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Sat Nov 3, 2012, 10:30 AM

Former nun, now atheist and activist living in Fort Pierce



Elizabeth Murad, 73, pauses for a moment to love on her new puppy Habibbi, a Jack Russell Dachshund mix, as she works on her garden at her home in Fort Pierce. "I am finally free," said Murad about being a former Nun and becoming an Atheistic Humanist. "I am free to just be myself." (Photo by Hobie Hiler, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers)

By Zaimarie De Guzman
Posted November 3, 2012 at 4 a.m.

In a drawer in her Fort Pierce home, Elizabeth Murad has a black-and-white photo of the person she used to be.

In it, Murad is wearing the nun habit she wore for 13 years. The only visible skin is on her face and neck, from which a big cross dangles. Her smile seems genuine.

What the image doesn't show is uncertainty it was taken about 50 years ago when Murad, a Franciscan nun then living in New Jersey, started losing her faith.

"Doubt. In that photo, that's around the time I first started doubting," Murad said. "It was the beginning of who I am today."

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/nov/03/former-nun-now-atheist-and-activist-living-in/

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Reply Former nun, now atheist and activist living in Fort Pierce (Original post)
rug Nov 2012 OP
Anthony McCarthy Nov 2012 #1
rug Nov 2012 #2
EvolveOrConvolve Nov 2012 #4
EvolveOrConvolve Nov 2012 #3
rug Nov 2012 #8
EvolveOrConvolve Nov 2012 #9
Anthony McCarthy Nov 2012 #5
EvolveOrConvolve Nov 2012 #6
cbayer Nov 2012 #7

Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 10:57 AM

1. Well, I don't believe in that God either

 

Makes you wonder what would have happened if she'd been in Maryknoll or at a convent that wasn't run by psychotics.

She made up her own mind for herself, that's as it should be.

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Response to Anthony McCarthy (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 11:36 AM

2. The time she entered the convent, 1957, is a world away.

I hope she's found peace.

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Response to Anthony McCarthy (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 11:54 AM

4. Do you think she'd have remained a believer

if she'd not been involved with an abusive group? I'm not sure. It sounds to me as if she already harbored doubts about the idea of god, and realized that it's possible to be good without god long before it became okay to say something like that.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 11:50 AM

3. "Atheistic Humanist" seems an awkward phrase

But it's a good piece. This, in particular, sticks out:

"I remember there was a big issue with changes being made to our habits," Murad said. "We spent hours discussing whether our habits should be at the knee or below the knee, and I just stood up and said, 'Why are we talking about knees? Shouldn't we be focusing on doing good for the community, or something?'"

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Response to EvolveOrConvolve (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 04:39 PM

8. It is. What is "atheistic"?

BTW, I think that excerpt answered your post upthread. The 1950s were a terrible time for Catholicism, filled with minutiae and shallow piety. Had she been involved with a group that was more concerned with the social activism at that time, her faith may well indeed have been bolstered by putting it into practice.

Either way, I hope she's at a comfortable place. It must have been a wrenching experience to turn away from what had been an important part of her life

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Response to rug (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 08:03 PM

9. Yea, the word "atheistic" makes me think of some one

who's "kinda of" an atheist. That definitely doesn't describe this woman.

I would argue that until Vatican II, most of the time it was not a particularly good time to be a liberal member of the Catholic clergy. I don't think it's coincidental that the 1950's "minutiae and shallow piety" (as you put it) immediately preceded the Vatican II process in the 60's.

The 1950's were also a pretty bad time to be an atheist, with the rampant McCarthyism and scares about the bogeyman of communism. Even had she been a member of a more socially active group, atheism was not something one trumpeted to the neighbors.

As someone who's given up their own faith, I can attest to the fact that it is heart-wrenching. I can't imagine doing it in the 1950's - I probably wouldn't be around today if that were the case. She's a brave woman.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 11:56 AM

5. I'm not second guessing her

 

it seems to me that she pretty much just adopted the beliefs of her husband, which is her choice if that's what it is. That's all there is to it, freedom of choice.

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Response to Anthony McCarthy (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 12:00 PM

6. Or, he provided an environment

that she felt safe enough in to be herself.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 3, 2012, 12:18 PM

7. Great story. I am glad that she has found her path.

I remember so many catholic friends from grade school who talked of being nuns. It presented an chance for asylum for many.

It's brave to change paths at any point in life, but particularly as one ages. Good for her.

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