Skittles & singing: finding common ground

Skittles

Sister Barb and I have now met a grand total of three times and, while bonding over Skittles, fruit and gummy candy, we have learned quite a bit about each other. We both like to play cards and sing, however, unlike me, Sister Barb likes to bake. Sister Barb and her biological sister will be baking cookies and participating in a bake sale this November. I'm hoping to tag along to the bake sale to see what it is like (and to grab a few cookies). 

Sister Barb brought some of her photos to share with me today and told me stories about her postulant and novice days, such as when she and her companions went shopping for clothes to wear (they don't wear habits) and each came back with the same suit pattern! Though Sister Barb never wore the habit, photos of her school and early religious life depicted the gradual transition and fading of the habit and veil, as seen on the other sisters present.

I have also learned quite a bit about the history of the Servite order and its saints. Her order was founded by seven men in Florence, Italy who started the order in honor of Mary, mother of God. They were called the Friar Servants of Mary and lived in a hermitage on Monte Senario. The order came to the United States in 1852 and produced saints such as Saint Peregrine, Saint Clelia Barbieri, Saint Juliana Falconieri and Saint Philip Benizi. The symbol of the order is a crest with an 'M' for Mary; it has seven diamonds on it, representing the seven sorrows of Mary. There are so many variations of this crest now that Sister Barb has chosen to no longer wear her pin with the crest, which she received as a novice. Instead, she wears a simple gold ring with a cross that she received at her profession. 

Today Sister and I talked for two hours and the time flew by! I have very much enjoyed meeting Sister Barb and I feel both excited and privileged to get to interview her next week.

Ali Thames

About Ali Thames

Ali Thames is a graduate student at St. Catherine University. She has a BA in biochemistry and is working towards a masters in education in order to teach both biology and chemistry at the high school level. She enjoys drawing and currently volunteers at “The Landing”, a bird sanctuary. She has two birds of her own, a cockatiel and a sun conure. During the Fall of 2014 she was paired with Sister Barbara Thomalla, OSM; a Servant of Mary.