Three Nuns in a Desert Oasis
Last Monday I visited Al Ain, built around a desert oasis on the UAE-Oman border and called the 'Garden City of the Gulf'. Three of the sisters who I led on retreat also came and the above picture shows them pointing at dates on the trees.
In Arabia, nuns seem to be highly respected, partly because of their famously successful schools (such as St Mary's, Dubai). Also they can freely roam the streets in their habits because the veil, etc meet the Muslim idea of how women should be dressed (most nuns in this country wouldn't). Priests, on the other hand, have to be a little more prudent and I only wore my white cassock in the Cathedral compound (where I stayed most of the time). This explains why, in the following picture, I am dressed as an Englishman abroad (that will shock some of you!) and the sisters are dressed as sisters. The interesting thing, though, is that we are standing in UAE but the rock behind us belongs to Oman. It was the nearest I got to the Sultanate - to set foot in Oman you need a visa.