Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Being the eldest offspring of an Irish mother and an Italian father, I was baptised a Catholic when I was born. My mother took all of her daughters to mass each Sunday. Sometimes Dad went too. I remember the darkly stained wooden pews were very hard, the mass was in Latin and we were expected to be silent and still.

My best friend was an Italian Catholic whose Dad would round up all the kids in the neighborhood and haul us over to the church on Wednesday afternoons for Catechism. We were all stuffed into the back of a pick up truck. Back then it was legal - and really quite fun. Sometimes he had on the camper shell, sometimes not.

St Ignasius is a collection of large red brick buildings on Arden Way in Sacramento. The cathedral was closest to the street. Behind the cathedral was courtyard guarded by statues of saints, with an assortment of bushes, flowers and grass. Beyond the courtyard was the school building. Each grade had a classroom, so I was never with my sisters, instead I was with my peers; some from different elementary schools than I attended. On the east side of the classroom building, rounding out the U shape of the courtyard, was a building that housed the nuns and the priests. I remember being in awe of the priesthood and service. Nuns were the most worthy of women in my young opinion.

I loved learning about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. I especially loved a new young teacher we had in the 3rd grade. She brought her Collie dog to the classroom with her AND she played the guitar! That was the best! She was an awesome young woman - and I wanted to be just like her. It was that year that I decided I wanted to become a nun.

I think I felt the Holy Spirit way back then. I fell so in love with Jesus Christ. One day though, I remember looking into the sanctuary while no one was around and feeling a strong sad sense about how Christ was not impressed with stained glass windows, jewelry on the Pope and the politics of the church. Interesting thoughts for an eight year old. I cried over it because I felt his sad feelings.

I took my first Holy communion at St Ignasius. What a wonderful day. Wearing a pretty white dress and clean white tennis shoes with white bobby socks and a sweet little white lacy veil on my pixied head. I remember feeling very pretty. We all stood in a line going forward to the front of the church. I was so nervous. As I was able to approach the alter I knelt in place; The priest and the alter boys slowly approaching, giving the sacrament to everyone in turn. I was so afraid I would forget what to say to the priest as he gave me the sacrament. If I recall, I did get the words wrong - but the priest was kind and helped me out of my fear. He put the paper thin wafer on my tongue, I walked back to my seat and prayed. The prayers of an 8 year old girl. I don't remember what I prayed; probably something very idealistic and very loving.

We stopped going to church and to catechism sometime before I reached the 6th grade. My father decided that we should not be forced to go to church; that we should not be forced into religious belief simply because our parents believed. In reality though, my mother and father had been deeply hurt by the comments of an old priest when my mother gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. The priest told Momma that the baby died because of her personal sins. My mother would not accept that. It was a very irresponsible thing for that priest to say to a devastated and loving young woman.

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