January 11th, 2007

If I Were a Superhero, My Power Would Be Terrifying Nuns

I don’t really need to be a superhero, though. Evidently I terrify nuns just all on my own—no superpowers necessary.


Today I took a deep breath and phoned a nun who had seemed initially reluctant to be interviewed about her volunteer activities at the Orange Police Department. In the end she agreed to let the volunteer coordinator give me her phone number—but it was all too clear that she wasn’t really up for the task. I had put off phoning her for more than a week, but I decided today was the day.


I had to leave her a voicemail, but she called right back.


“I just need to tell you, I really don’t want to do it,” she said.


I appreciate honesty—and I was prepared for her interview horror story, which followed. (Though her activities may occasionally appear somewhat unusual for a nun, she is extremely orthodox in her vocation—a fact she believed was smudged over by the person who’d written about her before.) Plus, she said, she just doesn’t like publicity.


I told her I understood, using my standard if-anyone-ever-wanted-to-interview-me-which-is-exceedingly-unlikely-I-think-I-would-freak-out spiel. I also mentioned that I had sensed her initial reluctance. And then she breathed a very audible sigh of relief.


“You don’t know how scared I was to call you back,” she said. “But you sound like such a nice girl! I’ll say a special prayer for you, because you’re so understanding.”


If I had to be let down, I don’t think there was a nicer way to do it. Unless maybe ice cream was involved. (Maybe next time. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.) 

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