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Senanque / Forgiveness 'Senanque / Forgiveness,' 1993, 29K

In my early twenties I spent some time in Southern France. The Abbey de Senanque in Provence is a convent set deep within a valley, surrounded by fields of lavender cultivated by the Sisters. They were Cloistered Nuns, viewing visitors through a wood slotted screen. I’ve always been fascinated how nuns by their symbolic nature could offer solace and a sense of forgiveness.

Years later, when my father collapsed from a heart attack on a city bus in Queens, New York, he was taken to a nearby Catholic hospital, where he died within the hour. My mother and I came to claim his body on a Sunday afternoon, and we were shuffled from one office to another until finally a young woman reclining deep in her chair told us to return the following day – her office’s records were kept locked up on the weekends. My mother by this time had become so distraught that within a few minutes a Sister appeared to talk with her and console her. And then for half an hour or more, my Jewish Survivor mother poured out her heart to this aging nun in her Celestial Blue habit.

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