These beautiful girls will be joining the beautiful women in Nashville where they will commence a new journey.
Did you know with total conviction what you wanted to do, where you wanted to be when you were 21? Well in a few days my niece will be 22 so maybe that makes all the difference? I doubt it. At 22, I was a little lost, travelling back to South Africa to see if I could find myself. There is not a day that I don’t wake up and say my prayers ending with the Lords Prayer. There is not a day that passes that, in that time of silence, I see in my minds eye a little ceramic ornament on my book shelf, in the shape of a bible with the Lords Prayer inscribed.
I try hard every day to be a good person. I try very hard to keep the faith. I try hard to remind myself that God gives to you what he believes you can handle (just wish he didn’t know I was such an over achiever!)
I always remember, and hold close to my heart, one of my father’s sayings that we would hear all the time (you know …the roll your eyes…here we go again)
If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say it at all
This saying definitely comes in handy here in New York….
But to believe without a doubt that you wish to serve God and be a daughter of the church, is something that Big Kel, Helenka and about 25 other young women, know with strong conviction and in that alone, they deserve our respect, our love, our support and our admiration.
When they both came in January for a retreat at the Motherhouse, I had a feeling that “something was up” so I decided to invite myself and Rose to Nashville to “check out these nuns”.
It is a breathtaking home that sits on a hill and is filled with stories, history, laughter, love and God’s spirit. The home still smelt of Christmas with poinsettias lining the stairs (a gift from a local florist) and the well loved nativity scenes were still out.
The periods of worship that we participated in were a mix of beautiful music, chanting and prayer. To start and end your day like this…what joy.
But I think it was the laughter and the normalcy of the home (and it is indeed a home) that really had an impact on me. I loved this moment…
As the sun set, the farewell of a family visiting for the holidays and the white fabric you see….it is her sleeve. A removable sleeve comes in handy when washing up, cleaning and working but they discovered early on, it is also handy when fare welling family.
Of course in true bossy Sallianne style, I reminded the girls as I walked out the door, to ask lots of questions, to remember that in some ways this was a Sales Conference and that the best, most perky Sales Nuns would be on the job for the next few weeks!! To my knowledge there was no eye rolling.
So we come full circle.
The little girl who loved playing with her Aunty Sal, the little girl who is Big Nan’s, Granny and Papa’s, and Nanna and Pop’s special grand daughter, the little girl who is a patient, kind and loving sister to her siblings (honestly what sibling of your own ever made you lunch or packed your bag or helped you with homework?), the little girl who has never broken any rules (does beer drinking at uni count?), the little girl who wouldn’t go to sleep unless one of her parents was lying beside her…is embarking on a wonderful journey.
We are all so proud of you Big Kel, We respect and we celebrate your decision. We cherish and we treasure the childhood memories we have and we look forward in earnest to hearing about your journey, and seeing you in your new home.
Happy Birthday my gorgeous Kel who I love very much. I look forward to sitting here with you.
But I will be sure to hire a car because I definitely want you to take your sleeve off to wave to me.
Aunty Sal x
P.S. Don’t forget…I need a list of all the nun’s who don’t have family, so I can come visit them in their family time slots. I am available for event management of convent events and we promise we wont make too much of a scene when at other times we stand at the gate and wave.