Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

A Little Girl amongst The Nuns

By Miki

My contribution to our theme “God in our Life” will be a series of entries proving the importance of God in my life, even if I continually deny his existence. But for some reason which I don´t know and which I will perhaps understand at the end of this retrospective, God always played a very funny and sometimes naughty role in my life.

And if you might have some doubts: I swear to God, that these stories are all true! 🙂

My first contribution today, “A Little Girl amongst the Nuns”, will relate my first experience with God. At least the first I can remember…

I was born into a French Catholic family, but a quite relaxed one, by that I mean that my parents didn´t go to church and didn´t thank God for our daily bread before eating. A great achievement considering that we lived five kilometers away from the holy town of Lourdes!

But as I turned four, my parents decided to put me in a religious institution. No, don´t misunderstand me, they didn´t abandon me. But I was quite a wild child, not so easy to discipline, and anyway my parents were quite concerned with their career and had no energy to spend on me, having already wasted it on my older brothers.

So everyday I had to go to this awful place full of these old black an white birds of death, well, this is how I perceived them. I don´t have many concrete memories of that time, just a kind of: “Beuhhh!!!” in my stomach and a brain allergy whenever I see a nun today.

But one thing I remember perfectly. One day the nuns asked us each in turn to sing a song. Each of the little girls sung more or less beautifully a religious hymn, as expected. As it was my turn, knowing no hymns at all, and being quite tiny, I climbed upon my chair and started to sing the last song I had in my head:

Chéri Je t´aime (Darling I love you)

Comme un pot de créme (Like a pot of cream)

Chéri je t´adore (Darling I adore you)

Comme le roquefort (Like the roquefort cheese)

It was a big hit on the radio at that time, but not exactly with these words. I made them up. My mother was singing it all the time but I couldn´t remember the exact words, so I introduced cream and cheese as I loved them so much!

Needless to say that the nuns (and even my well educated and religiously tamed classmates) were full of indignation and I got a lot of hassle as a result. They tried to make me say that at least I was referring to God with “Darling”, but of course I wasn´t, I didn´t mean anybody at all, except perhaps my cute little cousin who kissed me behind the hedge … and I was an honest little girl who didn´t want to lie, and surely not to nuns.

This was the first of several incidents which made my presence in that institution quite undesirable. So I had to go eventually. To be honest my parents didn´t regret my departure at all, because they found that I learned nothing there, certainly not discipline, perhaps even the contrary, having gradually found fun in doing heretical things!

What God thought of my departure, I don´t know. But if he has some humour, I guess he must have missed me in that school… and who knows, perhaps the nuns missed me too because secretly they liked that song a lot and dreamed of singing it with me!

The singing nuns
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March 14, 2008 - Posted by | education, family, God in our life, humor, life, Music, personal, photo, religion, school, women | , , , , , , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. Great post Miki.
    I was raised in school by nuns and priests too. I wonder if those defining years of my childhood have spilled over into my life today and what I believe and don’t believe?

    Comment by Michael | March 15, 2008

  2. Thanks Michael.
    Nuns AND priests? I don´t know in which country you were at that time, but in France no chance for a girl to get educated by priests at that time, and vice versa!!!
    Where was that? and when? I really have difficulties to imagine nuns raising boys, or priests girls.
    I wonder how it is nowadays in France…

    Comment by Miki | March 15, 2008

  3. I just made some research concerning that nuns school where I went. It still exists, has its own web page, it is still a catholic institution, but it is much bigger now, and judging by the group photo of the teachers most of them are women still… but no more nuns!
    I wonder when the nuns left the place though…
    Interesting for me what to read the following words
    “We teach a life philosophy based on the respect, the perseverance, the lust of learning, and the will to succeed in one´s professional life as well as private life.”
    I love that! I guess I would never have left that place if they had had that teaching philosophy 50 years ago!
    If somebody here is interested to teach there or send their children, here is the address:
    http://www.pradeaulasede.cp.asso.fr/
    Danu perhaps? 🙂

    Comment by Miki | March 15, 2008

  4. I love the photo, Miki ! (I suppose is a Photoshop, but it’s great and you – if it’s really you – look so frail and gracious yet full of life!)

    I have to confess my experiences with nuns aren’t bad at all. As you already know I teach catholic nuns to draw and to paint with acrylics and watercolor… I don’t have other job than this one, teaching nuns 2 days pe week from September to June… For me, nuns are good… Thank God for nuns! (not only for little girls, Chevalier like…)

    Comment by iondanu | March 15, 2008

  5. You are so funny, Danu, I love that so much!
    To be honest I don´t know any reason why nuns shouldn´t be good, in fact nowadays they don´t look like births of death at all, even if they wear the same clothes. I even wished I had personally known some in my life, because I find their choice fascinating. I even love movies where nuns play the main role…
    I wrote my entry from the point of view of the awful little girl I was with 4, a real little monster. My mother, whom I interviewed yesterday about these nuns, tild me that in fcat they were very kind, and even liked me a lot, but their consciousness could not accept my behaviour and above all not my influence on the other little girls there…

    Unfortunately it is not me on the photo (and yes it is a photoshop montage), so sorry to deceive you Danu. I have no photo from my childhood here in Spain, But soon we will drive to my parents in France and I will search for photos, and I will show them in Cafe Crem from time to time when fitting to the actual them. You will see, I was a cute thing… but my hair was not blond!
    Anyway, I already told you how much I envy your job, it must be absolutely passionating…

    Comment by Miki | March 16, 2008

  6. I think you could write the story of your life (from your perspective anyway) and it would make a great movie Miki! I wonder if you would have seemed like such a monster here in American culture. Of course I was not raised CAtholic or by nuns (though I went to CAtholic University of AMerica for graduate degree and never really met a nun there either!) I must say that even though you admit this little girl in the picture isn’t you – I will always think of your little girl self like this picture!

    Comment by Susan | March 17, 2008

  7. Please, Susan, wait until you have seen the real little Miki, I didn’t look at all like the singing one (short dark hair!)! I have a tiny photo from me here, when I was about 8 years old. I will post it today. But in France I have much more I think, I will have a look next week when we will be there. But symbolically, yes, I was this little girl on the photo..
    But at the end I was not raised at all by the nuns, because with 6 I went to a normal school, well in fact a school for boys and my parents got a special authorization for me, it was great there!

    Comment by Miki | March 18, 2008

  8. […] a following to the photo I put in my post about me amongst the nuns, and so that nobody in the world can accuse me of identity theft, here is a photo of the true me, at […]

    Pingback by Blessed by the Devil, but innocent! « Café Crem: “God in Our Life” | March 18, 2008

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