Merry Christmas, Catholic Girl

... is the story of a devout Catholic woman, a mother of two children from a marriage now broken after a life of alcohol and abuse. Finding little solace in a local parish reeling from a history of dysfunction and public scandal, our anti-heroine seeks shelter from the storm at a convent where the Latin Mass is celebrated on Sunday. The story begins with a brief flashback, and continues as she moves on with her life, rediscovering the stirrings of the heart.

Little man big man what's inside?
It's all in the places
Where we find our pride.
If there was a soul lost by the road,
Who'd pass by,
Who'd take it home?

(from the song "Little Man Big Man"
music and lyrics by Glen Philips
for the 1997 album "Coil" by Toad the Wet Sprocket)

Catholic magazines don't handle stories like this. Catholic magazines don't handle the issue of divorce any better than many Catholic priests, never mind other Catholic media outlets. These stories are dirty, they are tawdry, wallowing in the seamy underbelly of life, in which many suffer, often through no fault of their own, and out of which many must climb. Stories like these tell us what we don't want to hear, that marriages are not made in heaven, that grace does not always succeed where nature is found wanting. The fighting, the betrayal, the abandonment, the court hearings, the custody battles, the supervised visits, the estrangement from children -- your Catholic cable channel won't admit to such a life out there, one that is all too real for so many, whether they "experience the healing" from the panacea of an annulment or not.

This is my fourth Christmas as a divorcee.

Four Christmases ago, my so-called husband left me with a broken-down house, a five year old Chevy van, a basement full of water and an utterly empty bank account. Plus a frightened seven year old, and a very angry teenaged girl.

When he threatened us, I made several trips to the police station to beg for help. Finally, one cop took pity on my terror. He solemnly advised me to change our locks and to keep the outside lights on.

Also, never, ever, to let my ex back in the house.

“If he, ah, does something you don’t like once he’s inside,” he told me, burly arms crossed in front of him. His warm brown eyes were sympathetic. “Then our hands are tied. Because you let him in. You understand my meaning?”

For any Catholic magazine to take this story on is daring. For the same magazine to handle it well is ... epic.

Regina Magazine began this past year as the brainchild of Beverly De Soto, a veteran writer-editor of the New York City financial world, at a time when numerous print periodicals, particularly in Catholic media, have either gone digital, or under. She has gathered other creatives of like mind, so that the beauty of truth, and the truth that is found in beauty, may reach new audiences, and revitalize old ones. There are many reasons for a Catholic woman to subscribe to Regina, and probably more than one reason for a Catholic man to at least give an issue the occasional perusal.

The result is a great Christmas gift, one that would carry the spirit of the season well into the next year.
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