Sr. Ambrosia was a Malayalam teacher in one of our school before she joined the convent. She was a ‘late vocation’ as they say. She walked clumsily as she was not accustomed to wearing full shoes, but she compensated for it with a bright and smiling face! She found it hard to master English and that must have been a penance for her, because she was a talkative person. She was often assigned a seat next to me for recreation and that was hard for both of us, as I too was talkative! She would begin a sentence and then, when stuck, she would give a grunt, ‘ha’ and a wave of her hand and relapse into silence. It took her all of the six months of Postulancy to get familiar with spoken English.
They were a batch of six, all rather old and all rather clumsy because of the habit and the shoes. Mother Mechtilde used to call them her ‘men’. Sr. Ambrosia was the clumsiest of the lot. She once lost the heel of her shoe and was not aware of it for a whole fortnight! She asked if it was alright to walk without a heel, because she was afraid that when told, Mother would ask her for the heel and she did not know where or how it had fallen off.
Being Malayalee in culture, she had to be broken in to the anglicized ways of the convent; one of which was kissing! She did finally achieve some success in planting a kiss somewhere round our ear! She had food fads. She would never dream of eating pork, for instance; no matter Mother’s ideas of mortification and obedience. She would sleep during meditation and stoutly deny it saying she had her eyes closed and was deep in meditation. There were lots of escapades and adventures in the novitiate, because of Sr. Ambrosia. Otherwise how boring it would have been!
She was transferred back to Kottayam, to her former post as Malayalam teacher, after her profession and remained there till retirement and even after. She was the centre of community jokes and fun and enjoyed it. She remained cheerful and friendly all through her retirement years. Towards the end, she developed heart trouble of which she eventuality died of the age of 70.