After I left my job as director of religious education for two parishes, Raymond and Clara City, Minn., I sometimes came back to visit my wonderful, retired neighbors, Dorothy and Shorty, during the summer.
While I worked there from 1983–85, I was asked to move into the big empty rectory in Raymond, and the pastor lived in the rectory in the neighboring town, Clara City. Why rent an apartment when the spacious rectory stood empty?
My friendly, retired neighbors Dorothy and Shorty were aware that I lived alone and, wanting to reach out to me, gave me a standing invite each evening at 5 p.m. for what they humorously called “Holy Hour.” This consisted of homemade wine (made by Shorty), sausage, cheese and crackers followed by a luscious meal made by Dorothy. Not only were they most welcoming, but Shorty’s humor, calling our time together a “Holy Hour,” was a very attractive quality. So with his many good qualities, I was not surprised when I learned that he once was the mayor of the town and made the construction plans for Raymond’s first golf course.
One Sunday after having left my ministry there, I returned to attend the 10:30 a.m. Mass in Raymond, followed by going out for breakfast with Dorothy and Shorty. At one point in the conversation, Shorty said, “We are moving into assisted living in Willmar, so our house is for sale. We have a favor to ask of you. Would you go to our house in Raymond at 3 p.m. this afternoon when the realtor will give a tour of the house? We are curious and interested in hearing what she tells about the house and the various rooms.” My guess was that they wanted me to hear whether she uses the description they had given her.
I replied, “I would love to do that for you in return for all your kindnesses and holy hours while I worked here.”
After breakfast, we left to visit Shorty’s brother in Clara City until close to 3 p.m. when I left to go back to Raymond for the tour of their house.
I arrived a few minutes before the tour began. “Welcome, how are you?” the realtor asked. Since no one else was there, she continued, “We’ll wait for a few minutes.” No one else showed up, so she said, “I guess we’ll start.”
I was getting nervous, hoping someone REALLY interested in buying a house would still be coming. I knew nothing about buying a house or what to ask and was getting more nervous. I thought to myself, “Should I be honest and tell her that I am not interested, but that I am here only to report back to a friend all that was said about the rooms and house?” My quick decision was to go ahead and learn about the house so I could keep my promise and return with a report of all she said about the house.
Check back on Thursday to hear how her experience went!
Margaret Mandernach, OSB
This story was written for Stories Like You’ve Never Heard Before…, a compilation of stories written by Sister Margaret Mandernach.