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Nano Nagle

The Christmas Story

“Let’s have a crowd of guests for Christmas dinner,” she said gaily to the Sisters one evening in early December.

It was scarcely necessary to listen in order to know that the party Nano was planning would be very different.

“If we used the new classrooms with all the tables and benches, we would have room for fifty,” Nano went on. “I’d like to invite fifty of the very poorest people we can find. We won’t be able to afford anything elaborate, but we could give them a good dinner. What do you think?”

There was no insincerity in the agreement of the three. Perhaps there were more pleasant things to do, thought Mary Ann Collins as she was caught up in the bustle of that Christmas morning. More pleasant, but surely none more satisfying. Without pausing in her work, she looked across at Nano, who, wholly intent on the task of keeping all her guests served, was oblivious of the thoughts she might be inspiring in anyone else.

Later as they washed dishes together, Mary could not refrain from saying: “We ought to do this again next year; every year.” “Every year for a hundred years,” agreed Elizabeth Fouhy.

“It’s been a wonderful day,” Mary Fouhy said when they at last finished their task. “It isn’t over yet. Come home!” Nano looked around as she spoke. “Next Christmas this will be home. At least, I certainly hope so.”

When they stepped out into the street, a sharp wind whipped their skirts about them and stung their faces. But Mary Ann Collins walked through the slush of the land with heart singing. For she has seen God beneath rags of flesh that day.

In the true spirit of Nano, let us invite and encourage each other to prepare and share a meal with the poor of your neighborhood.

Taken from One Pace Beyond, Raphael Consedine, PBVM
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