Sister Clare’s Ocean Adventure

Sister Clare's Ocean Adventure

I first took the ferry from Boston to Provincetown when I was twelve or thirteen… what I remember most about it was that it was the best day of my life! My father had made some sort of sale and wanted to celebrate, so we all (my parents, my brother Alan and I) boarded the early ferry. It was the first time I’d ever been out on the water, even though I was a Boston girl, born and bred. I loved every minute of it. And then we arrived and had… well, just the perfect day. We went to the beach. We ate lobster. We visited a couple of art galleries (my parents were both artists at the time). We had ice cream. We watched the fishing boats. And then finally we took another ferry home and got to see the ocean all over again.

Not too long after that I entered the convent—I was sixteen—and assumed that there wouldn’t be any more ferry rides in my future. Which just goes to show that in the convent, you never know!

A few years ago a benefactor—a man who has supported the sisters in many ways over the years, bless him—told us that we worked too hard, and he gave some of us who could take the time off a day in Provincetown! Just like that! It felt like a repeat of what I’d done when I was a young girl, before entering the convent: we lined up on the dock in Boston that morning and got on the ferry. There were five of us, I remember. Such a kind man. The other sisters sat downstairs but I couldn’t leave the deck, even though I had to hold onto my veil almost the whole way over to keep it from blowing right off!

We got to Provincetown and docked and all of us went right down to the beach, the one that’s right beside the pier, and we took off our shoes and socks and put our feet right in the water. We must have been a sight, a bunch of nuns in their habits cavorting in the water! Provincetown had changed quite a lot but I remember it as being colorful and noisy, and it was both those things still. And we ate lobster and ice cream and went to three art galleries and then took the afternoon ferry back to Boston. I was so blessed to have had both those experiences.