Church going going gone

We girl parishioners were accessorized for Sunday mass at Immaculate Conception church in Elmhurst. Less festooning was required for the weekday masses, which were not required to get to heaven.

My white missal was the size of a card deck and featured a youthful Jesus in profile on its cover. Page edges were gold and it had a ribbon to mark where you left off praying.

Some friends had rosaries that glowed in the dark, somewhat showy to my parents’ taste. Mine was aqua-blue glass beads and looked like a necklace. Rosaries in general indicated saintly rank. The bigger the rosary, the holier the person. Once a chubby monk spoke at church on the premise we all would give him money for the missions. His rosary was black wooden beads the size of baby golf balls. Its foot-long crucifix lurked in his pocket until midway through his sermon, when he brandished it, blessing us all. Most everyone gave him money.

Scapulers would have been whimsical if not for the fact they duplicated in miniature torturous scratchy robes worn by those doing penance in olden days, when holiness was more popular. Picture two stamps held together by string. This get up was worn under clothes. Not stratchy, but sobering.

Best were lace babuskas, called mantillas. A mantilla is a veil and it stirs fantasies in women. We are saintly, wifely, womanly, queenly heroines in them.

It wasn’t too far into my church going when the lovely mantilla was replaced by something resembling a doily. It was a doily, a flat pie of lace. This spoiled the whole effect, if you ask me.

About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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