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My Life with the Sisters

alec vanderboom

This is Sister Andrea, a Dominican Sister who worked at my last parish. I can't stress how little I actually know this holy Spouse of Christ. Sister Andrea worked with the Spanish speaking families of my parish. She offered crisis assistance to immigrant families. I only chatted with Sister Andrea a few times outside of Hannah's CCD classroom in 2007.

Back then, I thought Nuns were regular people. I'd chat with them in line at a parish event and then I forget about our meeting within a few days. I didn't realize that Sisters have a very special thing called "spiritual motherhood" which means that once you meet a Nun, she pretty much has you on her prayer list for the rest of her life. Since a Nun is MARRIED to Jesus, her interest in your spiritual welfares means that you'll run into each other AGAIN and AGAIN in completely crazy "coincidences."

That's been the case with Sister Andrea.

I switched churches 2 1/2 years ago and haven't seen Sister Andrea in a long time.

One night this past September, I staggered onto the elevator at Children's Hospital feeling overwhelmed and depressed. My Tessy was not doing well for the second straight week after her abdominal surgery. My older kids were home, so I couldn't stay late at the NICU. I left my newborn alone in her hospital room and walked into the elevator at 7 PM with the rest of my family. My heart ached with pain.

"God, I don't know how much longer I can do this" I prayed.

I walked out of the elevator and guess who had parked her car three feet from me?

Sister Andrea!

Sister Andrea came over and started to hug Hannah. "You have such a beautiful family!" she said.

I started to cry, "Oh Sister, you don't even know the half of it. I've got a newborn daughter who is upstairs in the NICU. She's beautiful, but so sick. She's been here for two weeks and I can't get her out."

Sister Andrea kept her face completely calm and serene. It was so calm, I didn't even know if she heard me. "It's okay," she told me. "We'll pray. We'll get your baby home."

On Sunday after attending the special Mass for Sister Peace, guess who I ran into with a completely healed Tess in my arms? Sister Andrea! Sister's companion came over to me and started to coo over my pretty baby Tess. Sister Andrea called over her shoulder, "You remember Sister, that was the sick baby who was in the hospital. The one we prayed for?"

It felt overwhelming to remember the grief I felt in that hospital parking lot. Yet here I was, a few short weeks later and a few blocks away from that same parking lot. During this meeting with Sister Andrea, however, I had a completely healed daughter in my arms. I started crying happy tears this time.

Those amazing Sisters, they touch my heart every time.