Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Observations #4
Perhaps better titled: the Padre looks back-Part 2

   As a further bit of reminiscing that may help set the stage, maybe now I'll talk a little bit about how things 'started-out'  for me, and eventually 'played out'. I don't think I'll be giving 'away' any aspect of the story that's coming. The facts are already known at the  superficial level of when and where and I'll just restate some of them here and maybe hint at where my nephew  seems to be planning  to take this whole thing.

    It was November 1913 and I was on my way to confess my sins. I was 11 years old. My last confession was two weeks ago but then instead of feeling better after I said my penance- I felt worse.
    I was more troubled than I'd ever been in my life. I'd never realized before this what real unhappiness felt like.
    I lived on a farm with my parents and 4 brothers and 4 sisters.We lived about a mile from Lake Huron and less than that from the new big Church at Kingsbridge .
     On my way to confess I had time to think about what I was going to say. This was going to be a hard confession. In spite of my anxiety I felt that nothing could be worse than living with the secrets I'd been holding onto. I'd been to confession lots of times and I usually had the same sins to tell. Sisters Vincent and Sebastian had us examine our conscience and  most of the time I couldn't think of anything different to say
so I just changed the number of times for each sin. I wanted it to sound like I was truthful and  sincere...yes I realize the irony of a child's reasoning.
    Sister Vincent said there were only ten commandments so I guessed it was normal not to have any new sins. However after my last confession I was greatly troubled; my sin didn't seem to be covered in the ten commandments. I wasn't even sure if it was a Mortal sin or a Venial sin -it sure felt like it must be a Mortal one because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I couldn't find a name for what I had done wrong so I was afraid I'd have to explain it.
                          Not only that but in that last confession I hadn't told everything.
                  My troubling confession was about a week after the big storm that lasted from Nov 8 until Nov 10...one hundred years ago. There was so much snow that we couldn't go anywhere so we didn't learn until  later that many ships went down in the Great Lakes and 250 men died.

      After the storm my father went out  to get the news and when he came back he told us what had happened and that we should not go to school and we should definitely not go back to the lake. He looked right at me when he said that last part and his eyes narrowed as if he were giving me a warning.

     As it turned out that storm and my confessions during that time were major factors in what became my path to the priesthood, but back then  I seriously wished I had listened to my father.
    Now as I walked slowly to the church in what people were calling a late Indian Summer I was full of despair

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