La Biblia Memorias (Diario Privado)

It was a cold, rainy May morning. Few students tended to go to class on the days with huge flash floods.

Clementina asked permission to call her house, and she slowed down in order to do it under the scaffolding that had been placed there by painters.

She was superstitious, and she felt cold chills, truly believing that something disagreeable would happen to her that day.

Near the telephone, in a little sitting room of the style of those in religious schools, there was, placed atop a beautiful lectern, "The Bible" with its yellowing pages inviting one to read.

For a long time, Clementina had been obsessed with that book. As she went down the corridors to form a line, her gaze always lingered for a few instants in front of that window, from which she saw the sacred book.

The absence of the Reverend Mother and the silence of the school gave her, this time, the sufficient force to push open the door. She looked around at both sides, and, as she did not see anyone, she entered on tiptoes into the lugubrious and cold little room. She approached the lectern, her knees shaking, while her cold hands twisted around each other. With the persians closed and the cloudy day, it was a dark as nightfall. But her wide-open, anxious adolescent eyes could light up a dark cave.

The Bible, with its large gothic letters, was open to the book of Luke.

Without managing to read a single paragraph, the door opened suddenly and the light from the corridor outlined the silhouette of a nun: Mother Superior.

"Listen, child, what are you doing here on foot before the lectern?" she said in a severe tone. Tremulous, Clementina answered, "I wanted to get to know the divine scriptures, Mother Superior. Forgive me."

Then the nun replied, "All the students know that this book should not be read by minors like you. Did you perhaps not know that?"

"No, Mother. But I was so curious..."

"Then that curiosity will be your punishment; now go to class," said the Mother Superior.

She started up the stairs feeling guilty, although she didn't know why. But she complied with the punishment.

After a long time, a priest friend, to whom she had related this high school experience, clarified to her what had been the real cause of the nun's indignation.

He told her that in those days, Bibles did not have explications like the ones of today, and reading it usually gave rise to bad interpretations.

Some time later, Clementina worked as a volunteer in the Clinic Hospital. She helped the Vicentine Sisters, who were in charge of a ward.

In one of the beds in the ward, she seemed to recognize what had been the Mother Superior of the school she had attended. She approached her discreetly, looked at her and greeted her. Since she was doubtful, she asked her if she were a nun. With a muted voice, the sick woman answered, "yes."

There was no doubt. It was she, the Mother Superior, who was now very old and very ill.

From that day on, Clementina attended her with more care. They read the Gospels and prayed together. The patient never asked her name, and she also did not tell her that she recognized her.

During the entire time the nun spent in the hospital, Clementina dedicated her hours to her.

One morning, upon arriving at the entrance of the ward, a black cat crossed her path. When she approached the ward, she sensed that the bed would be empty.

They handed her a book bound with the initials of the nun. Inside, she found a bookmark that had the following written on the back in a tremulous hand: "I have a debt with you, Clementina."