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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Monica said...

Sister Mary Martha, I do hope you'll keep us posted on the halloween costumes and how you manage without a trip to Joann. I don't watch any daytime drama, so this is my substitute. Please let us know?

There are more fabric stores in the world, but Sister St. Aloysius never goes to them. The main reason is that the others are clear downtown. That is a whole day trip. There is one place, though, on our side of town. It is actually within walking distance.

I drove. Unlike the dreaded JoAnn's parking lot in which you have to drive in off a busy street and if you don't find a space, drive back out onto the busy street to go back in again, at which point someone who just got there will get the space that just opened up, this place has a secret parking lot. Not many people know they can park behind the building.

Everything about this place seems secret. I always wondered why Sister St. Aloysius avoided it. It's hard to describe. Large, dark, sort of dirty, like some old warehouse in which someone thrust an enormous load of stolen sewing supplies and fabric and made a hurried get away. Huge bolts of fabric crammed together and stacked to the ceiling. Spool and spools of cord and trim and ribbon. It's overwhelming.

I wanted to turn around and walk back out, but I was on a mission to find baby rick rack and check out fabric prices. I couldn't ask any one at the counter because there was no one there. There could have been someone there ducking down. I would duck down if I worked there.

The clientele seemed to all be really serious sewers, people that do upholstery for a living, interior decorators, set designers. You can tell because they are all on one side of the store where the really enormous bolts of upholstery fabric and curtain material resides. I slipped into the other side of the store where the bolts of cotton for quilting and aprons and fun little girls dresses resides. No body was over there.

Or so I thought. As I came barreling up to the wall of fabric a small woman with very short salt and pepper gray hair just about jumped out of her skin. I think she thought for a moment that she was about to be assaulted. Or maybe she thought one of the giant bolts of black fabric had come to life and was about to beat her brains in.

But then, seeing it was me and not attack fabric, she settled back into looking at muslin.

I settled into checking the prices. Way too pricey for us. Good thing I really only needed baby rick rack.

And thank goodness it actually says 'baby' on the package or I would still be there.

Every other aisle or so I would once again find myself sharing oxygen with the little gray haired woman. She was wearing a army green sweat shirt and jeans, but she was neat as a pin. That's when it hit me, although she was not someone I had ever met.

The next time I found myself in the same aisle I nodded to her and said quietly, "Sister."

And she nodded her head in my direction and replied, "Sister."

It was the neat as a pin part that gave her away. Wonder if she making all the Halloween costumes in her neighborhood. Maybe she just needs some new curtains.

It has occurred to me that I could put on an army green sweatshirt and jeans and take my neat as a pin self into JoAnn's. There's no law that says I can't.


Adrienne said...

Dear Sister,
I hate it when you guys hide in normal clothes. Over 20 years ago I owned a Salon in Sedona, AZ. One day these two "neat as pins" little old tourist ladies came in to get their hair done.

I was just combing one of them out when she admitted to me that she was a sister. Having gone to Catholic school all the way through high school when sisters still dressed like sisters, I was so unnerved I thought I was going to have a stroke.

I finally choked out "I spent most of my life trying to figure out if you guys even had hair and now I'm combing it -- this is like sleeping with a priest".

It was her turn to choke:) LOL

ann nonymous said...

When will I ever learn? I do know better than to drink anything while reading your posts.

Sister, this one was very funny! Thanks for the laughs.

Do you have a handicapped tag for your car? If so, pile Sr. Mary Fiacre in the car, drive into JoAnn's and park in the handicapped space. I find that people can become quite solicitous when confronted with an elderly person in a wheelchair. Sometimes I take two of them with me for special effects. Take her into the store and you will probably find at least one salesperson who will be ever so happy to help you. They're all trying to get into heaven, you know.

Did you not tell us last year you were banned from JoAnn's? If so, you'd better travel incognunto, just in case. Get to steppin', sister. You're burnin' daylight. Halloween's only nine days away.

Anonymous said...

At my Joann I asked a question of the lady in the green apron, and another woman came up and asked her a question while she was helping me. Apparently this was just way too much customer service for her to provide, so she said "What, do I look like I have 'INFORMATION' written on my forehead?"
I should have suggested that next time she duck.

I wonder how she'd react to a nun in a wheelchair?

p.s. thanks for the update!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so the first time I read "sewer" I saw sewer (the kind you flush into), not sew-er (a person who sews). Such has been my day.


Adrienne said...

anonymous - I saw the same thing and had to go back and read it again. Does that say something about us??

Anonymous said...

Sister, this nun in plain clothes thing baffles me. Do you guys always wear habits, to grocery stores and baseball games and in your drivers license photos and stuff? As you said, there's no rule against it... but is it frowned upon to wear regular old clothes to these things? Just curious.

ann nonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ann nonymous said...

I can't wait til Sister answers your question. In the meantime, let me tell you when I was very little, one of the teaching nuns from my big sisters and brothers school took me and my just older than me brother on the ferris wheel at the May Fair carnival. She had on her habit, even riding a ferris wheel. It wasn't good. My brother is infamous for his weak stomach and even the ferris wheel will cause him to return his carnival treats. I guess it's hard to get that voluminous amount of black fabric out of the way when you're in tight quarters between a toddler and a kindergartener with a tummy full of hot dogs and funnel cake whose name is not Ralph but he did. Talk about mortification! Sister just laughed and when we got off, she poured some water on her lap and her hem, wiped off the tops of her clomp, clomp shoes and hopped back on with the next two kids just like it happens everyday. My mother was not so forgiving. We had to go home. When we got to the car, she made my brother take off his shoes, his pants and his shirt and she rolled them up in the rubber car mat and put it in the back of the station wagon. We rode home with the windows open and my brother in his underwear. What a magnanimous nun was she!

Anonymous said...

Sister MM,
How about going out as nuns? You know, the old fashioned kind. The black and white, clicker, clunky shoes. The whole bit.
We already know how much you scare 4 year olds.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I feel about nuns without habits the same way I do about teachers wearing miniskirts and priests without collars. (And I have to admit that I once flirted with a priest out of uniform; then he had the nerve to tell me as if it were MY fault.)

Anonymous said...

I'll let Sister answer the question about her order going plainclothes, but the Dominican Sisters in our area are always in their habits*. Soccer field, grocery store, driving 'round town. I'm sure they're fine when it's cool outside, but it gets pretty hot down here in the summer. Frankly, I don't think I'd recognize any of them un-habited, if you know what I mean.

* - Except, they confess to the inquiring children, at night, when they are allowed PJs.

Jane said...

Sister, I know what you mean about "neat as a pin." I can nearly always recognize nuns out of their habits. Priests are more difficult though, for some reason. It drove me crazy that the priest-professors at my alma mater went around dressed just like the other professors. Sometimes I didn't know they were priests until I saw them processing into the chapel to say daily Mass.

Anonymous said...

We were living in Seward NE (population about 7000) and the man at the car wash was just visiting away. He was in clothes he had left over from the 70's and this was the 90's. It was several minutes before I recognized our priest!!!!
Lincoln has nuns in colors, pink sisters and blue sisters and I think gray sisters. Different orders wearing different colors.

ann nonymous said...


PINK Sisters??? Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Our Pink Sisters are very well known here. To participate with these brides of Christ at Christmas Mass in just beautiful.


Adrienne said...

anon - thanks for the link to the Pink Sisters. They are just beautiful!!

Anonymous said...

They wear pink habits and are cloistered. I believe they are also a silent order. They have a chapel of perpetual prayer. Regular people can enter the chapel through the public entrance. A wall of concrete blocks, with some blocks misspaced for small "windows", seperate the public from the praying nun. The public part of the chapel has hours it is open for silent prayer.I'm not living there anymore and things could have changed.

Kasia said...

I was once mistaken for a nun, as was my mother. But I've never flirted with a priest, so MissJean is one way up on me... ;-)

ann nonymous said...

Wow, Anonymous! Thanks for the link. I guess it's true what my mom says about if you live long enough, you'll see just about everything. Pretty color pink, too.

I wonder how orders decide what color their habits will be.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know the color to order thing too. I think the teaching sisters in Lincoln wear blue. Some are in gray, why?

Kevin - "pax tecum" said...

Sister...? It has been a few days since you've posted...Is everything ok?

Jane said...

Great story!