Karen, my wife, borrowed the book Bannock Beans and Black Tea: Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression by John Gallant and Seth (alias Gregory Gallant and John’s son) from the library. Seth lives in Guelph and I’ve seen some of his artwork at the well-worth visiting Macdonald Stewart Art Centre located on the University of Guelph campus.
She and Emily picked this particular book to help with Emily’s dirty thirties history essay for school. I was impressed by the stories from PEI and the hardship endured by this province that seems so picturesque and such a tourist haven now. It’s probably my favourite province to visit for a holiday (although I haven’t been to all of them yet so what do I know anyway?)
One thing I found from these stories (which I listened to as I helped to make dinner and aided the boys with their computer and Green Day activities) was the strong dislike for the Catholic Church expressed by the author. Well I grok that. A whole heck of a lot of abuse of privilege was done by priests and nuns. That’s absolutely true. It colours the good which was also being done if you really want a fair treatment. As I said, I understand Mr. Gallant’s angst against Catholicism seeing the hurt he had to endure.
Like any institution, the Roman Catholic Church is made up of many people. Some weak and some strong. I am still a practicing Catholic and so I have an obvious slant but, then again, I didn’t have to endure very much hardship. I received a beating once from a nun principal (Sr. Mary Phelan) at St. John’s School when I was 8 for jumping up and down at a window to find my sister in her class. I was waiting to walk home with her. This beating was done for no reason that I can fathom other than Phelan’s own need to torture children. But I blamed her for the beating. I didn’t link her to the church until much, much later thankfully. So I grew up in the church and I guess that’s my excuse. I stuck with it and I enjoy it now as part of my life. I know there are still problems like no women in the priesthood and various other issues but there is still good. And that’s what I’m there for… the good.
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