends said her voice reminded them of Judy Collins.

Ms. Sherman graduated and joined an order of Roman Catholic nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of La Grange, but she never stopped making music. Last spring, when the Vatican issued a harsh assessment of the group representing a majority of American nuns accusing them of “serious doctrinal problems,” Sister Sherman, 60, said she responded the way she always does when she feels something deeply. She wrote a song.

The words popped into her head two days after the Vatican’s condemnation, as she was walking down the hallway in her order’s ministry center, feeling hurt and angry: “Love cannot be silenced,” she thought. “It never has. It never will.” She went into the center’s dining room and tried out the lyrics on some of her sisters. They liked the message.

“Love Cannot be Silenced” became an anthem, not just for the nuns but also for laypeople who turned out for vigils in front of churches and cathedrals across the country this year to support them. In a voice sweet and resolute, Sister Sherman sang, “We are faithful, loving and wise, dancing along side by side, with a Gospel vision to lead us and Holy Fire in our eyes” — a lyric that evokes the nuns’ novel forging of spirit with steel.

Listen to the song and comments by Sister Kathy here.

Lyrics to “Love Cannot Be Silenced”

Love cannot be silenced.

It never has.

It never will.

Let justice roll like a river from the oceans to the hills.

Rise up Sisters. Rise up.

And stand with you your heads held high.

We are faithful, loving, and wise.

Dancing along side by side.

With a Gospel vision to lead us.

And Holy Fire in our eyes

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