In This Small Spot

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Book: In This Small Spot by Caren Werlinger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Caren Werlinger
Tags: Gay & Lesbian, Women's Fiction, Lesbian Fiction, Nuns, convent
Mickey had had a chance to
really study her face, and she was startled to realize that Sister
Anselma was probably no older than she was. She knew the nuns
didn’t measure age chronologically, but she was still surprised
that someone so young would carry so much responsibility within the
    Sister Anselma continued, “In order for me
to guide you to the best of my ability, it would be helpful to know
a little about you and what brought you here.”
    Mickey quickly considered how much to tell
her. It had taken a long time before she opened up completely with
Mother Theodora. “I was drawn to religious life as a teenager and
almost entered a convent right after high school,” she began
sheepishly, “but I decided to go to college, and there, I became
interested in medicine and pursued medical school. I had been
teaching at Johns Hopkins, and was a partner in a surgical practice
in Baltimore.” Mickey paused. Sister Anselma’s expression hadn’t
changed, and her eyes were still fixed on Mickey’s face. “After… a
few years ago, I guess I just reached the point of feeling I needed
to do something more. I found the abbey by accident one day, and
then met Mother. It was through my conversations with her that I
eventually decided to enter.”
    Sister Anselma’s face softened. “I wonder if
she knows how many of us she’s brought here.” She held out a small
book and pen. “You will use this journal to write down the
Scripture passages I give you to pray with each day. Try to spend
an hour with each passage, and then write down your feelings,
thoughts, any words or phrases that speak to you. Begin each
session with a prayer asking to be open to what God wishes to say
to you. Have you ever prayed like this before, Michele?”
    Mickey shook her head.
    “Try to relax and not force your prayer in
any specific direction.” She flipped through the Bible on her lap,
and gave Mickey three Scripture readings to start with. “We’ll meet
here each day at the start of Recreation.” She stood, and the folds
of her habit fell gracefully into place. She looked down at Mickey
and added, “I believe there is still enough snow left outside for
another snowball fight with the trees if you are so moved.”
    ╬ ╬ ╬
    The first five days of Mickey’s retreat
passed calmly enough. The passages that she had been asked to pray
with had been taken from all over: Lamentations, Isaiah, Psalms,
the Gospels, Paul’s letters. The common thread which seemed to be
emerging was Mickey’s difficulty trusting and believing that she
could be an instrument of God’s will. This was the hardest thing
she had done at St. Bridget’s, maybe the hardest thing she had ever
    She had glimpses of the others at meals, and
occasionally, out on the abbey grounds. They seemed to be
struggling also. She saw Tanya and Jessica in tears at different
    Meeting with Sister Anselma the afternoon of
the fifth day, Mickey was looking forward to the end of this
retreat and was about to say so when, “Michele,” Sister Anselma
began with a small frown, “I am not sure why or what exactly, but I
sense a block of some kind, keeping you from getting where you need
to be.”
    Mickey stared at her. “I don’t feel that
way. I’m not sure what is supposed to happen on these retreats, but
I feel like there have been moments of real clarity and insight
that weren’t there before.”
    Sister Anselma’s sharp eyes searched hers
for a long moment. Finally she nodded and said, “Very well. I could
be wrong about this.” Opening her Bible, she began picking the next
set of readings for Mickey to pray with. She looked up and saw that
Mickey had stopped writing and that the color had drained from her
face. “Michele?”
    “Why did you choose that passage from
Wisdom?” Mickey asked, looking down at her journal.
    Sister Anselma’s eyebrows raised a little.
“I don’t know. I told you I pray for guidance each time we meet.
    Mickey paused.

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