I remember my first day of Latin with Sister Gratia Ennius, SSND. The class consisted of Sarel Fuchs, Methodist, many, many young SSND Sisters and me, a public school “kid” trying to adjust to a new culture. At noon, a bell tolled. Everyone stood up and began to pray the Angelus in Latin. I had no idea what the Angelus was, much less how to pray it in Latin. I was numb, and then everyone except Sarel disappeared. They had all genuflected at “The Word was made flesh...”.
After class, I took a walk and came to the home of my high school Latin teacher. I had a good cry and a cup of tea. Things improved. I don’t know whether it was the sympathetic ear, the cry or the tea.
I remember Sister Gratia talking about her first teaching assignment. Long ago, all the Postulants were sent out to teach first grade. A Sister was assigned to visit, observe and help each Postulant. Sister Gratia was in a far, county place. The Visitor did not get there until Spring. Sister Gratia had taught all the first graders to read, write, add, subtract, multiply, divide and do fractions and decimals. I think the Visitor was stunned.
God has a sense of humor. He called me to be a Mission Helper of the Sacred Heart. I came armed with a stack of Holy Cards and prayers from Sister Gratia.