Tuesday, December 19, 2006

San Mateo, Bungee Jumping Nun..at 88yrs old

I read this posting about Sister Clarice Lolich who is over 88 years old and has quite a thirst for "experiences".

"Lolich is a nun with the Community of the Holy Spirit, a Catholic order she and 15 other sisters created when they left the more restrictive Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in 1970.
It was within this new community that she was able to do something unusual for a nun — work outside of the order. For years she was employed by NASA and broke the stereotype of what people typically associate with nuns. In her 70s, she bungee-jumped, and skydived on her 80th birthday — her third time.
At 88, Lolich's wonder of spirituality and nature continues. She said she has had a full life, yet she pushes forward, hungry for more experiences. She is a recent survivor of stomach cancer, and credits prayer as her driving force.
"When people praise me for what I do, I recognize that it is God who works in me," Lolich said."

Okey, Sister's experiences are very admirable, although after reading the article, I'm still perplexed as to what her Order's mission actually is. Maybe I've missed something.

It appears she left the Order (which she entered under her own free will) to found an Order less restrictive. I'm okey with that I guess. Perhaps the Dominican order wasn't in God's plan for her, but just what does the "Community Of the Holy Spirit" do? ... and in San Mateo no less. That's a pretty nice neighborhood.

"In 1976, she became an education specialist for NASA at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Mountain View. For six years, Lolich traveled alone in a white work van filled with moon rocks, space suits and models of spacecraft, visiting school assemblies and classroom programs.
After that, she visited inner city schools for NASA's headquarters in Washington, D.C., for another six years.
Now, she volunteers for NASA Ames at its Educator Resource Center, participates with Habitat for Humanity, and teaches spirituality and space science at the Elmwood Detention Center for Women.
Her friend Tom Clausen said she can approach just about anybody on various topics because of her passion to expand her own knowledge of the universe.
"She has this great respect for what the holiness of God has shown in the creation," he said. Clausen is the director of elementary and secondary Education for NASA Ames. "She reflects her wonderment in these things, and it fits together so perfectly."

So... what does her order do? I don't mean that facetiously, I really would like to know.

Ahhh, here we go. I found this profile of Sister Clarice Lolich

Science teacher to grade school students. That pretty cool. She also travels quite a bit.

In her lifetime of teaching science, and seeking to bring the wonder and opportunity of learning to people in various walks of life, Lolich has traveled the world and earned many awards. She has been named Aerospace Education's Teacher Educator of the Year by the American Society for Aerospace Education; earned the Special Recognition Award from NASA's Urban Community Enrichment Program; was given the Aviation Educator of the Year Award by the California Association of Aeronautics Educators; and received NASA's Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aerospace Education Services Program. Last but not least, the Commonwealth of Kentucky commissioned her Honorable Kentucky Colonel. She has traveled to war-torn Bosnia and helped bring some sanity to children not able to go to school, living in refugee camps. She has been to Antarctica, and is looking forward to her trip in July to Tex Mallaqia, in Puebla, Mexico, where she will teach 60 children for two weeks about planets, math and science. She says the most important part of her teaching is "the hands-on experiences."

Of course with this self molded community of nuns, comes some reflections of change in the church.

"She also wants to see change in the Catholic Church.

oh oh... here we go.

"I want the church to be relevant," said Lolich who still has close ties with the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. "I want priests to be allowed to marry if they wish, I want women priests, and bishops selected by the people. I may not see those happen, but I think it will be possible that you will. "



  1. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Sr. Clarice. My friend who will be missed.
    Follow her love for Christ and for the passion of your heart. She will inspire you as she has already been an inspiration in my life.

  2. Anonymous11:18 PM

    I met Sr. Clarice when I first started teaching earth science and biology. She was so helpful and the perfect teacher. She loved all God's creation and was enthusiastic in show and tell of all things science. She wanted everyone to be excited about life and she herself was the best example. christopher

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