Hand jobs, not habits!

Earlier today, as I was yet again cleaning cat pee from a rug relaxing on the sofa reading great and edifying literature, I couldn’t help but overhear a particularly interesting interview on NPR. It was with a young woman named Alicia Torres who has decided she wants to be a nun. Here she is hanging out in Ireland with some other nuns, (this picture is practically begging for a witty caption but, alas, I am not up to the job tonight):


Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing much against Catholicism. Yes, I know that, like most organized religions, it has some very fucked-up aspects, but I am inclined to
believe that the problem is not with Catholicism per se, but rather with the dimwits who run the show. In this day and age, it’s just ridiculous that women cannot become priests, and are encouraged not to use contraception! Apart from these issues, among others, I don’t have a problem with devout Catholics, or devout believers of any faith. In fact, to be honest, I respect and admire their beliefs as long as they don’t ram them down my or other people’s throats.

Alicia Torres’ interview grabbed my attention today, however, because she apparently just finished a half marathon, or “The Nun Run”, which she undertook in an attempt to pay off more than $90,000 in student loans so she can become a Franciscan sister. Apparently one must take a vow of poverty to become a member of the Franciscan order, and cannot enter it saddled with debt as there will be no opportunity to earn a salary to pay it off.

This young woman’s determination and her vocation are impressive, but I find it quite abhorrent that people are actually contributing money towards her cause just so she can become a nun. True, she does intend to work in West Humboldt Park, one of the poorest areas of Chicago, blighted by drugs and gang violence, but, well, so?! Is she the only person in Chicago with a social conscience who wants to dedicate him/herself to the poor?! No, of course she isn’t, but apparently all you need to do is say a couple of “ave marias” and do a few genuflections and you’ll have people throwing money at you to fulfil your goal.

One cannot help but wonder how she managed to run up $90,000 in student loans in the first place. This suggests to me – although I could be wrong – that she must come from a relatively wealthy, privileged family, as I know of very few people who would saddle themselves with that amount of debt unless they were confident they would be able to pay it off after their studies, with a good job and/or parental help. Also, why are people giving her money when, if you look at her website, there are pictures of her swanning about on her Irish “pilgrimage”? Where did the money for that come from?!

Most disturbing of all, however, is Ms Torres’ dedication to pro-life activism. Unlike most other pro-life people, – whose passion for the “innocent” foetus seems to wane curiously once it actually leaves the womb and becomes a child of the ghetto – she will at least be working with and helping the impoverished, neglected children of teenage mothers but just how qualified is she to do that? How well can this woman affect change in this demographic given that she “would regularly go to pray in front of a Boston Area abortion clinic, and prayed daily at school for the end of abortion”? I’ve had two abortions (and you can pray for me if you like, Ms Torres, but I don’t feel guilty about them in the slightest) and the last thing I would have wanted to see outside the hospital was a fucking Catholic school girl praying for my soul. How on earth would that have helped my situation?!

I’m sure that Ms Torres is a lovely, warm-hearted person, and her prayers will probably be a source of comfort to some of the people she encounters, but if she wants to reduce the abortion rate in Humboldt Park, as well as poverty and crime, she would do far better to preach, for example, about the value of education, and working hard in school. Better still, she could campaign to ensure that the children she comes into contact with have access to a good education in the first place!

This is exactly what I would like to do. I probably feel just as passionate about social justice issues as Ms Torres does, and I, too, am saddled with debt which, although less than 10% of what she owes, is still extremely difficult to get rid off. Could someone like me not affect just as much change, if not more, as Ms Torres? It will probably cost me a small fortune to go to graduate school to get certified to become a teacher but I doubt I would be able to suggest running “The Erotic Masseuse marathon”.

I’m just a dirty whore, after all. Why do I deserve anything?


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7 thoughts on “Hand jobs, not habits!

  1. travelling, but not in love September 16, 2009 at 3:11 am Reply

    Hey, the Catholics can have her. It’s probably for the best that she gets the cell she deserves. It’s the poor poor folk of Chicago I feel sorry for….

    • petrichoric September 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm Reply

      My feelings exactly, Mr “Travelling But Not In Love”! And thank you for stopping by my blog! Welcome!

  2. pandabox33 September 16, 2009 at 6:08 am Reply

    Woh ! A dirty whore ? Be kind to yourself while you help mankind, will ya. Without you countless women would have to endure a spread eagle marathon every..night? week ?
    Doing a handjob is NOT one of my talents unfortunately because it would be so handy at times.

    That was not the intended comment but I love talking about sex so hey, sue me.

    Why does she need to become a nun to help those kids ? Being a nun she doesn’t need qualification to help, just the costume and smile. But why become a nun (I could look at the website but am not inclined to do so seeing as it’s morning and I haven’t finished my coffee and it’s cold***) ?! I wanted to become a nun when I was younger. I wanted to…I don’t know, be closer to God ? I didn’t want to help people, really. Must have been the unconditional love and the possibility to run away from any responsibility and from my family.

    She could have a regular job and volunteer instead. She wouldn’t have to be poor. She could wear decent shoes and jeans. Ahe could go shopping at Winner’s. Maybe it’s a scam to pay off her debt in a hurry. I mean what did she study to have that much debt ?? Truck driving and she had to buy a truck ? Sociology and she needed to travel and buy a small island ?

    ***Petrichor ! We don’t do it in the snow here ! I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want frostbite on your lady parts and fanny. And the guy’s penis wouldn’t be rigid from desire. It would be rigid from cold. I saw your other comments and read it but forgot to reply, must have been at work.


    • petrichoric September 17, 2009 at 1:32 am Reply

      Oh, I wasn’t calling myself a “dirty whore”. I was merely suggesting that those are the words all those stupid self-righteous religious people would use to describe me probably compared to that ridiculous but “innocent” nun! Ugh!

      Feel free to talk about sex. Nothing much shocks me really given my current profession.

      You’re right! She does not need to become a nun to help those kids. Ultimately, all those people are giving her money so she can fulfil her own desire which, even if she is going to be a fucking nun, is all about her.

      As regards sex in the snow in Canada, I *know* you don’t really do it like that in Canada. But it would at least look picturesque! By the way, does “fanny” mean “arse” like it does in the US, or “vagina” as it does in the UK? Just wondering!

  3. phd in yogurtry September 17, 2009 at 7:52 am Reply

    Not only are Catholics “discouraged” from using contraceptives, they are forbidden from using it. Which is my biggest gripe. No, make that *one* of my biggest gripes. I was baptized and educated in Catholic schools, so I have accumulated plenty of gripes.

    There was Mo Theresa working her little hands to the bone with so many unwanted and HIV-ridden children while the Pope sat there in all his red-velvet-robed glory preaching the evils of condoms. Poverty is the evil, Mr. Pope. Try stepping away from your pope-mobile long enough to understand the plight of the 13th child born to a family who can’t feed four.

    • petrichoric September 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm Reply

      Yes, it makes my blood boil that *some* Catholics (certainly not all, thank God) can be so fucking narrow-minded. It’s a shame that Roman Catholicism swallowed up Celtic Catholicism, which I think was much more interesting.

  4. The Wanderer November 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm Reply

    To the author…..did you read your own story? You exemplify what is wrong now-a-days. Why wouldn’t someone with the vocation to the Lord and, specifically, lending herself to the assistance of at-risk kids not deserver this? Money didn’t just land on her lap, it was for a cause, mind you. I ask again, did you read your own story? No one gives us anything. The fact that she wanted to enter a life of selflessness is what made ppl give her assistance. You just want help cause you are in need. Not to denigrate the profession you intend (my wife is a teacher), but she is paying for the student loans in a profession that, while very worthy, does not pay well. Not necessarily a selfless life, but not one of affluence, thats for sure. Are we to expect assistance because we need it? The point here is that this nun was creative, it was for a great cause and ppl have something to feel really good about when they gave. Religion aside, opportunities are not abound for just any ole good-doer. We all have to fight the fight. She found her calling, and found a way, fought the fight and won. Blessings!

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