“You’re a nun but not an exorcist?”
Apple stood at the entryway, confused. She stared at this woman who was the epitome of 1950s religious chic garb in her habit and veil. She had a roly poly face not unlike Santa’s. In fact, she could have been Mrs. Claus’ sister with those ruddy cheeks, twinkly eyes and grey hair peeking from her veil.
“That’s right,” she said, extending her hand. “I’m Sister Barbara from St. Ita’s. I’m not an exorcist but I have experience working with spirits. May I come in?”
Sister extended her business card with her name, title. And her specialty: Counselor to the Real and Spirit World.”
“Well, all right,” Apple said, warily. “Just for a little while. Just what order did you say you were with?”
“BVMs, Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Sister Barbara stepped into the vestibule, gazing at the vintage Sputnik chandelier overhead. Gazed at the 1950s abstract artwork on the wall. “Your home is so beautiful, I grew up in a house with similar chandelier,” she said in awe. “Your neighborhood reminds me of where I grew up.”
Apple ushered her into the living room. Sister sat on a the bright orange wave chaise. Sister Barbara stared at the vintage Zenith record player console. “We had one just like that when I was a little girl,” she gushed.
Apple sat across from sister. How could this woman dressed in black help her? She looked like she could fly right up and away like the Flying Nun, the television show.
“You are right to be suspicious. What is your name again?”
Sister repeated her name again. She told Apple about her work at St. Ita’s, working as a principal in the school, playing the church organ on Sundays. Her calling as a spiritual counselor of the other-worldly variety, how it evolved from calls to the rectory for an exorcist.
“Unfortunately, there is only one exorcist recognized by the archdiocese. One only for the entire Chicago area. He is very busy as you can imagine since he must cover so much territory and there a growing number of old houses possessed by spirits.
“I step into on occasion to help with the overflow on ad hoc basis. I help evaluate whether there is a genuine spiritual emergency.”
She paused, cleared her throat and tugged at her habit.
“I would say your house is possessed by friendly spirits. They mean well. You might not like to hear what I have to say about getting rid of your friendly spirits. My intuition and reading of these two spirits tells me you need to attend Mass every Sunday. Your ghosts will not go away until then. They’re concerned you are not headed toward Heaven.
“They themselves are in Purgatory, If you can commit to Sunday Mass for the rest of your earthly existence, they will leave you alone and they themselves will go to Heaven.”
“What?” Apple said. She stood up as if to get a glass of water and fainted.