Sister Mary Elizabeth Henaughan

Every spring my sisters and I would roller skate outside. We sometimes went to St. Sebastian’s school, church and convent sidewalks because they were made from smooth slate. Whenever we got to the convent side, the dining room windows would be opened to let in the warm air. We would hear laughter and talking coming from that room. It always impressed me that the sisters were so happy, I wanted to share in that happiness, too in some way.

We also on occasion peeked into the laundry room windows and watched them roller skating. When it was winter time, the lodge across from the school, known as Forest Lodge, would be flooded. Young and old could ice skate there day or night. During our noon recess time, some of the Sisters would dawn skates and take some of the children with them to spend the recess period skating. What fun we had.

In the mornings while waiting for the children to arrive for school, each grade had to go to the lunch room and sit on long benches according to grade. And each teacher had to be there with them. When I was in the fifth Grade, my teacher, Sr. Lucy was sitting next to me one morning. She looked down on me and said, “Mary, have you ever thought of being a nun?” My response was, “No, but I’ll think about it.”

At that time we lived only a block away from school. It was school policy for those who lived close to school to go home at lunch and return in time for the school bell to ring. I remember running all the way home.

When I arrived home and went looking for my mother, I found her in the back yard hanging up the wash. I did not take the gate through the rose trellis, but rather jumped the briar bushes and yelled, “Mother, Mother I am going to be a nun when I grow up!”

She responded, “Oh, that’s nice. I’ll pray for you.” And eight years later her prayers were answered.