I survived Catholic school. Actually I think I had a good education but it was on the progressive side and it was in California. And my mom actually let me go to a Jewish summer camp with my friend so perhaps that’s why I have such an open attitude towards all kinds of belief systems (and wish I were Jewish during the holidays). Still, aside from the good things it gave me, like confidence in my abilities and a belief in the benefits of volunteerism, it was an indoctrination of sorts which often results in an overall anti-religion backlash (the real camp in the film closed because of negative reactions). This is why I have mixed feelings on a report from the Hoover Institute, “Can Catholic Schools Be Saved? Lacking nuns and often students, a shrinking system looks for answers.” Is there a magic formula for melding private and public education? And does it involve some kind of spiritual element?
My favorite nun, Sister Constance (yes, I still remember her from fifth grade) taught me guitar and we sang Blowing in the Wind together. She was a very cool human and made me wonder at that young age what her life was like. I still think being a monk is an honorable profession. Or that working here would be fascinating. My friend Wendy has applied to Naropa University and I’d be envious if my education didn’t teach me that’s the wrong reaction to have. I’m just hoping she’ll share some of her experiences down the road. In the meantime you can brush up on your cultural studies with a free online lecture in World Religions here. You can even say you took a summer class from Harvard (just don’t mention that you’ll need an updated Real Audio plug-in for your browser and a high-speed internet connection).