Friday, March 28, 2008

Sister Mary Hateful

I was out for a walk this morning and spring is definitely in the air, stirring a few memories...

Spring is the time of year that young Catholic children start to prepare for their First Holy Communion. 

Rumour has it that things have changed a bit since I was traumatized by my instructions in the faith, nearly forty years ago.

We did have sticker books, which was cool.  I remember my sister, older by only five years, getting a bit sniffy about that.  One was for the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  And the other covered the Seven Deadly Sins.

The year I made my First Communion, I was taught by a lovely woman named Mrs. Post. 

She was nice.  She smiled.  She got pregnant halfway through the year and was taken off religious instruction.  She was replaced by Sister Mary Hateful.

We had a full-day class to prepare us to receive Jesus into our hearts. 

The morning was taken up with Sister Mary Hateful's views on the Vietnam war, which was then in full swing.  It was a good, good thing our boys were doing over there.  Because those commies?  Slit your throat as soon as look at you.

As the sister to a draft-dodger, I kept my damned mouth shut.

After lunch, we moved on to spirituality.  And here is what she told us, as we sat on the floor in a circle at her feet (just like the Apostles!):

Every sin you commit, or want to commit, or even think about committing, puts another nail into Jesus on the cross.

We blinked.  We shifted uncomfortably.  We considered going to public school. 

Eventually, Paul Greff, possibly at risk of his immortal soul, raised his hand.  "Sister?  If we do something, like, really, really, REALLY good?  Will it take one of the nails out?"

She looked at us all fondly, drew herself up and said.....


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