Did We Become Nuns, After All?

Sadie Sadie Married Lady

Apr 19, 2011 by

It was part of the whole enchilada of growing up Roman Catholic and female in the 1950s: The longing to become a nun.

Nuns, who were our teachers, were brides of Christ.  You didn’t have to be genius to figure out that meant they were without the angst of the groom returning home drunk.  They were educated, something most of our own mothers weren’t. And they didn’t fear getting pregnant, over and over again.  Come on, that looked good, compared to where we considered we were likely heading.  Most of us didn’t shake that neatly packaged fantasy until we went boy crazy in the eighth grade.

Not for years would any of us ever admit wanting to be a nun. After all, it wasn’t necessary in order to escape our female destiny.  The pill came.  College, even graduate and professional school, became standard, for both sexes. Then, one day we wake up on our birthday and realize, we did become nuns, didn’t we.  And it was as smart a choice as it would have been in the Eisenhower era.

There were those like myself who didn’t and maybe never will develop the strength to be okay in a marriage.  Maybe it was too much conditioning.  Vividly I can recall being bludgeoned like a baby seal about having to be a lady, thin, reserved otherwise no one would marry me.   Maybe there are emotional late bloomers and we just haven’t gotten there yet.  Maybe just as the nuns married Christ, we married our work or a cause or a rigid lifestyle.

How do I feel about being a nun?  Well, the Longevity Report noted that those who had never gone through the ordeal of a divorce tended to live longer.  I welcome the years ahead to have a shot into mutating into the person and professional I may become.  Also, let’s face it, I never could have held a marriage together and never couldn’t have gotten through the divorce.  Hey, I’m lucky I’m alive.  Maybe many of us are who came from those worst of time for females.

About the Author

Jane Genova Has Written 24 Articles For Us!

I’m a coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializing in transitions. When I was 58, I restarted my professional life. That was in 2003. Since then I have I have muted into one of those renaissance folks who keeps multiple lines of work going. My latest book Over-50: How We Keep Working has helped thousands of people realize that exciting careers don’t depend on your age. I write four blogs: Jane Genova, Law and More, Career Transitions, Over-50.
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  1. polli

    I grew up Roman Catholic, and I can honestly say I never felt the urge to become a nun! A a student, watching them as teachers, I was scared of them; seeing them as women, I was convinced they were lonely(and if I’m being honest-mean!) Now many years later, I am pretty sure that they were probably the original feminists. Living without men, self supporting, thriving in an all female enclave. While they are of course Brides of Christ, they never entered the dating scene, suffered thru the “will he or won’t he call” agony nor faced the Mommy or Not self examination.
    Now that I think about it…while several men figure prominently in my life-the majority of my supports are women, best friends-women, coworkers-women, people to play with-women. I don’t rely on a man for support or live with a man for company. OMG!! My grandmother would be SO pleased… I AM a nun!!

  2. Jane – I’m not Catholic but growing up my best friend Patty was and on occasion I would go to church with her. Back in the day nuns wore habits and were rather mysterious to me. Perhaps today single women hold that mystery to others who would think that “Sadie Sadie” is the only way to live a happy life. Perhaps what All The Single Girlfriends will do is show people that there are lots of ways to have a great life .. and living without a ‘traditional’ partnership relationship is just one.

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