Surprise

Much has happened since I last wrote. For starters I met Sister Vicky last night. Let me backtrack to the beginning of my story. Before last night, which was a Tuesday by the way, I had sent Sister Vicky an email this last Saturday. I wrote asking to meet with her, asking what times and days would work best for her. From this initial contact we started a series of emails to each other, after which we settled to have our first meeting this Thursday.

It was nice. From our emails I could perceive that she was open and honest. She was very straightforward with me on how she feels about being interviewed. I feel that there was one email of hers that struck me more than any of her other ones had done. She confided that she felt that she was “taking a risk” by participating in the project. I felt compelled to assure her of my good intentions, of letting her know that this is a collaboration. I wanted her to know that she has as much say in what is produced from our work together as I do.

In that instance I could not help but feel protective for her. I don’t think I felt that she was powerless, (she conveyed a strong, and intelligent personality in her emails), but more that I felt like I understood her. It’s not easy to trust someone you hardly know. The prospect is even more daunting when you are suddenly asked to divulge your personal story to a stranger.

Well, we had barely agreed on meeting on Thursday, when I received another email from her Monday morning about an event that took place yesterday evening. The event Breaking the Impasse: Call for Action to Eliminate Poverty, was an event I had already planned to attend for a class I am currently taking. She suggested that we meet briefly before the event, just to have initial introductions.

Needless to say this change of plans sent me into a mini panic. I wasn’t expecting to meet her so soon. She was kind enough to send me a picture of herself so that I knew who to look for at the event. Her picture made me feel better. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. She looked younger than I thought she would, and in her picture she looked vibrant and kind.

The event by the way was absolutely fantastic. I’ve had Sister Simone Campbell come speak in one of my classes before and she’s just spectacular. Every time I hear her speak, I feel inspired to go out and change the world. Anyway I went to the event, nervous but excited to meet Sister Vicky.

It was brief. She shook my hand smiled and introduced me to some of her housemates. I’m sure the conversation lasted at least 7 minutes but it felt like seconds to me. I feel like I was only able to capture but a glimpse of who she is. The only impression I had from her was that she had a nice voice and soft hands. I’m actually feeling a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to discern more from that brief meeting. In the few days that I have been in contact with her, she has been surprising me. I look forward to our actual meeting. I have a feeling it’s going to be good.

Helen Garcia

About Helen Garcia

Helen Garcia majored in social work at St. Catherine University. She has a passion for social justice and movement in communities. In the future she hopes to work in policy and create changes to the system. During the Spring of 2014 she was paired with Sister Vicky Larson, PBVM; a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After completing her work as an oral historian she continued with SisterStory first as a production assistant and then oral history program assistant helping oversee the archive's development.