Sister Prudentia's Pilgrimage

In her prime, as Sister Administrator
Of a prosperous house of retreat
And retirement, the magnetic recruiter of novices
Into a powerful Order of worker-bee nuns,
She exercised queen-bee authority over women
In habits and workmen in overalls, a Hilda
Of Whitby sprung to life again, translating
The skills of Liber Usualis to sheetrock
And drywall, a builder as well as her Rule’s
Stellar maidservant. Duly, all wills bend
To the leaden weight of years. In halls
She once raised and ruled, Sister Prudentia
Moves haltingly with the aid of the claws
On a three-footed cane, tapping her way
On the corridor’s hexagonal honeycomb tiles
To the Chapel. A worker-bee flits by,
One of her own hiving; a new queen bee
Sits in the central cell of the office,
Entrusting the late vocation of Sister Sacristan
To Sister Prudentia, now lighting candles
For Noonday Prayers. Housekeeping the altar’s
Fair linen and roses, having tested the honey
Of all the world’s flowers, she savors still
Sweetness in faithfully keeping the Hours.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

“Amoris Laetitia” addresses the reality of Catholics in “non-legitimate unions” and opens the possibility for them to receive the Eucharist under certain conditions.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 22, 2017
Immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 21, 2017
El sistema de libre empresa es compatible con nuestra preocupación por los desfavorecidos, escribe un economista y católico converso.
Arthur C. BrooksFebruary 21, 2017
The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017