Of Rings & Ribbons


Life in the monastery is never dull; there are always plenty of surprises to be discovered in the midst of our daily tasks. Take, for instance, this tale of heartbreak and restoration from Sr. Frances Marie…

Rejoice With Me, Because I Have Found My Lost Ring!

The Sunday Gospel was close to home for me this week, as I recently found myself in the shoes of the lady seeking the lost coin in the Gospel passage. It all started a couple weeks back when I was busy about my new sacristy job. Taking over the job from our late Sr. Marie Michael, who was sacristan for decades and who was ever poverty-minded, I have yet to reach the end of the fathomless depths of the sacristy cabinets and closets. “WHAT will I EVER do with ALL THIS___________(fill in the blank)!” is a thought that has frequently gone through my mind as I discover scores of candle wax bits, tape and wire scraps, gold foil from Christmas poinsettia pots, to name just a few.

On this particular morning, it was ribbon. I pulled out a massive trash bag--the larger of two bags, filled with ribbon scraps from the bows that come with chapel flower arrangements. In the old days, the sisters would take the bows apart, carefully iron the ribbons and roll them up for future use. The ribbons in the trash bag were not ironed, and if I were to iron them all, it would take approximately a million years. “I’m gonna ask Mother if I can just get rid of this whole bag!” I said to myself as I rummaged through the bag, wondering at the same time what would my predecessor would have thought of such wastefulness. Just then, I was startled to feel my Passion Sign ring, which I received at my First Profession, slip from my finger into the vast tangle of ribbon. I wasn’t worried at first, thinking it would be on top and easy enough to find, but after several minutes of digging through the ribbons, I still couldn’t find the ring anywhere.

Since I needed to tend to other duties, I had to leave the project, slightly flustered but still with hopes of finding it later in the day. One thing is for sure, now I wasn’t in a hurry to get rid of that bag of ribbon! Was old Sr. Marie Michael winking from heaven? My second and third attempts to find the ring also proved futile. I dug deeper and deeper, and shook the bag several times, hoping to make it fall to the bottom, but it was useless.

Finally, after two days, I had to resort to the more drastic measure of a full-out ribbon bag excavation at recreation.  At last, a gleam of silver caught the light from among the ribbons, and THERE IT WAS, the missing ring! Sunday’s Gospel gives a scriptural example of how one should celebrate upon finding something that was lost; the best part of the providential finding was that there was plenty of colorful ribbon for the party. Yes, Sr. Marie Michael, you never do know when some old ribbon will come in handy!

Sr. Frances Marie triumphantly displays the found ring as Sr. Mary Therese and Sr. Mary Elizabeth look on.

Theresa and Sr. Maria Faustina shared in the celebratory ribbon dispersal.