An unanswerable question

by Richard on July 24, 2007

I heard on the radio today that the market for ‘Extra Virgin olive oil’ has reached record levels in the UK - £71 million last year. It reminded me of an incident that happened back in the days when I had a propr job. (They made me work 5 days a week and everything!)

I was working in a co-operative, dealing in nuts, grains, dried fruit, that sort of thing. Among our best customers were the nuns of a nearby Benedictine Priory. They would ring in an order, we would pick it and a couple of nuns would come to collect it. Every once in a while the Mother Superior would fancy a trip out, so she would come with them and on these occasions she would take some time to look round our store.

During one of these visits I was working the shop floor, replenishing the stock on shelves. I noticed the old lady standing by the stand where we had our various vegetable oils. She had a puzzled look on her face.

“Can I help you, Mother?” I asked politely.

Her eyes twinkled. “Yes, young man.” She points at the olive oil. “We are virgins. But what is an extra virgin?”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


Rick O'Donnell 07.25.07 at 2:25 am

Hmmm. I suspect that there is at least one ’smart’ answer to the Mother Superior’s question—in the form of a punchline. But I will not venture there.


Kim 07.25.07 at 4:09 am

I love this story! I suppose “extra virgin”, in the discourse of RC Mariology, would equate to our Lord’s Mum being semper virgo.

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