"But You’re So Happy!"

I love this story from Sr. Mary George, FSMG:

I am a firm believer that children say some of the most heartfelt prayers that I know. So, I asked my 1st grade class on Thursday to do me an extra special favor. I explained to them that 23 sisters would be renewing their vows on Sunday and I would be one of them. Could they pray for us at Mass?

They gave me many heartfelt assurances that they would do so and then immediately a plethora of hands went up into the air. What exactly are these vows? Explaining the vows in a way that 7 year olds can understand is very tricky, but I did the best I could. The one that they really understand, however, is the one about poverty. I believe all of my questions had to do with this vow. “You don’t have any money?…Not one dollar?… Not one cent?” With small children it turns from the broad to the miniscule, “What about the mechanical pencils?”

Question after question, with a statement of recognition thrown in about being married to God, until finally one of the biggest questioners raised her hand for the last time.

“But you’re so happy.”

The little girl stated it in real confusion. The mere statement caught me off guard that she had caught on, or had even been observing this fact and thinking about it. To her I must have had everything, that’s why I was so happy – and I do – but not by worldly standards by any means. So I led her on,


“Well… you’re so happy all the time… but don’t really have any stuff… so…”

“What does that tell you?”

In wonder she responded to me, “You don’t really need stuff to be happy.”

Read the rest, here

If you like that story, check out this fascinating story by Pat McNamara, about Mother Theodore Williams, who fought for her vocation in the Jim Crow South and finally ended up serving Harlem:

In September 1916, after he purchased a house for the new community, Elizabeth arrived (with habit) and soon took vows as Mother Mary Theodore. She would be the superior. In a short time, a handful of young women gathered around her. They called themselves the Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.

The response from the local community, Black and white, was largely positive. But one exception came from white nuns. Lissner recalled:

As real Southerners, they could not believe that a Colored woman could make a real Religious Sister . . . “It is a shame,” they said. “Fr. Lissner will soon find out his mistake. He may give them the veil, but will that prevent them from stealing chickens and telling lies?”
During the Great Depression, with few resources, Mother Theodore began a soup kitchen that ran most of the day, with people lined up three abreast for three blocks. Sisters begged for leftover food in downtown markets. Scraping off the rot, they boiled huge cauldrons of water with bones they gathered. They threw in the cleaned vegetables, and “soon a delicious soup was simmering.”

Another great story about a kid and a woman in a brown habit: “Look, it’s God’s wife!”

Something Unusual I: A Poor Clare becomes a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist

Something Unusual II: Franciscan Sisters of Peoria are going back to a longer habit

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!