"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Sexual Passion Of Bridget Markey - From Sister Mary Joseph To Girls On The Cross

Bridget Markey had grown up in a small New England town, a Grovers' Corners, peaceable, and with a Thornton Wilder homey sensibility.  There was the town doctor, two lawyers who handled wills and estates, the druggist who knew everyone and compounded prescriptions while clients waited and their children ate gumballs and lollipops. 

New Brighton was a good place to live and work.  There were the usual disputes - fences don't always make good neighbors - and jealousies and infidelities were as common there as anywhere; but all in all it was a good town to call home. 

Bridget made her First Communion at St. Maurice's Church, all dressed in white crinoline, paten leather shoes, and a veil; and walked with her head down to the altar to receive the host from Father Brophy, the old priest who trembled a bit but still said mass and heard confessions. 

She went to catechism classes on Sunday with Sister Mary Joseph, a Carmelite nun who loved children and gave them milk and cookies after class.  Bridget could think of nothing better than to be in the care of the likes of Sister Mary Joseph and be a blossoming young woman coming into her own.

If only life's trajectory had been as straight as she had imagined; but there was something more to her affection for Sister Mary Joseph and the nun's for her than she had counted on. Of course nothing ever happened as a child, for the nun was far too composed for that; and Bridget was too young to understand the feelings the young nun aroused in her; but after her Confirmation, graduation from parochial school, and her admission to Marymount, she found herself more and more in the company of Sister Mary Joseph; and women being what they are, age and profession no bar to sexual adventure, the two began a rather passionate affair. 

Neither Bridget nor the nun who had lived most of her life in the convent had expected, or certainly were not prepared for, the sexual play they enjoyed.  Bridget would wear the habit while the nun, naked, would pleasure the young woman under it; and then Bridget would strip down to the nun's starched collar and rosary beads and do the same.  

It was delightful, the happiest time Bridget could imagine - a passionate, romantic, clandestine affair in all the holiest places of St. Maurice's - even on the altar under the cross, in front of the tabernacle, or over the communion rail. 

Neither woman thought of this as blasphemy, so in love with each other were they.  Jesus would surely understand that their passion was holy and pure.  

Of course such an affair could never be kept secret.  There were telltale signs left behind - a certain disorder on the altar, spirited noises in the chapel, a mussed disorder in the habit of Sister Mary Joseph - and soon tongues began to wag.  Sister was called in to the rectory and questioned by Father Brophy who asked if there was anything 'untoward' happening that the priest should know about.  

He chose his words carefully out of respect and deference to the nun's service in the church, her faith, and her charity; but he couldn't help wondering about the lovely Sister and the possibility of....Here he stopped himself before thinking the unthinkable and sinning. Not only would he have to admit the possibility of his own attraction to the young nun, but imagine her making love to another woman. 

The truth was out, but in those days sexual scandals were covered up, priests and nuns re-assigned, and the whole matter forgotten.  Sister Mary Joseph was reprimanded by the Archbishop and sent to a small church in Iowa; and Bridget happily finished Marymount with a respectable degree and many delightful friends.  How could her parents have known that an all-girls school would be the ideal place for this Sapphic young girl?

Not surprisingly, her sexual preference - Catholic girls - had evolved into an identity.  There was something about making love under a crucifix or even with a crucifix, and assignations in holy places - vestries, confessionals, sanctuaries and chapels - that was especially satisfying.  There was a bit of the voyeur about it all, God watching while she and Anne or Jessica lifted their skirts as demurely as choir girls or shared intimate genuflections before the stations of the cross.


The priest's raiment - the amice, alb, cincture, stole, chasuble, holy garter, biretta, ferraiolo, and silk slippers - was a wardrobe of dramatic possibilities.  Bridget, dressed in cardinal red or archbishop gold, walked down the aisle trailing a long, elegantly tailored white train held up by her lover, blessing the empty seats, and praying the Ave Maria; only to disrobe one piece of finery after the other until they both were naked on the altar. 


Perhaps not surprisingly there were other women like her in other parishes, girls for whom, like Saint Teresa d'Avila there was no space between agony and ecstasy, a conflation of the sacred and the profane, an epiphany.  


These were heady times for the young Bridget whose time in church - at high mass, communion, and confession - that paralleled her sexual passion.  Both were unmatched, hermaphroditic, Tantric, and sacrificial.  Jesus, his suffering, agonizing death and resurrection were far more than redemptive. 

D.H. Lawrence wrote about such epiphanic sex - the perfect sexual/spiritual union; a balance between domination and submission, male and female energy in equilibrium. For Lawrence such sexual union was human in nature but spiritual in its potential.  For Bridget orgasm was nothing less than union with Jesus Christ himself. 

What would happen to her once her sexual interests faded? Would old age be a spiritual and sexual spinsterhood? A remembrance of times past and little more? Was she trading on her adolescent attachments to Sister Mary Joseph and the nuns of Marymount? Had she simply confused one for the other, and would she now rest only in a secular peace?

So be it, she thought as she received communion one Sunday morning, and God willing it will all be sorted out in the end.  She, like Ivan Ilyich in Tolstoy's story, would finally, ultimately understand what's what. 

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