At age 17, world-renowned religious scholar Karen Armstrong entered a Roman Catholic convent. From the start, Armstrong says she had trouble adjusting to the strict lifestyle that included periods of complete silence, mandatory needlework and sacred rituals. "It was the old way of doing things," Armstrong says in the above video from "Super Soul Sunday."
Still, there was one sister at the convent who had a lifelong impact on her. Though Armstrong says she was dying of cancer, she was "one of the kindest people I've ever known."
Before she passed, Armstrong went to say her goodbyes. "And she called me back, and I knelt beside the bed and she said, 'Sister, I want to tell you something,'" Armstrong recalls. "She said, 'When you came here, I was told you were going to be a problem. I want you to know that I have never found you a difficulty at all. You are a good girl, sister. And don't forget I told you so."
A lifetime later, Armstrong says she's never forgotten those words. "And sometimes when things were really, really dire after I left, and I had many dark years, I remembered that," she says.
What struck Armstrong was how a few simple words of kindness can carry so much power. "Ten minutes later she'd have forgotten all about it, but I've never forgotten," she says. "And it was a lesson to me. We can all do that for somebody, every day."
"That is a great lesson," Oprah says.