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Dining in the Dark



The above invitation was extended from the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) to Sister Sylvia Staples.  They asked her to be the guest speaker at the event.  Her friend Mary Molloy of the Motherhouse Coordinating Team was her guest and three of the members of the Leadership Team also attended the event. 

(L-R)  Sisters Mary Molloy, Bernadette
Doherty, Roisin Gannon, Sylvia Staples

A blindfold like the one on the invitation was offered to all of us and we were to eat a five-course meal in one of the fanciest restaurants in Atlantic Canada with no vision.  It was a most challenging experience.  The food served in bowls was relatively easy to eat while food on a dinner plate was almost impossible.  Knives and forks were foreign implements when one could not see where the food was and whether or not the meat was cut through or only partially cut.  The waiters and waitresses were most helpful in telling us that “our carrots were at three o’clock“ and “our wine glass at twelve”! 

Dr Sara Hutchings and Sr Lois Greene

We also learned that conversation is very different when one cannot see.  Is my neighbour speaking with her neighbour on the other side, or just being quiet, stymied by her non-vision while eating? 



Sr Sylvia Staples was guest speaker at the event

Sylvia did us all proud.  She traced her teaching career, her experience of ministry in Dominica, her parish ministry in Gander, NL when partial vision meant she could no longer travel to the West Indies.  Finally she told us of waking one morning and thinking it was still night because she had had another stroke impacting the optic nerve and could no longer see.  She shared with humility, humour and challenge her experience of the last six years.   


We were told of the wonderful programs for families and blind persons and of the family summer camp for which this evening was a fund-raiser.  The audience of donors was spellbound and many came to congratulate her before we returned to our blindfolds to tackle dessert. 

Sr Lois Greene PBVM

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