Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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A Christmas I will never forget

There's many a December evening when, at the end of a frazzled day, we Sisters sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and take time to remember Christmases past.

There is one Christmas I will never forget. I entered the convent in September 1956 with many other young women and we were all busy learning the ways of religious life. Then along came Advent. In my three previous years, I had been teaching primary classes where December meant chorus after chorus of Rudolph or missing front teeth, mixed in with Silent Night now and then. It meant days of watching the excitement grow in 35 young faces. It meant noise and movement, not to mention Christmas shopping. But what was this?

We certainly had a prayerful Advent, but ...nary a sniff of Christmas. Didn't Christmas happen in the convent? We washed and scrubbed and waxed, but not a trace of a decoration was to be seen. And no Christmas cards, of course. And so, feeling hard done by and very, very lonesome we, the postulants, were sent off to bed on Christmas Eve, knowing we would be awakened for Midnight Mass.

We slept. And then — what was that? Certainly not the rising bell. Singing? Am I really hearing the middle of the night?

Christmas had come!

No, it was not the songs of the angels, though it wasn't far off. We were awakened by the novices singing carols as they processed through the halls, leading us to the grand celebration of Midnight Mass. In a moment, breaking into "night's deep silence" came the joy and excitement that had been pent up through the previous weeks. We had begun to discover the wonder of Christmas in the convent.

By Mary Buckley CSJ


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