Monday, November 20, 2006

Am I Irish Catholic?

Ah, perhaps I'll explain.  My very Irish Catholic grandfather loved academia  yet destined to work the family farm, perhaps his brother was chosen to be the priest, not clear.  (Each family chose who would be what for the boys.)   Certainly, his middle name was Joseph:)   Very typical.   When he emigrated from Ireland, via South America, he wrote his college application on a napkin, and met my grandmother.   It was not typical for a woman to attend college, but her family was well educated, her mother a teacher and her father a doctor who traveled on horseback and died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.   (Doctors and teachers ran in that family, and my father's middle name is in honor of a family member who was a doctor in the Civil War / Confederate side tho I try to console myself that he was a doctor, not a fighter).   My great-grandfather was a Quaker, so my grandmother had originally been raised Quaker.   After his death, my grandmother's family, a single mother headed, moved in with her cousins.   They'd not see the tree itself until Christmas Day, and it was apparently fantastic, the stories she'd tell me about it down in Georgia, opening the doors to a huge hall or room, or it seemed huge to a young girl.   They converted to Methodist at that point, and my grandmother died a very devout Methodist.
My rebellious Irish grandfather further scandalized the family by marrying this devout Quaker-born, Methodist US woman, AND, going by HER religion.   It was important to her and not to him, so they raised my father and his three siblings as Methodists.  
My mother, born and raised in Maine as a (New England styled) Baptist, her mother dying when my mom was 9 years old, and her widow father who was apparently content with his children continuing at the local church of their youth.  He had flaming orange hair, grew up as the son of the innkeeper / inn owner and orchard owner and, heck, mountain owner (rumour is it may have been the payment for fighting in the Civil War, not clear).  Mostly Scottish descent, some Irish.   (Her mother may have had some French in her, not sure.)  (That's Sebago Lake in the background of my not-stellar photo, btw, as seen from Douglas Mountain, Maine.)
Mom met Dad in a church in D.C.   Mom is the only one in her entire family to have moved out of Maine, well, other than some ventures by a few into neighboring Vermont, that is.   Living so close to my other grandparents, her mother deceased, Mom agreed to have my brother and I baptized Methodist.   We attended Methodist churches until my parents had other issues going on.   I remember singing in the children's choir at the church that happens to be next door to the one I'm a member of now.   We're technically Presbyterian, M and I, but more as the church fits our needs well, and seems to fit my beliefs.   There are some higher theological differences between Methodists and Presbyterians, in part on pre-destination, and I think I may actually believe the Presbyterian way.   I usually refer to myself as Christian, or, if pressed, as Protestant.
So, long story short, some of my family is Catholic, and, some are not.  Even some of my first cousins descended from my late Irish grandfather and my late grandmother are Catholic, marrying a Catholic and raising their children in that faith. 
As for Irish politics, I'm with the Catholics there.  Even have a few relatives of mild infamy.   Oh, I mostly wish for peace.   But, I do believe that England should get the (*&^%$ out of Ireland.  :)

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