A FUNERAL SHROUD INSTEAD OF A WEDDING GARMENT

And so on this particular morning I told the Mother Superior, "Give me a little while to think it over." She didn't make me do it. No one did. But I thought it over for a couple of years, and then one day I told her. I think I'm going to hide away behind the convent doors, because I believed I could give more time to God. I could pray more. I maybe would be in a position where I could inflict more pain upon my body because we're taught to believe that God smiles down out of Heaven as we do penance - whatever the suffering might be. And I didn't know any better, because, I often say, if you could only look into the hearts of little Nuns, if you are a Christian, you would immediately cry out before God in behalf of those little girls, because to me we are heathens. It doesn't make any difference the amount of education we may have. We are still heathens. We know nothing about this lovely Christ - nothing about the plan of salvation. And we're living as hermits in the Convent.

And so on this particular morning I come walking down an aisle again, similar to that. And, may I say, on the morning before, I can't go into it too deep, because I would never be able to cover enough of it so you could understand it, but this morning I'm walking down that aisle, but I don't have a wedding garment on. I have a funeral shroud. Its made of dark red velvet. And it's way down to the floor. And I'm walking down that aisle. Now, I know what I'm going to do. The casket is already made by the Nuns of the Cloister - very rough boards, and it's sitting right out here. And I know when I come down there that I'll step into that casket and lay my body down. And I'm going to spend nine hours in there. And two little Nuns will come and cover me up with a heavy black cloth we call a heavy drape mortel. And, you know, it's so heavily incensed that I feel like I will smother to death. And I have to stay there.

Now, I know when I come out of that casket I'll never leave the Convent again. I know I'll never see my mother and father again. I'll never go home again. I'll always live behind convent doors and when I die my body will be buried there. They told me that. So I knew it even before I done it. Its a great price to pay and then to find out that Convents are not religious orders as we were taught and as we were trained. It's quite a disappointment to a young girl that's given her life to God and willing to give up so much and sacrifice so much. I'll assure you, it was a disappointment.

And so after I spent those nights... You say, "What did you do when you lay in that casket?" What do you think I did? I spilled every tear in my body. I remembered every lovely thing my mother done for me. I remembered her voice. I remembered the gathering around the table. I remembered the times when she would pray with us. I remembered the things that she said to me. I remembered what a marvelous cook she was. Everything, as a little girl growing up in that home, I remembered it, laying in that casket - knowing I'll never hear her voice again. I'll never see her face again. I'll never put my feet under her table again, enjoy her good cooking. I knew all that. And so maybe for four hours I spilled all the tears in my body because it was so hard. And I knew I'd get homesick. I knew I'll want to see her someday, but I gave it all up. What for? For the love of God I thought. I didn't know any better.

And I'll assure you those were nine long hours. And then I seemingly got a'hold of myself, and I thought this, "Charlotte, now you're going to make the best Carmelite Nun," because everything I've ever done even now that I'm out of the convent I do give my best. I'd try to give everything that I had regardless of what I might do. And so I did in the Convent. I gave the best that I have. And I wanted to be the best Nun that I could possibly be. And the Mother Superior knew that. And, don't worry, the priest knew all about it, too.

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