At the age of 16 a young Irish girl joined a convent. The young girl had never had a drop of alcohol, never told a lie, and never been with a man. She spent the first forty years praying the daily office, serving the poor, and giving herself in friendship to the other nuns. Over the decades the other nuns noticed that the woman had grown very wise. Anytime there was a big decision they would lean on her advice.
Once when they had the opportunity to sell some of their land, they asked her to weigh in. “Don’t sell the land,” she said. Two years later Nordic treasure was discovered on their land, which made the order financially secure. Another time when a man wanted to buy their statue of St. Joseph she told them, “Don’t sell the statue.” Years later they learned the statue was a Renoir, and people came from all over Europe to see it.
At age 56, the sisters asked the woman to become their new Mother Superior, and for the next forty years she led them all with her sound advice and wisdom. Whenever she said to do something, they did it, and it worked out well. Whenever she warned them not to do something, they would heed her warning. Every single time it worked out well.
Finally, at age 96, after eighty years of service to the convent the woman was dying. The other nuns gathered around to make her comfortable. They tried to give her food but she couldn’t eat. They tried to help her sleep, but she was in too much pain. “Take this medicine,” they told her, but the woman had never had a drink, never taken any medicine her whole life, so she refused. The only thing she could keep down was a few sips of warm milk.
The pain soon became unbearable and the woman hadn’t slept for days. Remembering a bottle of Irish whiskey hidden in the kitchen, one of the sisters made her a glass of warm milk with two shots of whiskey in it. They held it to the old nun’s lips. She took a few sips and lay down. Then she asked for a little more, and a little more, finally polishing off the entire glass.
Sensing the end was near, the nuns asked their great leader if she had any parting words of advice for them, one last piece of wisdom. The old woman raised her head and with a wry grin she said, “Don’t sell the cow.”