Monday, July 21, 2008

Notre-Dame des Petits Moineaux/Our Lady of the Little Sparrows




I used to have a friend who used to tease me about having gone to Catholic school. He referred to the school as Notre-Dame des Petits Oiseaux (Our Lady of the Little Birds). In fact, my school was called St. Joseph de l'Apparition. I remember it as a place where the nuns, who came from all over the world, could have used lessons in compassion and kindness; it took many years for me to get over the damage done to me personally. However, there was one bright light, even though it arrived after the damage was done: a Mother Superior from Rennes, in Brittany, who took me in hand and nurtured me in the last couple of years that I was there. I will never forget her. She was feisty, down-to-earth, and caring. She poured balm into my childhood wounds; she even tried to get me into a school in Rennes because she saw such potential in me. But the parental wouldn't allow it. It is because of her that I got through my adult bitterness at the cruelty of some nuns who saw me as the bad seed because my parents had divorced. Did Sr. M. go to confession every day and confess her bad temper spewed at us almost daily? Did Sr. J-B confess that she called my mother a very bad name for divorcing my father (never mind that it was a very necessary divorce), and to my face at that? I didn't know what the word meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary.; it seared me, because I missed my mother so much that I cried myself to sleep every night. It didn't matter in the end, because Mère Augustin made up for all of it. Wherever her spirit is, I hope she know I didn't let her down.

13 comments:

  1. A very nice collage and painting. Lovely composition.

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  2. How beautiful to know that there is such a tender story behind your fabulous art here.

    I really like the texture to your piece here. The colours fit together so perfectly. Wonderfully vibrant.

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  3. Oh Colette. What harm people can do to children. I'm sorry!
    I'm glad that the Mother Superior made such a difference.
    I love the painting!
    Becky

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  4. I am no longer a practicing Catholic and neither is my husband who was sent to a private Catholic boarding school at the age of 11. However, we both survived and we've used the experiences in the most positive ways....just like you have.

    I love your art!

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  5. C~I know I did not experience the pain you experienced in boarding school, so I cannot speak for you. I too had divorced parents. It was different from my friends, and the split was very painful for me. I have come to learn that it did make me a more compassionate person, I believe, because of it. I sense that in you too....

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  6. I have heard from so many other Catholics about this same horror and injustice. ( even Wren!!) Not as bad as what you went through dear friend. This is one of your best collages....so beautiful. Out of all that pain you endured... all this beauty...and your healing and strength of spirit! What a bright light this Mother Augustin was for you! She would be most pleased with the light you bring to others.

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  7. Compassion is the most necessary trait to me..
    The ability to feel what another feels.
    I am sorry you had to endure that from a cruel woman.
    I endured things from cruel people too, but it makes us better people.
    We can empathize with others who are treated cruelly.
    xoxo Nita

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  8. I have awarded you a gold star blog award over at Disasterville (http://www.daynadesastre.com) my dear! Mwuah!

    xox,
    dayna desastre
    www.daynadesastre.com

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  9. I have awarded you a gold star blog award over at Disasterville (http://www.daynadesastre.com) my dear! Mwuah!

    xox,
    dayna desastre
    www.daynadesastre.com

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  10. Love the painting my friend!
    I went to Catholic school for kindergarten and first grade....the nun in first grade slapped a child so hard on the face it left her hand print. I will never forget that. My older brothers went to that school all the way........the stories they have!! Sad isn't it?
    XOXOXO

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  11. Gorgeous painting Colette. Sorry to hear about your traumatic experience at the hands of the nuns. I worked temporarily for nuns at a local hospital and a few of them were quite the opposite of the caring and compassionate nurse. The good ones made up for it though.

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  12. Oh Colette, this brought tears to my eyes! I had no idea there were mean nuns out there! Thank God that Mother Augustin was there to shelter you under her wings! I had a nun teacher named Sister Eva and thankfully she was wonderful. Your past is behind you now and Mere would surely be proud of your accomplishements! Your collage painting is wonderful and must have been very therapeutic to create!

    Warm hugs!
    Sandy

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  13. Lovely art! Love colour!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate each and every one of you.