“Catholic and Southern, Wife and Mother.” That’s how I described myself for my original About page on this blog as well as on Twitter. What I put first says everything about who I think I am and what is important to me.
But especially since I’ve started doing genealogical research, I’ve learned that Catholicism has come down to me along a very slender thread. Raised to think of myself as half Irish and half Scots, I have learned that I’m just as much German and English. And my forebears were mostly Protestant.
My father’s side of the family is Protestant. My mother’s father’s side is Protestant. Her mother’s mother’s side is Protestant (although Grandmother did convert). It was her mother’s mother’s father’s parents, Hugh Higgins and Mary Foley Higgins, born in Ireland in the 1830s, who were the original Catholics in our family.
And you know, don’t you, who brought the faith to the Irish?
I’ve dressed in green, and worn “Kiss me, I’m Irish,” pins, and sung hymns to St. Patrick every year since I was a child without ever thinking of how much I owe him. And as my husband pointed out last night when I shared this revelation with him, St. Patrick’s influence continues through the generations, since John would never have become Catholic if he had not married me.
Thank you, St. Patrick.