Lasha Morningstar


March 9, 2015

Friday afternoon in the northern Ontario town where I lived was pure anguish. The whistle from the canning factory would blast and the Catholic kids would come charging up the street to the fish and chips wagon.

There would be some jostling and the chip lady would bark out a "Mind you manners now or you go to the back of the line."

Her husband would poke his head out of the wagon and ask the first in line "What do you want and how many?"

Even from across the street we could hear the noise of the bubbling fat and the smell of the frying fish, chips splashed with malt vinegar making our empty tummies ache.

We were the Protestants who were no doubt going home to hamburger patties and mashed potatoes. Maybe fried onions. Big whoop!

We got our own back though when a time came when we would go to share a chocolate bar with Catholic friends and they would say, "Can't. It's Lent. I gave up candy."


I never understood the food rules my Catholic friends had to follow. To tell the truth, I would break off two squares of chocolate and slip it into my friends' pockets when they weren't looking.

Although I went to an Anglican church, it was of the low variety, and it seemed to be we just had to turn up Sunday morning with our prayer book, sing some hymns, recite the regular prayers, listen to the minister talk about something I rarely understood except that at some point his voice would shout out we were all sinners.

It was relief to hurtle down those church steps, run home, pull on my jeans and take the dog down to the lake. I missed so much, didn't I?


Now it is Lent. It's a gradual learning for me. I do not want to rush it.

Prayer is the greatest blessing I have ever been given. I pour my heart out. I cannot understand people's cruelty, lies and straight-out nastiness. I listen for God's answer and guidance. I need total silence.

Even then, I sometimes don't find the answer.

Fasting. I think I have that down now and share what I can with those in want.

Charity to me means giving not only money, but also talent and time to those who could benefit from what God has given to me.

During these past 20 some years since I embraced Catholicism, the seasons of the Church calendar seem to be coming clearer, more meaningful to me.

Lent feels like a cleaning of the slate of my life in preparation for Easter.

It's hard this year. So many things are happening in life – not just my own, but the province, the nation, globally.

One of the main problems is people don't listen when you try to tell them something. This came so clear to me when I was doing a story with the Grey Nuns.


We sat talking. I would ask a question, and one would answer. This went on for about three questions before I noticed what was different from other interviews. As each nun spoke, the others turned to her and listened. Really listened.

They weren't thinking of a rebuttal or story they wanted to tell; they took in their sister's words and let those words sit on their hearts. I was mesmerized.

This is the way it should be.

I mentioned this to one of the nuns a few days later, and she said she had passed my comments on to them.

I know now what I am doing for Lent. I shall share when I can with those in need, listen for God's direction when I pray and keep my Confession schedule. I think the most important thing in order for me to grow is to listen.

(Lasha Morningstar