Aug 18, 2008

I'll have Nun of that . . .


My parents had high hopes for me.


In most Catholic families one kid is singled out to become the one in the family who becomes a Priest or Nun. Catholics usually have a lot of kids. They can afford to sacrifice one and offer them up to God. They pinned their hopes on me. They wanted me to join the convent and become a cloistered Nun, but the Nun's kept telling them they didn't want me. Under any circumstances. Even if they ran out of Nun's.


My parents wouldn't listen. I had a Mary in my name and that meant I was the human sacrifice in our family. Most Catholic families have at least one child named Mary in the bunch. I used to argue with my parents that it didn't make any sense when Nun's ended up with boy names like, Herbert, Martin, and John.


I used to point my finger at my oldest sister. She thought she had a calling when she was 10. She thought she saw Virgin Mary on the baseball field, behind home plate. I'm pretty sure it was the glare off the bald umpire's head that created the angelic glow. Never-the-less, she came home, grabbed a box of tin foil and some string from the kitchen and started making rosaries in her room. Then she tried to sell them to us. I didn't think that was very charitable. Or very Nun-like.

The same sister recruited me to be an altar boy in her room where she religiously conducted Sunday Mass on Saturday's behind closed doors. We used Necco wafers for the hosts, a clothes hamper turned upside down as the altar, and prune juice instead of wine. My other sister was a parishioner and I was the altar boy who rang the bell and sat by the bedroom door keeping watch in case our mom came down the hall and found us being sacrilegious. I wasn't too thrilled with this set-up. It meant that I had to attend Mass twice on weekends. I quit the Church of My Holy Sister and became a heathen in my own home when she decided to hold daily confessions in her closet. I had too much to lose and couldn't risk her finding out that I read her diary on a daily basis. My parents had other plans for her anyway. She was going to be a doctor. Or so they thought.


My other sister never had a calling. She was too busy doing nothing. I think she slept through most of her childhood and my parents forgot she existed. They never bothered her.


They focused their attention on me. I was their hope. I was their dream. I was not having any of it. I tried for a while to please them. I asked them to take me to Lourdes. I figured if I was supposed to be a Nun then Lourdes was the place to go. They refused. They took me to church instead and pointed at the statue of Mary. I stared at Mary for a long time. I stared so long I swear she moved her hands. It freaked me out. I told my parents that Mary spoke to me. I told them she said go home and do something else. Don't be a Nun. I told them she wanted me to go to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and San Francisco to Fisherman's Wharf to eat sourdough bread. I told them she wanted me to have a bike of my own, skates and a big wheel. I told them that she said I was put on earth to be their favorite and to deny me nothing. They gave up and concentrated on my brother. I thought he stood a much better chance. He already had a boy name.

the end. . .

14 comments:

only a movie said...

:-) Nice story. Did you get to do all that cool stuff that Mary told you to do? And didn't you say you were a librarian...? I don't know why I think librarian would be any way close to a nun, but there you go.

Weith Kick said...

I was raised Catholic too although there was never any pressure for me to enter the priesthood. Thank God.

Tena said...

reading this post it made me think of my mother, because she was raised Catholic, has many siblings, and one of their names is Mary! You nailed it, lol!!

Mamahut said...

Why won't our parents listen to us? That's cool you had such a big family.

buffalodickdy said...

That was funny! I grew up in an old Catholic neighborhood, and it felt like I was the only Protestant in ten city blocks... My folks were twice to church on Sunday Reformed, and I spent more time at church than anyone needs to! The Catholic family we lived kitty corner from ended up having 16 kids- really!

Kat said...

I have never understand the calling. I had a friend that was called to be a priest. And we have people in our Lutheran church that answer the call to be pastors. I suppose I don't understand it because I have never been called. But that's okay...I put it on mute...

Romi said...

Only a movie,
Nope...didn't get to do any of that cool stuff. Probably got grounded for making it up:-) Nun's and Librarians...hmm...I'll have to ask my husband what he thinks of that...LOL!

Weith Kick,
You're one of the lucky ones! They wanted my brother to be the next Pope...high hopes...

Tena,
Thanks for dropping by. Every Catholic family I know has a Mary in it. I was the chosen one in mine...

Mamahut,
It's selective hearing I think:-)

Buffalodickdy,
I went to school with a few families like that...the mom was always pregnant and there was a kid or two in every grade.

Being a Protestant has it's rewards...all those Catholic kids on the block carried around a massive dose of Guilt...it's a big part of our religion :-)

Kat,
I wonder about that too. I never had it, never wanted it, and never understood it either. Mute...LOL!

Tanya said...

Sounds like a lot of pressure! I'm not Catholic, so I don't believe in pushing someone into a "calling". If God calls them, they'll know!

Teri said...

This story is so funny! It made me remember a time when I was about 5. I had a babysitter who was really sad one night while at our house. She was crying a lot and talking to her boyfriend on the phone. Turns out she was going away to be a nun. I could never understand why she was doing it if she was so sad. Just thinkin'.

Swirl Girl said...

In my tribe, your calling was be a dentist, doctor or lawyer - or marrying a rich guy.

Just as much guilt, though , for not succeeding at any of those thing.

(totally kidding...i'm just trying to belong :)

buffalodickdy said...

I used to describe The Reformed church like this: "If it feels good, quit it, and if you won't quit it, feel guilty about it"

Romi said...

Buffalodickdy,

LOVE IT! I think I'll keep feeling guilty:-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sis,

Because of you I had to become an Alter boy in the 6th grade.
Thank God it only lasted seven week’s. I was let go when our Priest caught me drinking wine from the bottle in the back of our Church. Mom was horrified not only because I was caught drinking but also, this occurred at 5:30AM and on school day. Mom never told Dad. Our excuse for me “QUITING” was I wanted to play after-school sports, so I had to join the schools football team (Dad never went to one game). I guess it all worked out in the end.
Love your little brother.

Romi said...

If there was such a thing as "Altar Girls" when I was younger, I would have taken one for the team for you little brother and stepped up to the plate.