“Inner silence, Mother. I struggle with inner silence.” I shudder as I always do when confessing my weaknesses. My Mother Superior responds with a grave nod of her head.
“A common admission, most often from novices and young postulants. But you have been here almost eleven years. Has your heart always struggled like this, or is it one of those regresses we often encounter on this long walk with our Savior?” She speaks, as she always does, with a sincere desire to be of service, but the solemnity in her tone betrays the gravity of her question. My eyes stray to the familiar furnishing of Mother Olivia’s office. Wooden bookcases line the walls, but they are not packed and overflowing like those of a library. Instead, each shelf is filled only halfway with books or file folders. The other half lies in wait, expectant. Her desk is made of the same color wood and is empty except for my file, a Bible, and a small glass dove, a reminder of her patron saint, whose spirit returned to heaven in the form of a dove. An icon of peace.
I know the answer to her question, but I don’t know how to express it. There isn’t a one or two word response to describe my feelings, and I cannot find my voice. After living by the rule of silence for so long, my vocal responses are limited to the Liturgy of the Hours, Mass, and Confession. I finger the wooden beads of my Rosary inside the folds of my cream colored habit, searching for words.