Sister Jane and the Bicycle Boy


Did you know that the Glasgow Cathedral used to lie on a popular delivery route in the 1920’s? In fact, most workers knew that if they stopped in for a visit to the Glasgow Cathedral that they could be entitled to a boiling cup of soup and on lucky days a cup of coffee.  Drivers from all around knew that if they passed through Glasgow, they could stop at the Cathedral for a nice break from the long and winding road.

Eventually, one of the local newspaper delivery boys from Glasgow that got around on his bicycle decided that he too should be able to stop in for some food.  Although his deliveries were in no way the sizable journeys that the drivers made, he felt that as long as he was delivering papers in the Glasgow area that he could receive his free cup of soup.

At first, he was laughed at by the other men, who had felt they earned their soup by driving miles and miles to reach Glasgow.  This little boy, whom no one is sure the name of, stood his ground and eventually was given his soup.  One of the Cathedral’s nuns, Sister Jane, took pity on the boy and told the other men to hush because as long as he was an employed delivery boy, he was allowed to partake in the festivities with the other delivery drivers.

When Sister Jane took this boy under her wing, he never forgot it.  For the eight months he was a delivery boy, she served his soup, spoke to him and gave him tons of wisdom.  When the boy had to give up his job, he wanted to give Sister Jane a gift fit to thank her for her kindness.  All he could afford to give her were the head lights from his bicycle (this was back in the days before kids worried about wearing stylish helmets).  And that is exactly what he did.

Apparently this boy told his replacement about Glasgow Cathedral’s soup and Sister Jane’s kindness.  This next boy continued to stop in for soup, just as his counterpart did and eventually he also wound up leaving Sister Jane his bicycle head lights when he moved on from delivering newspapers.

Twelve years later, the Cathedral could no longer afford to feed the deliverymen their soup and coffee.  Word spread that having the Glasgow Cathedral on route was no longer a special treat.  Regardless, Sister Jane had a mighty collection as the twenty four newspaper delivery boys who held the position during those twelve years had left Sister Jane their own bicycle lights.  It was a special tradition that the boys had continued.

Sister Jane passed away after forty seven years of loyal service to the Glasgow Cathedral.  To commemorate her wonderful soul, the Glasgow Cathedral has dedicated one of the Cathedral’s wings to her.  In that wing, visitors can view all twenty four headlights the Sister was left from all the delivery boys.  It is a very special exhibit that any visitor coming through the Cathedral would be delighted to see.  See Sister Jane’s bicycle head lights and relive the heartwarming story at Glasgow Cathedral today.