Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Not About Numbers

One of our sisters, Sr. Corinne Moske, died this week. Each time the number of sisters in community changes, I tend to dabble in my first profession: mathematics, as the "statistical footprint" of our community changes.

There are 108 in our community today, our average age is between 69 and 70, the median age (the 54th oldest person) is about a year less. The mode (most frequent age) is the 60s, with a full 34% of the community in that decade. The range extends from 96 to 43, and one standard deviation (the middle 2/3rds of the group) is from 81 to 59.

There are a couple other mathematically-trained sisters in our community. They'll understand all that and maybe even be interested! It never seems to me to be an area that goes well with monastic life. The spiritual journey surely isn't meant to be measured, averaged, and calculated in any of these least not these days.

I think the best thing we analytic types can do is befriend an artist. Someone who can't do a 15% tip in her head and doesn't care or want to; Someone who doesn't count tile blocks in a room to get an approximate area, and certainly would rather go to a local summer music concert, watch a PBS special on visiting Venice, or just chit-chat away an evening strolling down to the lake with Sister #54 and not care one bit that she is the median!

Of course I'm stereotyping--but you get the point--it's good to keep our analytical sides in check, I think. Heaven is not about measuring!

Full Obituary

Photo by Ann Muczynski, OSB