Father Terry Ryan, C.S.P., is a Paulist priest who travels throughout the United States offering workshops, missions, retreats and evening reflections on the Contemplative Experience. Fr. Terry is a part-time resident here at Old Saint Mary's and a good friend. He has a daily blog and we will be posting some selections from that blog from time to time.
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Terry, who was very holy. he had a big sister, Maureen, who was a witch, but with magic powers she was able to disguise herself by day as a beautiful Irish Catholic girl. At night, when she went to bed, she turned back into an ugly with. Years later, this would make her wedding night problematic, but that is another story.
As this story unfolds, it is a nice Spring morning in May. Terry sits in hi First Grade classroom. He loved the first grade and his teacher, Sr. Mary Philips. On this particular morning, Sister came up to terry and gave him a card. when said, "It is time for you to move on to the Second Grade, Terry" "Why?" he asked. " I like it here with you sister." But his teacher said, "It is time for you to move on. You have graduated. You will have a new teacher in the second grade." terry id not know what "graduate" meant, but was too sad to ask. He wanted to stay with Sister Mary Philips forever.
When Terry got home he asked his wicked sister, Maureen, "What does 'graduate' mean? Sister says that I have to go to the Second Grade and I don't want to leave her." Maureen smiled and said, "Oh, graduate means that you are a pest, ,easy and lots of trouble for Sister, so you are being sent to a lower grade, and with a scary teacher, who is mean. No longer first, you will now be second, and if you don't stop being such a pest you will be sent even lower;"
Terry thought fro a moment. The he questioned, "But you are in the Fifth Grade. That is really low." "It is different for girls," countered Maureen. "Isn't second grade where you get First Communion?" asked Terry. "Yes," answered Maureen, "And that is to help you messy boys to not get even worse."
"I wish I were dead," shouted Terry. "I agree," exclaimed Maureen. Terry went to bed very sad, and the next day, when he went to school, he told Sister Mary Philips all that Maureen had said. Sister Mary Philips marched off to the Principal's office. Soon Maureen was called into the office. The Principal, Sister Mary Evangeline, was heard to raise her voice, never a good thing. That night, after supper, Terry was getting ready for bed. Maureen came into the room fuming, and said, "Now I have to go to school for a whole week this summer and clean all the bathrooms, you tattletale. Tonight is your last. I will smother you in your sleep.
Terry smiled at the witch. She no longer scared him. "If this is my last day on earth," thought Terry, "I will die happy knowing my sister Maureen was being punished.
I still miss my sister, Maureen. Even witches you can learn to love.
Fr. Terry's blog can be found at:
His web site is: