For future reference - I'm rarely late.
So, the thing about my mum is she's a lay Carmelite. I said to her, 'Does this mean you're a voluntary nun?' It got momentarily confusing as I didn’t mean to imply that religious devotion was derived out of duress, in the first place* After some clarification, I understood that lay Carmelites make some kind of pledge to the Order of the Carmelites - of goodness, and more practical virtues such as helping out with administrative tasks and arranging charitable events and fund raisers. Nothing wrong with that. Lay Carmelites do not partake in the solemn vows of profession, as do the regular nuns. I was relieved to hear this as I suspect she might struggle, having an unfortunate propensity to veer on the ligher side of life. - a predisposition which, despite my best intentions, I fear I may have inherited.
The point is, I wanted to get some insight into religious belief - probably brought about by my chance encounter with the Jehovah Witness in the park last week. I lost my own religion years ago. I’d like to put it down to intellectual enlightenment, but that implies that I consciously thought about and wrestled with my faith, but it wasn’t like that – just too busy. I think religious faith can be a lot like love, despite your better judgement it can just strike you (down), like Paul* on the road to Damascus.
As I write about religion here, I have a strong sense of a connection with and a continuation of working-class women’s experience. Religion, if not a direct influence, has historically been a significant presence in the lives of many working-class women, as their autobiographies testify. When talking about religious belief - as when talking about the working-class – it is sensible to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. In other words, to get an authoritative and authentic account leave it to the people themselves. They know best.
That’s why I talked to my mum.
(*thanks, it's been a quite a while since I read the Bible ha!)
To cut a long story short: