Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Cocktail Queen catches up.

There are times in life when whatever we have done in the past has a habit of catching up with us and come back to haunt us, or bite us on the backside, or give us a pleasant surprise even. And that’s what happened to Father Ignatius when the door bell at St Vincent Parish House rang one sunny afternoon.

There at the door was a pretty young lady of about 23 years of age with two toddlers, a girl aged about five and a little boy aged four.

“Hia … Father … Ignatius isn’t it?” she said with a smile, “I have a surprise for you!”

“Good afternoon …” he replied gently.

“May we come in?” she asked, “the little ones want to go to the toilet … and I have something to tell you …”

Father Ignatius led them into the downstairs waiting room and showed them where the toilets were. He then asked Mrs Davenport to prepare some tea and biscuits and orange juice for the children.

Moments later they were all in the waiting room as Mrs Davenport came in with the refreshments. As she left, closing the door behind her, Father Ignatius asked, “How can I help you?”

“You don’t remember me?” she asked.

“Well …” he mumbled embarrassingly, “I get to meet so many people over the years …”

“I’ll give you a clue …” she interrupted, “about five years ago … the age of this little girl; now that should jog your memory.

He looked at her blankly.

“I was the Cocktail Queen working at the Bitten Apple Night Club … I offered to let you in without paying … and you were too embarrassed to be seen there I think!

“I told you I was pregnant, having a baby … do you remember?”

Father Ignatius lifted his eyebrows as faded memories came rushing back from the deep recesses of his mind.

“Ah …” she said in exasperation, “you still don’t seem to remember me … that’s not very flattering to a pretty girl you know … and I thought I had made quite an impression on you!

“Well I do remember that you were none too happy when I told you I were pregnant … it made you quite mad I think …

“As I recall I came to see you and tell you all about it … you took me in your office upstairs.

“And that’s when I told you I were pregnant and I wanted to have an abortion and get rid of it.

“You got very upset with me and you advised me against it. I thought what right have you to tell me what to do? You said it was a living human being and it was wrong to kill it … and that I would always regret it.

“As I said at the time, I was working at the Night Club … the Cocktail Queen I was … very popular with the clientele I were!

“I couldn’t keep the baby could I? It would have interfered with my job. Who has ever heard of the Pregnant Cocktail Queen? You can’t wear those skimpy outfits with a big bump upfront can you?

“Anyhow … I left you and I was proper upset with you I was … telling me to keep the baby!

“Months later we met again at the supermarket and I told you that I had the baby after all …

“It’s this little girl here; you never met her. I called her Ignatia after you. Well it’s her middle name really … Ignatia is rather an odd name don’t you think? But I had to name her after you. Her first name is Hilary.”

The priest smiled feebly.

“So when I had Hilary I gave up working at the Night Club and took on a job at the supermarket where we met.

“I was living with Hilary’s father at the time … When I told him what you’d said to me he agreed that I should not have the abortion … even though he was keen on it at first …

“His name is Alec. We later married you know … not in a church like, but at the Registry Office. A year later we had Mark here … he’s about four years old!”

“Yes … I remember,” said Father Ignatius, “I’m so glad you and your husband decided not to proceed with the abortion … she’s such a pretty girl. I’m sure you love both your children.”

“Oh yes … we do love them very much, my husband and I. We’re ever so happy. If it were not for you I would not have my precious Hilary!

“I still work at the supermarket … part-time like … I have to look after the kids and all! You don’t go to that supermarket anymore … ‘cos I haven’t seen you for ages!” she said, “My husband Alec works at the bus depot you know … he asked me to come and see you … since you helped us the last time when I were pregnant with Hilary … Alec said perhaps you can help us again!”

“I’ll do my best …” he said gently.

“Well, it’s about Hilary here … I took her to the Catholic school down the road and they wouldn’t let her in … the Head Mistress there was a proper snooty fancy pants she was … She said she couldn’t accept Hilary because she didn’t have a Baptismal Certificate. So Alec, my husband, suggested I come to you for a Baptismal Certificate. And could we have one for Mark as well while we’re at it … I hope they don’t cost much! ”

“It’s not that simple …” said Father Ignatius, “I take it the children have not been baptized!”

“No … I don’t think so. I was brought up a Catholic on my mother’s side … she taught me the Hail Mary and showed me a little chain with beads … but I don’t think I got baptized … it was too expensive in them days … is it expensive now?”

“No … you don’t have to pay” he replied gently, “what the Head Mistress at the school meant is that before your children are accepted at the school she has to give priority to Catholic families and their children. I’m sure you understand that.”

“Yes I do … I’d like to come to church with my husband and the kids and learn about God and all that … only I was put off by a woman I work with.

“She said the Catholics are expensive … they have two money collections and sometimes more on Sunday and even on weekdays if you go to church to pray. She said you have to pay to get a Baptismal Certificate … which is what the Head Mistress asked for.

“This friend … Diane is her name … well she said you also talk in a foreign language in church … Italian was it? No … no … Latin. That was it. Only we don’t know Latin Alec and me … I left school at fifteen and can just speak proper English … never mind Latin.

“She also said Catholics have to eat fish every Friday … well we can’t do with that … It’s expensive for a start and Alec is allergic to shell-fish … brings him out in spots it does!”

“There appears to have been a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Faith …” said Father Ignatius, “what I mean is that you’ve misunderstood about the Catholic Church … never mind. Many people make the same mistakes.

“Can I suggest perhaps that you and Alec come to a few meetings when we can talk about God and Jesus and the Catholic Faith? You said you were willing to learn.

“It’ll be just you and Alec and me, or Father Donald if I’m not here. You can bring the children too and I’ll ask Mrs Davenport, whom you’ve just met, to look after them.

“It’s just once a week, in the evening or at weekends … and in time, if you wish, you can have the children baptized and you and Alec too … if you wish.

“And it will be in English … not one word of Latin will be spoken, I promise.”

She smiled broadly and asked “How much will it cost?”

“There’s no charge at all …” he replied smiling back, “the Love of Christ is priceless but you don’t have to pay … He already has!”

“And what about the fish?”

He held back the urge to laugh and said “Don’t worry about that … you don’t have to eat fish or anything else you don’t want to eat … on Fridays or any other days!”

And that’s how it was that the Cocktail Queen and her husband Alec attended Catholic teachings at St Vincent and in time, the two of them and their children were baptized at a private ceremony attended by both priests and Mrs Davenport.

Hilary now attends the Catholic school and Mark has been registered to attend the following year.

The family is now part of Father Ignatius’ flock!

15 comments:

  1. Yes Victor, it makes all the difference when we meet someone who is willing to take the time to introduce us to the Love. I imagine that Jesus had very similar conversations with those he met along the way...
    Andie

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  2. Victor,
    Can't help but smile all the way through this one. She certainly has that child-like faith Jesus talks about- even if not evident at first.
    It takes just one person sometimes to make or break a life.
    Thanks and God bless!

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  3. Hi Andie,

    I agree ... the priest took time years ago to help this young lady and now he sees a whole family coming to Christ.

    To read the original story check out thisLink

    God bless.

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  4. SORRY !!!

    I can't make the LINK work. Does anyone out there know how to make an "internal Blogger weblink" within the comment box? Thanx.

    Anyway ... the original story was published on 2 December 2009 and entitled Cocktail Queen, if you wish to go back and read it.

    Please either go to the Blog Archive on the right of this post, or enter "Cocktail Queen" in the search box right at the top on the left of this post.

    And any clever techies out there who can show me how to do these Links in the comment box will be prayed for by me!

    God bless.

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  5. Hello Karinann,

    It's the simplicity of her beliefs and understanding which make her so lovable. And you're right, a moment's concern and guidance from Father Ignatius five years ago led to a whole family knowing Jesus.

    God bless.

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  6. Oh how I loved reading and smiling through this! You see, I offer some hours in the parish office and I meet quite a few as you describe...the simplicity of her (their) beliefs and understanding which make her (them) so lovable!
    We have a special mission and a great responsibility in how we greet them and try to help them get closer to Jesus.
    Thanks and God bless for your lovely stories : )

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  7. Thank you, Victor. I was charmed by this story. Sometimes people just need a helping hand held out to them and it changes everything. Her misconceptions regarding Catholicism made me smile.
    Catholicism is perhaps the most misunderstood religion in the world. I think many people think we are odd because they don't understand why we do the things we do :)

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  8. I remember this story Victor and I enjoyed reading this update.....you know sometimes I feel there is so much misinformation out there that scares so many away. My husband converted and I was shocked at what he thought he knew about the Catholic church told to him by others which was not at all the truth about my beloved church.......:-) Hugs

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  9. Hello Doreen,

    Thank you for your kind comments. The simplicity of some people is what I was talking about in the recorded message a few days ago. I'm sure the Good Lord loves them so much for their child-like Faith.

    Hi Mary,

    You're right about people thinking we're odd. The problem is the Catholic Church has not always been too good at explaining why we do certain things - like not eating meat on Friday. Also constant changes in practices does not help - e.g. when I was young, women HAD to cover their heads in church; now no longer so.

    Greetings Bernie,

    I suspect your husband is like many others who have been given so many misconceptions about the Catholic Church. One thing I have found to be true - they do have too many money collections on Sundays; at least in our church they do. Last Sunday they collected for the Bishop's Maintenance Fund. I didn't know he was falling apart!

    God bless you Doreen, Mary and Bernie.

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  10. I love the Cocktail Queen. What a personality! Loved the happy ending.

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  11. Hello Sarah,

    How kind of you to write in to tell me you liked this story.

    God bless you Sarah and your family too.

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  12. Victor,

    Somehow I ended up on this page from your archives. I have a lot of Fr Ignatius stories to catch up on!

    Misconceptions about the Catholic Church are so widespread. When I started going to Mass (just to see what Catholicism was all about before we had our first child baptised)I thought the bells were signals for the congregation to get up or kneel down or something... Obviously I wasn't following the Mass very well. I just thought the bells were ways of controlling the congregation! Of course, I passed on this error to all my other non-Catholic friends. Oh well, I have learnt a lot since those days...

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  13. Hello Sue,

    The story you just read is Part 2 about The Cocktail Queen. I have re-posted Part 1 here: http://timeforreflections.blogspot.com/2012/02/cocktail-queen.html

    God bless.

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  14. You definitely have a way with words, Victor, and with stories! Great, great story!

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  15. Thank you Elizabeth for your kind comments.

    God bless.

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