Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saint Rita

In my Catholic years I think I was the only one to be a devout person in my family, of course, I went to school with nuns for teachers till the 7th grade.
However, when my mother was in a desperate state then we marched to the St.Margriet Straat in Gent
and found a very dark corner in the big church. No lights in there but always, always hundreds of candles glowing. It smelled funny in there , I thought, I did not like it, it was so dark you could not even see what the walls were made from or if they were painted.
Mother clinked her few francs in the round bin and took out a candle from the box, she would light it
and ask me where she should put it.
Then we sat in silence in the few chairs outside this tomblike candle inferno and pretended to pray to St Rita.
She was in all her glory on a small altar with a dozen or so lights around her. They would be shining bright and I imagined that she would come to life and help my mother.
In the corner of that small chapel was a door with amber stained glass windows , it was the door to the shop.
Hundreds of medals, statues, photos, roses, rosaries lined the walls. It was dead silent in there and in a very slow voice , like you were afraid to wake up the dead, you pointed and the lady would take out your favorite medal. Her little pieces of paper were on the counter, exactly cut and measured so not to over do the wrapping needed for a medal of a few cms.
Most of the time we did not buy, we had one little statue of St Rita. That was enough.

St Rita had been a married lady with 2 kids and I can't remember how she lost them all and then joined the convent. Somewhere along the line her prayers helped people and as she was dying outside her window in the snow a rose popped up and bloomed. So the little shop also sells dried roses.

I was not sure about it all when I was little ,my nun never mentioned St Rita it was all about La Vierge and l'enfant Jesus. I think soeur Denise thought that l'enfant never grew up, he just stayed with his mother
the most Sacred of all.

Came around me being a very stubborn teen ager ,I was 17 , I was in love with a 27 year old man.
He had a good career set up and wanted to marry me in the spring after Easter and I would be about 18 then.
Mother disliked him, said I was too young. (She was right). I became her prisoner I could no longer see him.
At my work as a telephone operator I could call him at his office and that went on for a little while.
Both of us deciding we would win out.
Mother dragged me to St Rita and a candle was put in flames to reduce my flame.
I walked out of the church just hating my strict mother who was ruining my life forever.
I cried and cried and she did not say a word.
A few days later I noticed that I was not in a hurry to call him and he did not call me.
Days went by, I stopped crying, I decided that maybe it was not a good idea to get married yet.
His mother was very fond of him, an only child, and did not like the blonde coming into her house to have pannekoeken. It dawned on me that St Rita had something to do with all that. Damn her why did we have to go there and light a candle and talk to her when I was so much in love and happy.

Decades later my mother saw him in the hospital as he was visiting his wife, they passed each other without saying a word. They knew each other still. Then my mother wrote that she was sorry that she broke it up,
she knew he had a very nice house and I would not have gone to America.
St Rita knew better......

So this litany was to come to the point of this evening.
Bob is cleaning his room and found more stuff from Ari. He just dumped things in a corner of his closet not wanting to deal with it just then.
5 years later he finds "stuff" from her and it is a hard time.
He comes into the room and said:"Mom you and I worked so hard to get this together, Ari, learned to love St Rita from you , would you like to keep this:




Where is my Kleenex?



3 comments:

Deb Larsen said...

No, do not use your sleeve. Come here and put your warm cheek against my shoulder. There, there.

Sabrina Kensinger said...

Where is the Kleenex indeed! Beautiful!

Jeannot said...

Found the Kleenex and leaning on Deb's shoulder