Ok, yes. I'm double dipping on this spin cycle. To, once again, not really answer the question.
The idea of confessing brought up an image in my mind the minute I read it. Stained glass windows, dark pews and little, old Italian ladies sitting in those pews. The smells of burning candles, old lady perfume and pledge (who polishes the pews? ever wonder? a story for another time.) The sounds of tiny beads clicking and whispered prayers.
As a small child, my Mom would bring us back to her old church in the Bronx every once in a while, so that she could go to confession there. Old school Catholics are big on Confession. You must pay for your inequities on you knees with whispered promises and repenting words. Whether or not you mean them is a whole different story. Whether or not you choose to tell the whole story is a story unto itself.
So, we would go. Sometimes we'd pick up my Aunt in Yonkers, and she'd come along. They would wear dresses and cover their hair (did I mention that this was old school?). You'd walk in and find a pew. There would already be a scattering of women there (it was almost always all women- why is that?) They would be saying the rosary.
Some women had fancy beads. Some were painted, some were crystal. Big and small. Some weren't even all that nice to look at, just little black or pink or white plastic beads knotted together. They were all worn smooth with years of praying by their owners. Everyone had their own, I'm pretty sure nobody had to lean over to borrow some from their neighbor. I wasn't old enough to understand the rosary, or to understand the concept of confession and forgiveness, but I understood the feeling.
It was one of the most peaceful, calm places on earth. The only noises were the clicking of the beads, and the whispers of the ladies. They had come in feeling out of sorts, like something had gone awry, the train was slipping off the track. They had come in asking God to forgive them their indiscretions, the petty problems and help them back on the straight and narrow. They had spoken to the priest, listen to his advice, received their penance. But I'm pretty sure absolution came from praying on their beads. Letting the problems of daily life go and giving themselves over, even for just a few minutes, to God's grace. In a world where things change in a minute, the rosary always stayed the same. You won't ever reach into your pocketbook to find that suddenly there are 4 decades, instead of 3. There will always be a sign of the cross at the beginning and the end. And God is always listening.