January 16, 2015
By Sister Pat K.
When groups of sisters lived in houses commonly called communities, few situations disturbed the union and charity that prevailed more than windows and pets. The window controversy stemmed from individual preferences for or against fresh air and sadly, it was in the chapel that differences were most evident. Windows were opened, closed, reopened and reclosed many times in the course of a morning meditation and many grimaces and deep sighs accompanied the action.
Pets were another matter. A canine pet was seldom introduced as “our” dog; he/she was Sister X’s or Sister Y’s dog but the phrase often added was “but we take care of him/ her”—this said with raised eyebrows and eye-rolling. With innocuous names like Pacis and Lady, one might have expected better behavior, but more often Pacis barked her head off on the slightest provocation and Lady was, to put it quite indelicately, a slob.
The classic tale, when pet stories come up, is the one about Sister Euphrasia’s bird. A parakeet with typical plumage, Petie was distinguished from all others of his species by his one and only leg and permanently disagreeable disposition. Despite these handicaps, Euphrasia loved him dearly and, thinking everyone else should too, installed him in the community room. When she thought he needed a little freedom, she opened his cage and Petie had the run of the place. He had great fondness for alighting on people’s heads, an odd sensation at best but, given his one leg, a bit creepy. The entire household beat a hasty retreat from the community room when Petie was on the loose. Read More