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I was raised in the Catholic church with my mother being Catholic and my dad as a sometimes-participating-Baptist. I think he participated in his own way though. Mother just took the reigns in hand and did it her way and her way was the Catholic way.

She was from a very devout Catholic family herself as one of her sisters was a nun. She wore that long black habit and would stick her hands under, clasping them over her middle, glaring at us. I don’t think she realized she was glaring, though its how it came across.

She scared me to death, but I think it was more because I didn’t know her well enough since we had been away homesteading in Alaska for so long, not having the time to bond with her as my cousins who seemed very comfortable around her did. Five years is a long time in a child’s life.

We called her Sister Ida Marie or Aunt Bea. I still wish I had given the name Ida to one of my girls. It was my grandmothers name and one you don’t hear anymore. None of my girls would hear of it when they had children so maybe I will suggest it to Andrew when he has children. I still have time!


There were eight children in my mothers family – six girls and two boys. All the girls were RN’s and then there was the one nun. Sometimes I wonder how women get to that point of going in the direction of nunhood. Evidently that is not a word, but what else would your call it? All I can say is it must be a strong calling.

When my grandfather landed in the hospital with pneumonia the doctor told him he didn’t have a thing to worry about. He had five daughters to nurse him back to health and one to pray for him. It must have worked because he lived many years beyond that.

My first marriage was to a Baptist man though we married in the Catholic church and I remember us having to sign papers agreeing to raise our children as Catholics. I did try for a long time to honor that. Actually I was by myself in that respect because their father was a die-hard Baptist.

To be able to go to church as a family which was important to both of us and to honor the paper I had signed,  I remember having to get three children under the age of seven up, fed, dressed and out of the house in time for the 9:30am mass and then whisk them off to meet my husband for the 11:00am service at his little country family church – denomination Baptist. I wonder how many points I racked up for that and how many points I still have on the books – if any.

country church

I was doing double duty as were my children.  That only lasted so long before I was worn down to the point of drifting over to the other side. What did it really matter as long as my children were in church and so was I? The first three girls had all been christened in the Catholic church with the sweet little white gown and bonnet, godparents and all. By the time Jessie, the fourth girl, was born I had all but given up on the Christening thing because we weren’t attending anyway.

Jessie didn’t get that sweet little white gown and bonnet and no godparents to help her along the way either. Many, many years later she is the one who now attends the Catholic church, changing over before her and Davey married. Her children got the gown and the godparents she never had.

christening gown

Andrew has been raised in the Episcopal church because as always I tend to drift to my husband’s way of religion and H was raised in the Episcopal church.

I wonder if the church can hold that against you when your children on their own accord decide to go by the wayside and step over the line into another religion. And by stepping over the line I don’t mean to the wrong side. My views are God doesn’t care where you worship as long as you do it.

Religion is a funny thing. Some have it. Some don’t. Some announce it openly. Others keep it closed up inside between just themselves and God. I don’t usually write religious posts and this may be as religious as it gets with me being more of one of those that keeps it between myself and God.  I read a few this morning on my friend Susannah’s blog that got me to thinking about some of the subjects of her essays which sparked this post. She’s not a religious writer either – more on the humor side, but not blasphemy. There is some humor in religion if you think about it. There has to be! Read Susannah’s recent post here and then read some of her related ones listed to see what I’m talking about.


About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

12 responses »

  1. I don’t normally blog on spiritual topics but decided to do so this year. I feel it is important that people understand the reason for so much hatred in the world today. From the beginning of time, it has always been a battle between good and evil. God offers salvation through Jesus. Satan offers deception and self-gratification.
    PS – Religiosity has nothing to do with Christianity. It is all about relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Easter, Elle!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You must feel 20 pounds lighter after writing that. In my twilight years from reading Anne Lamott and going to Ala-Non, I’ve learned God is supposed to be a comforting presence not someone to beat your spirit up until you have none. i still slip though. Religion runs deep in whatever package it came in.

    I had an Auntie Ida too who was one of my favorite people growing up. She was so kind.

    This is a great essay and candid. We like that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was raised Catholic – complete with parochial school, daily Mass, and habit-wearing tsking nuns. Wanted to be a nun so bad – my friend and I would put our sweaters on our head and button them under our chins, rosaries attached to the buttons on the side of our uniform jumper (you didn’t get skirts and vest – the COOL uniforms – until 7th grade!) and kneel on playground logs to pretend-pray. Wish somebody had gotten a picture! I was pretty much over it by 5th grade when the mystery of nuns was lessened by knee-length habits and hair peeking out of new wimple-less veils. God, in His infinite wisdom, steered me toward lawyerhood (also not a word apparently!) instead of nunhood. Glad I listened – and I’m pretty sure my husband is, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I struggled with religion for a long time cause society places merit in the list of things you should complete to be in the club. It’s so much more than that! Sometimes you see things better on the wayside.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I doubt no one has ever found God in a building? Whether it be a church, temple, mosque or synagogue.

    God lives in our hearts. God is love, love is God. Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person


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