20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School

20 signs you went to catholic school

There is a blog post floating around Facebook these days called 20 Signs You Grew Up A Church Kid. After 12-years of Catholic school I didn’t understand most of them.  Apparently growing up in Catholic school is just not the same as growing up a church kid. They had fun Jesus learning with Mr.Psalty, and we had just plain old nun-ification. With the help of three of my lovely former-plaid skirted friends, I came up with my own!

Let’s get this party started. Are you ready? Cause just like your first two hour mass, it’s going to be a loooong ride.


1. You at one point compared who got the “better” ash mark on their head from Ash Wednesday. Really they all looked like splotchy finger prints, but it kept you busy at recesses comparing noggins.

colored socks

2. You feel like a rebel when you wear colored socks. Oh yeah, now that you are out, no regulation white ankle or crew socks for you! Blue! Pink! Black! The world is your stage when it comes to sock color because you know how to party.

Peace be with you

3. When someone says “peace be with you” you say “also with you” without thinking. It’s true. The years of training sunk in, and there is no letting go.

The moment a boy walks into an all-girls school...mine?mine?mine?

4. While you tell everyone that going to an all-girls school helped you focus on school and made you more intelligent, you secretly know it also made you more desperate and socially awkward. It’s sad, and pretty embarrassing, but true.

Oh there's boys! I have to give a crap what I look like!

5. You secretly miss having your clothes picked out for you 5 out of 7 days in the week. Life was easier when you were forced to wear a uniform…unless you wear a uniform for your job…then you are probably thinking  “when is my free dress day???”

Class of kids

6.  You still remember the names of 30 kids you spent 8 years with…their parents, and siblings too.  Aaaah, elementary school. Sure a couple kids came and went, but you got to know this core group well. You battled teachers, started puberty, and all sat through mass every Tuesday together. These are ties no graduation can break.

kid playing with a ball

7. You still feel like you need say your prayer before a meal really, really fast, so you can get to recess faster. Because saying the words like you had a espresso, redbull and some crack all at the same time counts as a “real prayer” when you are starving and need that pudding cup…right? 


8. You were shocked after you graduated to find out there were other translations of the Bible than the New American Version. NIV! ESV! IHSYESYGGLSO! Okay, that last one isn’t a translation that I know of but there are so many options out there! If you decided to stay or go back to the Christian life after graduation you were probably met with some confusion when you went to the Christian book store and was met with the aisles of different translations.

Authors note: This originally cited (wrongly) the King James translation, which isn’t approved by the Catholic church.  I have since had some coffee, woke up a bit, and changed it. 

kids dressed up as lambs

(A special shout out the Mountain Mama Teaching blog for this photo!)

9. You’ve been dressed up like an angel, a sheep, and a shepherd at least once (but probably three) times as a child. Don’t lie. Your mother has photos.

kids singing

10. …and you had to sing. A LOT. On top of the school pageants and usual fair, you had the special church events that they used your class singing off key like some secret choir reserve force when the old ladies got sick. It was probably just a plot to actually get your parents to mass every once and a while.


11. When at any non-catholic church or the train station, your right knee automatically buckles anytime you enter a pew, and you have to stop yourself from kneeling. Again, it’s true.

Jesus holding a candy bar

12. You know how to fundraise and sell stuff like a boss. Whether you went to one of the “rich kids” Catholic schools or the “very much not rich kids” schools, either way they had you out pimping cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper, and coupon books every year. That pizza party just became less worth the trouble as time went on.

sign of the cross

13. Your non-Catholic friends think doing the sign of the cross is some complicated secret handshake and keep asking you to show them how to do it over and over. It really is a secret sign that makes you get the good wafers at communion. Ya know, the ones that don’t taste like cardboard.

Ghost sitting in church pew

14.  There was always some rumor about a dead saint body part, haunted room, or scary secret tradition (saying Bloody Mary into a mirror) at your church…that you totally bought. Admit it. You believed!

Teen dance in the 60's

15. You know what “leave room for the Holy Spirit means.” One foot apart with only arms touching is the only way to slow dance and keep Jesus happy.

drawing of kid confessing to a priest

16. You totally made up a sin during your first confession with a priest because you were in the first grade and didn’t understand what the heck was going on.  Your friend even said adultery, because it sounded cooler than cheating or thinking bad thoughts against your parents, and no one was smart-assy enough yet to just say murder.


17. You dreaded stations of the cross day. It was long, you had to sit in a hard pew, and most of the time you couldn’t see action or hear the person speaking. So you just sat there. For all eternity.

Nuns holding guns

18.  You have strong feelings about nuns. ‘Nuff said. 

May crowning

19. You are still bitter that you were not picked to play Mary during May Crowning or Jesus in the Last Supper. Only the coolest kids, and teachers favorites got those roles. Not little old you. It’s still hurtful to talk about.

Catholic school is like combat, unless you've been there. You don't know.

20. You talk more about your elementary school experience than anyone else who went to public school. It’s an experience that forever changed you. There was good, there was bad, there was just odd…but in the end you survived.

***Note: Each photo is a link to the original source of the photo***

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Some other posts you may be interested in:

I don’t ask why– “Many people express to me that they do not understand why God would give my child cancer or not heal him in some miracle fashion. Others try to comfort me by telling me that even though we don’t know why, God is good, and He has a plan. But here is the thing…I don’t ask why.”

5 Blogs you should be reading (other than mine) – “I love a good blog. They can be funny, informative, intelligent, inspiring, and a way to make new friends. …  I wanted to share. Because sharing is caring…unless it’s herpes.”

So homemaking is a thing (with gifs)– “We all have skills… some people have more than others. Mine are sarcasm, jumping into too many projects, and annoying my husband. But home making really is a skill. It can be developed (what I am working on) or come naturally, but it is something that takes work, and maybe even a little practice.”

Don’t forget: I’d love to chat with you on Facebook and get submissions for my guest post series!


785 thoughts on “20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School

  1. YES. What made it more awful for me? My family’s not Catholic! So they didn’t want me to participate in the “rituals.” Yeah, that didn’t make me stick out at all. Thank God I switched to public school in high school.

    • My experience EXACTLY! I always felt like an outcast, especially when I went to my own African-American Baptist church on Sundays knowing all the answers to my Sunday school teacher’s questions because I had religion class five days a week! There’s nothing worse than being unpopular both at school and at church!

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  3. Last Christmas my daughter got to play Mary in her schools nativity play. Honestly I thought my heart was going to explode. Every catholic mothers dream, second only to your offspring actually entering the church.

  4. I like the bit about ‘the haunted’ room or ‘dead saint’. I went to a catholic primary school and there was indeed a school rumour. You see, there was this old abandoned house just out of school bounds but you could see it through the wire fence. And yeah, first there was a nest of snakes living there, then a blue dragon, and finally a witch( who was also the head teacher Mrs.Robb in disguise). Let’s just say that the head teacher wasn’t happy about that… :/

  5. Yes, yes to all of them!!! I thought the “peace be with you” thing was just me lmao! One thing I didn’t get to dress up was as a sheep, no instead we stole it from the manjre seen in HS and being that I had a class of 63 it was easy to figure out who did it. Thanks for bringing up some great(and not so great) memories!

  6. First communion was a BIG DEAL. You swore to yourself that you were somehow going to pull off 7 out of 7 sacraments (not realizing that marriage and holy orders were mutually exclusive). But then, by the time you got to Confirmation you were pretty much over all of it.

  7. Oh my days this is so funny and true! I went to Catholic school for grades 1-6 and I can identify with all of them, except for going to an all girls school.

    Re: #13… Did you ever see the movie Keeping the Faith? This reminds me so much of the scene where Edward Norton (as a kid) is trying to teach the sign of the cross to jake.

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