She is a fairly active 89 nudging 90, but in my mind she is still the young nun with sparkling eyes and a happy smile. She taught me science in school and the piano outside school hours. There was something about her: Joy? Infectious enthusiasm? The love of children? The love of sharing? Perhaps it was a combination of all and more, but we loved her and loved to be in her company. She taught and we learnt, seemingly effortlessly.
Sr. Genevieve is a childhood memory. I last encountered her when I was eleven years old at Maria Goretti Convent School, Bareilly, some fifty years ago! Another time, another place. By some strange coincidence, I was able to catch up with her again, and that too at a time in my life when I was retraining my keyboard skills after a long (make that very long) hiatus. I bumped into a couple of Canossian nuns, enquired after her and was provided a postal address in Belgaum, to which I sent a tentative missive. Would she remember me? She did! And now we enjoy a sporadic correspondence. She is still buoyant, still encouraging, still affectionate – not deterred by age or infirmity. And she still teaches music!
I have neither training nor experience to teach, but thanks to the eternal optimism which afflicts most religious, another nun has roped me in to teach her ‘little ones’ how to sing. It seems as though a circle has been drawn over time – what I have learnt, I will now pass on.
I am grateful for not just the imprinted memories of ‘do-re-mi…’ and childhood songs, but also the example of patience, encouragement and the gentle humour which accompanied the lessons.