hero nuns from the planet zorg
1. When my Aunty Eileen was training as a nurse at Saint Vincent's hospital, one of the nuns was being hard on her. Finally my aunt confronted the nun. My aunt said: "Why are you doing this?" The nun replied: "Because as soon as I saw you I knew that some day you'd be running this unit. And you'll need to be tough." So it transpired.
2. An artist friend who was formerly a teacher in Newbridge told me that the nuns who ran a school there had an extraordinary commitment to the children in their care. "The sort of help they gave to families was unbelievable," said the teacher. "People have forgotten all this. The story is largely untold. The nuns knew all the background, all the circumstances. If a child was doing badly in school, the nuns often knew about some family problem and would endeavour to get the child help. They gave a level of care that doesn't exist now. I remember being at a parent teacher meeting when I worked at the school. One of the parents, a single mother but living with a new boyfriend, told me that her new boyfriend had flung the baby across the room the previous night. I told the nuns. The nuns moved heaven and earth to try and get Social Services to take the baby out of that situation. Then as now the Social Services moved very slowly. After six months the baby was taken into care. The baby had to take his chances for six months with the fellow who threw him across the room. Anyway, after a while the mother gave an assurance to Social Services that she had severed contact with this particular boyfriend. Social Services returned the baby to her. The last I heard was that she had married the boyfriend."
3. When Kilcullen Primary School became coeducational in 1979, a certain disparity in the educational levels of boys and girls in the town came into the public domain. Up to that time, the girls had been educated solely by nuns. They were almost all able read and write and do maths. The boys had been educated at a primary school with lay teachers. About thirty percent of us could barely write at all. Teachers had traditionally made a pragmatic attempt to educate all the boys but it seemed like a fait accompli that a significant number would be left behind. My brother Bernard was in the class taken over by Sister Lelia. This class was preparing to move into Post Primary Education. Sister Lelia was horrified to discover that around a third of the boys could not write properly. She junked the curriculum. That is to say she stopped everything, and took action to teach every boy in the class to do joined up writing. The result is that to this day, among young men of a certain age group in my town, some tough, some rich, some poor, some soft, some city boys, some farmers, all of em, all of them I say, have beautiful clear flowing hand writing. They are Sister Lelia's boys. She may have been as tough as old boots. But she didn't leave anyone behind.
4. Mother Angelica, an American nun, founded the international Catholic broadcaster Eternal Word Network Television, EWTN. She set it up in a garage in Atlanta. There is a story told that at one point while trying to raise funds, she approached some mafiosi for donations. A mafia man supposedly told her: "Sister, we're not the sort of people you would want to take money from." Mother Angelica replied: "I'll take your money and I'll pray for you." Mother Angelic is also famous for musing publically on national television: "I don't know how I became a nun. When I was a child, most of the nuns I knew were bitches."
5. Sister Brid MacKenna claims to have been healed of crippling arthritis in 1971 while praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. (Communion bread which Catholics teach contains the real presence of Jesus.) She also claims to have received a gift enabling her to heal others at this time. She has spent the past four decades preaching the real presence of Jesus in communion. She claims that limitless healing is available to all in front of the blessed sacrament.