Sister Mary hurried down the cloister towards Mother Superior’s room. She had found the message, “Come to my room!” under her door when she returned from evening prayers.
She knew Mother Superior didn’t like to be kept waiting, so she was not about wasting any time.
As she hurried along, she could feel the ghosts of sisters past around her. At night the cloisters had that scary feel about them. All the sisters knew the stories, the tales of ghostly apparitions along the way, the story of Sister Alphons who was so disturbed she threw herself off the top level. Her body was found the next morning, quickly removed and buried and her family told she had died unexpectedly during the night.
You could do that back then. The order was enclosed, and contact with the outside world was very restrictive. Once inside the convent doors, you were permanently removed from contact with anyone.
Sister Mary had been in the convent six months, and she wasn’t finding it easy in any way. She struggled with the long hours of contemplation. Her mind would wander to family and friends whom she missed very much and the discipline demanded by Mother Superior was oppressive.
She’d made no friends, that aspect of life was frowned upon as the order ruled their only friend was God and through prayer and meditation that relationship should overrule all human need. Though she wondered about that as late at night when returning from the bathroom, she’d heard noises coming from a few sisters’ rooms that suggested more earthly than heavenly devotion.
Around the final corner and she felt a sense of relief as she came to Mother Superior’s room. She knocked in the customary way she had been taught and waited for the expected stern ‘Come in’ of Mother Superior.
Hearing it, Sister Mary went in.