Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Shall Take This As A Challenge

'We were led to the assembly room, where the sisters gather for an hour after dinner, and about two hours in the evening, meeting socially for what they call their 'recreation.' Then they busy themselves with knitting or plain sewing, or with any fancy-work or embroidery they may have to do... much pleasant chat goes on, and a harmless joke pleases every one. 

'Even here, there are many reminders that a higher purpose is always to be kept in view. One of these is a written scroll of paper attached to the wall, near the fireplace, and called the 'Challenge....' to give special attention to some particular virtue - patience, humility, gentleness, cheerfulness - whichever it may be that is specified on the scroll. Briefly, it is a quiet appeal to them, putting them on their mettle or their honor and conscience, to make an additional effort to excel in that virtue. There is a challenge for Advent, for Christmas, for Epiphany, for Lent, for Easter, for Pentecost. ...

'Now it may seem, to those who are wholly unaccustomed to such methods of thought and action, that this ever present watchfulness of self, and this constant endeavor to rise to the higher plane even while engaged in amusement or social converse, must become intolerably monotonous and a frightful strain. But, on the contrary, this conventual system of mingled self-examination and unselfish activity results in the greatest buoyancy of spirits, and in a healthy, happy life....' (A Story of Courage, George Parsons Lathrop and Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, original publication date: 1894)

This post is part of our series 'A Story of Courage.' To continue in chronological order, click this line.

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