Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh, When the Saints...

It all started with a little blue book called Picture Book of Saints that my parents gave me as a gift for making my First Confession when I was in the second grade.  It would be an understatement to say that I love saints.  I wore that little book out from looking at it.  I even wrote all the saints' feast days onto my calendar so I could try to commit them to memory.  Because I would hate to forget that, say, St. Frances Cabrini is celebrated on November 13.   

The stories of their lives were just so interesting to me.  Miraculous conversions, martyrdom, being thrown into a den of lions--you can't get more dramatic than that, and that's not to mention the special visits from Mary or Jesus, and of course the halos.  Plus, the women saints were always so beautiful in the pictures.  I just wanted to be a saint so badly.


Then, in the fourth grade, I had the pleasure of knowing Sister Diane.  She was one of my all-time favorite teachers.  She wasn't young and beautiful like the saints in my book or even particularly nice for that matter.  She would dump the contents of kids' (mostly just Loretta Robinson) desks onto the floor if they were too messy.  But, there was something about her that I loved.  And if the following story doesn't prove how much I loved her, I don't know what will.

That year there was a boy in my class who went through a puking phase.  He threw up in our classroom at least once a week.  And, for some reason, every time he felt the need to vomit he would run to the front of the classroom to grab a tissue...as if a Kleenex could hold  the entire contents of your stomach post-lunch...as if the boys' bathroom weren't DIRECTLY next door.  Details!  Anyway, this left our room splattered in puke on a regular basis, and Sister Diane would evacuate us to the hall and ask for a volunteer to help sprinkle that weird sawdust stuff onto the floor.  And, I volunteered...every time.

Around this time, it occurred to me that most of my favorite saints were nuns, and one of my favorite people--Sister Diane--was a nun, so it only made sense that I should plan to become a nun, too.

Sister Gretchen



That would be my first step toward achieving sainthood.  The second would be a little trickier.  You see, most of my favorite saints received some sort of sign or vision from God or Mary.


But sometimes evidence of sainthood was depicted as something more subtle--like a ray of light beaming  down straight from heaven.  Like this:

St. Therese "The Little Flower"



Or this:
St. Barbara
So I began to fervently pray for a sign.  Just something, anything really, that would let me know I was going to be a saint.  Sitting in church on Sundays, I stayed alert, waiting.  Hmmm...That ray of light streaming through the window--is that meant for me?  But, I could never be quite sure what differentiated a regular ray of light from a holy one. 

My quest for sainthood continued into fifth grade, even after Sister Diane moved away.  I even started a Rosary Club so that I could go into church and pray the rosary during lunch recess.  But, the only person that joined was my teacher, Miss Dennis. 

And then at the start of junior high, I discovered something that would throw off my plans for the convent.  The Spiegel Catalog.


And, that nuns take a vow of poverty, which meant that as a sister I could never dress as glamorously as I aspired to.  I still wanted to be good and pure and holy, but I also wanted to do it in some awesome over-the-knee boots that I saw in Spiegel (which my Mom didn't go for, by the way).  Couldn't I do both?  St. Agatha seemed to be pretty fashionable. 


I mean, that dress is not exactly my taste.  But then again, I don't think the Spiegel catalog was around then.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite blog post ever lol, Love it!

    ReplyDelete