Can you believe it took me an hour to find a nun picture? She doesn't look like any nun I ever knew.

Knee socks, itchy wool plaid jumpers, hem measuring checkpoints, nail inspections and being dragged down the hallway by your ear. What do these things have in common? They are all rites of passage (or cruel indignities if you choose) of the Catholic School goer from years past. I know I shouldn’t complain since I came of age in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the perfectly acceptable practice of using various educational tools as weaponry started to go out of fashion. Pointers, rulers, nuns orthopedic shoes, all of them had come cracking down on my skull or flown down the hall hurtling toward my hastily retreating body at some point . Sister Angelica, who had the power of an olympic shot putter and the aim of a professional archer could remove her shoe with laser precision and speed even though she waddled down the hallway with a slow and uneven gait. Sister Janine kept her ice-cold brand of terror a surprise so that when you least expected it- BAM you were hauled away kicking and screaming like you would have if the creature from Ridley Scott’s Alien had impaled you and taken you to the nest to be cocooned. Good times.
Nowadays things are far different. Two of my three go to Parochial school and they love it! It’s a jovial nest of goodwill and kindness towards your fellow-man. They are now called Christian Scholars (as opposed to terrified prisoners like we were) and encouraged to do their best academically and spiritually. There are some serious positive vibes going on.
Yesterday, the syllabus for the Saint project came home. For anyone not having had the priviledge of twelve years of Catholic education, this involves finding one out of a millions saints (all of whom seemingly suffered and died horrific deaths) to draw on a piece of poster board and write a paragraph about. My daughter chose St. Lucy and presented a sketch of a screaming woman with gauged out eye sockets carrying her own bloody peepers on a silver platter. In other words a woman suffering the appropriate amount of pain and anguish to receive praise and recognition from the church. I remember being on the playground as we would act out the various tragic endings to each Saint’s life. One memory that really sticks out is being tied to the trunk of an enormous oak feigning horror as pretend flames licked my heels in the “Joan of Arc Case Scenario” snuff out. Sadly, I’m pretty sure Joan of Arc isn’t even a saint, but whatever, you KNOW some saint went out that way so who cares. Burned, tortured, eyes removed, etc. we had it covered.
Sometimes I miss the drab lifeless concrete buildings and the unhinged nuns. It created kids with bold imaginations (how many hours did we spend dreaming up clergy revenge schemes?) and steely resolve. However, I would never want my kids to endure some of the harsher life lessons learned back then. I’m glad to see that the peace, love and happiness theme has taken a foothold and that her school philosophy is all about educating the whole child while nurturing, supporting and loving them for who they are. The uniforms and  hemlines  remain mostly the same but the attitude is a whole new ballgame.


That's more like it.


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