By Matt C. Abbott
As National Catholic Sisters Week (March 8–14) comes to a close, I offer the following short memoir, written by Kenneth M. Weinig for the current issue of The Remnant Catholic newspaper. Thanks to Michael J. Matt, editor of The Remnant, for giving me permission to publish Mr. Weinig’s touching story in this column. Click here to visit the newspaper’s website.
Thank you, Sister Mary St. Roger!
By Kenneth M. Weinig
My first grade in public school had been rather boring, but I loved the weekly Catechism classes in my parish conducted by a smiling nun who put colored stars next to every question in the Baltimore Catechism I got right, which were many, thanks to the motivation by my Catholic grandmother, who lived with us, and by my Protestant mother, too. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I had thought, to have such a wonderful teacher like this every day!
In September of 1950, my wish came true: I was overjoyed to enter the second grade at Our Lady of Loreto School in Hempstead, N.Y. My teacher was Sister Mary St. Roger, a cautious smiler. An early reader – thanks also to my mother – I expected to be placed in the Bluebirds, the highest group, but I was disappointed to be seated with the Robins. Oh, well, at least I wasn’t with the dumb Canaries. Later, I learned that mom had conferred with Sister, and they had agreed to give me a conservative placement, since I had come from a public school; better to promote than demote. Soon, I proved worthy of Bluebird membership but was glad they didn’t group for mathematics! As I write this, I am looking up at a shelf on which sits a small, blue ceramic lamb, given to me by Sister for winning a class spelling bee.
Editor’s note: A Catholic school system without these dedicated sisters and the Catholic culture they lived, breathed and constantly promoted, by their every word and deed, is just another private school with a religious ed curriculum “tacked -on”.
It’s also important to note that many of the teaching sisters routinely managed class sizes of fifty children or more.
The pre-Vatican II Catholic school system was a constantly visible, beautiful sign of God’s grace, in action. As such, it fit in very well with the Catholic parishes of the time.
Of course, it wasn’t perfect. But it was close!
Other Self-Absorbed Promethean Neopelagians seem to agree! What say you?