Thursday, June 16, 2011

a storyteller gone to glory

If there is storytelling in heaven, Sr. Bernardine is now entertaining the angels, archangels and all the company of heaven.  I expect Sr. Esther was right there to greet her - but she's already heard the stories, so perhaps she is alternating lines with Sr. Bernardine.  I used to love it when they would start telling stories about their novitiate.  I can't remember which one of them once climbed out a window to escape a sister waiting to corral her in the hall, but I can certainly picture them doing it as young women!  One of my favorite stories of hers was about being sent to get a bat out of the chapel.  She tossed a dustcloth over it - and it flew away under the dustcloth, looking for all the world like a mini ghost flitting about the chapel. 

Most of her stories, though, were about her family.  We all knew about Towser, her dog.  We knew about her wonderful stepmother and the nuns that took care of her in her last days.  We knew about her grandfather with polio, a judge with a real compassionate streak.  And her last and best and most-repeated story was about how she carried her baby brother home from the hospital after he was born. 

Well, it looks as though I will meet that famous baby brother sometime in the next few weeks. 

I'll miss laughing with Sr. Bernardine.  The last few years she hasn't recognized me, but we have always had lovely visits anyway.  Even once she started sleeping most of the time, she would wake up, say something to me, and laugh before she went back to sleep.  And so when I picked photos for the collage I made, the ones that spoke to me were mostly those where she is laughing, or looks as though she is about to do so.  Or maybe tell a bad pun (they were awful - she and my father could rival each other!)...

I wish I had more digital copies of the old photos from when she was young, but I love these, all but one of which come from my time with the sisters.  The other is from our camp - the place to which we will soon be moving, as a matter of fact, so perhaps it is appropriate after all.  Part of her will be there with us, I am sure.

She would have been 96 at the end of the month.  It's been a good life.  And I am so glad to have shared the last eleven years with her.

Sr. Bernardine, I love you.  See you again when the time comes!


  1. Yes, I've heard your father's puns, and seen his broad smile when he tells them, or tells another genealogical story.

    It is hard to lose friends, even temporarily. God Bless.

  2. Sr. Bernardine sounds like a lovely person! I love hearing about how she shared her stories with others, and I love that you are carrying that tradition on. <3