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Reconciliation is supposed to absolve your sins and bring you back to the light...

“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last confession…”

“Nina? Nina is that you?”

“Yes, Father.”

“I’m so glad that you came to confession! We need for more staff and students to come to confession but you know these kids today – and especially the ones that we admit here - they don’t know anything about being Catholic! Most of them don’t even know that this is a Catholic College!”

“I know this Father! It’s terrible! I mentioned to one of our work-studies that I was coming to the chapel for confession and she just gave me the worst look. I know she’s had a hard life and I feel sorry for her. I told her that I would pray for her.”

“Well, that is excellent! How are things going there – now that your Director is gone? I heard that he was a disaster and all the uppers were unhappy with him.”

“It’s hectic. But that is the way it always is in that office. You’d never know it but I enjoy the chaos. I haven’t checked my voice mail in over a week and I know Daniel will be upset but I don’t have time. The department is almost empty and I keep telling Miguel that now there is only one – just him. No Director. No Assistant Directors. Just him.”

“It might be better this way – starting over again. The new Dean seems nice. You know, Daniel always picks good people.”

“He does. He really likes him. But he also picked the previous director and the director before him, Simone. And Daniel ended up not liking any of them.”

“Well, you know Daniel. He is a bit of a Prima Dona. I overheard the new Dean saying Daniel told him that he has to drink the Daniel-Kool-Aid or else you won’t stick around long.”

“I think that is true, Father. The previous director was skeptical of Daniel. And I have to admit, he was much smarter than Daniel. I told him that I was going to pray for him. That job is just too stressful.”

“Well Nina. Let’s get to your confession before there is a crowd breaking down the confessional door!”

“Well, Father, as I was saying, it has been six months since I’ve been to confession. That was about Easter.”

“Isn’t that about the time the director started?”

“Yes it was. I remember his first week very well. You know, Sophia was still here. She was so rude to him, I had to tell her to have lunch with him and to be nice, to show him around because he was new.”

“Do you think she was jealous?”

“She said she never wanted that job. She could have had it. Daniel’s predecessor offered it to her.”

“Oh, Nina! Don’t get me started on Daniel’s predecessor. You want to talk about disasters? He was the Hurricane Katrina of disasters!”

“Everyone says that Father but he was always nice to me. Anyway, Sophia was just rude. And don’t get me wrong I always liked Sophia. Although, I told the director about Sophia’s temper. She yelled at me once in front of a student! And I was once so scared of her I had the intern stay with me while I got her to sign some payment requisitions.”

“Wow, Nina, I had no idea! Why didn’t you call security?”

“I didn’t want to get her in trouble. I always liked Sophia. There was nothing wrong with her. After the director documented her for her behavior and then she quit, I told Daniel there was nothing wrong with her. I don’t know why that director forced her out. She was a good person. Maybe a little confused. I did tell the director that I was scared she would come in with a gun and kill me. And a couple of times, I told the director that the money box was short and I was suspicious of Sophia. She was always talking about her money problems, grumbling about bills. You know, after she got married, all she talked about was her bills and how she was going to rob this place blind. She got Daniel’s predecessor to buy her a new mattress. And she told me that she was going to quit right before September opening and take the mattress with her.”

“Well, that is kind of what happened, right? She quit less than a month before opening with nothing done and left the director, who was still new, with all the student room assignments left to do?”

“Well, I think he pushed her out. I told Daniel and the new Dean that I always liked Sophia. Daniel was livid that the director didn’t have Sophia teach him to do the room assignments.”

“I heard that Sophia deliberately didn’t show him about that. And she didn’t show any of the other staff, either. For all the years Sophia was there, she was the only person that knew how to do that.”

“I don’t know. You know I’m in the front and I have no idea what they do back there. And I don’t know why the director didn’t like her. It was like he was out to get her.”

“Hmm. I didn’t know that. And the director always seemed like a nice guy. He always had a nice smile on his face and I thought the students liked him.”

“Oh, the students hated him! We used to give the summer students free housing and then all of a sudden when he started he decided that they all had to pay and criticized Simone for her policy. I liked Simone, too. Never had anything bad to say about her.”

“I thought I heard Daniel talking about this before the director started. Didn’t Daniel change that policy because it was ripping off the school?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that the students didn’t like the director one bit and it began with the free housing. I told Daniel all about how the students hated the director. I even told Miguel to talk with Daniel about how much the students hated the director. You know they kept coming to him.”

“What happened?”

“Well, that was near the end. The summer was busy and all these students wanted their room assignments and we didn’t have them. I never told the director how many times I called Daniel and his assistant. There were many things I could have asked him about directly but I called Daniel instead and I told them everything about the director. Everything that he was doing – after all I know where my bread is buttered. But I never told the director. What if he came in with a gun? You never know about these outsiders. I kept telling him to tell Daniel everything but Daniel was so angry. Every time I told him something and he demanded to talk to the director, I would go back there and the director wouldn’t be at his desk. I couldn’t find him anywhere. He must have been sneaking out the back door – at least that is what I told Daniel. And I kept telling the director to not be afraid of Daniel even though Daniel has a temper. The director kept coming back to me telling me that Daniel was furious at him and he didn’t know why. But Daniel really is a good egg.”

“He is a good egg, Nina. Daniel has come through a lot around here. All the uppers seem very happy with him.”

“Well you know, I’ve known him since he was a student here.”

“And he’s pretty much been here every since.”

“Well this is his home. I’ve seen him grow up and I know his family. They were so nice to my girls.”

“I think the only person that has been here longer than Daniel is you!”

“Well, Father, as long as they keep me around.”

“Nina, I’m looking at the clock and I have a mass to prepare. I think we should wrap this up. I’ll have confession again tomorrow if you need more time.”

“Thank you, Father. I will come back. You should come up to the office later. We are having a party for Miguel. You know, he got the Interim position.”

“Miguel is going to be another lifer! He has been here forever, too!”

“I guess we don’t like outsiders. Anyway, o my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.”

“Nina, for your penance, say three Hail Mary’s, pray for the director – wherever he may be and pray for the students.”

“Thank you, Father.”

“And spread the word about confession tomorrow. I’ll see you later this afternoon.”

“Thank you, Father.”

Nina left the confessional feeling light-hearted and forgiven. As she walked back to the office, she passed a mirror in the hallway and stopped to fix her hair. As she gazed at her face, the image reflecting back seemed to jiggle and bend. That’s strange, she thought to herself, as the face in the mirror seemed to bend concavely, sinking in her forehead and twisting her lips. I think I need new glasses. She walked away and decided to tell that work-study student about forgiveness.

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