Life is tough. But Nuns are tougher. If you need helpful advice just Ask Sister Mary Martha.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Sister St. Aloysius likes to sew. You'd never know it from her red faced frustration when she actually does sew. But once someone knows you can sew LOOK OUT. Everybody and their dog Rollo will be knocking on your windows. They knock on your windows because they know that way you'll see the longing in their eyes. Bugs Bunny referred to that look as 'the sorrowful eye routine'. They'll be standing there with their kid's pants in hand or some fabric they got on sale hoping that maybe you could make some kitchen curtains ....for them...
Sister St. Aloysius says it relaxes her, but she refuses to go to the fabric store during the entire month of October because it's "amatuer month." I think she could be getting some souls out of Purgatory, but I can't judge. I imagine all the sewing she gets stuck with does enough good for them. Of course when your soul's on fire--in a bad way-- should we ever be using the word 'enough'?
Now the poor thing has the double whammy of people who have asked her help on their children's Halloween costumes.
Let's stop here for a moment and mention that the Catholic church doesn't get all silly about Halloween. We're as afraid of the devil as the next denomination, but people in masks don't scare us. The very word Halloween is derived from the eve (Hallow, Holy, e'een, evening, Holy eve) of all Saints Day, a holy day of obligation. (That means that you and your children, if you're not all throwing up candy, need to get to Mass. If you don't, when you're all in hell, you'll all look like that costume you wouldn't let your child buy.)
But we have always stressed the idea of finding ways to make the holiday holy. One bright idea has been to encourage the children to dress as their favorite saint.
And I just have to be honest and say, enough already.
It would be one thing if the child dressed up as St. Hubert, with a bishop's outfit and hat and had a stuffed deer with him or a mad dog or a bloodhound (St. Hubert invented the bloodhound), and then wrote a report on St. Hubert and sat with other children discussing why they picked the saint ("he has a bow and arrow" is not a good answer). Perhaps we could send little St. Hubert out and see if he can talk any heathens into melting down their idols.
But that's not what's going to happen. What's going to happen is that the child, dressed as St. Hubert, is going to find the largest bag he can lay his hands on. Smart children know about the pillow case. Then little St. Hubert is going to walk door to door and scream, "Trick or Treeeeeat!" and thrust out the giant bag. At least little St. Hubert knows enough to say thank you. Jesus will not be mentioned.
I suppose we could suck all the fun out of this fall festival by having little St. Rose of Lima with her pretend crown of thorns covered in plastic roses ask for money for the poor, or we could make little St. Sebastian, proud of how he got it to look like arrows are sticking out of him, give all his candy to the poor children.
Even I am not THAT big of a wet blanket.
I say, give the child your broom and a pointy hat and let her have fun gathering and eating candy. Tomorrow she'll be at Mass. For a child, that is enough.
And that way, Sister St. Aloysius only has to buy one pattern. We're on a budget.
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At our house, we take the children to a Halloween "event," such as at the zoo or library to get their candy. Then we're all available Halloween night to give out candy. The children get a manageable amount of candy that way, but they still get to practice giving to others. If they complain, we'll take them around the block and back, but so far, they've enjoyed getting to give out candy themselves.
And of course, we go to Mass the next day. We like to visit a cemetary to pray for the departed when the weather permits, as well.
Just so grown-ups don't dress like St. Hubert and hand out shots of Jagermeister. (although one would have done me a bit of good after the CCD Halloween party I supervised during which Joan of Arc went to battle against St. George. Not a pleasant exprience. Joan of Arc was my daughter. She's more subdued these days; she's also a Jagermeister spokesmodel. Let us hope they give her Nov. 3 as a day off.)
Wonderful post, as usual!
At work they let us dress up and decorate the office, so last year I dressed as a Carmelite nun (or Poor Claire...not sure which..or maybe both?). I would have gone as St. Therese the Little flower, but I think the crucifix and roses would have been lost on most people. So instead I wandered around very publicly Catholic all day. I had bought a monk's robe at a local costume store, fashioned the head coverings to look like photos of St. Therese (used an old dishtowel, and old t-shirt for the collar, and a scrap of flowey black cloth for the veil itself). Worked very well! At the time I was discerning a possible call to religious life so it was actually kind of cool to dress like a nun all day. And in doing so, I was very much aware of everything I did all day to represent the Church and Jesus.
And incidentally, I lived in Mexico when I was in college. We had the opportunity to experience "Dia de Los Muertos" there, even the celebrations in the cemetaries. The first night where they celebrate the souls of the "angelitos", that is, the children, was very touching.
The next morning we flew down to Puerto Escondido for our 5 day break from studies, and when walking "home" on the dark beach (very dangerous--dont' do it--land sharks), we ran into a group of children dressed as witches and goblins.
They were crying out, "HALLOWEEN! HALLOWEEN! DA NOS DINERO! HALLOWEEN! DA NOS DINERO1" (Halloween, Give us money!). In Mexico they collect money for the poor, but no candy for themselves. And I think they have more fun...they get to be more demanding and someone else benefits. :-)
Like pretty much all of the Christian holidays, Halloween was co-opted from earlier pagan religions in an attempt to convert the "heathens" without them realizing it.
By celebrating this holiday, you are breaking the first commandment.
Oh, Christopher, you wet blanket, you.Little children going door to door as fairy princesses and pirates has nothing to do with worshipping other Gods, unless the fairy princess decides she also should have an altar.
You're confusing us with those other people who go door to door.
When I was a kid the Catholic schools were closed on All Saints' Day so on our way home from Mass we got to laugh at the heathens trudging off to the public school.
This mean act of course negated any benefit we received at Church.
I thought of you, sister, this weekend. While walking at an art festival I saw a booth selling "tatted lace", and next to it, a booth selling "tattoos". So they were tatting next to the tatting. :-)
Halloween? Mom never let us go as demons. We had to be Pac man, or a fire women, or a pumpkin, or a clown (which, I'm convinced, are demons but that's just a childhood trauma thing). And she made us get x-rays of the candy up at urgent care-- you know, for the needles the neighbors were hiding in the sweets!
-Christopher, I have to agree with the good Sister. After all, (acts 10:15) "What God has made clean, you are not to call profane."
And who are you to say God has not made Halloween clean?
And here I was, thinking I wasn't going to be the only St. Rose for unicef...
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