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Sister Kerry Willison on 96FM



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ANNOUNCER: On 96FM, it’s Carmen and Fitzi for Breakfast, 24 past eight.
FITZI: Alright, look, I’ll distill the story down quickly: kids were getting christened; niece pulls the plug out on the holy water; holy water disappears; priest looks like he’s in a bit of a panic; I’m thinking, “Just make some more.” It must be a bit of a process, cause he’s had to go to the fridge and get some pre-made - it was actually Christmas holy water, so apparently we were pretty lucky - and fill her up.
CARMEN: Are you sure? Because it was in a juice container, right?
FITZI: Yeah, yeah, it was a juice bottle. A two litre juice bottle.
CARMEN: About two litres, and it had like marking on. I’m pretty sure I’ve got one of those in the back of the gulf, in case it overheats, and you just gotta cool it over again.
FITZI: [laughs]
FITZI: Sr Kerry is on the phone, Sister of Mercy… you are one of the Sisters of Mercy. Good morning, Sr Kerry.
SR KERRY: Good morning, Fitzi. Loved your story. It was so funny.
FITZI: [laughs] Is it a unique one? I didn’t even know. Now, first of all, is there a name for the receptacle that the holy water goes in?
CARMEN: Yeah, the basin thing.
SR KERRY: Yeah, that’s called the holy water font.
FITZI: Oh, I’ve heard that referred to before.
SR KERRY: It’s not a font. It’s simply a receptacle that can hold the water, and they’re all…
CARMEN: Is it plumbed, Sr Kerry?
SR KERRY: Sorry?
CARMEN: Is it plumbed in, Sr Kerry?
SR KERRY: In some fonts, it can be plumbed in, yes. Cause holy water is just ordinary water, okay, but--and it’s not magic and its power really - of the water - depends on the prayers, and the faith, and the devotion of the people using it. So Fitzi, we’ve got some--we need to work on you.
FITZI: [laughs]
SR KERRY: [laughs] In terms of your recent comments, but um…
FITZI: Sorry.
CARMEN: What? You mean the fact he got his kids christened just so that it can open up their options to a few extra schools?
SR KERRY: Yeah, that’s what I thought, and that’s OK.
FITZI: I never got christened, Sister…
FITZI: And I think it’s important that I get my kids christened and then they make their choices.
SR KERRY: Yep, totally agree with you and I think that’s--you know, and the fact that you were there and obviously you do support them in the Christian beliefs and the way that you want them to be brought up and live their life, I mean that’s a wonderful thing. But just getting back to the holy water…
CARMEN: Thanks for keeping us on track, Sr Kerry.
FITZI: [laughs]
SR KERRY: Yeah, I feel like I’m chairing a meeting here.
[group laughter]
SR KERRY: So look, the holy water itself, as I said, depends on the faith and the beliefs of the people there. No matter, you know, where that belief happens to be at. So as I said, it’s ordinary water, but it’s the prayers that we use and it’s also about understanding that it’s--you know, it goes back to the very early Church and really--I don’t want to give a theological reflection here, but you know, Jesus was a Jew and he would have abided by the purification principles of the temple and there was an element of washing in that.
SR KERRY: You know, to wash away one’s sins, in terms of cleansing and to be whole. So what’s happened here is, those early practices that he would have immersed in, what we say in the Catholic Church is that, we use them, but their somewhat transformed and our theology goes just beyond doing them for, you know, just cleansing and that. It’s also about a sense of hope. It’s about being reborn. It’s about being cleansed.
FITZI: May I ask Sister, how come he couldn’t have just poured a bit out of the tap for me then? How come he went to the fridge to get the Christmas stuff?
CARMEN: Because its had prayers? Is that why? Am I interpreting this correctly? Cause the Christmas stuff has been prayed upon…
FITZI: By lots of people.
CARMEN: At midnight mass or something…
FITZI: Wow, I get you.
CARMEN: He’s dragged that out and its been prayed on?
SR KERRY: Well, I think Fitzi’s got one of his little details wrong there.
FITZI: What’s that?
SR KERRY: It would have been Easter water. I don’t know, Fitzi, if you can remember whether he actually said Christmas…
FITZI: I’ve never been strong with the details to be honest with you, so it may well have been Easter water.
CARMEN: [laughs]
SR KERRY: I think it could have been.
SR KERRY: Because Easter is when we celebrate within the Catholic Church…
CARMEN: Oh, the rebirth.
SR KERRY: Yes, the rebirth. The whole resurrection of Christ. The dying and the rising. You know, so it’s actually the Easter water and there are particular blessing prayers, special blessing prayers that are used in that water, and you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to an Easter vigil, but…
CARMEN: Nah. No, no.
FITZI: Probably no.
SR KERRY: Probably no?
CARMEN: You hit the nail on the head there, Sr Kerry.
SR KERRY: Next year, go along to the Cathedral. It’s just magnificent.
FITZI: I thought you were going to say casino then for a second. [laughs]
SR KERRY: No, no. Do that after.
[group laughter]
FITZI: Sr Kerry, we must go. We are fast approaching the news. Thank you so much for your time, and thank you for the explanation. So there is quite a bit to it and we were pretty lucky to get what turns out, it was Easter water, to use on our kids to be christened. We were very lucky.
CARMEN: But to summarise, it starts out as normal water with a bit of fluoride in it that got water treatment planted earlier.
SR KERRY: Yes. That’s right.
FITZI: Okay. Alright.
CARMEN: Okay. [laughs]
SR KERRY: You’re welcome.
FITZI: Thank you. Thank you so much for your time, Sr Kerry.
SR KERRY: Okay. See ya. Bye.
FITZI: That’s Sr Kerry. Sister Kerry is a Sister of Mercy and she’s lovely. Thank you for your time.
CARMEN: She is nice.
FITZI: Wasn’t she nice?
CARMEN: She was very forgiving of the fact that we’re both heathens.
FITZI: So the priest essentially has looked at our group and gone, “Well, they’re not going to be any good to make new holy water around. I’ve gotta get some pre-made stuff.” That’s what’s happened. Isn’t it? He knew his crowd.
CARMEN: He knew. He knew that if he had to sit you guys through another 15 minutes of praying to get that water up to holy standards. It was never gonna happen.
FITZI: Yeah, with the crowd in front of him, it was just going to be water no matter how much praying happened. That’s what happened.
FITZI: There you go. That’s how you make holy water, kids.
-- END --