Sr Ellen Galvin recently received an unusual request to locate Sr Harriett. Here she recounts what was involved in her search and the successful outcome…
Early one bright Spring morning, Sr. Mary received a letter from an unknown gentleman in the United States. This man was wondering if Sr. Mary could find Sr. Harriett. He needed to find her for a very special occasion, his mother’s birthday. Now Sr. Mary being a very generous woman promised to send out a search warrant for Harriett. But who would she send? Ellen, yes Ellen was the one to find Harriett.
A call from Sr. Mary to Ellen was certainly something unexpected. “This morning”, Mary said, “I received a letter from a man in the United States.” He was looking for an Bean Rialta, Harriett. The request came, “Ellen, will you try to find Harriett?” What a challenge! Where could she be found? Timorously I agreed to take on the search. It did not take long to locate our dear Harriett. There she was resting in Powerscourt Townhouse. Immediately I recognised that there was more to her than just finding her. She was stunningly beautiful, though far from being attired as a Bean Rialta. No, she was dressed like one of those beautiful women in the Wild Western Cowboy films and wearing beige coloured boots. These I had changed for lovely black shoes, more suitable to the dress of a Bean Rialta. Her glorious dark hair was shining like the glistening dew on the morning meadow. It was the most attractive shining hair that was ever seen. None of the hair treatments shown on the TV could ever produce anything like the exquisite hair that crowned Harriett’s head. The luminous sparkle of her hair was a reflection of something beyond the present; a transformation. Two long plaits graced Harriett’s head, with a fringe on her forehead. From beneath this fringe two delightful brown eyes beamed, revealing an almost mischievous twinkle. Her cheeks glowed like deep pink roses, while the curve of her mouth reinforced the mischievousness of her eyes.
Having taken her home with me, I set about undressing her, only to redress her with more befitting attire. Now my dilemma unfolded before my eyes – I was harnessed with the making of her religious dress. With no pattern and no template, my only hope was to try to recall what was lost to memory. Facing this challenge I set about producing a more acceptable garb for our beautiful Harriett. Having surmounted the challenge, it was a real pleasure to dress Harriett. Not once did I hear a word of complaint or a grumble! With all the fittings and alternations she had quite a lot to exercise her patience.
At last Harriett, an Bean Rialta, was ready to take on her unique mission and go to the United States. I fell so much in love with Harriett and her beauty, parting with her has left me feeling like a surrogate mother!
Yes Harriett has a unique mission. The letter received by Sr. Mary on that January morning explains this mission. The mother of the man from whom the letter came had for many years collected dolls dressed as religious, and the unknown man wanted to surprise his mother with a new image of a nun which she did not already have for her eightieth birthday. By this time she had nearly exhausted all the known congregations, when he was informed of the existence of Mary Aikenhead’s sisters. Hence the letter to Sr. Mary.
This dear lady travels to schools and colleges giving talks on the symbolism of each of the creations which she has gathered. It is to this very special group that Harriett is now on her way. One wonders will the charming Harriett foster vocations in that far away country?