JMJ (#atozchallenge)

jmj
Source: Joe Catholic

If you went to a Catholic school, at least in the US in the 1960’s, you know that JMJ stands for “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” the names of the members of the Holy Family. And, there’s a better than average chance you were taught to write this at the top of your homework papers and tests.

The Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, host of the show Life Is Worth Living on the Dumont Network in the 1950’s and considered one of TV’s original televangelists, would write “JMJ” at the top of his blackboard before writing anything else on it.


“How to Think,” from Life Is Worth Living, 1955. Bishop Sheen writes “JMJ” at the top of his board around 1:45.

Since our parish, St. Ignatius, was staffed by the Jesuit Fathers, we didn’t put “JMJ” on our papers; instead, we wrote “AMDG,” Which stood for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (“To the Greater Glory of God”), the motto of the Society of Jesus. A classmate of mine claimed that it stood for “A Mouse Digs Gold”; I think he finished at a public school.

12 thoughts on “JMJ (#atozchallenge)

  1. OMG, JMJ. I saw this post listed on your SOCS page. I wrote a post about JMJ. I went to a Catholic elementary school and we wrote JMJ on our papers. I am half Irish by ancestry and we used to say “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” as an expletive. I hadn’t heard the expression for years and then heard it in a film with John Candy called “Only the Lonely.” Margaret O’Hara says it in the film. I think I mention JMJ in my post Mr. Coffee and the Holy Water.

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  2. I went to catholic school until I finished High School but we never had to write that (Canada). Interesting how there are changes depending where one lives

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  3. I remembering watching Fulton Sheen for a few minutes every now and then. There weren’t many other choices to watch.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  4. I went to two Catholic schools in my wandering life – actually went to 10 different schools due to the war – but don’t ever remember having to do this. I was in England of course

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  5. I didn’t know that! I grew up as a secular protestant, but I knew a lot of Catholic kids and went to mass a lot. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph was what we said when we were incredulous…probably a bit blasphemous.

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