I may be one of the few people I know that does not begrudge my Catholic school days. Yes, I too have horror stories about shame and ridicule from the sisters of The Holy Union. And yet despite their poor treatment of us pathetic young souls, I knew the God that they spoke of. Despite their tone about His demeanor, I knew the he was a loving God who loved me. I was not convinced that they knew it.
At St Francis, we prayed four times a day. They were always rote prayers. As a child the order and the structure made for a predictable environment. One of the ways any of us kids were rewarded for good work was with prayer or holy cards. Usually about a saint or a story that was derived from the Bible( a fact that I only learned much later in life) One of my favorite cards is copied below. I posted it next to my mirror and recited it every day- an OCD kind of behavior that came in handy in those days. The attribution is 1973 but I knew it in the sixties. Whether it be the will of a stubborn Irish woman or the accidental memorization of this poem, or the God of Heaven who guided me, it stuck. I came to believe this poem. Maybe you will too. Read and repeat.
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will:
It's all in his state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are:
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You'll ever win that prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.
(Attributed to Author Napoleon Hill circa 1973)