Sr Bridget was here during the snow and left early this morning before any sign of the promised thaw. The taxi came as we were finishing morning prayer and the driver managed to reverse in the general direction of our kerb. She will have a long delay in Heathrow and then her overnight flight will land her into the Southern African summer heat, having peeled some layers on the way.
A smallish Galway woman, she is returning to her formation ministry in Zimbabwe having said ‘goodbye’ to her mother who has just celebrated her hundredth birthday. During Bridget’s time here, I turned up the heating (water paradoxically is cut at night). She sidestepped the pots and pans full of snow on the kitchen floor. Once melted and heated, this supplements the washing up water.
Yesterday, on the feast of Mary Immaculate, we made our way, one behind the other, on treacherous pavements up to Ballinteer church for Mass. And in the afternoon, equally cautiously and mindful of our combined ages, we navigate down to the No 14 bus stop, so that she can say some more goodbyes in Curchtown. Back here again, we say Prayer of the Church, covering the globe and the years with our petitions. As darkness falls we check outside for any variation in the surrounding whiteness.
Now, Bridget has phoned from Dublin airport, her 6.000 miles journey well begun. As I make up the visitors’ bed, the house seems empty and quiet. A tell-tale drip from the eaves is at last beginning as I return to solitary mode. This morning’s antiphon is universally encouraging: “It is God who holds your hand and says: Fear not, I will help you.”
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Sr Kathleen Keane
14 Heather Lawn
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