Sister Mary Period

Speaking of filthy rags
My mom told me a story this weekend about her days growing up in the Catholic orphanage.
When the girls were menstruating, they were ordered to use only two bathrooms in the entire orphanage. Stored in the bathrooms, were stacks of rags that were made by tearing old sheets into long strips of fabric. The girls would take the sheets back to the dormitory and fold them into a shape that they would then pin to their underwear. When it was time to “change”, they would go to one of the assigned bathrooms and throw them in the covered trash can. The rags would then be washed and recycled for the next girl.
Once pads were introduced, they had to go to a supply office and tell the nun that they were menstruating. Mom said Sister Mary Period (alright, I made that up – my mother would never be so flippant) would always look at them like they were sinners and then count out exactly 12 pads. It didn’t matter how heavy you menstruated, you got 12 pads. She would then wrap the pads in a newspaper and hand it to the offender.
My poor mother – she bled through everything and always missed school for the first two days of her period, but still only received 12 pads once a month. I asked her if she ever asked any of the “lighter flow” girls if she could use any of their extras, and she responded, “I never even thought about doing that”.
Yep, that’s what the nuns did to people – she still finds it hard to think outside the box and she’s 80 years old…and works at the local parish rectory.


About JJ

“"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.'” William Butler Yeats
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4 Responses to Sister Mary Period

  1. Religion and the military are the two most rigid social environments on earth.and of the two, religion is frequently harsher

  2. poolagirl says:

    Oh! Be still my heart! Now THOSE filthy rags are something else! And anyone who meted them out deserves God’s wrath. I probably went through 12 pads in two days. Crazy nuns. I just put a great photo of filthy rags up on Facebook. Mia talked to a real nun about it today. They had quite a massive laugh fest.

  3. Bex says:

    That is despicable. Not being catholic, I can’t give evidence but my thinking is that the nuns must be men in drag and never had to go thru a menstrual period of their own – otherwise, why wouldn’t they know better?

  4. Judy Miller says:

    Can you imagine? Our Moms and grandmas, after they were married, (before pads were invented) had to launder those dang rags?!!! We’ve come a long way Baby!!!

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