Catholic Influence on Chopin
NARRATOR: Within some of Chopin's work you see a struggle between religion and human desires. It may have been a struggle that Chopin was all too familiar with. She had gone to a Catholic school. At which�girls were awakened at six in the morning for prayers and mass before they had breakfast. However, there is no indication that she continued to practice her faith throughout her life. Yet�religion is very important in stories such as At Fault and Lilacs.
Lilacs the story of a young woman who lives a questionable lifestyle. She goes to a convent each year to find peace...and perhaps some degree of forgiveness.
SOUNDBITE: Barbara Ewell/Loyola University (New Orleans) In a sense it is Chopin's exploration of the tension between the ways of the church. On the one hand it offers an opportunity for recapture of that innocence and at the same time shuts down when one comes to it with a kind of mature sexuality.
SOUNDBITES: E.F. Genovese /Emory University
I think Chopin got a lot of things from Catholicism. One, a sense of original sin that we're all flawed in some way and that she was no Utopian so that for her, goodness is a flash of transcendence or a gift. Sin is a normal condition of human beings which means in fact that you don't have to be too judgmental.
NARRATOR: Strangely, in death, Chopin was buried in a Catholic cemetery, despite indications she hadn't practiced the Catholic faith for years.
SOUNDBITES: DAVID CHOPIN
Somebody remembered that they saw her coming down the steps of St. Francis Xavier church, which is in mid-town St. Louis, and figured that maybe the reason she was in church was to go to confession and get back into the bosom of the church again. So it's my understanding that it was on the basis of that little incident that they opened up the gates and allowed her to be buried where she is today in a Calvary Cemetery.
NARRATOR: While Kate didn't embrace the church as an adult, she stayed busy anyway.