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  • I was sick with whooping cough as a child. I was so puny, Sister said: “You need sunshine and fresh air.” So she put me to work with the turkeys. I fetched water in two four-gallon pails. I filled them at the pump, climbed over the fence and brought them to the barns. I got very strong. Our incubator held three hundred eggs. Four thousand turkeys we had at our peak, enough to feed the convent and sell in Minneapolis, eggs and birds. We put Vicks vapor rub on the turkeys’ throats when they were sick like they were children.

    (100 words)

    Note: this story is based on the oral history of Sister Carolinda Medernach (September 5, 1912- April 10, 2011). She was from Cudworth, Canada, and lived to be 99 years old. The photo is of Sister Ruthelda Klein, who also worked in the turkey operation in the 1930s at Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
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