The Benedictine Sisters: They Also Teach

Published by Saint Vincent Archabbey Public Relations on

No longer able to work,
The old sister
Sits praying for us all
And dozing.

In her sleep,
She drops her beads;
But her gnarled old hands
Still move in two familiar patterns:
They pull the missing beads
And then they move
Back and forth,
Still peeling potatoes,
Her work of over fifty years

At night, though,
She often stirs.
The other sisters hear her
In her sleep
Encourage a sister, long dead.
“Mach schnell, Schwester.”
Hurry up!
Mother Leonarda told us:
The boys are sick;
Make them soup;
“Mach schnell.”

After the sisters’meals,
She pushes her walker; and
Barely able to hold the rag,
She cleans the tables after them.
She cannot work now
So she prays
For all of us
And dreams of Him.

Richard Schulte

From Saint Vincent: A Benedictine Place; Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B., editor; Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, 1995