Sister Mary Can Handle Racy Books

I received a copy of the Dominican Sisters of Racine, WI, newsletter today. It made me think of Sister Mary…she’s probably the one who put me on the mailing list for it. She’s a 92-year-old Dominican nun who I met at funeral of a buddy’s father many years ago. Sister Mary handled part of the service. The departed gentleman, his daughter, myself … not Catholic, but Sister Mary is someone who transcends the labels of religious branches.

Sister Mary is COOL. My buddy had met her swimming and became quick friends.

Gene Wolfe with Sister Mary … two of my great friends.

Sister Mary and I hit it off right away at the funeral; she’s a retired English professor, and we chatted about books and writing. She wrote a book many years ago. We share a like of James Patterson novels. I pointed out to her once that some of his books are racy. Her reply: “I’m a nun, I’m not dead.” Sister Mary enjoys racy books.

Sister Mary is AWESOME.

She’s read quite a few of my novels, and wrote me a letter recently about falling in love with Piper Blackwell, the main character in my books The Dead of Winter and The Dead of Night. (Both of those books are on a deep sale now from Imajin Books.) She said the stories helped get her through a stay in the hospital and rehab in the nursing home … she’d fallen recently. Now she’s back with the Dominicans, but she’s in a wheelchair. Sister Mary stays close to her room anymore, rarely joins her fellow sisters in the big dining hall, and is self-conscious about her hearing loss. I feel sorry about her current state. But …

Sister Mary is STILL AWESOME.

I sent her a copy of The Bone Shroud, my novel that released March 30. I included a note that said I almost didn’t send her the book … because it has a nun character, and I worried that she might not approve of that character, and so would think poorly of me. But I realized after a moment that Sister Mary would indeed approve. She’s open-minded and young-at-heart, enjoys mysteries and doesn’t shy away from pyrotechnics and chase scenes. She relishes a fine glass of wine … as does my nun character.

My buddy and I used to buy a case of wine for Sister Mary at Christmas. We had to get her a case so she could share (and hence no doubt why I’m on the mailing list for the Dominican newsletter). Sister Mary has to share everything with her fellow sisters. I suspect I know no one as generous as her. This year for Christmas I sent her four long wintry scarves. One for her and three to share. In turn, she shares with me dog pictures and articles and calendars (she knows my passion is dogs); she shares her wisdom; and above that she shares her friendship.

I’m going to have a glass of wine tonight to toast the release of The Bone Shroud and to toast Sister Mary. I hope she likes my book … I suspect she’ll send me a glowing letter about it, regardless of whether she actually enjoys it.

Sister Mary is ALWAYS AWESOME.

I hope you all have such an amazing soul in your life.



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