The Humility Sisters
Angels on Earth|Jan/Feb 2021
What would two nuns know about taking care of a baby?
ANITA WESTERHAUS

‘‘Afternoon babysitter needed.” That was the ad I put in our local shopper news­ paper, a common way to find help back in 1975. My firstborn, Jenny, was six weeks old, and I was scheduled to return to work teaching half days at school. “Maybe we’ll find a grand­ mother who raised a big family of her own,” I said to my husband, Don, after placing it. I didn’t have much experience with children myself and thought I could use a good role model.

A few days later I received a call from an applicant. Not a grandmoth­ er or even a mother. “A nun?” I re­ peated, unsure I’d heard her correctly.

Two nuns, as it turned out when they arrived at the house to meet us. Sister Thomasine and Sister Joan, of the order known as the Humility Sisters. Thomasine would do the babysitting, but she didn’t drive, so Joan would bring her to and from our house.

“We work at the rectory,” Sister Joan explained. “I do the cooking.”

“I do the laundry,” Sister Thomasine said. “We do the cleaning together.”

“But our afternoons are free,” Sister Joan added.

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