Sister Hannah Doesn’t Think You’re A Slut

It was no accident  that I found myself hiking to my holy place today, the old stone convent in the forest. When I feel this now familiar pull to the woods, I answer the call, there’s a reason I tell myself.

Perhaps “Prince”, the  white deer will pop out of a shrub, as he did weeks ago, just a few feet from me, as if to say “you rang?”..I would have been grateful to see him today..he makes it easy to believe the angels are close, and I needed a chat with the angels today. I waited patiently for him along with a bossy flock of geese who seemed to be saying..”Mr. Prince is not seeing anyone today, move your sorry ass along..hooooonk!”

Disappointed, but not done..I hiked over to Sister Hannah’s Angel Garden.  Sister Hannah created a garden in the hillside and encourages visitors to place an angel , meditate and pray, and..I discovered today.. maybe leave her a message in the  notebook she has placed in the mailbox there.  

The notebook is  nearly full with messages of gratitude to  Sister  Hannah for creating this lovely place, desperate requests to pray for their sick loved ones, notes from children who simply wanted to say “I love you”. Some just left drawings, from sophisticated sketches of angels to abstract drawings. One teenage girl, Sarah, left an especially angst-filled message..she sounded troubled and tortured..friendships, boyfriends, body image..she wrote that everyone thinks she’s a “slut”…right there in Sister Hannah’s sweet little angel garden book. I was aghast for Sister..imagining her resting her shovel against a bench, wiping her brow, and reaching in  her mailbox only to find a trashy message from a kid with no manners.

Sister Hannah responded..in  perfect penmanship, of course.  A message of support and love and compassion from an old nun. She told Sarah she was beautiful and worthy, and most importantly, “you are not a slut”.  A later message from Sarah was one of heartfelt thanks ..the support from Sister’s response had possibly stopped a contemplated suicide..she just needed to know someone cared. 

I left a couple of tears in that garden of saints and sinners today..along with my first message in Sister Hannah’s notebook. I wanted her to know that it took me 50 years to appreciate the lives of these selfless women, and i am sorry for that.  That my heart sings at the thought of possessing even a small amount of their faith and devotion.  That I am grateful for even the hope of peace and calm that their existence offers the world. 

It was a really good day.
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11 thoughts on “Sister Hannah Doesn’t Think You’re A Slut

  1. I wish I had such a garden to visit. I would be there every day for soul-restoration. This was a great post, Tess. I sunk into it for a few moments of peace. Thanks.

  2. Everyone needs compassion; so we keep learning this lesson over and over. why don’t we do it for ourselves as often as for someone else? You are a passionate writer and I enjoy your foibles and glories equally. Thanks

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