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Sister Constant Attention

Added: Sunday, November 25th 2007 at 1:33pm by robertflynn
Related Tags: events, life


My wife’s bunkie is a nun.  The nun may once have stood straight and been five feet tall, perhaps five-two or five-four but her back is permanently bent from humility and prayer.  Or perhaps osteoporosis.


Sister Constant Attention.  Nuns require a lot of attention.  At least this one does.  They also believe in service.  This one demands it.  And not just of the staff.  “Jean, could your husband do me one favor?  Could he move the privacy curtain.  The other way.  That’s too much.  Pull it back.  Now the other way a little bit.  There.  God, bless you, Jean.  


“Oh, and could he put my table beside my bed so I can reach it?  And put my water on the table.  And if he could put my glass on the table also.  And fill the glass with water so that it is easier to drink.  And put the telephone on the table.  And could he please hand me my book?”


Sister Constant Attention has only one book.  It takes up one drawer by itself.  It is thick, heavy, worn.  Do not ask if it is her Bible.  DO NOT ASK.  It is her prayer book.  Do not ask what her prayer book is.  DO NOT ASK.  Particularly, do not ask if she has memorized any of the prayers.  Everyone who enters her room has to hand Sister Constant her prayer book.  RN, LVN, maid, janitor, therapist, her visitors, Jean’s visitors. Jean’s husband.  They all ask is that your Bible?  They all ask, what is a prayer book?  Have you memorized any of the prayers?


Nuns pray.  They pray a lot and they pray aloud.  At least this one does.  They also, at least this one, face Rome.  Rome is somewhere on the other side of Jean’s bed.  And someone named Jean is often mentioned.  Perhaps it is the name of a saint.  Perhaps St. Jeanne d’Arc.  If so, St. Jeanne had a husband.  


Bells ring in Jean’s room.  Ding, ding, ding, means someone is in the bathroom and needs help to escape it.  Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, means someone wants attention.  Sister Constant likes the ding dong sound because it reminds her of chapel bells.  She misses chapel so much that she told visiting nuns that she had informed Mother Superior that she was not coming back until she required less attention.  And, “Jean, could your husband show the sisters my prayer book?”  Do not ask if they know any of the prayers by heart.  DO NOT.


Jean is home today on a pass and is at liberty until 8 p.m.  If you call her today do not ask if she would like to borrow your prayer book.  DO NOT ASK.

See my website:  www.robert-flynn.net 

User Comments

On a totally unrelated subject, I've a big fan of the book 10 Fun Things to do before you die by Karol Jackowsk (who is a literary nun).  That is a fun and nont serious book, but I'm currently looking at her book Forever and Ever, Amen, which is a more traditional memoir about being a nun. 

Demographically, I've been told nuns are becoming more rare.

Nuns are becoming more rare. Even when my wife taught at a Catholic school for girls many of the nuns were from Ireland, also the priest who oversaw them. I'm not sure why. The pope is presently investigating American nuns, although it was the priests who molested children. Some of the nuns have already defied the pope in public statements. We'll see how that turns out.

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