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One morning about two weeks ago, Milady* and I were in Dublin, St Stephen's Green to decorate the Newman University Church (named after John Henry Newman) for a wedding that afternoon. Parking is close to non-existant here, but I had noticed on our reconnaissance visit that delivery vehicles often park either in the bus lane (lana bus), or half-on the pavement. This we did, and unbelievably were undisturbed for the two hours it took to place the floral displays and tie on the hydrangeas to the pew-ends, along with assorted bits of decoration - or 'styling' as we call it nowadays.
Interior of the Newman University Church, with some of Milady's work on display.
 I went into the Church first to check that it was open for us and spoke to a little woman diligently sweeping the entrance hall.
"Is the Church open?" I asked. "We are placing flowers for the wedding this afternoon."
"Are you a musician?" Her response led me to think that she might have Eastern European origins. Certainly, she had no trace of an Irish accent.
"No, I'm with the Florist for this afternoon's wedding"
"Are you the Priest?"
Not knowing how else to respond to this, I assured her I was not the Priest, but she qualified her stab-in-the-dark about my occupation by adding:
"It's just you looked so saintly."

I think that this little woman did more for me with that one line than all the compliments I have ever received. I hope that I can measure up to whatever it was she saw. Maybe the very fact that I am casting aside all humility and reporting it to the world at large, disqualifies me from sainthood. I pray not. In the end, the comment says more about saintliness in the life of that little woman than it does about any quality in me.
Is this a portrait of saintliness? Me as The Reverend Smiley

*Milady (from my lady) is an English term of address to a noble woman. Here, and elsewhere in my writing, it is an affectionate title for my lovely wife.


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