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Growing up Catholic taught me to have an unhealthy view about sex and sensuality.

It taught me that if God wasn’t watching you, your over-protective Mother likely was.

It also taught me about compassion, community and finding joy while being in the service of others. It wasn’t all that bad.

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We were rich with outdoor freedoms, playful – and sometimes dangerous – distractions.

We were poor in comparison to our friends who had new bikes, toys and fashionable clothes. Hand-me-downs got a little worn out by the time they reached the youngest child. One consolation and joke we made in our later years was that the patterns, fabric or style of clothing would have come back into fashion by the time they reached me! 

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Thinking back to my First Communion, I’m pretty sure I was more interested in the frilly white dress than the curious and creepy concept of “The Body of Christ”.

wee catholic girl first communion

Catholic girl’s first communion

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Despite my humble beginnings on the wrong side of the river, I became a skeptical and proud pre-teen.

Attending Sunday mass was becoming such a waste of good sleeping in time. Then there was the weekly grade 6 catechism group held after school in a classroom in one of the buildings across town. I did not know many of the other kids who attended. I was a shy teen and don’t recall trying to form friendships with them. One engagement I recall was a girl complimenting me on my penmanship.

Branch off here.

Then there were signs that our hip 1970s priest was thinking of leaving the flock. He was one of the team leaders during a three-day canoe trip one summer when my facial pimples started to sprout. I had big brotherly kind of crush on him. I listened attentively to his stories and enjoyed his chats while we glided along the water.

My admiration and respect were eventually crushed when I observed his repeated attentions on one of the taller, slender girls. Soon after he performed the marriage ceremony for one of my older sisters, he was assigned to a different parish. A few years later, we learned that he had left the priesthood and was married.

Growing up Catholic taught me that you had to suppress any carnal, sexual feelings – which was especially unfair torture during adolescence. One could imagine the struggles for male priests.

Girls who went on the pill were gossip material and subject to taunts. Even more so were girls who went away for a few months to “visit with an aunt” or stay with the nuns.

As a recovering Catholic recalling the life altering events that entered my life, I often wonder if there was a Guardian Angel watching over me. Considering to the company I kept and the misadventures that came my way, things could have turned out much worse!

Would I eventually rejoin “the Church”? For starters, there will have to be changes to the old boys network, their grip on women’s rights and reproductive freedom.

If you haven’t read the novel yet, take a detour through Smashwords to download a sampling of the e-book format of The Year of the Rabbit.  See what other readers have offered about the novel. If the notion grabs you, purchase a copy of the entire novel. You get to set the price.

Blonde woman leaning on reserved parking sign

In a convent parking lot circa. 2008

Thanks for dropping by and may you go in peace. Lord knows our world could use more of it these days!