A Life-Changing Endowment

By: Sr. Christina M. Neumann

This morning, after some days’ visit, I saw my parents off.  I waved to them as they drove away, bound for West St. Paul, my home town (after a stop 140 miles south at our provincial house in Hankinson).

As wonderful it is to spend time with family, I needed a day to catch up on other work that had taken a back seat during their visit…

I had pictures to scan for a video chronicling our Home’s 65-year history (we have a celebration coming up), I had laundry to finish, a little work in chapel to get done, and who knew what else the hours would hold before I was due at the reception desk for my 3:30-10 p.m. shift.

By 11:15 a.m., I had gotten some items checked off my mental “to do list,” but still had some miles to go as I headed from our convent for a brief session of “desk duty” to give the morning receptionist her lunch break.

Walking into the office, I saw a note, with large black letters on my mail tray/stackette.  It said: “Sr. Christina…rhubarb in the Activity Room.”

Over my years at St. Anne’s, I’ve become the main produce processing organizer/recruiter.  Our exhilarating operations, which I refer to as “rhubarb cutting parties” take place in our activity room.  Thus it was that this exciting endowment of fresh produce awaited me in the kitchen there.

After we prayed our Angelus and Grace but before going into the dining room to get a plate, I thought I’d better check how much rhubarb we had to contend with.  I saw a large white garbage bag full – a fair amount but not as much as we’ve sometimes dealt with before.

I decided I ought to try and recruit a few residents to help, which I tried as I walked through the dining room.  I announced we’d be cutting rhubarb at about twenty to one.

So much for time to catch up and get ahead on my other projects!

We worked hard for a couple of hours, processing about 12 pounds.  I decided, rather than packing up and freezing all of it, to make some more sauce right away.  Thus it was that 45 cups of rhubarb became sauce for us and our residents to enjoy.

Needless to say, I ended up barely finishing before I was due for my 3:30 shift at the reception desk.

(I still need to package the sauce which I left out to cool.)

This endowment of rhubarb, by anonymous sources, was truly life-changing.

My afternoon progressed far differently than I had anticipated.

Maybe tomorrow I can get more of my other work done.

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One thought on “A Life-Changing Endowment

  1. It was indeed a very invigorating party Sister Christina, where singing and laughter always abounds.
    Of course, when you called to invite me, you referred to yourself as Sister Rhubarb. So, I wondered if you had ever heard about a ‘rhubarb’ in a baseball game (since you grew up in Twin’s Country). It refers to a fight as the result of a bad call be the umpire.
    Well, Sister, you might be interested to know that it also refers to the frustration we feel with not being able to escape the helplessness of continually trying to complete repetitive tasks while they pile up.
    That being said, Sister Rhubarb is an appropriate nickname.


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