Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ste Genevieve memories

My final Lenten talk was at the Servite parish near here, Assumption. I picked up the bulletin to catch up on things, and really enjoyed the pastor's column from last Sunday (March 21). He recounted his days in St. Louis, and the conversations he had with a native of Ste Genevieve, MO, the unlikely French town in the middle of Missouri. Father Joe highlighted the distinctive culture of that Missouri town where folks were still speaking French in the 1940's and keeping Holy Week the way their ancestors had before the French Revolution. 
I have my own Ste Genevieve memories, dating back to my very early years as a sister. I was stationed in St. Louis a year and a half after first vows, and stayed there until it was time to prepare for final vows. During my time in the Gateway City, we made many mission trips across the central US, but it was our visit to Ste Genevieve that struck me the most, because it surprised me with what it revealed about the strength of our cultural roots. When we drove our trusty book van up the road that led to the heart of the town, a town centered on a European-style plaza facing a dainty Gothic Church, I felt catapulted back to New Orleans. Suddenly I realized that I had been living in a foreign culture in my Italian-founded community with its US headquarters in New England. I had been suffering culture shock without even knowing it! 
Have you ever found yourself unexpectedly immersed, and apparently conformed to, a culture that in the end really wasn't your own? Do you occasionally find yourself being brought back "home" by places, events, holidays? How do you put yourself "in sync"?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I were in that situation, I would just go home for a spell and things will make sense again.