The Secret Sisterhood of Healing

Laughter is carbonated holiness.Anne Lamott

When Sister Alma Rose was ailing, a dear friend sent her this get-well card. Sister Alma Rose is grateful for deeply spiritual people who do not take themselves too seriously.


Blaise confronting the Roman governor

Blaise confronting the Roman governor

When someone we care about is sick, the Secret Sisterhood of Healing conducts a Healing Ritual.
1. We sit solemnly in a circle with a candle in the center.
2. One of us solemnly lights the candle. 3. The candle solemnly burns. It drips wax on the carpet. That’s what candles do. 4. We extinguish the candle in disgust. Solemnity goes out the window. 5. We join hands and pray — to God, to Jesus, to St. Blaise the Hieromartyr (he is normally in charge of Deliverance from Cattle Plague, but we like his name), to the angels — to Whoever Is On Duty, is the long and short of it.

6. We beg, we bargain, we cajole, we threaten. Then we shut up and listen. Whoever Is On Duty makes small wounds in our hearts so that the love can seep in. Then we pray more, with greater power and not so much whining. 7. Next comes the ritual Casserole-Baking, involving expensive organic ingredients like wild barley from the mountainsides of Tibet, etc., plus exotic and hideous mushrooms from Madame Sasha’s Hideous Mushroom Emporium, kosher lentils, special healing garlic (or else hyacinth bulbs, we cannot tell them apart), etc. After we bake the “casserole” in a 520-degree oven for 47.5 minutes, as prescribed in the ancient Ritual Casserole Cookbook, the bottom half-inch looks like volcanic rock.

Exotic Mushroom

Exotic Mushroom

8. So we have the ritual Throwing of the Casserole into the Dumpster. No one ever receives one of our casseroles. They are for Ritual Scorching and Discarding only, as a kind of purging of our spirits, to make our prayers more pure and loving. It didn’t start out that way, but it’s how we justify the expense…. 9. Then we have the ritual Sacrifice of the Sacramental Wine, which is a closely guarded secret. Dynamite Cabernet, incidentally, by the by, à propos of nothing, is a lovely, mellow dry red, sinfully smooth.* 10. The more beloved our heal-ee, the greater the Sacrifice of the Sacramental Wine. In your case, all the Sisters fell asleep on the floor, waking now and again to pray quite fervently, speaking in tongues or moaning in agony, we are never sure. 11. Our good friend the Rev. Bruce Hurley once told us that God Sorts Out Our Prayers. We certainly hope and trust that this is the case. 12. From that day forward we hold you in our hearts and pray unceasingly that you will be blessed with joy, peace, and glowing good health.


With much love, on behalf of the Sisterhood…


* Two-Buck Chuck is an economical and tasty alternative.

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