Monday, August 22, 2011

Do you remember the first time you saw a Sister in habit?

Do you remember the first time you saw a Sister in habit? What was your reaction? Do you remember watching to see if you could get a glimpse of the Sister's hair when she wore the wimple, or a chance to see her ankle or did she change the style of her shoe from one with a heel to no heel? I remember noticing little things like that when I had Sisters in grade school at St. Mary's School in Luxemburg. Well, that is what I am experiencing now being the first Sister in habit here at All Saints School. Here are a few examples to illustrate this:

1) About day 4 that I was working at the school, my janitor who is in his early 60's and not Catholic came up to me and said, May I ask you a personal question?  Sure. How many blouses do you have and skirts? You wear the same thing everyday. So I explained about the habit, the vow of poverty etc. Do you mind just wearing the same color always? No, I get use to it. You don't have to think too hard in the morning when you're getting dressed as to what to wear. He just nodded his head as I saw the wheels turning. Thank you- I was just wondering.

2) I have been here more than a month and it isn't as hot as Yuma or Hawaii and I thought I can wear a black blouse today instead of my usual white blouse and vest. Do clothes make a difference? Do people notice what Sisters wear? You better believe they do. I wasn't on campus a half hour when I saw the janitor and his reaction was,-WHOAAAAA-What's this??? You are wearing a black blouse now? Is that allowed with the habit.

3. Then I met students and did they look at me and stare. In the 3rd/4th grade room as I walked into the room the girls all said-OHhhhhhhh-you're all in black; you are black, black except your buttons are a little light in color and you still have white on that thing on your head. Great opportunity to teach the word Veil.

4. I was in  my office working with my door partly open. I heard an adult who gives money monthly for Adopt A Student Program. She was talking to my secretary that she heard a Sister is the principal here for the first time. She told her she hadn't seen a Sister since she was in grade school-may I peak in her office to see the Sister? And that she did and she smiled and said-this brings back so many memories. I haven't seen a Sister since I went to high school. (She also doubled her monthly donation!)

Besides clothes they watch what you do:
After our parish's 20th anniversary dinner I pitched in to help wash the dishes. People were in shock but pleased to see that I was human, down to earth and not afraid to work.

I met with the deacon who is working on Arizona Rosary Day. He is planning a breakfast to raise money for the bus from our parish. I told him I would help work the breakfast. He had the most shocked look on his face and he looked at me  and said, You will help work the breakfast?? I said sure. I 've done this many times. Do you cook or do you do dishes? I said I am great at dishes. I was trained well at our Motherhouse. I come with experience. A parishioner who was at the anniversary dinner spoke up and said, I saw her doing dishes. She really went at it. She's good!

Sometimes we think we don't make a difference or that people don't notice us. But they do! And we are appreciated. In our Franciscan way we often bring a smile to people and we keep them guessing as to who we really are. We are a mystery to them at times-in a good way!


  1. Sr. Carol,

    I really enjoy reading your ponderings, reflections and news. I feel part of this new adventure from my desk in Oshkosh.

  2. Sounds very Franciscan, Sr. Carol... The Lord is leading you each day. I am glad things are going so well for you.
    I am in a new ministry here and there is lots to learn. The people are wonderful. Sr. Delores Wisnicky

  3. Hello from north of Dallas. I almost cried reading this blog post. I was the youngest of five children who all attended a Catholic school in Gretna, Louisiana. Our father had abandoned our family, so we were the parish charity case. While several of the lay teachers were very harsh toward us, the Sisters gave us so much love and never thought us unworthy. And yes, it was a big deal when I saw the Sisters without their habits once. I remember the awe of going inside the little house where they lived. Sisters sit on couches too? Sisters have a bathroom?

  4. How refreshing to see for the first time...and to try and live that way every day!