Monday, August 2, 2010

Sr. Charlotte

I got a call from my dad this morning.  Sister Charlotte, the principal of my high school, was in a very severe car accident.  She and two other sisters were driving to Bristow for a retreat when they were hit head on by a drunk driver.  One of the sisters, Sr. Denise, died on the scene.  Sr. Charlotte and Sr. Connie were medivaced to the Fairfax hospital and are still in critical condition.

I haven't seen Sr. Charlotte in years, but she will always be a big part of my life.  She was principal of a school.  In a given year she had a minimum of 250 students (usually more), yet she always said hi when she passed me in the halls.  She knew my name even though I was only in her office once during my four years there, and she was so friendly.

My favorite story of her was one I still tell regularly.  When I started driving, Dad let me drive his old farm truck.  It was a 92 Chevy S-10.  It had rust, carried trash in the back, and when it rained the roof would leak and the whole truck would smell like fish since that's what we took on our fishing trips.  Once, I was even stuck at a friends house because the door fell off when I opened it (Dad drove out and fixed it for me)  I loved that old truck. 

Anyway, at my high school, the girls rarely drove old cars.  They had BMWs and Mercedes.  One girl even had her car replaced four times after having been in just as many accidents.  Yeah, my truck stuck out like a sore thumb.

So, one day I had parked my truck in the senior lot when Sr. Charlotte pulled in.  She stopped me as I was walking into the building and she asked, "Valerie, is that your truck?"  "Yes." I replied.  "Why?"  She responded, "Oh thank goodness!  I've been seeing that truck for a few days now, and I thought it belonged to a local construction worker.  I was wondering why it hadn't been towed yet.  I guess, now, I won't call the towing company."

Luckily I loved that truck enough to find it extremely hilarious and not utterly embarrasing.  Still, it's so amusing to think of.  It always makes me chuckle.

I was there for her 60th birthday, and she was there to greet me when I came home for visits from college.  I was saddened when she retired, but quickly cheered when I realized she would still be a big part of the community.

Now, I can only pray for a quick recovery.  I can only pray for the Sisters at Bristow, that they can remain strong during this time of grieving.  I can only pray for the young man who hit them...a boy only a year younger than I who now has to live with the fact that he's killed a person and severely changed the lives of two others.  I can only ask that you keep these beautiful women in your prayers as well.

The Memorare is a favorite prayer of Sr. Charlotte’s that reminds us that we have a wonderful advocate and protector in the mother of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Good luck Sr. Charlotte and Sr. Connie.

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