I wasn't able to post the final two retreat reports (forgive me!)...but the retreat ended yesterday and now I am back in Chicago, catching up on other things. While I was in Boston, I was able to "catch up" with the sisters, which is always fun.
Yesterday I shared a meal with Sr Mary Paula, who is the #1 sports fan among all of our American sisters. Last week, four tickets to a Red Sox game became unexpectedly available. Sister Mary Paula (I think she's around 85) stayed through the eleventh inning of that night game. She's currently following basketball, but only since the Kentucky Derby was run. (In her room, she has an autographed 8 X 10 glossy of her favorite jockey.) Remember when the Marlins won the World Series with an inexperienced team and a manager they pulled out of retirement? Sr Mary Paula wrote a congratulatory letter to the manager. You can find it in his autobiography.
Sr Mary Paula is from Youngstown, OH, and her background is Croatian. (I can still taste the marvelous traditional pastries she would make for Christmas years ago when I was stationed in Boston.) Her Croatian ancestry was also instrumental in gaining two vocations for the Daughters of St Paul: Back in the 50's, Sr Mary Paula was doing a door to door visitation of a parish in Buffalo, NY. At one home, the lady of the house didn't quite believe that the two smiling sisters at her door were really Catholic nuns (who ever heard of nuns bringing books direct to the home?), and she said something to that effect (in Croatian) to another family member. Sr Mary Paula didn't miss a beat, shifting right into her own family language to explain our mission. Two of the woman's daughters ended up as, well, Daughters! (One was my novice director. That's how I heard the story.) Sr Mary Paula also had the distinction of participating in the month of spiritual exercises preached by our Founder, Bl. James Alberione, in 1961. (I translated the sermons a couple of years ago; it was all done in Italian--in which Sr. Paula is fluent.)
Not all of our sisters have the same exterior "sparkle" as Sr Mary Paula; some have their sparkle all on the inside where God delights in it. But every so often, God lights a sparkler that we can all see, and Sr. Mary Paula is one of them for me.