It wasn’t until I started writing that I realized how much my Catholic upbringing is part of my story. If you had asked me a while ago, I would have replied that I was raised Catholic, but my current beliefs are a mixture of Catholicism and Native American spirituality. The idea that spirituality is tied to the importance of nature and the harmony of keeping the earth pristine and in balance strikes a chord with me. I’ve definitely been conflicted with this, even while trying to tell myself I am not.
And yet, whether I’m writing for this blog, or writing my memoir essays, I keep going back to Catholicism and how it is the fabric of my being.
- I was raised by a Catholic father and Episcopalian mother. They argued about religion all the time, although I don’t remember my mother ever going to church. Maybe she did before I was born.
- My brothers were raised Episcopalian and I was raised Catholic. A story for another day.
- My mother didn’t show up for my First Holy Communion. It took years for me to forgive her for that. Actually, maybe I haven’t yet.
- Lots of important stories in my life center literally around the Catholic Church. I’ve written posts about that on this blog.
- All of my children were baptized in the Catholic Church.
- My second daughter was baptized Catholic in the hospital soon after she was born which was also shortly before she died. My first rosary beads are buried with her.
- My third daughter couldn’t attend CCD (religious instruction after school – not on Sundays) in 1st grade because I worked. I offered to teach a class in the evening for other kids who were in the same boat but the Church had just stopped offering that as an option.
- So in 2nd grade my daughter wasn’t allowed to study for and receive her First Holy Communion because she hadn’t attended in 1st grade. Ridiculous and it changed the way I looked at the Catholic religion. God definitely did not make that decision. Men did.
- When my husband and I divorced, I could no longer receive the sacraments. My belief in God no longer seemed to count (I understand the rule but didn’t like it).
- But I could receive communion in the Episcopal Church. So I attended that Church because I felt betrayed by the Catholic Church but also felt guilty that I had left the Church. Which seems silly because the liturgy seems virtually the same.
- My spirituality was reinforced in AA because I know that God led me to recovery.
- I say the Rosary almost every night because it brings me peace and I believe in the power of prayer.
- I fiercely hang on to the concept of heaven, even though we have no idea what it “looks” like because the thought of not being with my daughter who died is untenable to me.
- I find myself making the sign of the cross frequently.
- I believe in angels.
- I think that Pope Francis is beyond awesome and if I could have one cell as wonderful as he is I’d be an infinitely better person.
- I’m crying while writing this.
Because Catholicism is in the fabric of my being and will always be in my system.