I watched a Catholic nun push my schoolmate into a locker

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I attended a Catholic school from sixth grade through high school graduation. Although sixth grade was the worst year of my life, I almost enjoyed going to a Catholic junior high school and high school. It was, however, far from perfect.

From my firsthand experiences, I can tell you that many of the negative stereotypes about Catholic nuns are true. The ones who taught at my high school were nearly all as mean as rattlesnakes.

I did everything in my power to avoid them.

Of course, it wasn't easy to avoid the Sisters of Mercy when the vast majority of our teachers wore the habit, but I tried. It was always a joyful experience being assigned to a class taught by a non-nun. Those were my favorite classes.

Either way, I kept a low profile. I kept my head down and my eyes averted. I kept quiet, and I escaped high school largely unscathed by the Sisters of Mercy.

I remember one schoolmate who did not keep quiet. She did not keep her head down, and she did not keep her eyes averted. If she was anywhere in the vicinity, I'd hear her voice as if she were a klaxon. That was no way to keep a low profile.

One day, her no-fear attitude got the best of her. Sadly, it was over something as ridiculous as the pages from a glossy magazine she'd torn out and taped to the inside of her locker. She had decided to decorate with full-color ads of scantily clad men advertising their boxer shorts or perhaps advertising cologne while wearing boxer shorts.

A nun spotted these boxer-shorts-wearing models in their full-color glossy magazine page glory and promptly freaked out.

It's been so long now that I can't remember a single word that was said. No matter. Basically, the nun said something disapproving, and the girl rebutted with more sass than was necessary. An argument ensued.

I watched, willing myself invisible, as the nun shoved my poor schoolmate into her locker. No, she did not close the door. No, I didn't come to her defense. I knew better than to mess with the Sisters of Mercy.

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