Wednesday, February 25, 2009

an oldie but goody ash wednesday story...

some of you may have already heard this story before, but its my favorite "catholic" memory at college...

you see, i am a SOUTHERN baptist...i have lived in mississippi and tennessee in my lifetime that i can remember. i live in the bible belt. at the very least, 99% of my friends through high school were protestant...

then i started looked at colleges. i had it narrowed down to samford university, a baptist school, texas christian university, a disciples of christ school, and saint louis university, a jesuit (catholic) school...and i ended up at the catholic school! boy, was i in for a culture shock!!!

learning about a different denomination was fascinating to me. i took part in many discussions that lasted into the wee hours of the night about the differences between catholicism and protestant beliefs. i attended mass on many occasions with my friends. (mass was 10pm on sunday night for students...it was THE social event to wrap up the weekend and to revert back to your "good" self for the school week.) okay, i am getting MAJORLY off the point...basically, i thought i had learned a lot...

then, second semester freshman year, i was taking an honors history class...i think it was american...i'm not so much a history buff like my mom and brother :) anyway...my professor was the quintessential absent minded professor. always showing up to class with mustard on his tie, or mismatched shoes, or tape around his glasses where they had broken...you get the picture. so, ash wednesday rolls around...

my professor walks into class with this HUGE smear of black on his forehead. i immediately turn around in my chair to my friend (of course she was catholic) and start making fun of my professor's latest blunder.

she looks at me like i am the DUMBEST person she has ever met...and informs me that he has "ashes" on his forehead!!! apparently, since it was a 9am class, most students and others i had passed that morning had NOT been to mass yet to get their ashes...

i felt so so so dumb! the even more air headed part to this story is that the whole 4 years i was employed at saint francis hospital, i was STILL confused and surprised when i saw the first patient/co-worker/doctor with ashes on his or her forehead EVERY ash wednesday!

i guess what they say is true...you can take a girl out of the bible belt, but you can't take the bible belt out of the girl...

2 comments:

brkbll said...

Loved your story and I can relate! I was raised as a Catholic in the south most of life and it was surreal to go to college where there were so many "others" like me. And, we Catholics still get confused by the ashes too. I had already been to Ash Wednesday mass and was still taken aback to see dirt all over my daughter's forehead yesterday until I remembered she had mass at school.

kelly w said...

ha! brooke, that is great! i don't feel *quite* as bad if you still get taken aback by the ashes :) i know, ya'll were like a fish out of water in meridian, huh? i do remember going to events at saint patrick's in meridian...was that with ya'll or the meadows?