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The Ninth Hour


A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.
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Discuss The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott:
How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?

Created: 09/01/18

Replies: 4

Posted Sep. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?

How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? What does sister Lucy mean when she tells Sally that "If we could live without suffering...we'd find no peace in heaven"? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?


Posted Sep. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 59

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RE: How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?

I think the Sisters did as they did for the greater good and the glory of God. They entered the community, by and large, knowing what devotion and sacrifice it entailed. The Sisters also know a disciplined life not common to a lay person. Sally saw what the nuns did but did not have the depth of devotion or love of humanity, perhaps, for the rest of it. Being exposed to this "career" and the good it did for others was, no doubt, captivating to Sally. Clearly there was more to the job than just nursing skill.


Posted Sep. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 93

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RE: How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?

The Sisters knew the sacrifices they would be making to serve their community. Their religious faith helped them to fulfill their duties. Sally's faith doesn't seem as strong as the nuns and she helped the community for different reasons. I think she just liked helping the nuns but really didn't want to be a nun.


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 167

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RE: How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?

These sisters joined their order with a firm background of faith, fully aware of what their lives within a religious community would be and what would be required of them. They were dedicated and committed to Christ and saw their Community service as service to him directly. Each was, in her own way, directly tied to and united with Him. Sally's introduction to religious service was largely based on the activities which took place in the basement of the nunnery. She was, in many ways, protected from the actual duties and sacrifices of the nuns who reached out into the community on a daily basis. She was not given, from youth, an accurate picture of convent life and the commitment it required, but rather experienced it through the cleaning of garments, the pressing of frocks. Not reality at all.


Posted Sep. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 40

RE: How did the Sisters' religious faith help them when serving the community? Why do you suppose Sally has trouble incorporating this level of faith into her own life?

Sally was raised in the religious community. She did not live “in the world” really so she had no idea what choices might be available to her. The act of choosing convent life was not the same for her as it was for the actual sisters who helped raise her. When she thought she made the choice to be a nun, she did not actually understand what it really meant. On the train trip she realized she could not be what she was required to be to live a life in a convent. We do not get any information about Sally’s religious feeling of sacrifice or piety, so we cannot evaluate whether she might choose a convent later after she becomes a fully developed person.


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