I met Sr. Margaret a number of years ago. I was working at New Skete monastery at the time, so meeting visiting monks and nuns was a fairly common occurence. Sister Margaret’s “profession” was as a spiritual director to individuals in religious life. The day that I met her, I could see that she was ill, seriously ill. Someone had asked me to bring her a glass of water, and as I knocked on the slightly opened door and announced myself, she called me in with a weak smile and thanked me. I asked her if there was anything else that she needed and she said no, the water was perfect, and she asked me to close her door.
Then she called after me, with words that struck me speachless. She said, “Have a wild day!” Nobody, nun or otherwise, had ever said that to me. She didn’t say, “be careful” or “stay safe” or “have a pleasant evening”, nope, it was, “Have a wild day!”.
In that moment, I knew that I was in the presence of someone very unusual. I asked one of the nuns about her, and if she still was giving spiritual direction. She told me that Sr. Margaret was very ill with cancer and not expected to live long, and that she was not taking on any new “directees” because of her limited time. As a matter of fact, she was encouraging those she did work with to find a new spiritual director.
I thought about her so often over the next few weeks, and then she showed up again at the monastery. When she had a few moments, I asked if I could talk to her, and just popped my question/request; Would she meet with me for spiritual direction? She looked straight into my eyes and said “Yes”.
At her funeral, when people were invited to share their memories of Margaret, I told the, “Have a wild day” story. Laughter and nods broke out in the church. I guess this was one of her favorite lines….to me, her words were an “invitation” to a bigger life. I met with her only twice before she died, but they were power-packed sessions, life changing hours .
I was, and still am, so grateful that I dared to ask for what my heart wanted….the day that I met Sister Margaret was indeed a wild day.
“One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum.” Sir Walter Scott