Friday, October 01, 2010

Scaring off a mugger

This is something that happened two years ago to my friend Adonela, and actually I guess there's no proof the guy had evil intent, but at any rate he was a bit scary.

First, something about Adonela. A former atheist now turned fanatically Catholic, she would intrepidly walk the streets of our parish every week with one of our priests, inviting the people (nearly all Catholics of varying commitment levels) to come to church / go to confession / get married if they're living together. I've gone with them a few times; I was mostly useless because I don't speak Spanish, but I was quite surprised by how well our group was received by everyone. It would never fly in a WASP neighborhood. Back to Adonela, whenever she sees a mother and child, she's likely to say, "Oh, how sweet! Is she baptized?" She then offers the parents the registration form they need to have their kids baptized at our church. She seems to carry this info around with her, along with extra Rosaries, sacrifice beads, booklets on confession and various other Catholic subjects, holy water, and who knows what else-- that's just what I personally have seen coming out of the bag she usually has slung on her shoulder. She's also taught many, many catechism classes at our parish. And the confirmation students in our neighborhood can be pretty tough-- one of Adonela's kids joined a gang, so she warned him about her last stint on a jury, when the defendant was a gang member up for quintuple murder.

So, almost two years ago in December, Adonela was walking to church as usual (she lives nearby), and it was night, and though there are usually many people around on the street, on this occasion there weren't any. Except for one man, and he started following her. He was only a few paces behind. She got worried and slowed down. Then he started asking her questions: "Do you live around here? Where are you going?"

I'm not sure how most women would deal with being alone with a creepy guy on a dark street at night. I've taken self-defense classes and have many ideas about it, but they never taught me Adonela's method.

"I'm going to church!" she told the man brightly. "Are you Catholic?"

"Yes," he admitted.

"But are you a practicing Catholic?" she persisted. He didn't know what she meant.  "Do you go to church?" He admitted he didn't.

So Adonela hit him with, "How long has it been since you've been to confession?" And the man, hardly knowing what to do with this turn in the conversation, said, "It's been a few years."

"Well," said Adonela, "this is the season of Advent, and it's a great time to give a gift to our Lord, and there's no better gift than to go to confession. My church is right up here; want to come with me? I know they're hearing confessions right now!"

This was too much for the poor man, who left her at the church gate. Too bad she couldn't convert him, but at least she got him off her back!

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