A note from Sr. Adele Marie – It is with great sorrow that we need to tell you that we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to have Penny put down. She was a faithful and loving companion to the sisters for more than a decade. We will miss her incredibly but are glad that she is free from pain and now united with Lancelot and Lady.

Almost immediately after we joined social media we realized that Penny was going to be popular. We created her her own hashtag #LifeofPenny and more often than not her posts generate more engagement then those about the Sisters! She is beloved around the world and it has been great fun for us all to be a part of. We thought it would be fitting to share a gallery of Penny photos, along with some stories of her time with us. We also welcome your remembrances from those who know her as we give thanks for her life. Feel free to comment on this post or via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Penny actually came to us from New Orleans, before Katrina. There were many available golden retrievers in the South and much demand in the Northeast. She was brought from Louisiana up to the Boston area where Sr. Adele Marie and Sr. Carolyn picked her up. They had found her in an adoption listing online. She was an absolute mess when we first saw her. She was dirty and skinny and very afraid of people. She seemed to have a sweet disposition, but couldn’t even look you in the eye! It was very sad, and apparent to us that she had been somewhat mistreated in her short life. We were never sure exactly how old she was, but we think she was between one and two years old when we got her.

Sr. Adele Marie was Penny’s primary caregiver, and Penny slept in her room until somewhat recently. She was also the one who did some of the initial obedience training with her, though we’re not sure it ever quite took! 🙂 Those who knew Penny early on knew that she loved to jump on people and show her love in a very exuberant fashion. In her later years she became much more dignified, happier to sit at someone’s feet and lean against them while they patted her.

Penny took to monastic life and was a community dog in every sense of the word. Sr. Catharine Louise spent a lot of time working
with her on the patio at the Roxbury Convent. Sr. Claire Marie took her for walks.  Sr. Sarah enjoyed taking her out in the leaves and Sr. Claire Marie prepared special meals for her in the last few months that she hasn’t been feeling well. Penny had a special fondness for Sr. Carolyn, and would often watch her work in her office.

It was wonderful for all of us in the community to have an animal: many of the older sisters enjoyed sitting with her and just stroking her head while watching the news, or reading a book. Because she was part of community, Penny was never alone. We are incredibly grateful that God sent her to us because she was such an energetic rambunctious dog!  We think she might have been too much of a handful for a family where everybody left the house to go to work or school each day. As a Convent dog she was perfect because her energy and enthusiasm was contagious and she had many many sets of hands to ensure she had plenty of walks, plenty of petting and plenty of treats! 🙂

Penny did come to chapel sometimes, usually for Compline. She would watch us after supper and when we would start putting on our choir habits she would run to the elevator to go to the second floor,  and then she would jump off the elevator, run down the gallery and burst through the door and into the Oratory.  She was mostly quiet through the service and enjoyed being with her pack!  Then she would get into the elevator with Sr. Adele Marie and be ready for bed….she was a good monastic dog.

She learned how to open the French doors in the convent and knows which doors opened into the room she wanted to be in and which doors pushed out…if we are all out for a period of time we would often come home and find all the doors wide open because she had been roaming around, perhaps looking for people.

Penny also enjoyed recreation on Friday nights – we all meet in the Common Room and share stories from our week. Some have gone to events or traveled and it is a time to catch up with everyone. Some Sisters knit (Penny thought she should help with that!)  and we pass candy around…it is a nice time. Penny loved to come to be with her pack and always hoped that someone would drop a chocolate that she could snatch up!

Penny much preferred the winter weather, she loved it when it would snow and she would go out with Sr. Kristina Frances and play in it when it was fresh. Playing in the snow she would almost become a puppy again, so we are glad she was able to see the snow falling this winter.

The Sisters will all miss Penny terribly. She was a wonderfully loyal friend and a comforting presence at the Convent. We will always remember fondly the #LifeofPenny.