Four Things I Learned in Catholic School

Some would call me fortunate (or maybe unfortunate) that I had the opportunity to attend a Catholic school as a child from grades 1 through 8, and I also taught in a Catholic school for the first 6 years of my teaching career.   I learned many things both as a child and as an adult.  Many of the lessons have served me well in life.  Here are four of the lessons I learned as a student in a Catholic school in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

  1. Never wear black patent leather shoes with a dress.
  2. Never use a white tablecloth when entertaining a male guest.
  3. Take baths and showers with the lights off.
  4. If you sit on a boy’s lap, put a phone book down first.

What??????? You read them right!  I learned these lessons from a Nun.  Please don’t ask me to remember her name.  It was Sister Mary Something …either William, or George, or Grace, or Albert…it was Mary Something.  All the Nuns were Sister Mary Something when I was going to Catholic school.  And, they all wore those black and white habits.  They wore long black dresses with long black veils trimmed in white with nothing but their faces showing and they wore a long black rosary at their waists, like the Nuns in the movie Sister Act. Everything was covered.  As I entered the middle grades, I remember their strict dress code started to become a little less severe, and they no longer covered everything, although some of them probably should have.  They began to wear shorter skirts and their veils were shorter.  Veils were still trimmed in white, but a little of their hair began to show now.

I think I was in the middle grades when I learned these lessons from a Nun…in religion class.  It was either religion class or when we were learning about sex.  In those days, the boys were separated from the girls and the boys learned about boy sex and the girls learned about girl sex, but we never learned about reproduction sex.  Come to think about it, in Catholic school you learn about sex in religion class.

Anyway, let me explain these lessons.  The first, never wear patent leather shoes with a dress because a boy can see the reflection of your underwear in patent leather shoes.  Honest!  You can’t make this stuff up, people.  Well in the 60’s and 70’s girls very seldom wore pants and patent leather shoes were popular, so I often wondered what would happen if I didn’t wear any?  Underwear.

The next lesson, never use a white tablecloth when entertaining a male guest because he might think it is a bed sheet and get the wrong idea.

Lesson number three; take baths and showers with the lights off so you don’t give yourself any ideas.

And finally number four, if you sit on a boys lap, put a phone book down first.  I don’t think I need to explain this one, do I?

So there you have it, four lessons I learned when I was a Catholic school student.  It is senseless to say when I taught in Catholic school, the religion/sex education classes I taught were much different, most Nuns no longer wore their black habits at all, and finally, we had no Sister Mary Anybody because we had no Nuns.  Some things do change for the better!

My project today is a votive candle box.  I needed a small gift for a friend, and I had an unusual amount of votive candles, so I decided to create a small gift box for a few of them.

Votive Candle Box 1

Here is the tutorial for the box.  You can also download a printable version for free here.

Votive Candle Box Tutorial


Paper:  1 piece of card stock measuring 7-7/8” x 9-1/2”; 3 pieces of designer series paper measuring 1-3/4” x 4-7/8”; 2 pieces of designer series paper measuring 1-3/4” x 1-3/4”.

Accessories:  Adhesive, paper snips, scoring tool, paper cutter, bone folder, sticky strip, 1” circle punch, corner rounder punch.
1.  With the long edge of the 7-7/8” x 9-1/2” piece of card stock at the top of your scoring tool, score at 2”, 4”, 6”, and 8” as shown in the template.

2.  Flip the paper so the short edge of the card stock is at the top of your scoring tool and score at 1-3/8” and 6-1/2” as shown in the template.

3.  As shown in the template, cut away portions shaded in gray.

4.  As shown in template, snip score lines as indicated in yellow.

votive candle box diagram

5. Valley- fold all score lines.

Votive Candle Box 2

6. Flip the piece over so that the folds are forming mountains and add adhesive to the second and third end flaps from the right. (See photo).

Votive Candle Box 3

7. Fold in the sides to form the box. (See next two photos.)

Votive Candle Box 4

Votive Candle Box 5

8. Using the 1” circle punch, center it on the front of the box as pictured and punch out a half circle.

Votive Candle Box 6

9.  Using the corner rounder punch, round the two corners of the remaining flap.

Votive Candle Box 7

10.  Close the box by inserting the front flap that you just used the corner rounder punch on and the two triangle shaped flaps on the sides into the box. If the triangle flaps give you any kind of trouble, remove them. They are not necessary.

Votive Candle Box 8

An Important Note:  This box is not designed for standard size votive candles.  The candles I used are Yankee Candles, which are wider at the top than at the bottom.  They are also a little taller.  Three standard size votives will fit into this box, but you will probably want to add a little tissue paper to cushion them.  In addition, six tea lights stacked in sets of two will also fit well into this box.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  I have been entertaining out-of-town family for the last two weeks, otherwise it wouldn’t have been so long since my last post.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!


Votive Candle Box 9

Votive Candle Box 10

2 thoughts on “Four Things I Learned in Catholic School

  1. Great commentary on attending parochial school. All 12 years of my education were in Roman Catholic Girls’ Schools and so were my four years of college. I only had one teacher (in college English 101, who was not in Holy Orders. The teachers were Sisters of St. Joseph and I don’t remember what order the occasional priest teachers were from. In my day, the nuns were still fully clothed in full habit. I learned three of the same rules you did – but never the white tablecloth rule. I am still howling over that one. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

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