After going through the hoopla of wedding planning, and further, realizing what it means in Chilean society to get married in a Catholic Church, I really started to examine my faith. Does this sound weird? Hold on, give it a second. Let me elaborate.

I grew up Catholic and spent the first part of my school years attending Catholic School …and I LOVED IT. Seriously I have THE BEST memories from that time in my life. I attended a small, relatively unknown Catholic school called St. Monica’s in San Francisco and as far as I can tell, the uniforms and curriculum are still the same. The principal has changed (now it’s a man vs. a nun) but for the most part, things look pretty much as they did back in the early 80s when I attended. I remember the school yard and being separated from the boys until 6th grade when we were finally allowed to mingle together. I remember roll call in the morning in the school yard, each line according to class and each person according to last name. The Student Body President (an 8th grader naturally) would read the announcements and lead the school in a prayer and Salute to the flag. All this after declaring: “Attention” (when we’d all drop our school bags to our feet); “Arms Distance” (where we’d each put our right hand on the right shoulder of the person in front of us – you know, so as to be at arm’s distance), followed by something else that I can’t quite remember right now but it led into a prayer and then the salute. Good times!! I love structure, even to this day! I remember all the fun stuff, even Choir rehearsal and attending Church. I loved singing and even being called to read a passage from the Bible at the podium. The music and choir teacher was a nun who was evil as sin and mean like the Grinch … we all hated and feared her – Sister Miriam Jean … it was awesome! Further, I remember having to stand up next to my desk, alongside all my classmates and address each person who entered the class “Good afternoon Sister Margareta Marie, Thank you Sister Margareta Marie.” Ahhhh … classic. In 5th grade we had a teacher (a nun) who made us stop and pray each time we heard a siren on the street and given that the school is located on Geary, one of the busiest streets in San Francisco, you can imagine the disruption each and every day. Finally, sex ed, which started in 6th grade, was referred to as “Family Life.”

From the outside looking in, I know all this sounds crazy … too structured and archaic even. But I had a blast and thankfully, also received a really solid education due to the structure imposed on us by the nuns. When I first began attending public school in 8th grade, I was floored at how many people couldn’t spell basic things! All in all, a very positive experience for me, that Catholic school.

So why is it that now I feel the farthest from the Catholic church?

In fact, I’ve seriously started considering Judaism as a source of faith that I can actually believe in. Yeah, Charlotte York style but minus the Jewish husband.

I can’t say for sure that this is where I’m headed because like all things in my life, all major decisions, I need to research until their are no more texts left on the Internet to research. I want to know from A-to-Z what the Jews believe, what their customs are, how that differs from what I’ve known and what that may mean to my future kids. The sad part is that I’ve very casually looked online to see what’s out there in Chile …. and I’m not even sure there’s a temple here!! How is there no Rabbi in this country?? How can there be so few Jews that no one has insight??

The point of all this is that I’ve lost a lot of my faith. Though I’m at the beginning of a quest to change that because I feel that there is something more to life than just us humans. I believe in God and I believe in a greater power. Where I focus this belief is still an unknown to me. But despite all that, because I was taught from a very young age that faith and spirituality enrich your life, I truly believe this to be the case. And this is why I’m determined to find out exactly what it is I believe in. I can’t imagine my life being complete without something to believe in, something to comfort me and something to guide me. But hey, that’s just me.

In the meantime, I still think it’s really weird that G’s kids gloat about going to Church every other Sunday (when they’re not with us) and that they randomly bust out in Catholic songs while doing the most ordinary of things. The me now thinks it’s really, really weird and all I can think is “Dear God don’t let my kids be one of them” … even though I know that *I* was one of them back in the day!!

I just want something to believe in that makes sense to me. Something that I can encourage my kids to believe and participate in as well.

Incidentally this by NO MEANS includes Mormonism. Those who know me know what I have to say about that … but I digress. Though I do invite you to laugh a little …

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5 thoughts on “Religion

  1. Hay una Sinagoga en Chile! El pololo de mi mejor amiga es judío… Si quieres puedo preguntarle como puedes ponerte en contacto con el rabino. Espero te sirva… Besos!

  2. From what I know, the Jewish community is small but really active. I had some friends on study abroad who got involved in a lot of activities, and the few Jews I've met here seem to be a pretty tight-knit community, so I'd guess it's a case of once you're in, you're in.

    I think it's awesome that you're examining what you believe and making sure you're living the lifestyle that's right for you, whatever that turns out to be.

  3. Quite a nunumber of synogogues and congregations and whatnot around Santiago. Not much in terms of reform Judiasm, which may (or may not) be what you've come in contact with before. Let me know if you want more specifics and I can get you more info. The only synogogue I've been to is the one on Avda Matta and I went for kol nidre (Yom Kippur services) last year for the first time (in Chile). I grew up Jewish, fwiw. I have other Jewish friends here in Chile and the go to a couple of different synogogues, which tend to be way uptown.

  4. I was at St. Monica’s in the time you were there. I remember the red sweaters, peter pan collar button front shirts, gray pleated skirts, red or white knee high socks, and brown shoes. Oh, how I coveted the kids who went to Star-of-the-sea. Thank you for talking about Sisters Miriam Jean and Margareta Marie. Order is good. Do you remember the freeze bell? I think, after all these years, faith is personal. Jewish, catholic, protestant, whatever. You find your own path. I believe as long as you have God, the sisters would be proud.

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