Tonight at dinner my mother revealed disturbing information regarding her Catholic school upbringing. The first was that, as a first grader, instead of selling gift wrap to give homeless children Christmas presents, she had to raise $5 to save a “Pagan baby.” A Pagan baby is a small newborn baby, unconscious of thought, but who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ and therefore is damned to hell, but..(but!) can be saved for five dollars. After raising $5 (who would give money to a small first grader asking to save a Pagan baby in all honesty) she chose to spend it on chocolate bars and has since suffered most of her life knowing that as a six year old she damned a newborn baby to hell. “And I remember having to choose a Saint, research their death, and then draw it out, and those pictures were hung up on the wall in the classroom.” I imagined being a mother, holding my six year old’s hand at back to school night and asking, “Honey, which dead saint is yours? Whoever drew Joan of Arc burning up in flames is artistically gifted for a six year old..”
Now that I know that this was how my mother was brought up and conditioned as a child, so many things make sense. I wish she had offered this information up sooner, I could have used this in my psychology papers in college.