“Tradition Says”

Once, when I was a student in Poland, I was living in a dormitory taken care of by Ursuline sisters.

It was a Wednesday morning on November 2nd when I came downstairs to do my laundry.

The kind ginger sister, a young Catholic from Russia, Sister Maria, took pity on me but the elderly Sister Elisabeth at her side at reception was clearly dismayed at the need to make an exception. I approached the reception window at the entrance lobby of my dormitory with a plastic bag, full of dirty laundry, my bottle of detergent, my ID card to exchange for the laundry room key and five złoty in change to receive a special coin to activate the washing machine. 

They both looked at me with a look that said, “Shouldn’t you know better?” But, in truth, I didn’t know better. 

“Today is a holiday,” Sister Maria stated, alluding to All Souls’ Day. 

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