As soon as she had finished convent school, a bright young girl named Mary shook the dust of Ireland off her shoes and made her way to New York where, before long, she became a successful performer in show business.
Eventually she returned to her home town for a visit and on a Saturday night went to confession in the church which she had always attended as a child.
In the confessional Father Sullivan recognized her and began asking her about her work. She explained that she was an acrobatic dancer and he wanted to know what that meant.
She said she would be happy to show him the kind of thing she did on stage.
She stepped out of the confessional and within sight of Father Sullivan, she went into a series of cartwheels, leaping splits, handsprings and back flips.
Kneeling near the confessional, waiting their turn, were two middle-aged ladies. They witnessed Mary’s acrobatics with wide eyes and one said to the other, “Jaysus, Mary and Joseph, will you just look at the penance Father Sullivan is givin’ out tonight and me without me bloomers on!”