By Martha Manning
From the writer of the "absolutely soaking up" (USA at the present time) memoir Undercurrents comes an unforgettable portrait of early life, relations and neighborhood. The eldest baby of a religious Irish-American Catholic family members, Martha Manning weaves her tale round the seven holy sacraments: baptism, penance, communion, affirmation, holy orders, marriage and final rites. She remembers her adolescence pratfalls, adolescent yearnings and front into motherhood with knowledge, wit and memorable honesty. instantly poignant and laugh-out-loud humorous, Chasing Grace is a totally unique story of friends and family, satisfied occasions and tough ones -- and thepainful, joyous trip from early life to maturity.
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Additional info for Chasing Grace: Reflections of a Catholic Girl, Grown Up
He wheezed. ” “Well, it’s not. You won’t be eligible for the sin of adultery for a long time. ” The act of contrition is a long prayer that the penitent says after each confession as the priest gives absolution. I was so proud that I remembered it. The first line, the second line. On and on I went. It was almost over. I would never have to go through a first confession again. I got to the part where you promise to stay away from the “near occasion of sin,” but I must have heard Sister wrong because I thought it was supposed to be the “dear occasion of sin” and said so, loud and clear.
I asked, hoping for pain. “Mixed,” she answered. “It was lovely to have time to myself. You know I don’t really get attached to babies. ” Not exactly what I was looking for. ” “Martha, you know I’m a pragmatic person. ” I pressed. “You weren’t wildly excited. It took a little while for you to come to me. You were so attached to Grandmother. But you came. And you surprised everyone by how well you got along with Chip. ” “It was a blur…the whole of your growing up was a blur to me. I had the six of you with absolutely no help.
I realized with horror that I was triply guilty. So pleased had I been with my discovery that I had told two of my younger sisters about it. I could understand that lying, stealing, killing, even disobeying your parents were sins, but I just couldn’t believe that something that felt so good and harmed no one could be so bad. If God didn’t want us to masturbate, why were we given hands that can so effortlessly reach our genitals? Despite the nuns’ horror stories with generic themes like “little Johnny touches himself, really likes it, gets distracted, and gets hit by a car,” I opted for sin.