Discourses of the Ancient Nuns
Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Alavika dressed and, taking her bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms.1 When she had walked for alms in Savatthi and returned from her almsround, after her meal, she went to the Blind Men's Grove seeking seclusion.2
1. "There is no escape in the world,
Then the nun Alavika, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses:
Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The nun Alavika knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right then and there.
It would at first run online, but he hoped it would then become a "real pageant" on the lines of the annual Miss Italy contest, complete with a parade and interviews.
Fr. Rungi, a moral theologian, said the nuns would not wear swimsuits or revealing outfits. He said what he valued most in a woman was "inner beauty."
Asked for his feminine ideal however, he replied, "Well, I would say Sophia Loren."
The contestants must be aged between 18 and 40, and can be either full members of an order or novices. Fr. Rungi said he expected many of those who applied to be young, attractive, and non-Italian.
"Do you really think nuns are all wizened, funereal old ladies?" he asked. "Today it's not like that anymore, thanks to an injection of youth and vitality brought to our country by foreign girls." He explained that there were nuns from Africa and Latin America who were "really very, very pretty -- the Brazilian girls above all."
Fr. Rungi, who has organized religious services on Naples beaches where sunbathers can say the rosary, said that photos of the contestants would appear on his blog at the beginning of next month so that readers could vote for their favorite.
"Nuns are women above all else, and beauty is a gift from God," Fr. Rungi added. He told Corriere della Sera it was the nuns themselves who had suggested the idea to him while helping him to run prayer services on the beach. "Many have assured me they will take part."
He said he realized he risked being seen as a publicity-seeker. "But you need a bit of courage to do something like this. Nuns deserve much more attention then they get." He said nuns had both "physical and spiritual beauty," and often did social, caring, or hospital work in which an "attractive presence" was an advantage.
He said the "Sister Italia 2008" contest was a way of showing that female beauty was "not just the plasticized beauty you see on television."
- Our submission would be a classic beauty-comes-from-within pageant winner:
Mother Theresa, Sisters of Charity, India
- Related stories:
Sister Norma Giannini admits to other offenses
Setting at Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Uppalavanna dressed... she stood at the foot of a Sala tree in full flower.14
14. "Having gone to a Sala tree with flowering top,
Then it occurred to the nun Uppalavanna: "Now who is this...? This is Mara the Evil One... desiring to make me fall away from concentration."
15. "Though a hundred thousand rogues