What’s the Point of It All?

Almost by accident (I use Google Alerts), I found myself mentioned in a recent Church Times article about the use of Social Media, mainly by Anglican clergy and academics. Along with the Church Mouse, Digitalnun seemed to be consigned to a list of ‘old has beens’ which made me smile. It reminded me of Wired back in the early 2000s prophesying the end of blogging. What I think the article and several of a similar nature have made clear, however, is that attitudes are changing. We are more aware of the limitations and pitfalls of any kind of internet engagement, and without a coherent idea of why we are here and what we hope to achieve (if anything), it is all ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’ — especially in Social Media.

As a community we would say we know why we engage with people via the internet but we are also conscious that what we have done in the past may no longer be relevant. For the last few years we have concentrated on blogging and Social Media interaction, mainly because our Broadband is unreliable and we are not very good at visual images and videos. I still think there is value in such interaction, but the chances of having a good discussion on Twitter or Facebook, the two platforms beloved of the older user, are probably fewer than in the past because we are all tending to react rather than reflect; and trolls rear their ugly heads in some surprising quarters.

Overhauling our websites recently (publication still a little way off because of the complications of Cor Orans), I came to the conclusion that we need to revisit some of the things that we adopted early on but then gave up. For example, we more or less ceased podcasting when D. Teresa died in 2010, but podcasting is now growing exponentially and we are thinking about resuming on a regular basis. It is definitely a favourite with the under 35s and sits well with our interest in serving the needs of the blind and visually impaired. There is a catch, however: the traffic trundling past on the A465. Can we find a quiet place to record? The ear is a delicate instrument and picks up all kinds of sounds. We do not want to inflict aural agony on the listener, so we need to think about it.

The big question, of course, is whether this activity is really doing what we hope it is doing. We have always seen it as an expression of our monastic hospitality. It begins in prayer and leads back to prayer, and we hope that en route, as it were, it brings the reader/tweeter/friend into contact with the living God, even if he/she would not necessarily think of it in those terms. There are many people who have no contact with a monastery, or whose contact is at the most superficial level. By bringing the monastery into cyberspace, we hope that we can deepen that monastic experience and make it more available to others. That is where you come in.

What we would like to ask you is what you would like to gain from our websites and interaction on Social Media. Please don’t ask for lots of photos of nuns in olde-worlde habits or the live-streaming of the Divine Office. We are a small community and there are others who can supply such ‘needs’ more easily than we can. What we are asking you to do, I suppose, is to think about why you bother to read this blog, visit our websites, or interact with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn. You can help us plan for the future, and we would be immensely grateful.


118 thoughts on “What’s the Point of It All?”

  1. You are a moment of calm in a world of chaos. I don’t read every day but when I do, I enjoy the peace that, to me, comes from your writings. I wont deny it was a certain monastic dog who brought me to you but I am sure you don’t mind that.
    I’m not a regular church goer at all, I freely admit my most sacred moments are experienced on early mornings deep in the countryside when out with my camera, just being, feeling the rhythm of life and death. I will continue to read and if you re introduce podcasting then I will listen – just the same – not every day. Its nice to know though that there is somewhere that is that still voice of calm, thank you

  2. Thank you. I read your iBenedictines.org each morning along with Sacred Space and Ignation Spirituality and the daily mass readings in my missal as part of my morning attempt at prayer. It all helps to feel connected with a wider Christian world. Not a solitary rather weak Christian but part of a global belief movement.

    • Same here, subtracting Ignatius and adding the Walsingham Facebook cell. Oh, and Living Space rather than its parent Sacred Space – it’s getting a bit old and flakey but Fr Doyle’s excellent Bible commentaries don’t date. I never use videos or podcasts, not enough time or privacy to sit through them.

      • Quick PS: I always repost your daily Facebook prayer list in hopes that those of my friends who believe will at least put an extra voice to our “Amens”. God bless.

  3. I love the idea of a daily podcast from you. I am a retired broadcaster so I know the immediacy, the direct contact of the human voice. I rely on your prayers first thing in the morning to start me praying and because of the thoroughness of your research…what has happened in the world since I last looked at it. A podcast, just a short one, would have even more benefits. You would have to develop good broadcast techniques, though. It’s a whole new world. If I could be of any help please let me know. The podcast “pray as you go” is quite good, although sometimes the readers have poor technique and sound rather disconnected from the listener.

    • Thank you. There are about 80 podcasts by various members of the community on our main website. I doubt we could manage a daily podcast. But I take your point about technique, indeed I do!

  4. What I love about monasticism is it’s simplicity, the ability to cut through the noise of the everyday (and indeed the noisy internet) with simple wisdom. I think this is the reason that short tweets and blogs work so well, video, imagery, all add to the noise – short daily quotes, ordinary stories – a refreshing break amidst the chaos. I think a podcast, with the same content – ordinary life, (cucumbers!) would be a great idea and I don’t think background noise matters too much, it all helps with putting us all in touch.

    • Thank you. We have about 80 short podcasts on our main website but we are thinking about doing more. What we don’t want to do is to become gimmmicky, or just do things because everyone else is.

  5. For me it’s a stopping point. A place to consider what is said using the internet as a tool. A view coming from a different approach which for me widens things.
    It gives the opportunity to share what is said if I feel that way inclined.
    Also not forgetting the important ministry of the Bros and their take on life from a four paws view

  6. I find this site a place of calmness encouraging reflection.

    I am not of a Catholic background – not even High Anglican; more lower than a worm’s belly Anglican – and I do not understand everything I read here.
    I sometimes miss your point but I am not alone because you told somebody else the same just a couple of weeks ago. It’s nice to have company :0)

    Thank you for what you do.

  7. My Spiritual Director recognises that my church often causes me so much stress through various conflicts that it is spiritually draining. Along with visits to her, I am spiritually fed on the Internet – by you, Andrew Nunn, James Martin, Kevin Codd etc. I am now 72 amd no doubt as I get older churchgoing will become problematic anyway. Thank you.

  8. As I have mentioned before I am an “honest doubter” where organised religion is concerned but I find your posts informative and thought-provoking. I am honoured to have you as a FB Friend. I prefer to read than to listen, as my hearing isnt brilliant and the volume control on my laptop seems to have taken a vow of silence. Please keep the posts coming if it is possible as I personally derive immense spiritual benefit from them, and even the ones I don’t agree with make me think about why I don’t agree with them. (I hope this makes sense).

  9. Dear nuns I read the prayers on Facebook everyday. I consider the like button to be an Amen button 🙂 This has I turn helped me to ensure I use the Amen button rather than make ‘witty’ comments about other people’s posts. It is a little to easy to be negative or sceptical online. So thank you. I like the fact that reading those prayers and adding my own either in writing or in my head I feel I am part of a wider community, all joining our prayers together, even though we may be praying at different times of the day. I read some but not all blogs and I particularly like those that impart some wisdom about how to live. (Which are most of them). I’m not sure I know how to listen to a podcast (do you just add them to Facebook?) but short videos on Facebook would be lovely perhaps short readings, prayers or poems. If you have an iPad (other smart devices are available) then this would be really easy. If you’re not sure how to do anything digital then my advice is to ask a teenager 🙂 I think different mediums are good but it is good to share in the usual places so people don’t have to go searching. Eg I only access what you put on Facebook although that might take me off to the website etc.

  10. I am like a sponge, or thirsty ground, longing for all that draws me towards our gracious Lord. I was to become a Benedictine Oblate the beginning of June, but the woman I care for was taken to hospital in an ambulance a few days before the date of my oblation, and I felt that my only appropriate response was to be with her. Next year! I check my e-mail each morning to see if you have posted anything, and if you have, I read it with great interest. I appreciate learning more about lived Benedictine experience, and I value your thoughtful and prayerful responses to what is happening in our world. I am grateful for what you offer us now and will be open to and appreciative of whatever you choose to offer us in the future. Thank you!

  11. You are a voice of common sense, kindness and gracefulness. You bring a pithy down-to-earthness to twitter, community, health, faith which makes me smile and turns me Godward in the midst of a complicated life. By means of small-sized postings you flag up the bigger picture and help me to feel joined-in with something immensely important.
    Personally, I wouldn’t access poscasts because I can’t manage ‘noise’, but I love the ‘big things in small packages’ which your tweets and blogs offer.
    Many thanks for all that you contribute.

  12. It is 0606 drinking coffee, checking weather and news. Reading about Israel rescuing “White Helmets” from Syria, finding out who they are, (some will be coming to Canada) what they do. My first reaction was to pray for them, then came to you. I now pray more, quite often just a short prayer of thanks or to help some situation. For this, I am thankful you are there. The prayer on face book, and the blog are 2 things for the beginning of the day (4 hours behind you)

  13. Like those other commentators, I find it important to be connected to others in prayer, and the daily prayers and reflections are an excellent way to be in communion. I value and learn from the Benedictine “take” on things, especially a perspective on time… it’s always rich and stimulating. And not old fashioned to my eye!

  14. Happy with what you do now and the thought you put into it. I was at recent presentation by the head of a national polling company who still put Facebook as the most effective communication channel, so you may be doing the right thing already!

  15. Replying briefly from my Parish Office. I do listen, albeit very occasionally, to podcasts but much prefer your prayer intentions which I then add as I say my Offices. The blogs I always try to read as well as all the comments. The latter you don’t get with a podcast, and it isn’t so easy to ‘wind back’ with a podcast as it is to slip back and re-read and inwardly digest a blog.

    I have loved the contributions from the beloved hairy brothers and enjoy the interactions on Twitter – they often brighten my day. I’m much less of a fan of Facebook these days especially as some of the political, and to a lesser extent, the religious ones can get nasty. I hark back to the early days of our MonasticLife online community chats in the Calefactory where we discussed a lot of things, requested prayers and shared jokes, and I think that your facebook page has replicated a lot of that, and I’m very grateful for that. Long may you, and it, manage to keep it going.

    Hugs and prayers

    John ‘DomJohn’

    • Thank you. We once ran a Benedictine Forum and asked every Benedictine and Cistercian house in the British Isles if they would be willing to help in any way, e.g moderating one of the subject groups, provided we financed and did all the technical work. Alas, only Douai was willing to help. Eventually we closed it down because we didn’t want it to be ‘our’ forum. I think forums have probably had their day now, but it was an opportunity for oblates of different communities/online enquirers to share ideas in a British context. I don’t think we’d ever try it again! In the meantime, thank you for your encouragement and partcipation in what we do do.

  16. I use PrayAsYouGo and Sacred Space sometimes. I turn to you every day! Your prayer intentions are set to be the first things I see on FB. On Twitter if I’m busy I only check you and BroD. So.. why? The prayer intentions often contain situations I haven’t heard about, and I’m enormously grateful for the sheer range of topics covered (in a short space of time). The blogs sometimes seem to start very “liturgically” or be “saint based”, which isn’t my “preference”, but they invariable contain wisdom for daily life, which IS my preference, and often very challenging. You create an opportunity for me (us) to think differently about things, and if I take it, I am always blessed. Your simple humanity shines through, and I think that’s very helpful , as is your ruthless honesty about your shortcomings. It encourages us to be equally honest. I love the wry humour, which cheers our days. Personally, I seldom listen to podcasts and I don’t do Linkedin or Google+ so I can’t comment about those. Please keep going…

    • Thank you. The liturgical bent of the blog is natural to a Benedictine, I suppose. 😉 It’s really that we are trying to work out whteher there is soemthing we could usefully do that we aren’t doing; and not doing something we are still doing because ‘we’ve always done it’.

  17. As an Orthodox Jew, your blog has been a source of inspiration as to how a sincerely-held religious life can look and feel. I respectfully regard you as a powerful example of “religion done well” (per your recent post about religion & wars & economic development).

    The posts I have found most personally relevant have been the ones about how each of us, as believers in whatever denomination & religion, can make our day-to-day lives reflect that belief more fully, and be the examples we want to see in the world. So if it is at all useful feedback, that is the kind of content I think has widest reach, whether by blog or podcast.

    As I am, for once, commenting, can I express my thanks for the work you put into this?

    • Thank you, Yisroel. I think the thoughtfulness and generosity of your response is a reminder that we can use the internet to reach, and be reached by, people we might never otherwise get to know.

  18. Not sure I’d let Jezebel’s Trumpet knock me off course, dear D. Catherine. It’s a very long time since I found the Church Times interesting let alone helpful. You are graced with the gift of seeing the world around you/us through the eyes of faith, hope and charity, and your posts are immensely enriching and stimulating. I don’t do Facebook, Twitter and the rest, too much noise. Your blog is a true oasis. Of course the Hairy Brethren could stir their stumps a bit more often, but then, they probably can’t see why we miss the point either.
    You can probably work out what strikes a chord with your online community by simply counting the number of reactions posted. Like today, 38 so far! And not a troll in sight.
    Bless you, love and prayers.

  19. I do not usually listen to podcasts but might listen to one from you or Quietnun. I really value your written communications on both Twitter and Facebook, which I read daily. I have been unwell for some time and your writings have helped me to keep in touch with the outside world of faith. For me, the written word is better.

  20. I read your posts first thing when I wake up while I’m having my morning tea. It’s my bit of stillness for the day and time for prayer in larger terms than my brain can put words to that early. My work days are 12 hrs and involve a lot of sadnesses and altered lives. I rely on having your words with me as a support. If you decide to do podcasts I’ll figure out how to listen to them! Thank you.

  21. I love your blog and hope that you keep it up! It would be amazing to also have an occasional podcast, although I do appreciate this might be too much for a small community.

  22. Thank you for all your blogs Sr. For me they are an important part of my social media reading each day. As an Anglican layman, albeit at the Catholic end of Anglicanism you writings give me an insight into the prayer life of a monastic community which is so refreshing compared to much of the wish-washy liturgy that is evident today.Your core commitment to pray daily for any who seek your prayers is an example to any who pray, including myself. The other thing that I appreciate and have learned much from in your twitter presence are the regular glimpses you give us into the Benedictine life and the rule.

    I pray that God will bless you, your community and your work.

  23. Please continue to do what you are doing, as I find your daily prayer intentions and blogs extremely inspirational, and thought-provoking. I have not kept up with the podcasts that I subscribe to for some reason. I suspect that it is due to the added effort of having to download and subsequently listen to the podcasts, and like others have mentioned, podcasts tend to add to the cacophony that is pathognomonic of our world.

    Thank you so much for everything that you do!

  24. I read your blog as a soon to be Anglican Benedictine novice, and so I find your reflections on the Rule and on the various feast days interesting and informative. More generally I appreciate something with a Christian worldview and also that is so carefully and prayerfully written – that in itself is a lovely example to have. I also love the posts from the monastic dogs!

  25. I’m more of a reader than a podcast listener so I hope you keep posting your blogs. By the time of day I would get around to queing up podcast I’m long tired of hearing people talk, so reading is a nice break and allows me to keep my focus a bit more. I read you from the midwestern USA. Thanks for you all you do.

  26. Thank you for what you do. And please don’t change! A well thought out and beautifully crafted piece of writing has numerous advantages over a podcast or video. For instance, being able to return to a sentence which has given pause for thought; no distractions from voice or appearance. In fact, silence, which is a precious commodity these days. So more of the same please! You are certainly the pearl in the oyster for me – in every sense. God bless your endeavours.

  27. Your blog is what “aggiornamento” – remaining deeply rooted in the faith and the Benedictine way without closing your eyes to all the good and bad things the 21st Century is throwing at us- is so good that you ought to try to find other means of spreading your take on things (and of course the deep canine wisdom of Brother Duncan from beyond and Brother Dyfrig) . Your blog has been a part of my daily Lectio Divina for some years now. As someone who drives a lot and does not like most of the stuff spouted on the radio, I am also an avid listener to podcasts and would most certainly welcome one made by you. I understand the A-road near your house is a problem but I very much hope you find a way around that.

  28. Your work is a bright beacon amidst so much that is dark and stormy online. There are very few points of contact that allow a window into how you approach your Faith in such a different way to the rest of us not in a monasctic community. I say few but as far as I know your work is unique thus of huge value to me (and many others).

    A weekly podcast would be a great way to go a little deeper. You could/should still do the written posts which are shorter and more immediate but even an occasional (if weekly is being too greedy) spoken article/podcast/prayer would be something to stick on an mp3 player and ponder – perhaps while on a commute or in some quiet time away from screens…

    • Thank you. Yes, I know our old podcasts were used by people while running/commuting, and it is for such activities that I think we’d resume podcasting. Need to think and pray more, though.

  29. Nothing new to add to the excellent comments made by others. Profound thanks for all you do and may any of your endeavors be blessed.

    P.S. I think I am in the “more if the same” camp as I love the written word and it is so easy to share. I would be more likely to read the transcript of a podcast.

  30. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time & cannot even remember how I found it. I am not a member of any organized church, but I do pray daily. I always find your words thought provoking, & never mean spirited. I admire greatly that those in your community have dedicated themselves to a monastic life and seek to encourage all of us outside of that world. Podcasts are now what blogs used to be I suppose. I like the written word & the clarity of thought. I will add you to my Facebook feed so that I can share you with a wider audience. I’m far away from you and your daily world but I believe God put you in front of me for a reason, so here I am. Thanks so much for your good work.

  31. I think of myself as moderately techie but I definitely do more reading than listening, and would probably not access a podcast.
    Coming as I do from a completely different baseline from you, I appreciate both your FB posts and your blogs for their humour and for their ability to provoke thought and discussion, and to give me access to a wider range of viewpoints than I normally meet. So please count this non-believer as one of your ‘followers’, and keep up the good work!

  32. I appreciate your blog posts for their calm, rational and thoughtful tone. I am a convert and find a lot of online Catholic content beset by division and sometimes unedifying hostility between factions. Your posts are so refreshing that I seek them out, even in a busy and stressful day. I don’t comment on posts as I rarely feel my views would add anything, but I would like you to know how greatly your work is appreciated. I often quote your words of wisdom to family and friends! It is far easier for me to access a blog than a podcast (I used to listen but like some others find reading more straightforward than downloading audio). Having said that, I attend a study group at church and they do use that type of resource – easy for a group to listen to. Thank you and God bless you and your work.

  33. No idea how I stumbled across your twitter/blog, but as with the first comment I arrived via the dogs and just stayed. I’m not and will never be RC (sorry!) but I find your writing thought-provoking and envy you your Christian belief – maybe I’m hoping some of it will rub off on me. Unlikely to listen to Podcast as I prefer the written word, but please keep writing as you do. And more wisdom from the dogs!

  34. Having read all the comments so far, I like the idea of podcast transcripts, but think that that might be too burdensome for you. It would be wonderful if Brother Duncan could assist you from Beyond where he probably has more time on his paws than you do!

  35. I learnt of your online presence when you were on Woman’s Hour some time ago. I now read your blog most mornings on either the Facebook or via Twitter. Having heard your voice I would appreciate the odd podcast but agree with what one person said that the written blog is easier to reread parts etc.
    I have also to admit that I do not understand some of your terminology either because I lack the vocabulary of a theologian or I may be ignorant of the vocabulary of the edicts of the Catholic Church itself. (Still a little confused about Cor Oran)
    I read the daily Mass readings and the reflections in your blog and the prayer intentions. The latter always amazes me about what is happening in the world that the general news does not seem to cover and I find that I pray more for those involved that express opinion /outrage etc.

    • Thank you. Please ask if I use a word/term that you don’t recognize. I try to write simply, but the Catholic Church has its own jargon and I easily lapse into it. (And you are not alone in being confused by Cor Orans: it is a huge shake-up for cloistered nuns, especially those who, like us, are in small communities.)

  36. Another vote for ‘more of the same’, please! In my current daily pattern, I would find the written word easier to absorb than the spoken. That said, my auditory memory of RB is of your dulcet tones – not those of my Abbot! As a Benedictine oblate, I especially value your posts expounding our Rule, which are both wise and scholarly – not an easy balance! The glimpses of the experience of RB lived in community, from Cambrai along to Howton Grove, are especially helpful.

  37. I do not think everything that the Church Times may publish is necessarily to be completely taken as Gospel, even in this age.!

  38. I love your blog, your thoughtful comments on life, the Rule, the news. I like the feeling of being connected to a community, I feel less alone in my beliefs and view of life. I find it easier to read thoughtfully than to listen to a podcast, indeed I am not sure that the minor hassle of downloading and then settling to listen would be my ‘thing’. Having said that,Pray As You Go is part of my life. Thank you for your blog, you are in my prayers.

  39. As a clinician, & more of a scientific writer, I find your writings are always easy to read, & YES a balance of thoughtful wisdom & refreshing spiritual insights. Play to your strengths I would like to suggest, 80 others doing podcasts; but your work Sister is a joy to read.

    A Win & Place bet, maybe you can transfer your strength in writing; like the great Alistier Cook’s “Letter from a America”. His strength was his writing, his delivery, and thought provoking balanced approach to a topic. Give it a try Sister, I trust the Holy Spirit will more than just help; but light a new fire. Depending on your health of course.

  40. I am actively involved within the Presbyterian Church and enjoy having my beliefs confirmed or challenged. An example would be your quoting “the orthodox Catholic view”..of redemption which was beautiful in its clarity and preciseness.

  41. Following the previous 87 comments (87!) all I can say is that I wholeheartedly agree with them 🙂
    Reading your words, S Catherine, always somehow slows me down to listen, to think and pray again. Thank you and bless you. x

  42. I think I came across iBenedictines when I was googling to find out about Benedictine stuff, I look at it most mornings, I like to see what you are praying for (I don ‘t use Facebook and therefore your prayer section Is there another way to access it?). I think your blog brings us into the work of the monastery I really appreciate your thought-provoking blogs, also your knowledge of various writings, Saints, and your exact use of English – so if you use a particular phrase that catches my attention, then I know it is not lightly written, also you have the knowledge to go deeply into something, or clarify it. I really like your ‘just being human comments ‘ and although you are a seasoned Nun, perhaps every day you begin again. I find your esoteric Catholic comments/ take, fascinating. Quite often I have to google to find why something you have said is important to you. Also I google the meanings of some of the words used- So I like reading it (I don’t understand why it comes on the Twitter thing twice dv something and then a bt something ). I don ‘t know about current media trends, I don ‘t often use these short podcast efforts, however perhaps a series of podcasts, if that would be helpful for a wider audience. So I like reading it, it broadens my English and leads me into saints and writings I would have no reason to come across.
    I feel if I ask a question I get an informed reply .
    So Thank you for all this

    • Thank you. You don’t have to be a Facebook user to see or read our Facebook page, although FB will try to encourage you to sign up for an account. Just go to https://facebook.com/benedictinenuns and scroll down, if necessary, to see the prayer intentions. Please always tell me when something in a blog post isn’t clear. The link appears twice on Twitter because we use two different feeds or means of posting the link automatically, in case one fails (as it has in the past). They are meant to come at different times of day.

  43. I became an FB friend through a mutual Anglican friend, and on my account a niece of no particular religious practice. I was initially interested as we have several Benedictine sisters in the family, and continue because your posts help me to think things through and often throw new light on complicated matters so this is a good time to say thank you. Do you mind if I ask about the infrequency of opportunities you have to be at Mass which you mentioned once, and if you would not be able to, or be required to move to where they would exist? Forgive me if I misunderstand.

    • We moved here because we thought we would have no problems about access to the sacraments — the monastery is a few miles from a community of Benedictine monks, where we would ordinarily go for Mass, etc (the days of chaplains for small communities are long past). Unfortunately, my illness (I have metastatic leiomyosarcoma + sarcoidosis and am having chemotherapy) means I have no immunity so Mass and the other sacraments have to come to me, but they only do so if a priest-friend from Oxford visits. Can I turn your question round and ask, what are the duties of the Church in relation to her nuns?! 🙂

  44. If this is a blog, please don’t give it up! I visit your site all the time and find food for thought; comfort, encouragement and challenge. I would so miss it – and it is so easy. At almost 70 I have been reluctantly persuaded back onto facebook, which I find impenetrable, but I might look for you there, now that I know. I won’t be logging on to anything that makes a noise. I’ll feel bereft if I can’t find you. Thank you for your wisdom and sensitivity. This message comes with my love and prayers for whatever is best for you in the next stage.

  45. I wish I could be original but so many have said what I feel; I read you every morning with my mug of coffee and you help me wake up and get my heart and mind in sync. I am a Catholic oblate who’s focus is…Christ. God bless

  46. Hi Sister,
    This is a bit late, but I would ask you to keep doing what you are doing.
    If you are so inclined a podcast from time to time would also be a welcome addition- but not if it will cut into what you are already doing.

  47. I love your blog: wise, comforting and challenging all at once. You always have something fresh and thought provoking to say – and I look forward to finding out what is in the next one. Thank you for all you have done; please continue with the blog if you can. I send my love to you both.

  48. Good morning, Sister
    Thank you for your blogs. They are such a pleasure to read in their clarity and wisdom and a great help to me – an autistic Catholic who struggles to understand but who loves examining ideas.
    May God bless you and Quietnun,

  49. A very late response, but I was originally reading and thinking about this on an ipad, which has a tendency to turn my typing into literary-mush of auto-correct!

    Something I have often commented to church people asking me about targeting under-35s is “just don’t be bad”. I’ve sat through many awkward services and efforts and outreach that leave younger people squirming with embarrassment – but most high quality offerings don’t have the same issues, and then they will come back! UK Anglican cathedrals, for example, have quite good younger person attendance, for example, and I’ve also sat in free Methodist services which are well supported, because they tend to have good music and bible teaching. I don’t think lack of quality is an issue any of your current material has: You will find you have some under -35s reading the blog (like me!), but if you make a good podcast, some will listen to that. I believe many people thinking they have to go all multimedia for youth to engage miss the point: It isn’t about style over substance! It’s about creating high quality content is whatever format suits the material.

    Most specifically to my own usage: I tend not to listen to podcasts myself (but I do watch a lot of online videos) but this is mostly because I’m not organised enough to download podcasts. I rarely read the blog on the day it is published, and occasionally will catch up and splurge through a few at once. I read it, because I don’t currently attend a church regularly and so it helps me feel in contact with a community, and to keep a check that I’m still practising my faith at all. Sometimes you write about Catholic theology in a slightly impenetrable way, but I don’t have an issue with that – if I’m brave enough to ask, you always take the time to explain even the daftest question; and it would be a shame to loose the more meaty content that is useful for those further along their Christian journey. I occasionally check in on Facebook, but they daily prayer intentions are not something I regularly engage with. I use LinkedIn, but only in a professional context, Twitter baffles me – perhaps because I’m not concise! 🙂

  50. Dear digitalnun I am in Australia and a Benedictine oblate . My illness often keeps me away from mass and fellowship your blog helps a great deal with isolation . I would listen to podcasts also . Many thanks and prayer

  51. I like to re read your blogs, personally I wouldn’t rewind a podcast. I learn from your vast vocabulary and like to look up words as printed. Thank you for your work, it makes me think from another perspective.

  52. A late response and my first comment. I like a mix of word and voice, so I listen to Pray as you Go and come here and also the Jesuit site Thinking Faith for the word. I can’t recall how I found the site but I always find the blog thought-provoking, grounded and with a leaven of humour. Of course there are times when I might disagree with the content or not understand it (as a middle of the road Anglican) but then blogs should sometimes challenge or disturb (positively!).
    As to what is the point – I think you have an answer in the replies where you have such a wide range – Catholics, other Christian denominations, other faiths, some agnostics and who knows, an atheist or 2; and your followers will have a wide range of religious practice, there is probably a mix of devout, lukewarm, or non participatory. That mix also guards against a blog becoming an “echo-chamber”.
    That breadth suggests you are offering monastic hospitality to a wide group of people and I thank you very much for it.

  53. It’s interesting that many people have assumed I was referring to the blog alone when I mentioned our various web sites, or suggesting an either/or approach to podcasting, or even doubting whether we should be online at all. That’s taught me that (1) lots of people don’t seem to know of the existence of our other sites, so we must remedy that; (2) although we are quite clear why we are online, many have understood the question of the title to indicate that we don’t (!), so more care needed in phrasing lead-ins; and (3) our podcasts in the past were never mere audio versions of other content but comment/reflection, often provoked, if that’s the right word, by the Sunday Mass readings and that’s the kind of thing we had vaguely thought about doing again but wanted to consult you, our readers, before assuming anything. Thank you very much for all the suggestions you have made and the encouragement you have given.

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