Last Thursday I received word that Sister Rita died.  Sr. Rita and I lived in the same community (convent) for the past seven years.  We were friends and sisters.  When I moved out of the convent to come live and minister with my mother, Sr. Rita was in discernment about her own living situation too.  Shortly thereafter she moved to Lourdes, our retirement/assisted living community.  Rita had a wicked sense of humor, a delightful wit, a keen intellect and a generous spirit.  She loved beauty wherever she saw it and was a true "lady."  Also she was a 1 on the enneagram.  A perfectionist and an idealist. 

Once she commented to me that she would like to talk to me about a comment I had made at dinner one evening.  Because I almost always assume that when someone wants to talk to me about something I’ve said it means that I’ve said something wrong or inappropriate, I told her that sure, I’d be happy to have that conversation and proceeded to avoid it like the plague.  Not her, so much, but the conversation.  About two weeks went by until one day I came home and she was stranded in the elevator of our convent.  She’d been in there for a couple of minutes, had called the emergency folks to get her out and I told her I’d sit outside the elevator until they came and got her out.  As I was sitting on the outside and she on the inside, a large metal door between us, she dryly commented, "Is this a good time for the conversation, Christine?"  Oh, my!   We chuckled about that for weeks. 

We did eventually talk about the comment – it had to do with me saying that when I made my profession of obedience, I meant obedience to the whole community.  She wondered about that as in her understanding our vow of obedience was to the prioress (and her successors).  Since I understand the root of obedience to be in listening… to God, to one another, to God speaking through one another, I said that it was the whole community who elected the prioress general, so it’s the whole community to whom I owe obedience.  We had several discussions along these lines and I always enjoyed her perspective and I think she enjoyed mine.  We were two different generations, separated by two other generations.  We didn’t always agree on the semantics, but we always agreed to love one another. 

I’m going to miss her.   May God grant that we meet again on the other side.