My Sisters’ Hands

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Sisters Anna and Mary were laughing together as I came into the room. It was that hearty laughter shared by two friends who just shared something very funny and most probably something that only they would understand – being that they’ve been friends and Dominican Sisters together for more than 60 years.

I sat down with them and asked them what they were laughing about.

Mary replied, “Oh, about old hands and old times.” Smiling, she looked to Anna and picked up her hand as she said, “See this scar here?” She pointed to a white scar between the knuckles of Anna’s right hand.

“Yes,” I said.  What is it from?

“Well,” said Anna, “it is from when my brother and I decided we should be desperados, and that we needed to practice our knife-work.”

I grinned.  She was one of the gentlest people I knew – and the most unlikely person to carry a knife!  She was more apt to be speaking to someone in spiritual direction, bereavement ministry or preaching about the need for peace in our hearts and in our world.  Yet, here she was telling me about her practice with a jack knife – and that her knife slipped from her wet hands as she threw it and grazed her hand before it fell to the ground.  She and her brother were laughing so hard they didn’t even see the blood dripping from her hand until much later.

Mary chimed in, “And I was talking about how my hands still know how to dance, even if my legs don’t.” Anna reached over, held Mary’s hands in her own and smiled. “I remember when you danced at the professions, when it seemed as if you and the Holy Spirit would take flight at any moment. Your hands never stopped moving, until the end.  They are so expressive.”

Mary raised her hands and let them float through the air in a gesture of prayer, “And boy, they can still dance.” She and Anna laughed again as they held each other’s age-worn hands…wrinkles, prominent veins, beauty marks, scars and all.

These hands speak of resiliency, faith, and loving service.

My sisters’ hands. . .

Posted in God Calling?, News

11 responses to “My Sisters’ Hands

  1. Dear June,
    Thank you for sharing the story of hands of two of our
    Sisters. I can’t look at someone’s hands without thinking of the stories the Sisters shared with you.
    What sacred hands we all have. Maybe we should all look at our hands and remember what they hold each day
    as we take the Eucharist.
    Thanks,

  2. Dear June,
    Thank you so much for a beautiful reflection describing the richness of lifelong friends. I loved it.

  3. Thanks June for reflecting on “old hands”. The picture is beautiful. I loved the funny story, too. Keeping your ministry in prayer.

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