Please put up with me repeating this story about a girl whose both name was Soun-Pokey, or "Pure Joy." Wen I arrived in her town in 1954 she and the other teen-aged girls had no chance of attending school, so they found mental exercise by coming up to church, and learning our catechism.
Soon-Pokey learned the whole thing, but we couldn't baptise her, since her father planned on selling her to an Army Officer who already had a wife.
Four years later, in 1958, Soun Pokey came up, asking me to go see her brother who was dying of tuberculosis. To keep him from infecting others, his folks had a little lean-to for him outside the house's back wall. On that wall the family had hung up a sheet with flowers and joyous things like "Home Sweet Home."
It was the kind of time a girl would bring in her trousseau, so I asked the boy, "Are you married?"
He answered, "I was married, but I sent her way, because I must die." He was shivering, so I gave him a leather jacket I had from my brother Frank.
He became enthused about the catechism, and when it came to baptizing him, he asked to be called him Frank. One day when I went to see him he was gone. His father had dug a hole for him in a neighbor's field. Anyway, thatr father soon sold Soon Pokey to an officer, and I forgot about her. Then, five years late,r some Catholics asked me to visit a girl from their village who was dying
I followed them to where "Frank" had died. The "Home Sweet Home" sheet that still pinned to the back wall of the house; but Soun-Pokey, whom they had left naked, reached up, and with the last of her strength, she tore it down to cover herself.
Having forgotten nothing of the catechism, she was ready for Baptism, so she asked me to bring the Blessed Sacrament and a Bible from church. She asked me to read today's Gospel story, then she had me baptize her Mary Magdalene. After i baptized her, and had given her Communion, she asked me to leave.
On coming out from Mass in the morning, I saw the men standing and laughing. "Father, that girl you baptized yesterday, died."
Then, they went on to tell me why they were laughing. Our Mary Magdalene had convinced her father that if he did not give her a proper Catholic funeral she would come back to haunt him after three days.
She scared him into it, so when all the village girls singing at the Mass. Mary Magdalene had her proper funeral.