Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Monastery Sends Me Out to Teach


Hello to all of you who may have found this blog after my being away for eight weeks. During that time, I’ve finally completed a first draft of a novel and driven to Minnesota and back for a two-week vacation.
         Now I’m ready to resume my Wednesday postings on this on-line memoir. In the coming weeks, I’ll post about my three years as a scholastic at Mount Saint Scholastica Monastery.
         Way back in the fall of 2011, I posted a series of convent stories. When I ended those posts, I wrote the following:
This posting concludes the stories about my life in the novitiate. I’m going to turn now to stories about my growing-up years and my life with cats. In a few weeks, I hope to return to the convent postings and take up life in a Catholic grade school in Omaha, Nebraska.
Twenty months have passed since I wrote those words. What happened to those plans is that in January 2012 I read a posting by Manzanita on social justice. Her words sparked a six-month series of my own postings about my involvement in social-justice issues. Then for over a year I wrote about my childhood.
Many of you read those 2011 postings about my first eighteen months in the convent, but a number of you are new to my blog since then. If so, you may have some interest in a summary of my life in the novitiate, which I entered after graduating from college in June 1958. The following three posts summarize that time:   
In addition to those posts, I did three on the difficulty of deciding whether to make first vows.
Finally, on December 6, 2011, I posted the story of my making first vows and the wonder of that day.
I appreciate how busy your schedules are as you try to read all your favorite blogs. So I suspect that few, if any, of you will have the time or inclination to peruse the seven postings listed above.
However, if you do have a wee bit more time, I encourage you to read the final posting about vow day on January 1, 1960, as it sets the background for the scholastic postings.


This photo was taken on the day I made first vows 
and exchanged the white veil of the novitiate 
for the black veil of the scholasticate.  

 The outside of the college chapel in which I made first vows.


The inside of the college chapel in which I made first vows.  

On Saturday, January 2, 1960, Mother Alfred called me into her office and told me she’d planned to send me to Walsenburg, Colorado, to teach. However, a sister at the Omaha mission had been rushed to the hospital the day before, so I would take her place in a fifth-grade classroom for two weeks. Then I’d go to Colorado.
On Sunday, January 3, 1960, I boarded the train in Atchison, Kansas, and traveled north to Omaha, Nebraska. There, Sister Brennan met me and drove me to the convent next to St. Peter and Paul Grade School, Church, and Rectory.
The next day, I began to teach. I’d taken no teaching courses, but the state allowed me to teach on the condition that I take classes in the summer and work toward a certificate. The fact that I’d already graduated from college helped.
That’s the background for the upcoming scholasticate postings. Next Wednesday I’ll share with you a story of violence on an ice-laden playground in Omaha.

PS: Great news! Andi Hicks, a gifted artist, has narrated the audio of A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story. She's given me an Irish accent so as to distinguish my voice from Dulcy's. Sure and I sound like a true Dubliner! The audio is now available on Amazon. Click here if you're interested.

56 comments:

  1. Dee!!! It's wonderful to see you back here, and it sounds like you had a very productive time away. I look forward to catching up on your memoirs from the links you've listed here. I am excited to read about your first days teaching.

    It is also wonderful news that you have the audio version of your book out! I love that you have an Irish accent in it~

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    1. Dear Shelly, Andi Hicks asked me if I was Irish and I told her 3/4's worth! So she tested a few brogues on me and came up with the one that she uses. A soft lift. She's now doing the audio for "A Cat's Legacy," which is the companion book to Dulcy's first story.

      My first teaching days were just a little scary! I'll be interested in your thoughts on them because you have been such a fine and gifted teacher. Peace.

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  2. WELCOME BACK--I love the audiobook!!

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    1. Dear Fishducky, have you already heard the audiobook? Or listened to the sample? I'm so glad you like it! Peace.

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    2. Dear Fishducky, thanks for doing that. One of these days--this is called dream-big-time--when I'm on some television show talking about writing (ho! ho!) people are going to say, "I thought she was from Ireland! Where's the Irish accent!" Peace.

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  3. Welcome back, Dee. It sounds like you've had an enjoyable and fruitful summer and I'm really looking forward to reading about your time in the scholasticate.

    Great news about the audiobook!

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    1. Dear Perpetua, I like your use of the word "fruitful" here given that you seem surrounded by fruit there in France! I'm hoping that my work on the first draft of Book 1 of the Bronze-Age Greece trilogy is as appealing as that apricot jam you recently made and as satisfying when I read it in a couple of months so as to polish and edit and come up with Draft #2. Peace.

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  4. Welcome back, I have missed you.

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    1. Dear Inger, thank you and please know that I have missed all of you who have responded so positively to my stories. Peace.

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  5. Great to see you back Dee. Have you read Karen Armstrong's book - Through the narrow gate?

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    1. Dear Annie, I haven't read the book. I'll look to see if the library has it. I suspect that you are recommending it because she was? is? a nun? So many of us left during the late '60s and early '70s. So many talented women who wanted to serve others and touch the lives of others with grace and goodness. I'd so like to know the stories of all those women. Thousands of them. Peace.

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  6. How pretty and happy you look in that photo. Well, I'm surprised. I never knew my words ever sparked anything. But I do remember your posts and you really did put out a fight in the name of social justice.
    How did you feel when you were back in Minnesota?
    Congrats on the audio of your book. I always like to listen to them when I'm driving long distance.

    That is an impressive looking chapel building.... both inside and out.
    You dropped a kind of cliff-hanging clue. Looking forward to your next post.
    Glad you are back.

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    1. Dear Manzanita, I enjoyed being back in Minnesota and having lunches and suppers and get-togethers with friends of forty years. But I am feeling contentment here now in Missouri. I know I have the option of moving back there, but to do so I'd have to sell this house in a market that is truly still depressed in this area and I'd have very little discretionary money once I found a place in the Twin Cities. And so I'm content to stay here and find my place and look for kindred spirit--one or two would be a real gift. Peace.

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  7. I'm happy to see you! I'll read the posts from the past as soon as I catch up on some stuff. I love to read everything you write.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Dear Janie, you may have read most of those posts, but that was nearly two years ago and so you've mostly likely forgotten what they said. I know I have! When I reread them before linking them to today's post, I was surprised at what I'd said and how I said it. You are certainly good for my ego!!!!!---saying that you "love to read everything" I write. Thank you so much for that. Peace.

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    2. I read all the posts from the past. I don't know if I never read them before, or if I don't remember them. Whatever the case may be, I love it that you giggled during prayers, and I love the photo of you as a postulant with your parents. Such a pretty young woman you were, who grew into a great beauty.

      Love,
      Janie

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    3. Dear Janie, thank you for taking the time to read all those posts. Wow! what an undertaking. Peace.

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  8. Welcome back. You have been missed - but it sounds as if you had such a productive time. With some fun too I hope.

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    1. Dear Sue, the time was productive. Not only did I do the writing and vacationing, I shopped for clothes for the first time in 17 years. I've always simply worn XL t-shirts and pedal pushers in the summer and turtlenecks, sweat shirts, and sweat pants in the winter. But I recently stepped on the scales at Weight Watchers and discovered I'd met my goal of losing 20 pounds. Actually, I've lost 21.6.

      The two facilitators told me that I needed to buy some new clothes because I was "swimming" in what I wore. So as I said, for the first time in 17 years I went to the clothing department of Macy's and looked for tops and capris (the saleswoman didn't know what I was talking about when I asked for pedal pushers!!!). Fortunately I had a coupon for 20% off on whatever I bought that day and all the clothes were on sale anyway and I put them on a charge card for the store and so got another 15% off! Wow---I made out like a bandit!

      And when I was in Minnesota all my friends were truly taken aback at how I looked. They hadn't seen me in anything but t-shirts or sweat shirts for all those years! Peace.

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  9. Welcome back, I'm going to have to re read your posts, I thought you left the convent...:)

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    1. Dear Alessandra, I did leave the convent nearly 47 years ago. But because I'm writing an on-line memoir, the convent days are part of it. And I seem to have such vivid memories of those days. Peace.

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  10. May you rise refreshed daily from your eight week sabbatical...old Irish blessing. Well, I'm poking at your credulity, at any rate. So good to see you back.

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    1. Dear Joanne, thank you for the old Irish blessing! I'm 3/4s Irish and both my brother and I love to spin a yarn! Peace.

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  11. It was so nice to see your post on my dashboard. You have been missed!!!

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    1. Dear Arleen, thank you for your kind words. I surely have missed reading the postings of all the friends--like you--whom the blogging world has brought into my life. Peace.

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  12. Welcome back! I am glad to hear that so much positive has happened since you posted here last. Thank you for coming home to MYself. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, and thank you for your response to this posting. I didn't realize when I named this blog back in May 2011 that I it would help me come home to myself in a way I never imagined. Peace.

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  13. Back in blogland, that is grand. congrats on the audio too, awesome indeed.

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    1. Dear Pat, it's so great to have this audio of Dulcy's story. I'm wondering if someone could put together several of your books for children and do an audio of them. Have you thought about that??? Peace.

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  14. So glad to see you are back. Glad also you had a productive time off.
    Thanks for the links. I came late to the table and will definitely check out your previous posts.
    Welcome back.

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    1. Dear Arkansas Patti, thanks for saying you'll read those suggested postings. They do pretty well sum up the eighteen months I spent in the novitiate--a place of separation not only from the world but from the professed nuns. And thank you also for welcoming me back. I so look forward to going to your blog today or tomorrow and finding out what's been happening in your life. Peace.

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  15. You've been busy, Dee! A first draft of a novel is something to be proud of. I hope your vacation was all you wanted from it. Congrats on the next step for Dulcy. That's really cool. I'm looking forward to hearing teaching stories from you - especially as I get ready to go back for another year.

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    1. Dear Deb, these teaching stories may not be very inspiring. I was just starting out and things were tough in the beginning. But those years taught me a lot about teaching. Peace.

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  16. That's quite an accomplishment Dee. I need to get away to do some serious work on my next book too.
    The two I've written so far have been non-fiction compilations of my columns. I've got two projects on the back burner that I really need to move forward with.
    Congrats to you.

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    1. Dear Rick, as you know from writing your columns, writing takes time and effort and persistence. I'd worked on this first draft many, many years ago (back in the '90s). And so this summer I completed the first draft by writing so many words a day. Now I'll need to edit and polish to get a second draft.

      The manuscript for a novel about first-century Palestine that I have ready went through 19 drafts. So there's a long road ahead for this one on Bronze Age Greece.

      Good luck with your plans. I so hope you find the time to work on your next book. Peace.

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  17. So good to have you back, Dee. I'm missed your posts and the expectation that come Wednesday I'd be filled with words to read that would leave me inspired, introspective, amazed . . . oh, but it is good to see you back.

    Great news about the audio coming out and of your first edit of your next book. Now, I look forward to your continuing Scholastica journey and your time in Omaha. You've had quite a productive summer, both in writing, traveling, looking back and looking forward (and, I might add, from reading the comments, a new set of clothes).

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    1. Dear Penny, thank you for your kind words. I wore one of the "outfits" I bought to Weight Watchers last evening and the facilitators made much of how I looked. It's all sort of surprising to me. But nice also to feel that I'm looking attractive. Peace.

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  18. I did a little clap when I saw this post in my emails as it has been so long since we have heard from you, well it seems so long to me...........I can hardly wait to read more about your very fascinating life

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    1. Dear Jo-Anne, how kind you are. I hope to spend time tomorrow and Sunday reading the many blogs I follow--some 70, yours among them. I look forward to discovering what you are writing about now! Peace.

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  19. Welcome back! I remember those posts and look forward to the rest of the story. You have been very busy and accomplished a lot! Even traveling and giving yourself a wardrobe makeover! TaDa!! :)

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    1. Dear Rita, it seems I was busy for most of July, but since getting back from the trip my body had insisted on rest. Rest. And more rest! Peace.

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  20. It's so great to see you back, Dee, and I always so enjoy your accounts of life in the convent! I can hardly wait for the new installment! And I'll also very happily check out the Dulcy audio.

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    1. Dear Kathy, you can listen to a sample of the audio on Amazon--at the URL I gave for "click on" in the PS. I'm bemused by the Irish accent, but I truly do like it! Peace.

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  21. Hi Dee, your accomplishments are many and so varied.
    You should be mighty proud of each and everyone Dee.

    The audio book is indeed great news- I'm sure it will do well.

    be well, be happy ~:)

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    1. Dear Pam, I do find myself feeling proud of working on the Bronze-Age-Greece manuscript. It is not quite finished despite what I said in the posting. I need to write about 2,500 more words, but it's nearly there. Peace.

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  22. Dee...you are so organized and polished with your posts! Look forward to what's next. And thank you for taking the time to visit my Journal. The audio book sounds great!

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    1. Dear Lori, oh, I mostly feel disorganized and at sixes and sevens!!!! I do try to polish my posts and make them into a story. That takes time because I tend to write too much and I must be ruthless about cutting because mostly I aim for 600 or fewer words.

      I always enjoy visiting your journal--seeing photographs of the horses and the fairs and the drawings/paintings and the delicious food!!!

      I'm excited about the audio of Dulcy's first book. The narrator does an outstanding job!

      By the way, that lily at the top of your blog is gorgeous. Peace.

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  23. Glad to have you back Dee. I look forward to more details of your very interesting life story.

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    1. Dear Friko, and it's so good to be back. The upcoming convent stories will be both dark and light--but then life's that way for all of us. I hope you are feeling better now. Peace.

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  24. How wonderful and exciting that you've finished the draft of the novel!! Congratulations Dee!!

    What a fascinating life journey you have.
    I'm looking forward to your future posts.

    blessings...

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    1. Dear Bill, yes, finished that first draft is exciting. When I've been away from it a month or so, I'll work on turning the first draft into a second and do editing, polishing, and rewriting. Then more of the same until I get to the novel that I'm envisioning. Peace.

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  25. Hi Dee, Nice to hear from you. Glad you took some time off. Hope you have had a nice summer... I took a week off last week for a trip.. I truly feel I'm a better blogger when balancing out my life and taking time off from blogging at times... Those who blog constantly generally have quite stale blogs some of the time... Life is all about balance. Right?

    I admire you for writing your story. Hope you can publish it someday. You do have an amazing story to tell. I've thought about writing some of mine but I really don't have too many memories of the unhappy times... And our lives do consist of both the good and the bad times... That's just life!!!!

    I could easily write about my life since meeting George --but there was SO much life BEFORE then..... Guess I'll just put my energies into our travels, hikes, garden, and my backyard birds....

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Dear Betsy, I so agree that life is about balance. I didn't used to have any in my life. I was a true workaholic. Then Meniere's Disease came along. One of the symptoms of that disease is vertigo--lack of balance. And it took that to teach me to search out and embrace balance in my life.

      Writing about our lives, I've discovered, can be really therapeutic. I've come to peace with so much of what went before. Peace.

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  26. I'm so sorry that I missed this post last Wednesday, Dee. I found today's and that sent me back! It's wonderful to see you back and ready to resume your story. You have such a wonderful story that at some point I really do want to go back and read! And congratulations on having an audio version of your story with Dulcy! How fun to be Irish. :-) Debra

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    1. Dear Debra, one of these fine days in one of these fine years we are living in now I hope to put these postings into a memoir. One perhaps on my growing up years, one on the convent, and one on the years I've taken a different road.

      I'm excited about the audio version and I'm telling you I really now have an Irish brogue! Peace.

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