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Growing up Catholic in the 20th Century

Discussion in 'Testimonial Forum' started by shnarkle, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. shnarkle

    shnarkle Well-Known Member

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    Sister Angela's Fury

    Hell hath no fury like the scorn of Sister Angela.
    No legal council can withstand her judgements.

    Preface.

    Being educated and disciplined by Catholic nuns and priests was a source of anxiety and at times naked terror. However, I am no proponent of letting children run wild. Respect for one's elders is becoming a rarity while the insolence of brats has become Constitutionally protected speech. I have nothing but gratitude and praise for the nun's abilities to educate and the wisdom of their discipline. I can never fully repay them for their selfless devotion to God, the church and the community. I can only look back on my experiences with fondness and stupefying amazement at my good fortune.

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    The nuns who ran the school behind the church were all from Ireland. Parents interested in enrolling their children were given a document requiring their signature granting their blessing and permission for the nuns, priests, and pretty much any member of the Roman Catholic clergy to mercilessly beat their children, to death if necessary. It was understood, although proof texts were provided, (e.g. Matthew 16:19; etc.) that God as well as the entire angelic host of heaven had already consented and granted their celestial blessing upon any and all forms of corporal punishment.

    It was practically impossible to avoid a good whipping. Everyone made mistakes, and my punishments were rather tame in comparison to most. Even so, everyone dreaded moving up to the third grade and Sister Angela's class. Sister Angela had a paddle with holes in it, and unless your father was God you would learn the gratitude of a spared rod.

    Matt, a friend of mine was beaten up by a fourth grader during recess and the upper classman was summoned . As he was being lectured on his unsatisfactory and oh so unchristian behavior, he said, "I don't have to take this crap", and proceeded to exit the classroom. I was stunned as was everyone, not just because no one had ever seen anyone talk back to a nun, but because whatever was about to happen could result in collateral damage. As he left, seemingly oblivious to what he had just done; those of us who dared look, could see him reaching for the fourth grade classroom door. Right behind him was Sister Angela gaining quickly in her pumps as they clomped along sounding much like one would imagine the hooves of Satan himself.

    Before he could turn the door knob far enough to swing free of the jam, Sister Angela's hands were gently upon him, firmly forcing a weakened grasp on his false salvation. He resisted, not like what some law enforcement officers might claim of those they've startled; and gave a good tug to free himself. This was met with a slap that snapped his head as if cracked by a baseball bat. She appeared to be simply swatting a fly.

    She was the tallest nun I had ever seen and wore these big black thick glasses that made her eyes seem twice, if not three times bigger than proportion should have allowed. Hidden under habits, the nuns all had eyes in the back of their heads; Sister Angela was omniscient. Her jaw was large and fanned out creating an almost sail like appearance, not unlike the dragons that fan that frozen lake in Dante's Inferno. It was the kind of jaw Samson would have used to slay a thousand Philistines.

    The fourth grader looked bewildered, but attempted to return a shot which was swatted away and quickly followed by a closed fist to the kidneys. He groaned in horror at the insulting pain, and like one of those dogs who can't pay attention but suddenly realizes who is boss, the insolence left him like a demon looking for swine to run off a cliff. He began to just whimper softly. He was broke. He shuddered in a heap on the ground. Another student was summoned to enquire and retrieve office personnel to drag and sequester him until he could regain his composure, and resume the arraignment.

    Two years later our class was invited to the Christmas play in the third grade. Sister Angela's class had ceased to be an issue for me anymore. I had moved on, or so I thought. As we entered the classroom and found desks to sit in, Sister Angela made a few last minute preparations. There was some hushed talking going on throughout the room that slowly began to build until it was beginning to sound like a party .

    I was over in the left front corner with the same guy who had gotten his butt kicked two years earlier by the upper classman. We were goofing around laughing and making silly sounds when suddenly Sister Angela's voice could be heard as if off in the distance asking, nay demanding, "Who's making that noise?!!!" She repeated the demand again, and unlike the plea bargaining procedures one encounters in criminal courtrooms, the good sister didn't offer much in the way of a bargain for coming clean. It wasn't unusual for the other nuns in their roles as Inquisitor to offer more lenient punishment in exchange for prompt confessions.

    I had made a serious blunder by underestimating my time away from the third grade. I was still under her authority while on sacred ground. My friend who had been making just as much noise as I, was now looking at her innocently as well as scanning the room to see who would present themselves before this court that had just spontaneously come into session. The whole room was pensive awaiting this preview of the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

    Most people unfamiliar with Hebrew and Greek scriptures are unaware that God cusses. Scholars will occasionally point this out, but for the most part they, as well as most translators; are content to leave the ladies bridge club, not to mention the midweek Baptist bible study; ignorant of this fact. Most modern day Christians are also woefully unaware that, while they are grateful that they are no longer required to supply a burnt offering for their sins, these sacrifices only covered unintentional sin. I knew what I was doing. I should have known that having too much fun could result in me forgetting where I was, and inadvertently step out of line. Given that the original sin committed was intentional, Christ's sacrifice would no longer cover me, and I would have to suffer the wrath of God's representative on earth instead.

    I raised my hand, Sister Angela immediately spotted it and began clomping in my direction. Her gait was stiff and determined. There was a stiffness to her arms as her eyes would dart from her path to me and back again until upon her arrival she grabbed me by the hair and began to shake me from side to side, not unlike one sees with those pirate ships at amusement parks which begin slowly moving to and fro until they are rushing upwards higher and higher from bow to stern. I grabbed hold of the desk tightly while she began to fume through gritted teeth, "DON'T-YOU-EV-VER-DIS-RUPT-MY-CLASS-A-GAIN-YOU-SIL-LY-#%#@! DO-YOU-UN-DER-STAND-ME?!!!"

    The desk was not only swinging from side to side, but the momentum had caused the desk and me to leave the ground for longer and longer periods of time to the point where I wasn't sure if she might be getting ready to launch me out the wall of windows just behind her.

    When she set the desk down and released the clump of hair, some of which was now finding its way to the floor; I began a feeble attempt to process what had just happened. The room was pulsating and yet more silent than the night of our dear savior's birth which the third graders were awaiting their queue to sing about in a few short moments.

    I glanced over at my friend sitting in the desk next to me. He had a smile on his face and was beginning to turn purple as his eyes filled with water, a mixture of hysteria and terror gripped him as he made a most supreme attempt to stifle any sound that could inadvertently slip out and alert Sister Angela to release a second wave of God's wrath upon him as well. He grabbed his mouth tight and attempted to smother his face in his arms. His face down on his desk, he began to shudder with severely stifled and perilously close to uncontrollable hysterical laughter. At some point he intuitively knew that it would be insane to look at my bewildered and disheveled countenance lest he invite the infinite supply of righteous indignation and unquenchable wrath that was still on tap from Sister Angela.

    This event had the same effect one notices as the lights dim before a play. The room was hushed and quiet as the play began. For me the room was still buzzing, but other than that, I thought the performance was well done.

    Years later while standing before a judge without benefit of attorney or any type of legal council, I asked the judge for permission to ask a few questions on procedure. As soon as my request was granted I knew I was going to walk out of that courtroom a free man. To this day, the only court I could possibly fear is God's on Judgment Day, and only if Sister Angela is there offering her sentencing recommendations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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