“Exactly!” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell

Wednesday August 10, 2016
5 minutes
Overheard in the Inside house

My experience in a “House of God” was limited to visits to my Catholic paternal grandmother on the prairies. We would eagerly accompany her to The Basilica. Sometimes I would even get to meet a real nun who’d taught my father in grade school. I was transfixed by the habit pulled tightly around Sister Teresa’s face, and imagined her life to be complete with songs from The Sound of Music. My favorite part of the service was singing hymns, guessing at the predictable melodies and finally gathering the nerve to belt at full volume. I eagerly waited for the fateful moment of audience participation when the priest would say, “Let us offer one another a sign of God’s peace,” and I would shake the hand of someone behind me. I would solemnly say, “Peace be with you,” with a hint of a British accent. I loved these moments of ephemeral connection between strangers, the magic of ritual swirling like incense through the rafters.