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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All Souls Day

We are in the home stretch for Halloween and not a moment too soon. We have managed to stay our of Joanne's Fabric Store, but not without looking under couch cushion and in Sister Mary Fiacre's wheelchair for loose buttons, pieces of thread, safety pins and whatever other notions we can find to hold these costumes together. If only we were rich. If only the people who needed costumes were rich. If only someone had seventy dollars plus shipping. We could have avoided the whole thing by sending everyone here.

I'm not that big a fan of dressing children up as saints for Halloween. I think it's a little...wet blanketish. But there are a few costumes that might be fun and get the kids excited about learning more about a saint.

Here's little Kateri Tekakwitha. That's kind of fun. They left the smallpox out of the picture. And since Kateri isn't a saint yet, maybe a few kids dressing up like her will help her cause for sainthood. She could have her little brothers and sisters dress up like turtles and follow her around. I would have gone for that as a girl. When in doubt, I was always a bum.

That used to be a great costume. Now we don't have bums anymore. Just homeless people.

Little Rose of Lima is nice. I think she should have a crown made of something that looks like glass. That sort of thing was really a habit for St. Rose of Lima. Or she could have some embroidery with her or something. I always think of St. Rose of Lima as the patron saint of crafters. Her parents were hoping to marry her off to a rich fellow and when Rose dodged that idea to become a nun and live in her own backyard, she made up for the family's loss of rich husband income by making things to sell.

This Mother Teresa costume, although it is very lovely, is a wet blanket outfit for sure. We love Mother Teresa, but she's not a fun Halloween gal.

At all.

For boys, who could resist St. George, even if he is one of those highly dubious saints? I like St. George, but we know his story is...exaggerated. How do we know? Dragons, anyone? If you dress up as St. George you may as well dress up as Superman or Robin Hood. Any of those three should please any little boy.

I like this little St. John the Baptist, but after I thought about it, it seems a little embarrassing for a little boy to run around in a gunny sack with a belt and nothing else. If I were that little boy, I'd pretty much feel like I was wearing a mini skirt. Well, maybe not a mini skirt. But....you know what I mean. It's really like wearing a dress. We call this style a 'shift' isn't that right?

And on the wet blanket side, Cardinal Neumann is a fun killer. Trick or Treat!

Say, that reminds me, I read the other day that they dug Cardinal Neumann up for his cause of sainthood (it's one of the first steps) and he wasn't there. I can tell you that really struck me, because for years people have been asking me why we dig people up at all and I have explained a million times to a million people that we need to find out if the person is really there so that folks aren't standing around a vault with Joe the Plumber in it offering their prayers and petitions. So you can imagine my shock to hear that Cardinal Neumann was gone.

It was his grave and his coffin, however. He had just completely decomposed. Only his Cardinal suit was left.

Not that this costume has anything to do with that.

Today's Nun So Beautiful is from Sue, who tells us that this nun fell over because she saw the Pope.


Anonymous said...

What a nice "Nun so Beautiful"! It reminds me of when I was a Peace Corps volunteer at Holy Child School in Cape Coast, Ghana more than 30 years ago. I remember that the Papal ProNuncio came to town, and I stood on a ridge watching the procession with Sister Grace, a very young nun who was an Old Girl of Holy Child. She was just dancing! I wish I had a picture to share!

Anonymous said...

I dressed up as St. Elizabeth of Hungary one year--a long dress, an apron with bread and roses in the pockets (when her husband tried to catch her smuggling bread to the poor, the bread turned to roses). I had fun one year as St. Wilgefortis, the bearded maiden, who miraculously grew a beard when her father tried to force her to marry a bad guy. That one took a lot of explaining, though--everyone thought I was a bearded nun, and that got me some very critical looks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
I just found you blog tonight and I've been up wayyyyy too late reading it. You're doing good work and your writing is clever and witty. Although I'm a big ol' lapsed Catholic (Catholic school all my life, but now pretty much agnostic), it's so nice to learn about my Catholic heritage in an entertaining and non-threatening way. Keep on keeping on! Thanks for putting all this out there.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Newman is the one they dug up recently and he'd decomposed.

Not to be confused with Bishop Neumann, who as far as I can tell, isn't an Oratorian on the track to sainthood, but was Bishop of Philadelphia whose cause has recently been opened.

Anonymous said...

Ah, beg your pardon. Bishop John Neumann has already been canonised. Knew I should have tried the patron saints index first.

However, Cardinal John Henry Newman is not-quite-but-nearly a Blessed.

bearing said...

Come on! You want good Halloween saint costumes? What about St. Lucy? Hello? Eyeballs on a plate?

Bethany said...

Well, I guess no one can afford them, but they'll be good ideas for you next year, if any of the little kids you ladies dress want to go the saint route!

I can see your point about dressing as certain saints being a bit of a fun killer, but in some cases it seems like it could make for some great Halloween costumes too.

I've been trying to get my husband to dress up as St. Sebastian for a couple of years, because all those arrows would be super fun. And if I could figure out a way to get my head to seem half cut off, St. Celia would be really grusome. Or carrying around your own skin, or being covered in burns.

I wonder if the Catholic schools that have the kids dress as saints ever get that kind of thing. All the girls wanted to be St. Terese when I was in school, so we could wear a crown of roses in our hair. I guess I didn't have so much of a dark side in sixth grade as now. :)

Anonymous said...

Sister, I think perhaps you may have misunderstood, I don't know of anybody dressing up as saints for Halloween, we dress up as saints for our All Saints Day parties on November 1.

Kasia said...

A novena to St. Thomas More (you said you couldn't find one) here:


And go easy on the Missionaries of Charity Halloween costume - I think it's quite sweet. :-)

Janelle said...
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Sarah - Kala said...

Wow, Sister, you did you really just get blessed by an almost agnostic? That's the funniest stuff I've read in a while!!

joannaB73 said...

I think Cardinal Newman wanted to decompose and not be incorrupt as some saints are so that he could stay and be buried with his best friend as were his last wishes and not 'moved on' to pastures new. In UK they are selling old lady and old men masks for halloween which is quite good as it means I can go out as myself!

Shannon said...


I'm so glad that you mentioned Halloween. There's a bit of a Catholic Mom gestapo out there that thinks that Halloween is a devil day or something. One year I really wanted to throw a Halloween party for my kids and all my friends said that they would ONLY take their kids to an All Saints Eve party. So, I threw an All Saint's Eve party. I even carved Mary into a pumpkin. Have you ever carved a Mary into a pumpkin? It's not easy.
Anyway, my kids got their party and my Son made a very cute little Pope - but it's good to see that not all Catholics believe that Halloween is the devil's day.
I personally think that Halloween is a lot of fun.
This year we will have 1 kitty, 2 bats (my son decided that the baby could be a bat too), and 1 Smurfette.
This picture reminds me of when we saw the Holy Father in 2003. It is truly an awesome experience and I really really do miss PJPII, just because I loved him so much.

Janelle said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey again Sister,
Just responding to make a couple more comments and ask a question or two.

1) I'm the same agnostic who posted above. Go easy on me, Journey Of Truth! Although I may not be a big believer, if there is a God I thought he should extend His goodness to Sister Mary Martha since she's doing some great outreach and education here.

2) I read your July entry on Father Damien. You pretty much have it down except it wasn't an entire island the lepers had to themselves, just a very inaccessible part of one. To this day, the only way to get down to Kalaupapa is by mule or helicopter!

3) In said post, you mentioned Mother Cabrini! I took my mom to her shrine here in Colorado this summer. One of her miracles was revealing a spring to her Sisters living with her up there in the mountains after their stream ran dry. My question about this would be how does this water (which you can still freely obtain up at the shrine) differ from Lourdes water?

4) It's a little scary to read about Catholic gestapo moms who hate Halloween. I also have found that here on the continent, Catholics have a big rep for being super hardcore. I thought I grew up around some pretty devout Catholics, my grandma in particular, but wow the whole no-Halloween thing strikes me as a bit much. I always thought as long as you know what's really going on (All Hallow's Eve, All Saints Day), you were in the clear.

5) Is cussing (i.e. George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words) considered taking the Lord's name in vain? It's obviously impolite, but I've never been quite sure what the deal is, especially sice the Marianist brothers at my high school kind of had potty-mouths.

Take care and God bless!

Anonymous said...

Halloween costumes today have become so gruesome, it no longer seems like harmless fun. What better way to stem this tide than to dress up as a saint? I don't see why this would be wet-blanketly at all. Afterall, we are ALL called to become saints in this life. Besides, halloween is derived from "All Hallows Eve" on which we celebrate the Vigil of All Saints Day anyway. What a great educational tool for children.

Shig said...

Oh, I really like the saints costumes, the girl ones especially, although I think John the Baptist might be a good choice for someone with a "wild child".

Shig said...

Oh, and I'm really enjoying the nun pictures. They're all so beautiful. Thanks.

Sarah - Kala said...

The agnostic one: I just thought it was funny is all. No hard feelings. I believe there is a God, and I also believe He loves you. Also, in your latest comments I think it is very kind of you to take your mom to shrines etc. God bless you on your journey.

Sarah said...

The hardcore gestapo catholic moms are all probably converts. They bring all their separated brethren legalism with them when they join the ranks of the fun loving cradle catholics. And yes, some of them really do have a hate on for Halloween. Its sad, really. Probably they just need a nice hard cider or glass of mulled wine and a game of bingo.

Anonymous said...

It's the perfect year to be Joe the Plumber!!
What about haunted houses? We do one every year as a fun raiser. It does seem a little odd to be asking God to bless our haunted house and it's participants.
It is GREAT fun tho.

Anonymous said...

So far this year my kids are going as: St Raphael and Tobias (just finishing painting a large paper mache fish to put candy in), David (with a paper mache Goliath head to put his candy in), and St Elizabeth of Hungary.

One year it crossed over with a unit on the Middle Ages and they went as St. Benedict, St Scholatica and other early Benedictines.

My favorite was the year one kid decided the morning of, she HAD to be Jonah in the whale. We stapled 2 sides of a big paper whale around her. I think that was the year another one decided to be St. Joan of Arc... tied to a stake!

We have a great time! And, yeah, we do it for Halloween, it's the vigil!

Sarah said...

yeah well call me irreverant, but we are having a scary devil creature with a red mask and warts and fake hair, a very tiny witch, and a clone trooper.

Good Remedy said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha,

Love the Saint costume picture, think my daughter will be Blessed Kateri in our local Saints Parade.

Here's my question: in an email exchange with my uncle, he brought up the idea that the Church can not support a "just war" and follow a pacifist Jesus. I know that we are supposed to live nonviolent lives. But I wonder, is Jesus a pacifist?

Anonymous said...

But I wonder, is Jesus a pacifist?

John 2:15-17 '15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"'

Seems fairly non-pacifist to me. But equally, His anger is justified.

Janelle said...
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Helen said...

http://weblog.theviewfromthecore.com/2008_10/ind_005594.html This website has a novena for the election.

Anonymous said...

The diocese of Sioux Falls in offering this novena for the election.