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Scribbles, Snippets, and Other Doggerel

Poetry and other writing and writing about writin

In The Habit

Terri Reinhart

Mention Catholic nuns and just about everyone will have opinions, memories, or perhaps just pictures in their imagination of the stereotypical nun. The negative pictures are certainly in their history and cannot be denied or explained away, but the positive is also there. I remember having a few Catholic nuns as teachers who were very good, even as they were expected to teach a class of 45 students. As a teenager, some of my nun friends were spiritual role models. 

Today, nuns who are active in the community tend to be far more educated than Catholic priests. They still work in schools and nursing homes, but they also work in professions as doctors, lawyers, social workers, and other fields. In my opinion, these women are the best part of the Catholic church today.

Going back in time again, nuns wearing habits have always fascinated me. They just.. look so.. cool. When I was young, I didn't really think of them as people. They were those .. beings.. who hung around at church and school. they had faces and arms, or at least hands, and the rest of them consisted of acres of black cloth and a white wimple.

This habit stood out when I was in school, it stands out now, but when they were first worn, they really weren't so different from the typical peasant dress

The other kind of nun was the family nun, the aunt sister or cousin sister or sister sister. When I was young, my aunt Margaret was Sister Mary Theonita. When she visited Grandma at the same time we did, I learned that nuns were, in fact, people, and had more body parts than just a face and hands. At age 4, it was even more fascinating to see Aunt Sister in a nightgown.

Going through the old family photos, I started collecting all the photos of nuns in habit. So here, in their natural habit-at, are my favorite nun photos:

Sr. Margaret (aka Sr. Mary Theonita) and Snowman

Sr. Margaret (aka Sr. Mary Theonita) and Snowman

I don't know who this is, but she looks important. Or maybe that's just because of the Lion's head.

I don't know who this is, but she looks important. Or maybe that's just because of the Lion's head.

What do you call a group of nuns? According to the Oxford Dictionary, they are a Superfluity.

What do you call a group of nuns? According to the Oxford Dictionary, they are a Superfluity.

Sr. Margaret with broom

Sr. Margaret with broom

Either playground duty or outfield - Sr. Margaret.

Either playground duty or outfield - Sr. Margaret.

Sr. Margaret or, more properly, Sr. Mary Theonita as a young nun. I wonder if this was taken on the occasion of her final vows. It is such a beautiful photo and she looks so earnest. 

Sr. Margaret or, more properly, Sr. Mary Theonita as a young nun. I wonder if this was taken on the occasion of her final vows. It is such a beautiful photo and she looks so earnest. 

And to end with a little bit of fun, I don't know who these lovely women are, but they are such classic nuns. The photo was taken in 1987.

And to end with a little bit of fun, I don't know who these lovely women are, but they are such classic nuns. The photo was taken in 1987.