The Sisters were very stern–quick to scold, punish, and admonish students who would test them by sneaking cigarettes.

Privately though, the nuns quite looked forward to these infractions.
Especially when the culprit was that Miller boy.
Lawrence Miller routinely stole his mother’s Black Cat brand cigarettes.

He always found them, although she took great care to hide her habit. Her husband would not approve. When she couldn’t find them, she fretted her secret was discovered.  When neither her husband nor son mentioned them, Mrs. Miller would buy another pack.  She suspected her son, but fear suspended confrontation. Lawrence, good boy that he was, counted on it.


The Nuns would tiptoe outside, form a neat little circle,  and light-up.   Black Cat-Brand smokes were the Sisters’ favorite.   Sister Mary Margaret was particularly fond of the whimsical, cartoon-cat on the cigarette package.

Needless to say,  although Lawrence received due punishment for bringing cigarettes to school, also a rather poor student, he always seemed to get good marks.

His mother was so proud!





  1. I’m trying to imagine what it must have been like to be a nun who smoked, and having to wait for Mass to be over so you can run outside for a cigarette break. And Lent must have been a nightmare! Giving up smoking for six weeks would have sent me into spasms back when I was a pack-a-day smoker. (I quit years ago, but I still remember the pangs of tobacco craving while I was on the wagon. I used to deliberately walk through clouds of other people’s cigarette smoke and inhale deeply. Which now, I can’t believe I did.)

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