PENANCE

Sister Mary Francis hurried down the dark corridor while silently cursing herself, "Damn, I'm late again, I hope Mother Superior isn't there yet!!!" Opening the large creaking door at the rear of the sanctuary, twenty sets of eyes turned to see who was late, and unfortunately, one pair belonged to Mother Superior Margaret!!! After Sister Mary Fran took her place in the fourth pew, the daily midnight vespers service continued uninterrupted for the next hour. Mary thought that she was out of the woods, until a hard rap on her door awakened her a three AM! "Sister Mary Francis," a voice called through her door, "the Mother Superior wishes to see you in her chambers at once!!!" A cold sweat broke out over Mary's body as she heard steps walking away from her door and on down the hall. Quickly donning her habit, she slipped on her shoes and began making the long walk to Mother Superior's office. She could see a light shining under the office door, and with a great deal of trepidation she gave the giant oak door a hard knock, which resulted in a reverberation that filled the entire room! A voice from inside called out, "Come in, Mary Francis, it's unlocked!"

As she pushed the heavy door open, Mary could see that the Mother Superior was seated behind her huge mahogany desk, while her assistant, Sister Ellen, sat in a stuffed chair off to one side. "Please take a seat," said the Mother Superior, indicating with her hand which chair she wanted Mary to sit in! Mary quickly sat down and waited quietly while the Mother Superior just sat and stared at her for a few minutes. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the Mother Superior spoke, "Sister Mary Francis, how long have you been with us here at The Order of St. Catherine!?!" "Uh, about a year, ma'am," Mary replied softly! "And in that year," the Mother Superior continued, "how many times have you been sent to detention!?!" "I-I-I'm not sure, ma'am," she stammered?!?" "Not sure," the Mother Superior replied incredulously, "you have set the record for number of infractions in her first year, by far!!!" "Oh," is all Mary could say in a small voice! "Sister Mary," she continued, "do you really want to be a member of our order, or is this just some kind of game you're playing, because if it is, I want it stopped right now, do you understand me!?!" "Yes, ma'am," Mary replied with her head down! The Mother Superior leaned back in her chair and thought for a few minutes and then said, "We have tried every manner of punishment with you, save one, and if you wish to continue your stay with us, you will have to submit to some form of corporal punishment, it's all that I can think of to turn you around!!!"

...CONTINUES IN THE MEMBERS SECTION