A POCKET FULL OF MICE? – My two-year-old sister loved animals. One day she was so proud of the baby animals she had in her pocket. She pulled the hairless mice from her pocket and I proceeded to scream. My mother was unconcerned and quietly took the baby mice outside. What she did with them I don’t know even to this day.
A WHALE OF A TALE – Back in the 60’s the Community built a swimming pool for the candidates and Sisters. Popular with the young folks, the older Sisters needed a little encouragement. So one day Sister Margaret Rigdon and another nurse took Sister Coelina for her first little dip in the shallow end of the pool. Things went fine but just before leaving, Sister Margaret decided to go to the deep end, take a dive and swim one lap. As she came out of the dive, Sister Coelina cried out, “Oh, there’s a whale!”
DO IT AGAIN! – I began my teaching career, as did many Sisters in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, having had no methods courses to prepare me for teaching in the elementary school. I worked for hours preparing my lesson plan for my first day with a class of fourth grade students. By noon I had taught everything included in the plan for the entire day. I went to the principal and asked, “What do I do now, I finished my plan for the day?” The principal said, “Go back and do it all over again.”
FIGURES? – Three young Sisters were enrolled in a trigonometry class at St. Joseph’s College. As is customary in all mathematics classes, the first order of business is reviewing the homework assignments. One of the Sisters had a problem incorrect and commented, “It must be my figure.” The professor replied, “Sister, it’s not your figure. It’s your mathematics.”
IS THIS TOO SHORT? – After wearing long habits for many years it was somewhat difficult for some Sisters to adjust to the length of the shorter skirts. One Sister lifted her skirt while walking down the stairs. It so happened that a priest was behind her and commented, “Sister, your skirt is short enough.”
JUMP! – It was customary for the faculty from a Dayton Catholic High School to enjoy an end-of-year picnic together. At the end of one year, the picnic was held at a nearby lake. The faculty members decided to take a ride in a motorboat. The motorboat caught fire in the lake. Everyone yelled: Jump! I yelled, “I cannot swim”! Life jackets came flying to me from every direction. But one of the more wiser and holier priests said, “Walk then!” And I stepped over the side of the boat and walked just as St. Peter did so many years ago. (Although the boat incident happened in the middle of the lake, the boat had landed on a sandbar.)
NO CLOTHES NUN! – It was the first day that the Sisters appeared at a certain high school in lay clothes. Several students were causing a disturbance outside a classroom of one of the Sisters. The principal came along and wanted to know what was going on. A student commented, “There is a nun in there with no clothes on.”
ON THE ROAD AGAIN – After receiving a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois, I was assigned to work at Carroll High School in Dayton, Ohio. Living in Ohio meant that she had to take a written driver’s test in order to obtain an Ohio driver’s license. Somewhat surprisingly, at least to me, was that she failed the test the first time with a 50 percent. Why? I neglected to turn the test paper over to answer the questions on the back of the paper. My excuse: In her classes they were not permitted to use the back of sheets for assigned problems. I returned later to pass the test and her fellow sisters threw a big party to celebrate the event. They even wrapped the license as a beautiful gift.
PICTURE CARE – I thought I had entirely too many photos and decided to throw some away. So, I selected some and began to tear them up. One that I selected was of a priest whom I had known for many years; however, I had not kept in contact with him. So, I tore up his photo. The next morning I received a phone call that he had died. While relating this story to another priest, he immediately asked, “Do you have a picture of me?”
THE GOLDEN GIRLS – The Brunner Literacy Center is an adult center that was opened by two retired Precious Blood sisters to address the high rate of illiteracy in the area. I have been tutoring adults in mathematics at the Center. Because I have been pushing one 27-year old man rather hard to study and do the assigned outside work, he frequently referred to me as the “mean” mathematics teacher. However, when he learned that I was a Catholic nun, his entire attitude changed to one of much more respect. He then made the comment: “I never met Catholic nuns before coming to the Adult Literacy Center.” He then referred to the Sisters at the Center as the Golden Girls. Question: Did he label us as such because of our “old age” or the work we are doing? Comment: Students need to be reminded that all teachers deserve their respect.