[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ister Lilith. That was my great aunt’s name. I didn’t know her by any other title. What I did know, is she’d been a nun since nineteen. Sister Lilith shocked my family when she left her convent at the age of forty-four.

She moved in with her partner, Sister Maria.

Together, they bought a small cabin on the lake. Complete with a small speedboat. And no matter how hard they tried, they never got their poor uncoordinated nephew to stand up on a pair of water skis.

And Lord, how they tried.

Both Sister Lilith and Sister Maria helped run a Catholic halfway house for abused women. They even brought troubled ladies home with them for weekends on the lake. They’d let me play Scrabble with them, and kick my tail like heifers with big vocabularies.


When Sister Lilith died, my family boycotted her funeral. Staunch German Catholics can be like that, Godless creatures, when they want to be.

Only one of my cousins attended, besides me. The chapel was filled with women. And if you’ve ever been in a funeral parlor full of abused ladies, you know how many tears were shed. After a series of Latin chants, Sister Maria got up to say a few words.

“This woman was my family,” Sister Maria nodded toward the casket. “My own flesh and blood. Even though this world didn’t understand us – our own church didn’t understand us. I hope our Lord did.”

That was all Sister Maria said.

And by God, I think it was enough.

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