Tuesday, January 14, 2003


Hi! Let me introduce myself to all of you who haven't had the pleasure...er,I mean the misfortune of running into me on the blogosphere. My name is Mary Ellen, and I'm the author of the blog, The Divine Democrat and I've recently been asked by Two Crows if I would co-write with her on this blog. At first I wasn't sure if anything I had to say about the Catholic Church or the Christian religion, in general, would be all that interesting to those who prefer to stay clear of religion. I want to assure you, I'm not participating on this blog to evangelize or coerce you into joining the Catholic Church, or any church for that matter. I'm doing this purely to enlighten those who still believe the Catholic Church is the same Catholic Church of the 1950's or earlier. Well, some of it is, but a lot has changed and it seems the word hasn't gotten out. I'm still reading on other blogs that the Catholic Church makes you pay cash to have your sins forgiven or that we "worship" Mary, the Blessed Mother as a goddess.

Those who have come to know me from my visits to their blogs have come to call me, "Nunly" or "Sister". Of course, I'm not really a nun, and if I were I don't think the Pope would approve of my Avatar of a nun smoking a joint. The reason I have chosen to use the nun persona on my other blog, "The Divine Democrat" is two-fold. I started that blog to point out that you can be a Catholic AND a Democrat. During the Kerry campaign, I was getting slammed quite often when I would defend my faith and told that I must be a troll on the blogs because no Catholic would be supporting John Kerry. At that time, because of guys like Falwell and Dobson, all Christians were being slammed. The other reason I used the nun avatar is because I came darn close to wearing that habit for real.

When I was younger, 'so much younger than today'(Beatles, I love 'em), I was sure that I was being called to be a nun. It wasn't just one of those fleeting ideas that many young girls went to Catholic schools had, this was something I had in my head for a long time. I think I must have been about ten years old when I decided that this is what I wanted. By the time I had reached high school I had researched which Order I would join (Dominican) and what I wanted to do (teach). It wasn't until my Senior year in high school that I began to have doubts if going into a convent was a good idea. You see, that's when I started dating the man who eventually became my husband. It's not like I just saw him and tossed the idea of being a nun out of my head, it was the most difficult decision I've ever made. In fact I could say that after four children and 35 years of marriage, I still have moments when I look back and wonder, "What if...".

On the day that I was to marry my husband, I woke up early and instead of being excited that the big day had finally arrived, I felt panic stricken. All those former dreams of being a Dominican nun started to take over my thoughts. I started pacing back and forth in my bedroom, mumbling under my breath, "God, am I doing the right thing? Should I marry him or am I making a mistake?" I couldn't understand why I suddenly started having second thoughts about getting married instead of becoming a nun. After all, it's not like I hadn't been planning this wedding for a year and I was sure that I had made the right decision when I said yes to my future husband's proposal. He knew when we met that I was planning to join a religious order, he gave me all the time I needed to make the decision on whether to be with him or stick with my former plans to go into the convent. I don't know...I think I was expecting some big booming voice to tell me what to do, but it didn't happen. It's the first time in my life that I could remember wishing I didn't have free will. I wanted HIM to make this call. Looking back on it now, I was experiencing a major case of 'cold feet'.

A few hours later, dressed in my wedding gown with bridesmaids fluttering around the room, messing with my hair, veil, and talking a blue streak, I could only hear muffled sounds above the pounding in my heart...I wanted to bolt. After a few more pictures from the photographer while I posed under the apple tree in my front yard, hoping that a bird wasn't going to take a dump on my veil, my dad came out of the house looking as handsome as ever, and said, "C'mon Mary Ellen, we have to get to the church." I froze...like a deer in the headlights, my feet wouldn't move. I knew that once I made a step toward that car, there was no turning back, I was going to be "Mrs."-- not "Sister". I don't know what it was that made me finally start heading for the car, but my feet started moving and before I know it, I was on my way. Once I arrived at the church and stood with my dad's arm tucked around mine ready to walk up the aisle, I felt a sudden calm come over me and that sick feeling I had just disappeared. I saw my husband to be, waiting at the altar, smiling, and I knew then...being a nun was not my calling.

The reason I decided to share that story with you is to give you an idea of who I am and how much I have always depended on God's guidance in my life. He never forced Himself upon me, but patiently waited for me to come to Him. He made sure on that day I stood ready to march down the aisle to get married, that His peace was with me. That's the calm I felt at that moment...God's peace and love. I felt as if it wasn't just my dad walking me down that aisle, but the Father was right there with me. Anyone who has seen some of the things I've written in my past will see that I tend to be a bit irreverent at times (ok, that's an understatement), but deep in my heart my faith in God is unfailing.

So, what will I be writing about? Church doctrine (sounds boring, but it doesn't have to be), current issues within the Church, Satan, miracles, visions, saints, and a lot more. My posting may be slow in the beginning, until I get the hang of this and juggle my schedule a bit. Don't worry, there will be plenty of posts that aren't "deep", that's just not my style. I welcome all comments, whether you want to discuss further what I've written or disagree with my positions. Disagreeing is fine, as long as you are respectful, especially to any other bloggers who may stop by.

Oh, and before I forget! Thank you Two Crows for inviting me to be a co-writer on this blog!



FranIAm said...

All that I can say is that I totally love this post - it is so beautiful.

Now, we must be sisters (pardon the pun) under the skin, because I too thought I might have a Dominican vocation. Another story for another day, but it would have been the cloister for me. And add to that that I was discerning this in my 30's, not as a younger woman as you did.

That discernment however formed my life as it is today.

Thank you so much for this and thanks to Two Crows for getting you to write here!!

Brava my two great women!

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks Fran! I remember you said something about your thinking of joining the Dominican gang. I had a brother that did go into a religious order, the Christian Brothers of Ireland. His seminary was in upper New York, if I recall. I have a few funny stories about visiting him there that I'll share with you some time.

Thanks for stopping by, kiddo. Spread the word if you can---we can use some help getting this blog moving.

two crows said...

hi, Fran--
I hadn't known you'd seriously considered taking the veil.

fwiw-- I was brought up Southern Baptist and, even so, begged my parents to send me to Catholic school. [of course, that request came to nothing].

and I, too, thought long and hard about becoming a nun. tho I didn't consider it for as long as you and Nunly did, still, I don't think it was just a childhood fantasy.

and, sometimes I do still wonder-- what if?

two crows said...

hey, Mary Ellen--
welcome to the turtle's back!
so glad to see your maiden post here. I think we're going to have great fun. :)

fwiw -- when I get around to it -- you may love the stuff I've read about alternate universes and will be posting on.
the short version is that every major decision we make spawns a new universe in which we did take the alternate route[s].

Sue J said...

I look forward to reading your posts here. Especially the ones about Satan!

an average patriot said...

Very Good! You made the right choice for you. Your story sounds like the sound of Music. No church is as it was. All Religions are purposely mystified to gain converts of the day and change to fit the situation of the day. It will be interesting to see what you have to say!

Ghost Dansing said...


Ghost Dansing said...

ooops..... sorry. the Dominicans had nothing to do with the 1954 coup in Guatemala...... at least as far as i know. i had been making a point someplace else and got my URLs crossed...... dominique

phil_in_ny said...

this is great! I love both your blogs, and it's nice to see you all come together. I'll be back

Mauigirl said...

Mary Ellen, thanks for sharing your wedding story. I think maybe God did give you that answer you were looking for when you got that peaceful feeling!

I am such a dichotomy when it comes to religion - on one hand I am the original doubting Thomas and a complete skeptic; on the other hand, I'm always coming up with things that show that God had a hand in something. Go figure.