Dangerous Compassions

Sister Megan

Sister Megan died a few days ago.  She was an important figure in my life, though we never met in person.  We spoke on the phone, and there were a few emails.  She was 91.

She was a very dear nun activist, beloved by so many.  Ming knew her because she helped run Nevada Desert Experience for five years, living here.  Ming knew her before the Pacific Life Community existed, way back.

I heard stories about her.  She gave hospitality to a lot of people, love in her own way, welcoming many people with food and care.  I’ve heard stories about her quirks, conflicts she had with people.  Something about her style of dish washing!  Things you might only know if you lived with someone.

When Ming brought me to Nevada on my first sacred peace walk, that spring I fell in love with him, he was wearing Sister Megan’s hat.  She had left it behind.  He kept that hat for a long time.

And we stored some of her stuff in the Rice Room, which is the name of the guest room here.  That’s where she lived.  Her last name was Rice–the Rice Room was named after her.

sister megan

She got famous when she broke into a very secure nuclear place, to make a stand for peace.  She and her co-protesters got in deep, the whole way.  And the guard who found them got fired afterward, because he was supposed to shoot them on sight.

Is that true?  I was told that by a trustworthy person.  Probably it’s true.  Here’s a Washington Post article about Sister Megan, by Dan Zak.  We know Dan Zak also.

death announcement

The Catholic Workers loved Sister Megan, so there’s been a disturbance in the force.  Friends are posting pics on social media with her, their arm around her.  Lots of people are saying “Presente!”

When Ming told me, “I think Sister Megan is dead,” I said, “Nooooo!!” I was sad–I always hoped I would meet her in person.   I loved her.  He read the email and verified yes, she’s passed to the other side.

I asked for a hug.  We hugged, and I said, “Nooooo!” a lot more.  Ming comforted me.

“Who’s going to tell Nonchalant?” I asked.  “I guess I will.”

“What will you say?” Ming asked.

“Meow meow!  Nice white lady!  Meow!  Dead, sorry.  Meow.”

Yesterday I did see Nonchalant in the courtyard, who was Sister Megan’s cat.  And I did explain.

I’m sorry to tell you, Sister Megan died.  I know you didn’t see her for a long time.  No one will ever love you quite like she did.  But you have others here caring for you, like H and me and Ming.  You’re going to be ok.  I’m sorry she died.  You are going to be ok, kitty.  I’m sorry for your loss.

Nonchalant stared at me in that particular way.  Nonchalant always looks like this, angry because I’m not Sister Megan?  Stares at me for a few seconds and runs away.


Death is what we’re here to do.  Come here–live for a while, die.  It’s not an error or incidental–it’s our task.  So let’s do it.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

One reply on “Sister Megan”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *