Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Call me sister.

We have a new post man. The first day he turned up wearing shorts. Today it was still shorts topped with a Santa hat and jacket! We had a parcel so he knocked on the back door. He wanted to know if he could ask me a personal question.

"Course you can," I said " , hoping I wasn't going to regret it.

He explained he was a Roman Catholic and was used to calling the local priest Father....So..

"What do I call you? "

"Well not mother anyway...jut call me Jean"

Not happy with that he persisted. "Do Anglicans not go in for that then?"

I told him that some of us do but that for us women it was just easier to be called by our first names. Or rev of course. There was a longish pause. "What does the local father call you ? "

"We are friends" I told him. "He just calls me Jean" he shook his head at was clearly going a step too far. .

.Then I had a thought.. "Why don't you just call me sister! "

He liked that and went away happy.

So I may be an honorary nun in future. It's a good deal better than some things I could mention!



  1. Rock on, Sis! Sometimes I get called Ma'am which rather freaks me out, but maybe another variant for you?

  2. Just thinking of my childhood in care. We had sisters of Mercy. We either addressed them as Sister. The Christian Brothers who ran the boys part were Brother.

    Our Mother Superior was really Mother and nothing else. And of course, all Priests were Father.

    Of course, this was the 1950's and children respected adults, especially those who cared for them in the rather strict, authoritarian environment we were in.

    This persisted into adulthood. When I joined the Army, all Priests were Padre, so no problem. We never called them Sir, although they hold a equivalent officer ranks.

    So, coming to the Anglican Church, I didn't know how to address the Priest, was it Father, Vicar or Rev? Quickly got over that one. Than I met my first Woman Priest. She very tactfully introduced herself as Chris or Christine.

    In many ways, there is something for using proper titles for the Ordained and Religious - they are already set apart by their calling, and I believe that recognition of that calling is something we should do from time to time.

    But, it also dehumanises in some way. So, like any friendship, the formality slips to Christian Names (am I still allowed to say that in these PC Days?).

    I always prefer to see how people would like to be addressed before I use a Christian name. They can be quite offended if you are over familiar without getting to know them first.