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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Heil Hitler? Hail Mary
By Ruth Neilson


Heavy footsteps echoed through the corridor followed by the sound of, “Heil Hitler.” Father Drottsmire closed his eyes, crossed himself, and breathed a prayer for protection. He heard the soft murmurs of prayer of the sisters floating around him.

A young man, who could only be the example of the Aryan perfection, stood before him. His blonde hair remained motionless in its perfectly combed style and his piercing blue eyes remained emotionless. “Father, I would like to make a confession.” The young soldier stated, one of his sun-browned hands clenched his perfectly creased pant legs.

An unspoken code yet another soul confused by the world that surrounds him.

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,

Father Drottsmire nodded, pressing his lips together. “Come this way, my son.” He stated, leading the young man deeper within the monastery. He was proud to serve in the isolated monastery...and even prouder because they had hidden several of the Juden within these very walls.

Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.

“Father,” the young man began, his voice trembling in anticipation...or was it something more? Father Drottsmire held up his hand, unlocked his office door, and gestured for the youngest to walk into the warm room.

Quietly, the young Nazi sat down in a wood slat chair. “Father, I need,” he paused and shook his head. His blond hair falling across his face, making him look younger than he already looked. In that moment, before Drottsmire’s eyes, the stiffness of the young man melted away. Finally, he blurted what he was thinking. “I’m confused. I cannot find a way to justify what the party stands for,” he gestured to the brown uniform, “with my faith. What should I do?”

Father Drottsmire leaned back in his seat before leaning forward, resting his long fingers above the desk like a steeple. Idly, he tapped the middle fingers together considering his words carefully. He needed to stay in this monastery, for the sake of those he had hidden here, so it was crucial that he chose his answer carefully.

“My son,” he began, finally returning to his feet and walking towards the fireplace. Drottsmire paused again for a long moment; knelt, and stoked the fire before standing once again. “You are a lamb put in the midst of wolves. The only advice that I can give you is to be as wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.”

The young man clenched and unclenched his pant legs. “But, Father! That did not help me. I’m still confused.” He blurted while he stood and approached the elder monk.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

Drottsmire closed his eyes once again and held his hands open. He wanted to say something else to this young man. But did not know what. He sighed as he stared into the fire “My son, just as you must be careful while serving your country, no matter how unwilling you are, I must be careful in how I serve those of my country.”

Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

The young man knelt on the rapidly warming stone and grasped Drottsmire’s hand. “Then Father, pray for me.”

Father Drottsmire nodded and rested his free hand on the unwilling Nazi’s head. “I will. Go with God, my son.”

He finally stood, brushed his legs off, and nodded. “Thank you, Father.” Without another word, he left the room. With a frown, Drottsmire watched the young man resume the persona of a perfectly trained Aryan solider and stiffly stalk down the corridors of the monastery as Drottsmire’s wards shuffled out of the way.

Matthew 10:16

Ave Maria, a Gregorian chant. English translation reads:
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

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This article has been read 664 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood08/23/07
Beautiful story! The characters come alive with the vivid dialogue and descriptions, especially of the confused young Nazi.

I would have appreciated some interpretation of the Latin phrases.

Terrific title! Very clever, and the contrasting worldviews juxtaposed together, implied by those two names and the use of "Heil" and "Hail," really caught my attention and drew me in.

Great job!
Janice Cartwright08/23/07
Wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove could also describe the priest's answers to the young Nazi. Your story has many levels and I enjoyed all of them.
Helen Murray08/26/07
What a magnificently related story of two people with a deep yearning for God, fencing with each other, while trying hard to relate as brothers in faith! Hats off to this one!
Gregory Kane08/27/07
I enjoyed this tale. I would have had the father give a more direct response, but you captured well the moral dilemma he faced. After all, the soldier could have been a spy sent by his superiors. I was surprised however that there were both nuns and monks together in the monastery. Is this typical of religious communities in Germany?
Dee Yoder 08/28/07
Interesting and well written. Very suspenseful and descriptive story. You have a great setting, characters , and plot in this entry.
Joanne Sher 08/28/07
Excellent job of creating the mood, and displaying the conflict of the priest. I was glued to my seat throughout this piece.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/29/07
This is an exciting story, beginning to end. Your character descriptions are especially good.
Jenny Fitch08/29/07
You kept me involved throughout the story - very well done.

The second response that the priest gave was somewhat confusing to me.

Otherwise, I enjoyed it very much.
Joy Faire Stewart08/29/07
Your descriptions put your reading in the story. It held my interest throughout. Excellent writing.
Sara Harricharan 08/29/07
This was pretty good. A lot of bottled emotion portrayed through your characters. I liked the title. Good job. ^_^
Jan Ackerson 08/29/07
I've occasionally wondered if some of the Nazis must have had similar crises of faith. What a creative take on the topic!