Friday, February 10, 2006

"I found these nuns!"

Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time. Once we made the connection between the "saints" of our books and the saints-in-Sacred-Heart-Church, it didn't take us long to figure out the rest. We admired these saints, these larger-than-life people, but the main reason we felt such an attraction to them was they were all our age! It might have been coincidence, but more likely Providence, that every one so far had been in the 12-15 age bracket. Bernadette, Maria Goretti, Joan of Arc, Agnes, Cecilia, (the one exception being Mary Magdalene). It's hard to describe what kind of impact this discovery had for us at that age. Explosive, definitely. Because the next obvious step for us was to want what they had and to be part of the Church they belonged to.
For Christine, it proved much easier than she expected. When she announced her intention to take instructions at Sacred Heart Church, her mother confessed that technically, she already was Catholic, having been baptized as an infant. Her mother had "fallen away" from the Church soon after and just never went back. As far as Christine remembered, they had always been Protestant, so this was great news. Me, on the other hand! Well, let's just say it was equivalent to saying I wanted to be Buddhist. Didn't go over well at all.
But I'm getting ahead of the story.

One day, Chris tells me that she was looking through some old issues of Catholic Digest and she found this postage-size ad for a Catholic bookstore in Philly and would I like to go? And on top of that, the book store was run by nuns (another of our new interests!). She assured me that I didn't need money, since after all, it was a nun's bookstore...and she was sooooo lucky her Mom came with us and loaned me the money I didn't bring along! It was a treasure house of all the books we were looking for. And the nuns were as interesting as the books. They looked at two 13 year olds asking for books on saints and asked the question that probably every nun would ask in those circumstances, "Did you ever think of being a sister?" Christine said sure. I did a double-take because even though I was her best friend, this was news to me! But not wanting to leave me out, the sister asked me the same question. "So, have you ever thought about being a sister?" "I haven't really given it much thought, but it sounds good. But I'm not Catholic...does that matter?" Have to give her credit. She didn't skip a beat, just handed me a catechism and said she would write to me. The rest is history!

7 comments:

Barb, sfo said...

So...did Christine become a Sister too?
I'm enjoying the story. I used to read those saint books a lot when I was that age too. "Song of Bernadette" was a big favorite, as I recall.

Sr. Julia said...

Yes, as a matter of fact, she did. She entered the Daughters of St. Paul a week before I did!

Shawna said...

I'm so looking forward to the next installment. This is the first blog I've ever read. Thank you!

xaipe said...

Hey, don't forget to tell them about the books you and Sr. Christine wrote/illustrated together! I think you should put them in the sidebar!

MaureenM said...

What charming recollections! In the second grade, and rather precocious as a reader, I devoured a book from the Daughters of St. Paul. I think it was called 52 Saints for Children (circa 1964). I think it was the first book I read that didn't have a picture on every page or two.

Sr. Julia said...

My very first book from the Daughters of St. Paul was called "Heavenly Friends" a saint for every day of the year. Christine's Mother got it for me on our first visit to the Book Center in Philly. I really loved that book. It's no longer in print, unfortunately, but 57 Saints ceratinly is! The book you read in 2nd grade is still a bestseller today.

xaipe said...

My mom always made sure we had religious books in our Christmas stockings and Easter baskets. One of my favorite books in primary grades was "The Bible for Little Tots." Years later, in novitiate, I found a copy. Sure enough, it was published by the Daughters of St. Paul!