The Lost Shoes

The Lost Shoes

by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM                         Ireland             24.06.2024

Many years ago, while I was a student in England, one of our Sisters got in touch with me. She was also based in England, but her job at that time was going around the various parishes and schools, talking about the missions and our medical missionary work. Sr. Eithne was a lovely friendly person, so how could I say ‘no’. Off I went the next weekend to the town where she was staying and early on the Sunday morning, we were to set off for the early morning Mass at a church which was a good distance away. “Be sure to be ready, “she warned me, “we have to make an early start.”

Whether it was the early start, or maybe she was just always like this, I do not know, but I found her very “scattered” the next morning. She was trying to dress, stuff leaflets into a bag, drink tea, and write down instructions for the journey all at the same time. She was a good driver, but flustered getting into the car, checking all kinds of things before we set off.

Eventually we arrived at the church – and then we discovered the lost shoes! At least we didn’t find them, that was the point. In her scatteredness she had placed her shoes on the roof of the car, meaning to carry them to the church and put them on before she left the car. The shoes must be a good distance back along the motorway by now.

Undaunted, in her full grey habit and red slippers she stood up in the church to give her talk. I would say we got a good collection that day, to help the poor Sister buy some shoes!

Another Sister, I will call Maeve, told me about the time a similar incident had happened to her. She was getting into the car, but distracted as she was watching a wedding party taking photos near a grotto in the convent grounds. She set off out the gate and down the hill towards the town. The street traders were all waving at her frantically and she was greeting them back, amazed that they were so friendly when they should be trading. Finally, one trader almost risked her life to step in front of the car to stop it. Maeve found that one of the wedding guests had left a cup of coffee and its saucer, on the bonnet of the car. She had driven down the hill and not a drop had spilt!

Now that I am getting old and forgetful, it is good to remind myself that memory lapses can happen at all phases of life!