MOLLY ARBEIT'S MANUAL FOR PRIEST'S HOUSEKEEPERS...
On the importance of "custody of the voice"...
I have spoken previously about Custody of the Eyes, in the Apostolate of Ironing Father's Shirt and Other Matters.
Now I wish to refer to an equally important feature of The Housekeeper's Ministry.
This is Custody of the Voice.
The Voice can be the spirit of our maidenly soul, but it may also be the Source of the Temptation of Eve.
It may also be a cause of Irritation .
The Good Book informs us that the nagging of a woman is like rain dripping from a rooftop.
Also the Fall of Man may have been engendered by a feminine invitation for a libation.
Let me give you an example:
'Cup of tea, Father?', delivered in a low register, with a rhythm that emphasizes neither 'cup' nor 'tea' nor 'father' and does not attempt to be boisterous or provocative is a seemly thing. What a blessing!
In contrast, 'CUPPATEAFATHER?' in a raucous viperish tone can disturb the Inner Harmony of the Presbytery on the morning after the St Pat's Seminary Reunion, sponsored by Jamison's Whisky.
Remember, the holy priestly apostolate is Celibate. You are not an Officer of the Department of Corrective Services.
A silky 'Cup of tea, FATHER' in breathy tones with accompanying loss of Custody of the Eyes can be misinterpreted. You are not in Roman Holiday. You are not Audrey Hepburn. Nor should you attempt to be. You are Father's Housekeeper and Tea Maker, blessed and humble among women.
Similar when talking on the phone, 'Father is NOT IN' should be delivered in a voice which indicates you are of Canonical Age.
Rehearsals of the tea-offering phrase with veteran Housekeepers will always be of assistance to the novice.
There should be both optimism and frail femininity combining in the phrase. I have conducted many 'cup of tea father' workshops and sometimes it can take hours before perfection is approached.
We have on occasion hired actors to play the roles of Threatening Bill Collector, Hostile Former Seminary Classmate, Violent Tradesman, Visiting Catholics United for Inquisition and Woman Who Is Too Familiar with Celibates.
This is to ensure that the Housekeeper voice production will endure under pressure.
'Cup of tea, Father?'
It's such a wonderful phrase, that I'd like to see it incorporated in
Arbeit is ready to give tips to housekeepers in the Vineyard of the
Lord. Molly has been a housekeeper to priests, bishops and even cardinals
since about the time Adam was a little boy and knows more about the in
and outs of clerical politics and good manners than even Ratz does.
Molly welcomes your pearls of wisdom, and just plain good old housekeeperly tips, in our discussion forum and she always welcomes your questions and feedback.
©2006 Clifford Baxter