The day before I was set to fly to San Antonio to conduct my final interviews with nuns in a convent there, I got a call from an unknown +353 Irish number.
When I started this project three years ago, I never expected it would turn into something people would listen to or ask about, I didn't plan on it becoming the basis for my senior thesis, nor that it would published.
My story about the nuns in Texas was originally going to be a fun side project I would use to perfect my skills, and maybe at most it would be a historical record for my family. For many months after my first trip to San Antonio, the interview files sat untouched in a folder on my computer.
I never went searching for this story, didn't pitch it, didn't get it assigned to me. I grew up with it. These people are my family and the basics of their stories I've heard many times. So it wasn't until I started talking about this project with people at my university that I realized what I was sitting on.
This morning, the final product, "Sisters," a 38-minute radio documentary, aired on Ireland's national radio station, RTÉ Radio 1, and CBC Radio Canada.
My story about the nuns has now become the sincerest thank you note and longest love letter I've ever written. To my parents, to my family in Ireland, and to my grandfather's Galway field that my brother and I spent many summer evenings playing in.
The voice on the other end of that +353 number was a Liam O'Brien, a producer at RTÉ who helped me get the piece into tip-top shape. Additional thanks goes to Torsten Kjellstrand, who was the first person to see the potential in this story and assured me, "this one is going to follow you around forever." And to everyone who brainstormed with me and provided edits: Doug Decker, Marie Mahon, Eric Weiner, Joseph Fracchia, David Austin, and Ian Anderson.
THANK YOU! IT'S DONE!