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Souvenir Of Faith

Sparkling, palm-sized, silver, itís a souvenir from Dad, whoís been gone three months to Paris. As a military man and a reverent Catholic, he means to nurture me in steadfast faith. So, heís brought me a tiny Notre Dame Cathedral, a book, a bible or a missal, bound and hinged. I trace a fingertip across a metal spire in relief, towers, buttresses, and a high round window. I pinch a tiny latch, and my first rosary, orange crystal beads ripple onto my fingers.

Fans oscillate along the side aisles and down the nave of St. Frances Cabrini, at Louisiana morning school day mass. Second-grade girls envy my treasure, my locket, my cathedral case. Iím squeezed between two, they might pop me like a blister off their pew, even from their church. I hold my space defiantly, though I donít know their names, because Air Force families move, and Iím new to this parish. 4th school, 6th state. I canít pray in this swelter; the heat of competition silently being waged in this pew.

Blue-veiled lady by the altar, and nuns in black and white hold heavy black beads. How long before I misplace this trinket, this souvenir? Until I set aside this holy token? One day it slips away, like the gift of faith that was mine to lose.

Story by:

Mary Ellen Gambutti

31 October 2017