A Thorn in His Side

He had no doubt now that Sister Augustin was the one who told Father Schmidt about Monifa and him. Many times he could feel her eyes on him and when he turned to look at her, she quickly averted her gaze. And she avoided him.

On one occasion during recess when he was talking to Monifa, she called the girl and sent her inside the school. Trying to suppress his resentment, he approached the nun and asked her if something was wrong.

She seemed to recoil from him. “No, Father. Nothing is wrong.” She then excused herself and walked away. No explanation for why she had sent Monifa inside when there were still about ten minutes left for recess. Grimacing, he turned and went in the opposite direction.

It was becoming increasingly hard for him to spend time with Monifa. The library was out of the question even if he locked the door. And besides, he had overheard the other nuns talking about Sister Augustin’s plan to set a curfew for the girls. They were not allowed to leave their rooms after they retired for the night. If any of them did, she would have lock to their doors.

A memo was sent out to the girls warning them that they must be in their rooms by 8pm and that she and the other nuns would be checking to make sure that they were present and accounted for. If any of them were not in their rooms at that time, they would be put in detention and their doors locked.

He was tempted to tear the memo into pieces but instead, he shoved it in the drawer and sat there, glowering.

This new development meant that Monika couldn’t come to the rectory to see him at night any more. And it was too risky for them to see each other before 10pm when everyone had gone to bed. During the day was the only time he could see her but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to be with her but Sister Augustin had made that impossible. His fingers curled into tight fists. Sister Augustin.

What was he going to do about her? She was becoming a thorn in his side. It worried him that at any moment, she could spill the beans to one of the other Sisters or write a letter to the Bishop. She had to be silenced but how?

For the next several weeks, he thought about what he was going to do about Sister Augustin. She was ruining his life. At the moment his hands were tied. To oppose her initiative would raise eyebrows. No doubt the curfew idea was Father Schmidt’s. Even from the grave, he was throwing a wrench in his plans.

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Sister Augustin entered the quiet sanctuary, genuflected and then knelt in the pew. She clutched the rosary in her hand as she raised her eyes to the heavens. As she prayed, she felt the sense of foreboding which had dogged her since Father Schmidt’s death lifting. If only she could remain here in this sanctuary where it was safe. Safe from what? She couldn’t shake the feeling that danger lurked ever so close.

Closing her eyes, she prayed, “Dear Lord, in this moment, I find myself struggling with worries. I know this is not Your will and that You wish me to lay my burdens at Your feet. I know I can turn my cares over to You, who have died on the cross to set me free. I choose to trust in You, Lord, to focus on You, and to leave behind my worries and my cares, as they are nothing in Your light. When I find myself falling to my knees, let it be in front of You, with Your name on my lips, dear God. You will ease my burden and let me live free. In Your Name, Amen.”

After she finished praying the rosary, she sat on the bench. The fear was gone. In its place she felt a sense of great peace. She felt safe. Outside, it was raining, lightning was flashing and thunder rolled. She remembered the time when she was caught in such a storm. By the time she reached the parish, her habit was wrinkled and waterlogged. She was a sight to behold. The memory brought a smile to her face.

She remained there for a long time, just listening to the storm. There was something blissfully relaxing about storms. Perhaps that was why she was a Ceraunophile.

The next morning when Sister Augustin didn’t attend the morning prayers and was missing from her room, the police was called and they searched the grounds and the surrounding area. They found her body at the bottom of a ravine. Her death was ruled as an accident. It had been raining the night before and she must have slipped as she made her way along the winding path as she took her regular early morning walk.

Classes were cancelled the day as the Sisters tried to comfort the students and make sense of yet another tragedy.

Source: Holy Land Prayer

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