Every now and then a news story comes along that’s simply one of those life imitating art situations. This is one of those stories that, if it weren’t being reported by every credible news agency in the world nobody would believe.
It seems three nuns (sounds like the start of a joke, right?), Sister Tavoletta, 56, and two other unnamed nuns, aged 65 and 78 (protecting the innocent, I guess) were stopped by police while an hour’s drive from Pope Benedict’s summer holiday chalet at Les Combes, a place called Salesian House.
Now, for those not in the know, Les Combes is in the Rhone Alps of central France. This is where the Pope spends part of his summer every year. Tough job, eh? Anyway, these three nuns were in Rome when they heard the Pope has fallen and broken his wrist at Salesian House, so what did they do? Why, they jumped in a Ford Festiva and roared off with Sister Tavoletta at the wheel making like a bat out of…well, Hell!
They made it to within an hour of the Pope before the police managed to pull them over, shocked to discover three nuns in what they must have thought was a joy ride. When the stunned police officers asked the good Sister why she was driving at such excessive speed she said, “We had heard how the Pope had fallen over and we were on our way to make sure he was OK.”
I don’t know, this is one for the Twilight Zone files is what I think. I can understand a bunch of nuns being concerned about the Pope’s well being, but just what exactly was it they thought they could? Surely the Pope has a doctor on call 24/7, and surely the nuns would have known that. Also, I have to wonder if they made this daring dash without permission from the Mother Superior, or whatever they call the big cheese at the convent these days. So I’m guessing the jumped in the car without asking permission, just throwing caution to the wind in the midst of their anxiety attack.
I can just imagine how this unfolded.
“Sisters, the Pope has fallen and he can’t get up!”
“We must go to him, surely!”
“Yes, the Festiva is just out front!”
[Three nuns bolt through the front door.]
“No, I’ll drive, I know the way!”
[Grabbing the keys] “No, I’ll drive, I’m the youngest! What if one of you carks it on the way there from all the excitement?!”
Furthermore, a Ford Festiva that can do 180kph?! (that’s 112mph for the metrically challenged) That in and of itself is a story. They must keep that thing in top running order. Anyway, according to The Telegraph newspaper a spokesman for Turin’s police said: “Hopefully Sister Tavoletta will be making sure she confesses her bad driving the next she goes to confession. But in the meantime, she will have to pay the 375 Euro fine.”
Well, she won’t, they’ll just pass around the collection plate, but do you think the good Sister is repentant? No way. Sister Tavoletta, who also lost her driving licence for a month, has not meekly accepted this rebuke. Instead, she will appeal against the fine with the aid of Italy’s best-known lawyer in driving cases, Anna Orecchioni.
Saints preserve us…