by Diane Smith – Neal’s wife
One of the conferences Neal attended annually was NATRI – theNational Association for Treasurers of Religious Institutes. In his first years at the Monastery, there were very few men who were treasurers of women’s religious groups, so it was always a bit surprising to see one or two men in this “sea” of women at these meetings. As is usual, when you arrive at the designated hotel, you register and pick up your nametag and packet of information. The days are generally filled with keynote speakers and then general sessions, where you can choose the topics of interest to you and your organization. Some of these sessions are also held in the evening. After one such late session Neal was riding the elevator to his room after a long day of meetings. A gentleman, who was somewhat inebriated, stepped onto the elevator. As it ascended toward the upper floors this man was looking around the elevator at the other riders making obnoxious comments. When he saw Neal he looked at his name tag. “Sisters of St. Benedict!” he said, laughing! “You’re a sister of St. Benedict?!” Neal responded, “Yes, we come in many shapes and sizes!” Needless to say, for the rest of the ride this man was silent!