Several months after becoming director of the department of psychiatry at Pittsburgh’s St. Francis hospital, founded and run by the Sisters of St. Francis, Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski was summoned to meet the bishop. Bishop Wright wanted Rabbi Twerski (whom he would always call Rabbi despite his medical credentials) to counsel the nuns who were having trouble adjusting to the liberalization of the convent by Vatican II.
After a long conversation discussing the project, Rabbi Twerski could no longer contain himself. He said to the bishop, “You know, the historical relationship between the Church and the Jews has not always been pleasant. Isn’t it a bit ironic that when the Church is in trouble, you have recourse to a rabbi?”
To that the bishop rejoined with a smile, “My dear rabbi, even in the worst of times, the popes’ personal physicians were Jewish.”
“Well, then,” Rabbi Twerski said with his signature humor, “if you should make it to the papacy, you already have your personal Jewish doctor. The only problem is that you chose a psychiatrist, and that might cause some people to raise their eyebrows.”
The bishop laughed heartily and gave Rabbi Twerski a bear hug. When the young rabbi was ready to depart, the bishop bowed his head and asked, “Bless me, rabbi.”