Nun cannot be silenced

"What it called all of us to do is embrace the reality of who we are and to stand firm in that, which is not antagonistic," she said. "It's helped us to name more clearly who we are, and to claim our own truth, in love."

After she recorded "Love Cannot Be Silenced," a novice at the congregation — a civil rights attorney with an aptitude for social media — put it on YouTube, overlaid with photos of demonstrations in support of the sisters. It spread.

Since The New York Times story, it has spread even more.

Last week, Sister Sherman heard from an Episcopal church in Seattle asking to do a choral arrangement. A man who works with the poor in India wrote to say it would give them hope. A self-professed atheist wrote to say the song resonated even for him.

Not all the online response was enthusiastic.

A blogger fulminated against the "singing lefty nun." Some online commenters sniffed at the quality of the song.

"Love can be silenced," sniped one commenter. "But apparently heresy cannot no matter how hard the Vatican tries."

"There really are people who don't want to see women, especially women religious, involved in issues that are political," Sister Sherman said, mildly. "I just think there's a very strong connection between what happens in the world and in my faith."

That's who she is.

Before I left, she sat down on her piano bench and played what she calls a song of affirmation, not protest, singing in a clear soprano voice:

Rise up, sisters, rise up

And stand with your heads held high

mschmich@tribune.com

CHICAGO

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