Noah and I arrived in New York and made our way to St. Mary of the Angels Convent. We were met by sister Agatha, who cheerfully invited us in. We told her why we had come and she begged forgiveness when she said she would not be able to help us.
“Perhaps the Reverend Mother Katherine could be of assistance,” she said. She asked us to follow her to a small room, decorated with crosses and statues of the Virgin Mary. “The Reverend Mother Katherine will be with you shortly,” she said.
A few minutes later, Mother Katherine walked in. She had to be hundred years old if she was a day. She smiled and asked how she could help. I don’t know why but I was surprised by her British accent.
I started talking. Actually, it was more like babbling. “This is Noah King. We’re trying to find some information about his birth parents and we’re hoping that you can help. He was adopted here and his mother was a young girl who had apparently shamed her parents somehow.” I went on to tell her about the DNA test and how it indicated that he was 99% Scandinavian but we didn’t know which Scandinavian country his parents were from.
Reverend Mother Katherine interrupted and said “is he unable to speak?”
A little embarrassed, I apologized and told her that I was just excited about the possibility of finding out about his heritage.
Mother Katherine asked Noah what he knew. He said “I know very little, except what you’ve already heard but I would be interested in anything you might be able to tell us.”
He told Mother Katherine his mom and dads’ names and the date they had adopted him. He said they told him that he was three days old.
“Do you remember this at all?” I asked.
Mother Katherine said “I do recall a young girl who was brought here by her parents. They acted as if they were dropping off an unwanted pet. She was only sixteen and in a family way but she was a beautiful girl with blonde hair and the bluest eyes I had ever seen.”
“She spoke very little English but Sister Beatrice took her under her wing and began teaching her. She was very intelligent and a quick learner but she rarely spoke unless spoken to. She was ashamed and felt no sense of self-worth. She told Sister Beatrice that she believed she had traded her virtue just to feel the warmth of another human being.”
Mother Katherine said “she did give birth to a son and he was adopted by an American couple.” Then she sighed and said “they never wrote to her and they never returned so this became her home.”
I asked if it would be possible to talk with Sister Beatrice. Mother Katherine said “Sister Beatrice went to be with our Lord some years ago.”
I asked “do you know where her parents were from?”
She said “you must forgive me. My memory isn’t what it used to be but it seems that it was from somewhere across the pond.”
I knew that was how British people described going across the Atlantic Ocean but there was a lot of land “across that pond.”
Noah asked if there were any records that could be checked. Mother Katherine said “unfortunately, most of the old records were lost to a fire. I do wish I could remember more.”
“Do you know what happened to her?” Noah asked.
“I do, child. She too, was lost to the fire.”
I asked “do you, by any chance, remember her name?”
“That I do remember,” said Mother Katherine.
“Her name was Scarlet Rose.”