Don Edwards Literary Memorial

June 6, 2006



I gave you every opportunity to earn a personal merit badge for your magnanimous – albeit rhetorical – handshake of gratitude with the mysterious and phantom religious superiors who rejected your monastic vocation but you chose instead the high road of full disclosure: a swift kick to their collective privates.

It is true: I profited immensely from those seven years of intense monastic programming – in fact, I thrived. Every minute of every day laid out, nothing left to chance, no decisions to make because there were no choices. Even a military regimen could not be as demanding, I think. Take our summer time prescribed novel reading for example: even though the novels had to be pre-approved, setting aside 90 minutes each afternoon, six days-a-week for required novel reading covered a lot of books.

My leaving monastic religious life was different from yours in at least one respect: I made the decision to leave for the sake of undertaking a new calling. I rejected one calling for the sake of another. In your case, you were, for all intents and purposes, dropped off at a street corner with instructions to find your way forward. (You will recall that other classmates of ours were simply driven to the Napa Greyhound bus depot and given a ticket home. Not even a good-bye, good luck farewell – more like a good riddance.)

Not that I could have lifted a finger of protest, or did, I was always disturbed about how the religious order could dismiss candidates out-of-hand with no thought given, let alone any assistance, to their transition, and even worse, forbidding those who remained behind – God’s chosen ones – from even discussing the departure of their soon-to-be-forgotten friend and colleague. An amazing display of the institutional privilege associated with the Catholic religious-caste system during the 1950’s.

Years later, long after I had left religious life, I often viewed myself as privileged and set apart from others – that I was owed some special respect. Complete nonsense, of course, but it was one of those cultural relics left over from the religious caste system. Yes, I’m afraid there were other such relics, but now at my advanced age and in this forum, and because of 666, I prefer not to become too confessional.

Have a nice Friday, Don.


Filed under: LEROY POSTS — LeRoy @ 7:34 pm

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