Spent today on an away day at the local Carmelite Monastery with the rest of the local clergy. It's always amazing to encounter the peace of these places in midst of a busy urban sprawl. The buzz of the buses and traffic is never really audible. Little oases of calm in the desert of urban noise. And the nuns so welcoming.
I like nuns. Nuns are fun. Unlike my namesake and hero in the priesthood, Fr Dougal of Craggy Island. There is that great bit in one of the episodes when Bp Brennan is bawling the guys out:
"And that retreat in Co Mayo!"
"They was only nuns."
"Nuns are people too!"
Perhaps it's a tad flippant to refer to the good sisters as penguins. (Certainly incorrect for brown habited Carmelites - are they really auks?) But when I was wee, my schoolmates couldn't pronounce my second name very well and called me "Penguin" rather than "Penman". So it's very affectionately meant.