05 August 2010

Never Too Late

I hope it's not too late to share this story.

Last week, before vows, I went with another friar and the health care coordinator of our province to visit two of our friars in a local nursing home.  One of these friars is almost certainly at the end of his life, while the other is flourishing in this particular setting.  When my two chaperones needed to speak with some of the administrators of the nursing home regarding some issues, I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with a women in a wheelchair who had been giving me the eye.*
*There is a certain look about some people that makes you think "religious."  I'm not sure what it is, perhaps it's the style of blouse on a woman, or the cross hanging from their neck, but if you're wearing a habit and they make eye contact with them, you just know that they've experienced the novitiate.
 I introduced myself to the lady in the wheelchair and we immediately struck up a conversation.  She had been a Sister of Mercy for 67 years.  She had ministered all over the place and had done everything.  She was bent in her chair, but her Irish eyes still blazed.  We talked a bit and then came the part of the conversation that will stick with me for an awful long time.
"You really left big shoes to fill, Sister.  All of you."
"Yes, we did.  And there aren't many of you to fill those shoes."
"We won't let you down, Sister.  We'll fill those shoes."
So, Sister Marietta, I promise you: we'll fill your shoes.

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