Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Before I grew up

When I was little, I wanted to be a nun.  Go ahead, laugh, take your time.

I had some very catholic grandmothers, and I went to catholic school, mostly because it was the only way to go to French school.  Though my mom was not religious at all, she fully supported that I loved going to church.  I loved learning about the saints and reading the bible stories.  I used to beg to go to Sunday school, and my mom would always find someone to take me.

I also had a lot of faith in God, though I do suppose that since I really only had one notion of God, it was by default a catholic one.  I remember how peaceful it was to sit in mass, how much the repetition and ritual of it all was soothing compared to the chaos at home.  I said my prayers every night like a good little girl, and when I learned that in addition to the peacefulness of it all I would probably get to spend my life learning, well then it was settled.

Then when I was 12, that all changed.  When I was in 7th grade, we did our confirmation at school.  I started my first real crisis of faith.  If God loved me so much, why didn’t he help me with all that was going on at home?   I said my prayers, ad did my charity, helped others, and yet my suffering worsened.  About a week before my confirmation I told the priest that I didn’t feel comfortable going up in front of everyone and making a promise that I didn’t feel in my heart.  I loved God and believed in him, but I just wasn’t ready. His reply was that since it was a part of the school curriculum, I would receive a fail grade if I didn’t do it.

I couldn’t believe my ears.  He was telling me that it was preferable that I lie, that I just go through the motions, than wait a year or so and really mean it.  I was devastated.  My faith was shattered.  I stopped going to church except when it was mandatory.  My mom was supportive, she told me I would either find my way back to the church, or I would find God somewhere else.

That year I changed schools, and the new school did their confirmation in 8th grade.  I told my teacher that I had already done all of this, and asked if I could have extra work in English since it was the subject I needed improvement in.  I got the same reply as the priest the year before.  I would not have to perform the actual ceremony, but I still had to do the rest or else my grades would suffer.

That was the last nail in the coffin; I lost faith in the church.  I still believed in a higher power, but not a church that placed more importance on appearance than belief.  People who know me find the idea that I wanted to be a nun quite hilarious, especially seeing the person I’ve become.  I am far from the traditional idea of a nun, I’m known for being a rebel and non-conformist who questions authority.

And when I look at the church now, and what it’s become, I kinda feel sorry for them, they could have used some nuns like me, nuns who would modernise.  I look at the group of nuns in the US who protest for readily available contraception and I can’t help smiling to myself, that was probably the kind of nun I would have turned out to be.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshopSomething you wanted to be when you grew up

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. Organized religion has been the problem with me for years. It's never been a question of my Faith, but of the business of religion. Faith and Religion are two different things to me. One has always let me down, the other has not. I enjoyed your post and it hit home with me. Stopping over from the Writer's Workshop. Tinalicious.com

  2. You and I experienced similar tests of faith, also Catholic. Sometimes I miss that trusting little girl.

  3. I totally agree with ArtChick - I grew up a Mormon and while I consider myself a spiritual person, I will never be a religious person, mostly due to the bullshit I was subjected to in my younger years by "men of God". I wrote a post on my blog basically about this same subject ("No thank you, Jesus") -- so your post resonated with me. My parents, who are still devout Mormons are not so excited with my views on religion, mostly because they fear for my eternal salvation -- but I just don't believe that God is a vindictive asshole like that.