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Jenny McCarthy on putting down roots

Jenny McCarthy’s latest book Bad Habits goes sale today.

Jenny McCarthy’s latest book, Bad Habits, goes on sale today.

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Updated: October 9, 2012 2:32PM



I, Jenny McCarthy, wanted to become a nun. That’s right: a nun. Being raised Catholic on the south side of Chicago, I was taught to believe that my goal in life was to do good things so that I could ensure my place in heaven. So, it was only logical in my young innocent mind that I should become a nun — and guarantee my spot to hang out with Jesus and his buddies. I even put a towel on my head in the shape of a nun’s veil, and blessed those around me with my awesome holiness.

Then, everything changed the moment I visited our parish convent.

My mother was a hairdresser and would do perms for the nuns for a whopping five dollars. I asked her why she didn’t charge more and she replied, “Well, they are nuns. I don’t want to profit off of them.” What an incredible woman and martyr my mom was, even though we had holes in our clothes and my stomach always was growling. I was seven years old when the door to the convent opened and what followed altered my desire to be ordained as a nun forever. Standing before me was Sister Mary F. in a pair of jeans, a rock concert t-shirt and a really scary tight perm. My eyes bulged out of my head as I stared at her veil-less head. I thought veils were glued to the nuns’ heads! I thought their wardrobes consisted solely of habits. I immediately burst into tears and hid behind my mom’s legs in fear of witnessing any more of this harsh reality. This only caused more nuns dressed in common-folk clothing to come out of their rooms to calm little Jenny down. They brought me into the convent and tried to distract me by talking to me about the Cabbage Patch doll I was clutching in my arms. Sister Mary F. then asked me the million-dollar question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

With absolute sincerity I replied, “A nun … and a mom.” They all chuckled and I couldn’t understand what was so funny. They then explained to me that nuns don’t have children. My young brain envisioned nuns as women who were born without uteri. I knew in my soul that even though I wanted to go to heaven, I yearned to be a mom more than anything in the world. I ran over to my mom and tapped her on the leg and said, “Mom, I don’t want to be a nun anymore. I’ll take my chances with hell and be Wonder Woman instead.”

Even though I didn’t become a nun and have done my fair share of sinning, I’ve come to realize that you can still fight for justice and truth without having to wear a habit. I just chose to wear a push-up bra instead. Some people might call me a sinner and blame me for my Bad Habits, but I prefer to look at myself like a student in this awesome school called life.

For more funny stories from Jenny’s Catholic upbringing pick up Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic, on sale today. Jenny will sign books on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., North Central College-Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago, Naperville.

Jenny donated her fee for writing this column to Generation Rescue.



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