Friday, June 01, 2007

Sister Agatha of the Streetcar

Carol hopped on the Santa Monica Boulevard line heading towards Silver Lake and soon the nun got on and sat by her.
Carol beamed. “Sister Agatha of the Streetcar! It’s so wonderful to see you again. And your robes are so clean all the time. How do you do it? You practically glow.”
“Do I, Carol? I see you glow from within today. You must have been praying. Boy you glow.”
“Not really. But I’ve been wanting to be a star, real bad. Have you been praying? Oh, of course you have. You’re a nun.”
“I have been praying for Oklahoma.”
Carol put her nose in the air. “Oh. The immigrants. And it’s very dirty over there.”
“That land is now a vast sea of dust. It is the valley of death. Fierce waves of heat blow over the face of the earth as if God has abandoned it. The Virgin weeps as she sees how the Earth of life and green plants has withered. Only the bones of herds give detail to the white dust. And just outside Lawton there’s the bones of a little girl who got lost. There is nothing sadder and I have been praying for her. The cola bottles around her have become buried in the blowing dust and only the top of her bones stick out - only a few tips of her ribs and a small circle of her skull at the top of her pretty little forehead. Tonight I will go to her and help her into the hands of Mary, who always has room for all the departed lost children on her lap. Even the ones that have been withered into bones.”
Carol frowned. “How will you get there?”
“On my broom.”
Carol imagined a nun flying on a broom and belted out a laugh. “You’re funny!”
Sister Agatha of the Streetcar chuckled along with her and then asked, “And what’s your bowl for?”
Carol held her bowl up. “A cactus! I’m going to a cactus show! I’m going to be a star! Do you want to come with me? Can nuns go to things like that?”
“Certainly. I love agricultural shows. And I love dog shows and most of all I love food and wine shows. I love to walk the vineyards. But I have many sad people to pray for today.”
“No praying for me,” Carol boasted. “I’m not sad at all today.”
“Wonderful. Then we’ll pray a happy prayer.”
“There’s a prayer for happiness?”
The nun nodded. “That’s when it’s fun to pray.”
“Do you have a happy prayer to me?”
“Certainly.” Sister Agatha of the Streetcar closed her eyes and smiled. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
“I grew up with a lot of sheep. Did that make me a shepherd too? Like the Lord is my shepherd?”
Sister Agatha of the Streetcar tapped the side of her gleaming white habit and wimple. “Yes. So you understand sheep. You understand more than you realize.”