In the 1960’s, The Sisters of St Joseph wore
full-length dark brown habits,
a veil and face carapace,
a cord and rosary beads at the waist.
A heavy crucifix hung from their neck.
The garments must’ve been as hot as hell
and were most unflattering to size and morphology
making the wearer look twice as big
and homogenously squat –
they mostly all looked the same.
Perhaps it suited the ethos of the time
Catholicism a yoke to be endured
not a philosophy to be enjoyed
although there was some humour sometimes.
My mother had a friend who told her about convent life
the austerity, the rituals and the prayers
and teaching –
Catholic education and Catholic faith to Catholic kids.
One day she was venting her frustrations
to a class of six-year-olds
a little boy raised his hand
startling her to stop and ask
– that’s a lovely dress you’re wearing Sister.”