The Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana are a group of women who I owe more than words can express. Each day I wear a piece of jewelry with the OSB medal. Please don’t let your head run wild and think, “oh god, she is a religious freak, bible thumper!” I am Catholic, but if you know anything about Catholics you already know, we really don’t read the bible. This specific group of Benedictines opened an academy for girls in 1870 named Academy Immaculate Conception and was later renamed, Marian Heights Academy. Sadly, the Academy closed in 2000. The news hit myself and classmates to the core of our souls. This was the school we were to send our daughters to.
How does a catholic girls boarding school play into an angry, “privileged“, white girl finding happiness and peace? The word privilege is misused too many times. Often it is nothing more than an uniformed belief. I sarcastically use this word because it undoubtedly will come up in future entries. I will not go any further on my thoughts on “privilege” and American society’s current use of the word. You are welcome!
My faith is what started this journey to peace. Faith is too many times confused with religion. The word faith by definition is simply total trust or confidence in something or someone. One day while staring aimlessly at the television I realized I hadn’t bathed. I was high and not happy. Oh the irony! I went to the bathroom and drew a bath. This is when the word privileged is appropriate. For a heroin addict, I was privileged. I sat in the water and saw my body covered in bruises. The tears flowed, worse than any math melt down I had ever had. How did this happen? This was not the way I was supposed to be living my life. I don’t remember when the tears stopped. Apparently, they did!
I quietly chanted my Hail Mary’s over and over. Repeating, “god please help me.” I remembered at that moment what life was like before I had done this to myself. Obviously I was still here for a reason. The only option was to quit fighting it and just start “living” again. The realization that I was “unkillable” was a fate I had accepted a long time ago. It was time to stop playing the victim and grow up. Lets face it, everyone has been a victim of something in their life. Move on! If you’re struggling with this, read A STOLEN LIFE by Jaycee Dugard. That should give you some perspective.
Not using was the easy part, rejoining life was the most arduous. I did it, slowly but surely. The main thing I did was remind myself what the nuns on the hill taught me, “live your life the right way.” What is the right way? My interpretation was that I was not here in this world by some accident. I serve a purpose. Find your purpose and do your best in life. Help those in need, give back to the community, admit your faults and wrong doings. Work on them. Never judge. Take steps to better yourself each day. Love yourself and find the beauty in this brilliant world we live in. Life is supposed to be hard. Don’t quit, keep going. Question your faith. It really is simple, be a good person.
I spent my whole life in catholic schools. I graduated from a catholic university. There have been times I have been embarrassed to be catholic. Many times I have questioned my beliefs over and over. I have reached out to a very dear sister on that hill. She wrote back enthusiastically she was thrilled I was in doubt and questioning. With my jaw dropped I continued to read and discovered the time of questioning is when your faith is growing stronger. I smiled and said to myself, “okay Sister, I trust you.”
All those years I sat in the pews during school hours and on Sundays with my family, years of religion classes, it was a group of Benedictine Sisters in southern Indiana town that taught me what faith is through their actions. Those angels on Earth had an impact that my words can never do justice or accurately describe. Sometimes I feel that I am failing them. I’m not the best catholic. I don’t go to mass regularly. Sometimes I should speak up instead of remaining silent. What I do have is a relationship with a God of my understanding. I have the utmost respect for several saints and pray to many asking them for help daily. My faith is private and between me and a God I assume is similar and very foreign to so many of us. So again, remember what the definition of faith is. Rediscovering my faith was my first step to finding peace.
Shout out to class of 96″! You all know you are. You are my sisters my mother and father had to buy me!! Thank you for the unconditional love over the past 20 plus years.