Wednesday, March 12, 2008

RIP, Sister Andre

One of my teachers at Derham Hall High School, Sister Andre Nilles, has died. A friend emailed this morning with the news. (Aren't those guestbooks great? Not only can you leave your own memories of a friend, but you can read the memories left by others, which kind of brings the lost person back, if only briefly.)

She was a lively and fun social-studies teacher -- if I recall correctly, she was in Prague with a class of Derham students during the 1968 Prague Spring -- I'm pretty sure I remember her coming in to every Western Europe class (Western Europe was a required class, you could then choose from other electives, such as East Asia or USSR) to tell her story.

I know that a lot of people regard nuns as if they're some other species, but in my days at Derham, I was lucky to get to know nuns of all stripes and all personalities. None of our nuns wore habits, and all of them had lives outside of the school, with hobbies and sports activities that kept them busy. Some were quiet and thoughtful, some were lively and sarcastic, a variety of personalities, just like you find in the rest of the human spectrum. It seems like a big "duh" when I write it, but the further I get away from Catholic St. Paul, the more I meet people to whom a nun is truly a novelty.

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