I went to Catholic school for 12 years, first at St. Amelia's, then 4 years at Cardinal O'Hara. Nuns were a big part of my childhood.
When you're in 1st or 2nd grade, it seemed all the sisters looked like the sister below. I think this might be a Carmelite nun.
In reality, they looked like these sisters. Felician nuns. They had all been born in Poland. Their habits included that high starched white forehead piece with the veil draped over it. They all had names like Sister Amabilia, Sister Conceptia, Sister Anthonille and Sister Beatrice.
I loved my 1st grade teacher, Sister Laurentine. She must have been close to 70 at the time she taught my class but she was very kind. I think it must have been Sister Laurentine that made me want to be a nun.
Both my sister Bernadine and myself wanted to join the religious life. At the time I thought you had to be a nun or a priest to be closer to God. Later on I learned that wasn't so. But the desire to become a nun stayed with me up until high school.
Bernadine wanted to be a Sister of Charity, founded by St. Catherine Laboure. They wore the big starched flying wimple sort of habit in the first photo at the top. Sometimes she wanted to be a Maryknoll nun because in our tiny school library there was a book called Bernie Becomes a Nun. We checked it out frequently and perused the many photographs that showed Bernie going into the convent and becoming a postulant, then a novice, and finally taking her permanent vows.
There was another book in our library that listed every order of nuns in the world. I think there were about 1000 different orders. The order that fascinated me the most was the Pink Nuns. No kidding. They even had a picture and their robes were a pale pink. I am not making this up!
Like this nun.
When I was little I used to take all the white towels in the house and dress up like a nun. No lie. Thank goodness there aren't any photos of this, although I must say my parents sure missed a good photo op.
I am grateful for my Catholic education. The nuns taught me about God while they taught me to read. We learned to respect them and to respect others.
And they taught me about Pagan Babies. But that's another post.