Five Points, Vol. 2 No. 3Spring / Summer 1998
From Charles Wright, “That’s the way a lot of the people I admire are. They just read. I don’t. I walk around a lot. I, on the other hand, walk around. I look at things, look at paintings, look at reproductions. I’m much more interested in the visual.”
The year after I made my First Holy Communion, I joined the Knights of Christ as did most of the boys in my fourth grade class. We’d assemble before Mass on Sunday mornings in the sunless, concrete courtyard between the convent and the side entrance to the sacristy. The nuns’ courtyard was private, off limits, and being allowed to assemble there was a measure of the esteem in which the Knights were held.
Our uniforms consisted of the navy blue suits we’d been required to wear for our First Holy Communion, although several of the boys had already outgrown them over the summer. In our lapels we wore tiny bronze pins of a miniature chalice engraved with a cross, and across our suitcoats we fit the broad satin sashes that Sister Mary Barbara, who coached the Knights, would distribute. She had sewn them herself. At our first meeting Sister Mary Barbara instructed us that just as in the days of King Arthur, the responsibility of the Knights was to set an example of Christian gentlemanliness. If ever called upon to do so, each Knight should be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for his faith. She told us that she had chosen her name in honor of St. Barbara, a martyr whose father had shut her up in a tower and, when she still refused to deny her Christian faith, killed her. I’d looked up the story of St. Barbara in The Lives of Saints. After her father had killed her—it didn’t say how—he’d been struck by lightning and so St. Barbara had become the patron of fireworks and artillery, and the protectress against sudden death.