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The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you

Memoirs of a Catholic School Girl



September 17, 2008


I’m way too much of a Catholic convent girl to merely count sheep when I can’t sleep.  As much as I’d love to picture a few Merinos leap over fences or imagine them being horribly abused by wandering shepherds, it’s the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries I turn to when I’m in need of slumber – and since I’m an insomniac and I would DO ANYTHING RIGHT NOW to get some rest, this means they often come to mind.


Do you have any idea how much this pisses me off?  I’m trying my hardest to be a lapsed Catholic here.  I blaspheme, I never go to Mass and I’ve broken many of the commandments, including some of the biggies.  I’m pretty much bound for Damnation and I like it that way.  But as I’ve observed before, once the Church gets you young, it’s got you for life.


*Sigh*   I suppose a disclaimer is in order here, though the Heartless Bitch in me doesn’t want to do it.  This site is satirical – you’re all presumed to be able to take it.  But I know some of you will freak right the fuck out and hyperventilate and stick pins in your Morrigan dolls and send me death threats.  Yawn.    I don’t personally care who or what you believe in, as long as you don’t (a) try to inflict it on me (b) use it as a justification to show me why you rock and the rest of us suck (c) try to cite it to prove that my rights must in some way be limited.  I have no problem at all with God, but his representatives here on earth can be awfully annoying.


So before we get started, keep one thing in mind:  this is comedy.  If you don’t like it, DON’T READ IT.  Are we clear? (And I don’t mean to offend any of the Scientologists out there by saying that.)


I had Father O’Neal prepare my class for First Communion and never was the Spectre of Satan more real or terrifying – none of this “God is Love” nonsense.  He brought the Flames of Hell right to your front door and underlined the lesson with the strap.  It’s no wonder I still know this off by heart.


But for the Heathen among you, a bit of explanation is required.  The Church “believes” that there are typically 15 “mysteries” of the “faith” and breaks these up into groups of five.  Each individual mystery has a virtue or “fruit” associated with it and you’re supposed to learn something or other from it – I never quite got that part and I never dared question him.  But I made sure I could rhyme them off like a parrot, so let’s get this party started.


Watch this (and I can do it standing on my head – I didn’t have to look ANY of this up either). 


The Joyful Mysteries:


1.                  The Annunciation.  This is the one where the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary and tells her that she’s about to get pregnant by God. The “fruit” of this mystery is not (as you might suspect), incredulous laughter but humility.

2.                  The next joyful mystery is The Visitation.  I never really understood this one.  As far as I understand it, Mary goes to see her pregnant friend Elizabeth and the fruit is loving your neighbour.  This is the only one of the bunch that (a) sounds vaguely plausible (b) isn’t even remotely mysterious.  Except Mary stays for 3 months, which I bet pissed Elizabeth off, what with being knocked up at the time.  It wears you out and having someone hanging around who doesn’t know when to hit the road can be at bit annoying at the best of times.

3.                  The Nativity.  Well we all know about this one and the fruit of this mystery is poverty and love of the poor.  Just as an observation, my recent exploits with the Ontario Health care system have persuaded me that being 9 months pregnant and being shifted from pillar to post would likely be your fate in this bloody province and you might well wind up in a barn giving birth on a pile of straw these days, so maybe the Church was just ahead of its time here.

4.                  Jesus’ presentation at the Temple comes in as the fourth Joyful Mystery.  This is where the baby Jesus was brought to the Temple after his birth and was the basis for the “Churching” or purification of women following their delivery.  That was a nasty patriarchal tradition, suggesting that women who had given birth were somehow unclean and it’s not the Done Thing these days but a few hundred years ago, it was all the rage.  The fruit of this mystery is purity.

5.                  The Disputation is the last of the Joyful Mysteries.  At least that’s what they called it when they were beating it into me but I think the name may have changed.  Mary and Joseph took their eyes off Jesus for one minute and by the time they turned around, there He was, telling all the elders at the Temple what the score was, and this was when He was only a Kid.  The fruit here is wisdom.


That ends it for the fun stuff.  We move now to the Sorrowful Mysteries and man, did Father O’Neal ever lose his temper if you fucked up or laughed or had to go to the bathroom while he was going on about one of these.


The Sorrowful Mysteries


1.      The Agony in the Garden.  This is where Jesus has His whole “Take this cup away from me” moment.  Anyone see Godspell?  It was that.  When everyone else was sleeping.  Right before the dawn.  I mean, who could blame the Guy?  If I had advance knowledge that I was going to be betrayed and nailed to a tree after being tortured and humiliated, I likely would have a moment or two as well at the very least.  Fuck me:  I’d be half way to Syria. The fruit of this mystery is compliance with the will of God (though this always struck me as being somewhat harsh) and true repentance for sin.

2.      The Scourging.  See what I mean?  This is where Jesus gets strapped to a pillar and gets the shit thrashed out of him.  I hear Mel Gibson did a very vivid job of this, but I bet Father O’Neal did a better one.  He scared the crap out of a whole class full of Grade One students and gave us all nightmares for YEARS.  The corresponding fruit here is mortification of the flesh and you might want to stop and think about the fact that this still goes on in some parts of the world to this day.

3.      Sorrowful mystery number three:  the crowning with thorns.  This always struck me as a bit gratuitous and Father O’Neal always described it with particular glee – some Roman soldier, not being satisfied with whipping the shit out of poor old Jesus actually TAKES THE TIME to find some thorns, make a crown and jam it down onto Jesus’ head just to make fun of the whole “King of the Jews” thing.  Talk about police brutality.  Fruit of the mystery?  Contempt of the world and by that I think it’s a roundabout way of saying “laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone”.  It has to do with not caring if you’re being humiliated.

4.      At number four, we have the carrying of the cross and its fruit is patience.  Every time I think of this one, I think of the scene in Life of Brian where the Good Samaritan offers to shoulder the cross for a minute and the condemned man legs it.  It always cracks me up, but then again I’m headed straight to Hell.  You probably wouldn’t find it funny.

5.      Rounding out the Sorrowful Mysteries is the Crucifixion, which is a downer any way you slice it.  We all know how this turns out.  A Guy, a tree, some nails, a couple of thieves in the chorus – bah, it ain’t pretty.  The fruit is salvation.  Talking about the crucifixion itself always worked Father O’Neal up into a nearly pornographic frenzy – his eyes would roll back in his head and he’d slam his hand – BAM!! -- onto the desk to illustrate the force of the hammer – it was pretty fucking chilling.  No wonder Catholics are so messed up.


That’s the worst of the gruesome bits but now we turn to the REAL nosestretchers – the so-called “Glorious Mysteries”..  Father O’Neal would turn a baleful eye on the entire class before launching into these and sometimes he’d deploy Sister Mary Helen and Sister Assumpta to walk the perimeter (swinging their rulers like nightsticks) in case any of us were inclined to giggle in disbelief.  Even at the age of 7, we could all smell a whopper when we heard one and you have to admit, these are pretty hard to swallow.

The Glorious Mysteries

1.      The Resurrection.  After being nailed to the cross, Jesus dies.  It takes a long time and Father O’Neal luxuriated over the Agony of it all, lingering over the poke in the side with the sword and the drink of vinegar near the end.  Then, tired out with the Glory of it all, he’d generally allow Sister Mary Helen to pick up the slack and lead us into the Resurrection.  This always struck me as odd, being rather central to the Faith and all.  In any event, after He’s given up the ghost (the holy one, you’d assume), His friends put Him in a grave then three days later stop by to check in on Him.  Lo and behold, the stone has been rolled away and the Body is gone.  Christ has Risen.  The fruit here is faith.  During this part of the narrative, Father O’Neal would have his eagle eye on us all, sharply watching for a glimmer of doubt.  Nobody dared to say a word, but I seem to recall a lot of shoes being closely inspected.

2.      The Ascension into Heaven is the second Glorious Mystery and it’s about Jesus floating up into heaven and taking His place at the right hand of God. This happened, apparently, forty days after He was resurrected and while He was just hanging out with His friends.  It was a kind of astral projection thing, or that’s how I always understood it.  He was just kind of beamed up there.  The fruit is desire for heaven.  If only it were that easy.

3.      This is followed by the descent of the Holy Spirit, the third Glorious Mystery.  I guess the Holy Spirit was just saving His place, eh?  Apparently, or so the story goes,  about a week and a half after Jesus disappeared for good, the apostles were hanging around having a beer when they heard this great rushing wind and then there was this whole flame thing and then they all started speaking in tongues.  This was the Holy Spirit filling them with the desire to go out and spread the Word, so if you’re with me so far, it makes sense that the fruit here is holy wisdom and sharing the “truth” as the Catholic Church sees it.

4.      The Assumption of Mary is the fourth of the Glorious Mysteries.  It’s her turn now to zip up to heaven and the fruit is mystery, which in my opinion should be handed out by the orchard as it regards all of this. I mean really:  this all sounds kind of suspicious to me.  This is what started the whole Cult of Mary in the Catholic Church and believe me, it’s still a pretty fierce one. 

5.      The last of the Glorious Mysteries is another of Mary’s:  it’s her Coronation.  She officially gets crowned by her Son up there in the Great Blue Yonder just in case there was any nasty talk going around about what business a virgin had getting pregnant.  The fruit is perseverence.  I remember laughing right out loud once that word was explained in context and I grasped the concepts of conception and virginity  -- and getting strapped for my trouble.

So there you have it.  Memoirs of a Catholic girlhood and yet another of the reasons I’ll be dancing with the imps and demons and roasting over a toasty little fire in the unlikely event that any of this is actually true.

Till next time,


Copyright© the Morrigan & Heartless Bitches International ( 2008
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