Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. Known for her hardwork and her sense of humor, “May God protect me from gloomy saints.”
She was not a gloomy saint.
This blog post is actually not about St. Teresa, but about a friend of mine who died several years ago. You’ll understand later. Her name was Sister Sharon. We had become friends through a program called Sister Friends which paired members of the community with elderly sisters in the School Sister of Notre Dame. Through the process, it was hoped that real friendships would be made and time together would be enjoyed by all. This program was and is still successful in the community.
Sister Sharon and I were friends for about 10 years before she died. We got to know each other well. I knew how much Sister Sharon loved to read. She also loved the game of baseball. She was a die hard Twins fan. One day, someone gave me a fictional novel about baseball. Not knowing that I had no interest in the game, they had passed the novel on to me. My first thought, without looking at the book, was that Sister Sharon would love it! I took the book with me one Saturday afternoon and gave it to Sister Sharon as we walked the grounds of the Mother House. We made a date to get together in two weeks.
When I returned, Sister Sharon was in her room. She had her usual stack of books next to her chair, and at the top was the book I had given her. After the pleasntries were exchanged, Sister looked concerned, but she handed me back the book.
I told her that I didn’t need the book back, and that she should donate it to the convent library. She frowned at me. “Mallory,” she said, “I had to stop reading this book.” She was very stern. I was surprised.
“Why did you have to stop reading the book, Sister?” I asked.
She didn’t look uncomfortable at all when she said this, “Because, dear, it had words like *****, in it.” I had to raise my jaw off the ground because I never dreamed that Sister would use THAT word. (It’s part of the word, ahem, F-ire, tr, **k.”) Yes, she said it. She didn’t even bat an eyelash. I grabbed the book from her, and I apologized. We visited a while longer. I couldn’t keep my laughter encased in my body any longer.
At her funeral, I recounted the story. Her brother and sister laughed until they cried. A gloomy saint? I think not. I know that when Sister Sharon arrived in heaven she said, “Jesus, you know I love you. I gave you my life, now, where’s the library?” And I don’t think she’s reading any book about baseball now.
Sister Sharon, that was one of the greatest laughs of my life! Thank you for making me so happy. Please tell St. Teresa of Avila that we celebrate her feast day with joy! Oh, and, are you reading any baseball books?