“Lenten Activities in the Orphanage…”

There seems to be a real decline in what children do today for and during “LENT” compared to what we did in the 1940s while living in the Orphanage. While I was a very young child at that time – I can tell you that I was not happy   at all with all the rules and regulations and the very harsh discipline that was carried out  – but to me – this was only going to be for a very short time – as my parents told me – so I did learn very early – that it was best to keep your mouth shut – and just suffer!

When we, my brothers and I enter the Orphanage in October – the first important activity to come up was Advent followed by Christmas. This time of the year was all together different than anything that I knew – from the Catholic school that I attended before – so I soon figured  that – -I was in a totally different world with different NUNS – who were mostly from Germany and they were as strict as you can get???  So, what I can say – “this was one heck of a tough boarding school – and I am there only to learn – and soon I will be out and on my own – and hopefully will be a stronger person to cope with whatever is dished out at any time!”

After the beginning of the  “NEW” year – then there are all kinds of new things for me to learn. One of the first things – for me is to learn my Catechism, in order to make my “First Communion” – and that will take place on “Easter!” Also, while preparing for the “First Communion” – the Lent Season has to be addressed – and so this is something all new for me???

Since I had  left that Orphanage – many, many years ago,  the way we had to observe the Lenten Season – is all together different than anyone does today?? What I am trying to figure out  – does anyone think about the Almighty –  at any time of the year – and or makes any sacrifices to atone for sin – and or to make living better – as there is more than just this few years we live – there is an eternity ahead!

During LENT – in the Orphanage – we children had to be more on the quiet side – less noise. Even the bells that were rung for all of us to know what time it was – for Mass  – for School – for meals and to get up in the morning at five-thirty – so that we would be in Church at 06:00 am – that loud “COW BELL” was changed to a wooden clapper – it made less noise! During LENT we also had 40 hours devotion – each hour some of the children were in Church for an hour. We also had the “WAY of the CROSS” more often as a reminder of what this part of the year was all about – in order to celebrate “EASTER” – we had to understand that Jesus came to die on the CROSS in order to raise on the third day to save all of us from the original sin – that we inherited from Adam and EVE.

Naturally, these 40 hour devotion  hours took place even on Sundays – those  “SUNDAYS” that were also a  Visiting Day – and when your class was suppose to be in Church  – for your one hour – – even if your Parents were there – you had to go –  together with your group and  assemble with your school class and be in your pew place  in Church – no excuses. This was one  thing  – that I really did not like   – being forced  to do – as I missed out on seeing and being with my parents  – and the Visiting time was so short  – and as a little kid – this was really too much for me to have to do without.

I sometimes wonder if children today even give a thought – how would they feel – if they were ever separated from their parents – for any time at all? The question should probably be – “Parents, do you know what you are doing when you split up the FAMILY??”


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