Just off the top of my head, I can think of many Catholic families that have, so many that I’d need more than two sets of fingers and two sets of toes to count them. In fact once upon a time, my great grandfather, a former teacher who went into the lumber business, brought his Irish Catholic family from eastern Pennsylvania to Okmulgee, Oklahoma just a few years after Oklahoma became a state, and started a lumber business there.
In my talks with Catholics moving to Oklahoma over the years, what I’ve gleaned from them about what they liked about Oklahoma, that motivated them to hitch up their wagon and transplant to Indian Territory, as it was once called, comes down to:
Politically and socially conservative, relatively speaking.A more conservative diocese.
Lower cost of living, good job market.
Latin Mass offered by the FSSP and Clear Creek monks. And now a motu proprio TLM at a mainstream diocesan parish.
State laws are more supportive of homeschooling.
Well me, a native Okie, childhood country boy educated in parochial schools, cradle Catholic, member of the wider Okie Latin Mass Communitty for the past couple of decades, the son of an Irish American and native German, I’ve often had my own “love-hate” relationship with this state. I guess there’s not a better term to represent my inward emotional reaction at times when a cantankerous, cock-eyed Okie hillbilly thinks I’m an out-of-state alien asking me for the umpteenth time in my life...
“Where you from? You ain’t from here, are ya? You sound different.”
To which I always reply “Oh yes, I’m from here, born and raised."
But said Protestant "hillbilly" will likely bend over backwards to help you fix your car, invite you to supper while you wait on the tow truck, and want to stay in touch after you part ways. If you’re a Papist city slicker from out of state, as long as you show them Christian good will, they’ll also treat you as a brother in Christ and a neighbor. In my experience anyway.
Growing up in the country exploring the woods barefoot like Huckleberry Finn, here in Oklahoma, I’m definitely at least part Okie. Truth be told some of my better habits are probably largely formed by the atmosphere here. People are friendly, helpful, down to earth, Salt of the Earth, with a folksy kind of wisdom.
We do have beauty and culture here, you just might have to look a little bit harder for it. We have mountains, mesas, rivers, lakes, prairie land, sandy desert, and salt planes. We have the good side of religious society here with its emphasis on church, faith, and family. We have all sorts of museums, tourist attractions, parks and outdoor recreation. And we have a rich, colorful history of European cowboy settlers looking for a new beginning among native American tribes, trying to carve out industry and prosperity for their families. Such describes the continuing story of Oklahoma.
Where to live in the Tulsa Area?
All of which brings me to this question, which equally applies to me and mine here as it would to any potential Catholic transplant reading this. Consider the variables of: raising a family, being non-materialistic, avoiding worldliness, cost of land and real estate, proximity to other like-minded Catholics. What advise or feedback could you offer? I’ll throw out a few options with some pros and cons.
Inola. Pros: Many Catholic families live there, I hear kind of a community among them. An adoration chapel, homeschooling families. Cheaper land, close to Tulsa, half way to Clear Creek, Amish and Mennonite neighbors. Cons: very flat, seems to be a somewhat run down town, potential conflicts in a “Catholic community.”
Near FSSP Parish. Pros: very close to the city, very pretty land nearby especially more west, daily TLM, homeschool group, weekly parish activities, future plans for traditional church/school, Berryhill hamlet nearby is nice. Cons: not much land for sale, land is expensive, same potential conflicts if there was a “Catholic neighborhood” nearby (there have been parish meetings to discuss this idea).
Clear Creek. Pros: daily TLM, monastic spirit of the monastery, very pretty area, Catholic neighbors. Cons: few jobs locally, isolated, no parish/parish priest, same potential conflicts of a “Catholic community.”
Or how about Skiatook, Coweta, Kellyville, etc?
Anyway, it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m thinking to do some grilling, then read, play with the dogs, maybe watch a movie. There’s one about life in a 19th century North Italian Catholic Village (forget the title?). Maybe it’s in the Amazon database.