Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Nun's Story

Last year I had a postcard from my Aunt Raynah, who reads my blog in Bombay, and wrote that I remind her of St Thérèse of Liseux. I love that postcard. Raynah used to be a nun, but decided to re-enter society as a lay person, many years ago; hence her marriage to my uncle.
Today, attached to her own drip, in the chair on my left at the Patient Short Stay Unit, was a lovely Carmelite nun. Irish, from a family of thirteen siblings! She thought I would be shocked to discover she was 'actually' a nun (she was dressed in summery cropped trousers, instead of her habit) but I wasn't. Very little shocks me. Everything interests me, much surprises me.

This morning, I ran a little late because I was trying to post a poem but the images would not save. Poetry does not need extraneous images, but they delight all the same, don't you find? So I left the piece unpublished, and scurried off to hospital.
The images that failed to save were these, of Audrey Hepburn, photographed by Leo Fuchs, during the filming of 'The Nun's Story'.

My Carmelite nun had never met anyone with Lupus, but knew about its seriousness through this connection: St Thérèse of Liseux had a novice sister called Marie of the Trinity, who apparently suffered much and died from Lupus, and of course smiled beautifully all the while :) Marie-Louise Castel was 20, in 1894, when she joined the Carmel of Liseux, where Thérèse was mistress of the novices at only 21; she died three years later, as you know, of tuberculosis. Thérèse taught the practise of 'the little way'... anyone who practices the 'spirituality of the smile' can reach heroic heights of sanctity and declare, in spite of great suffering, "No! Life is not sad!"

Are you impressed by my saintly connections?! Am home again now, in case you were wondering. And smiling, but you knew that.

9 comments:

Nil said...

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by...
If you smile
With your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just...
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just...
Smile

mermaid gallery said...

I'm smiling too....

painting classes said...

I like your blog!...Daniel

Autumn Twig said...

:) welcome home

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love your shining, hopeful and beautiful heart, Shaista. Also agree with the comparison to the "Little Flower". Am happy you are receiving treatment, even happier that you are home.

Ruth said...

These are sweet and even aching synchronicities, that do make me smile, and ache.

I hope it's a good day.

Loree said...

I think your aunt chose a beautiful parallel. I hope you are still smiling.

Steven Cain said...

No! Life is not sad!

Especially if you have an elephant.


Thanks for the smiles Shaista... glad you are home.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Such contagion in your smile, Shaista. When I reached the end of the post, I realized that I had just came down with a serious case of smile myself.

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