A Little Old Lady
by Rev. Robert J. Hermley

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Once when I visited Mexico City in order to see the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I noticed a little old lady begging just outside the hotel where I was staying.  She was not abrasive as some beggars are, calling out loud as if it were a sin to pass them by, forgetting that you were a tourist who had worked hard for a year in order to get the money together to come there.  The little old lady sat there passively with her hand outstretched; her sad eyes and demeanor were more impressive than anything she could have said or done.  sometimes she had three small children with her; they were usually sleeping in broad daylight under a blanket.  It was almost impossible to pass her by each day without putting at least a small amount into her tiny hand.  In the evening, I saw her through the rear window as I ate, still sitting thee begging.  I was never sure when she left to go home - if she had one.

Often my heart went out to her as I ate.  Who was she?  What were her likes?  What was her favorite color?  Did she ever smile?  Ws she really that poor?  What led her to such poverty?  Did she ever turn and look into the restaurant window to look at the people dining there and wish that just once she could come in with her children, sit down and enjoy a wholesome meal?

I often had the strongest desire to go up to her and invite her to come in and eat with me - but I was afraid that the restaurant manager would have frowned upon such an action.  I could only give her a little gift each day and look understandingly into her dark sad eyes and smile - and I wondered what she was thinking about.  I shall never know.