Decades and decades later, you still remember the shadow and swish of nuns. I also remember verbatim, like the pop song to which you first fell in love, the Goethe and Schiller of Sister Margaret Mary’s German poetry class, indelibly tattooed on my memory.

Her God-given mission was to get her riff-raff scholarship students fixed on culture; she was a prose pusher, a poetry pimp, a genius locked in her holy habit determined to get us hooked on habits beyond our own or anyone’s expectations of us. (The vocations of youngest unmarried daughters of impoverished Catholic aristocrats may have been more social than sacred.)...

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