Attending mass everyday was excellent training and gave me a sense of peace. I loved listening to the mass in Latin and enjoyed even more singing the Latin hymns. I believe learning prayers were elemental in developing coping mechanisms and hope that tomorrow would be better. I can remember sitting in church with everyone being quiet and having a sense that God was listening to this 8 year old's troubled heart and that he would answer my prayers.
I remember especially the times my mother would visit. Although I was glad to see her I knew she would be drinking and the smell of alcohol on her breath caused me a great deal of anxiety. I did not realize that the visit was also difficult for her. Many times she said she never wanted us to be in the orphanage. I can only remember two visits during the five years my brother and I were there. The first year at Christmas when we were in the Christmas pageant in which the children in the orphanage participated and then again when I was in the 5th grade.
During the time my brother and I were in the orphanage our dad would take us to Denver to spend a couple of weeks in the summer with our grandparents (Mom's dad and stepmother). Mother would come out to their place a couple of times to see us. She was a waitress and didn't drive. Getting off work was not always easy for her. She did not believe in attending or belonging to a church. So we didn't have many conversations about God. Dad on the other hand attended mass every week and had a rosary he carried with him.
Believing in something greater than myself, learning to pray and sustaining a hope for tomorrow helped me through some pretty troubled times.