Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows

It’s time to acknowledge that there is something sick to the core of the Catholic Church in its relationship to children. It’s time to close it down. It’s time to sue it to death. Let’s leave a better world to our children by eliminating a destructive spirit.

Something in the essence of either the Church’s philosophy or its execution is terribly flawed. Its most influential positions attract disturbed individuals who then act out forms of rage against children, often expressing it sexually.

It has been so strong a part of the Church for so long — and not even approached by any other mainstream  religion in its prevalence — that at some point you just have to scream, “STOP!”

These problems are only being dealt with symptomatically by incident, and limited to financial compensation and an occasional apology.  Because of this, the Church and its clergy can no longer be entrusted to have anything to do with the physical or moral development of children.

Without honest and transparent examination of the root causes, and a fundamental change in the structure of the Church, any claims that “All of that was in the past.” are meaningless.

Lately, the Press has been focusing on a wide range of abuses against young boys or girls by Clergy over in Ireland. By all means, these are horrendous, but they are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Child abuse is defined as the physical or emotional or sexual mistreatment of children. Priests only represent a fraction of the Catholic clergy that deal directly with children. “Brothers” of various orders have also been catching a lot of flack lately. Yet, when it comes to sheer numbers, the “Sisters” or “Nuns” of the various orders of Catholicism have had the greatest exposure to, therefore impact on, children.

This impact has largely been ignored.

In this blog, I’m going to explore my personal experience and through it, try to illustrate the scope of the problem.

The starting place for this will be Brooklyn, NY, in the 1950′s, where and when I grew up. It’s a surprisingly good place to begin because in the early 1980′s it was estimated that a full 20% of the population of the United States originated from the immigrants that first settled in that Borough.

My experience is not much different from thousands of young Catholic men and women who ventured away from Brooklyn. With them they brought their experiences and trauma, seeding the new communities they populated.

Over the eight years of my attending St. Vincent Ferrer in Flatbush, Brooklyn, under the care of Dominican nuns, naturally I had contact with other Catholic children attending other Catholic schools throughout the Diocese (and the other four boroughs for that matter).

I claim the  “culture” I describe as widespread because invariably, once realizing that our companions attended Catholic Schools as well, the topic of conversation would turn to abuse at the hands of the nuns. Only the names of the nuns and their orders would be different. The patterns, proportions and ways of violent expression remained consistent.

Although somewhat removed from the Public School system, I was still aware through friends that there was the occasional oddball, usually male teacher, who’d really lay on to his students. It was a source of puzzlement to me why representatives of Christ consistently acted with such violence against their charges while the non-religious seemed so much less violence prone.

My own experience with abuse at the hands of Dominican nuns began in 1956, when I was five years old, on my first day of school.

In the school yard, the children would line up according to class. There were Grades One to Eight, an “A” and “B” line for each grade, consisting of about 30 students each. Regimented lines, uniforms and an obvious hierarchy were my first views of the way things worked.

Each child knew which line — which Grade and Class — he or she was supposed to be in. A few of the children had been “left back”. Failing the year before, they were assigned to repeat that Grade, therefore they were to stand in line with children who had been their underclassmen the year before. Naturally, as kids do, some tried to sneak in to the lines holding their former peers to avoid the humiliation.

Swooping down on these individuals came the nuns. My first memory of Grammar School was of children screaming and crying in pain, literally being dragged by the EARS from one line to another. If they resisted, they were slapped on the face with open hands, and pulled or literally dragged across the concrete walk to the proper line.

Keep in mind half of the kids involved were my height — less than 4 ft. tall — new to life, and the nuns were full- and fuller-sized adults dressed in billowing black and white uniforms that communicated more like bats-from-hell than angels of mercy.

Thankfully, my First Grade teacher, Sr. Cor Marie, did not lean toward violence. I did, however, witness numerous incidents where children were brought out in to the hall, and as other grades filed by, swatted on their behinds with yardsticks or (far more painfully!) pointers. Often, in the case of the males, trousers were dropped.

An important aspect of abuse is that witnesses to abuse often experience psychological trauma comparable to that of  the abused. Abuse during class time, and as practiced by the clergy I was exposed to, was a very public spectacle whose audience was youth of both sexes, at their most impressionable ages.

In second Grade, however, assigned to the class of Sr. Ann Robert, I got a more personal taste of the sickness. I was part of a school-wide IQ test where I placed with the third highest score. From that moment on, Sr. Ann Robert utilized regular, public, corporal punishment and humiliation to encourage me to work up to my potential.

I was not the only one at the wrong end of the pointer in that class. There was at least five of us, all boys, who were regularly called up to the front of the class and swatted in one form or another in front of the rest of the class. We often were led out to the hall as a group, since we were all poor performers or cut-ups, and there the pants would come down and the swatting become more extreme.

During that school year, a conservative estimate of the number of times I was brought to the front of the class and physically punished was twenty times; at least once every couple of weeks.

Nobody in the class was immune, neither male nor female, but if I were to estimate the ratio of physical violence against boys vs. that of girls, I’d say six to one. Abuse of the girls was mostly confined to swats on the hands with rulers and an occasional slap on the face.

This is one of many patterns that it’s important to acknowledge. The sociological impact of psychological emasculation of young boys at the hands of adult women and witnessed by their female peers  in Catholic schools is almost ignored. It most certainly contributes heavily to subsequent incidents of self, spousal and child abuse.

Some studies indicate that before the age of ten children are not quite able to assimilate their experiences mentally and emotionally. As an adult, when confronted with stimuli that resemble past trauma, uncontrollable, automatic responses occur that can be harmful to themselves or others.

What we mostly see and react to are those adults who lash out violently. They are the ones who get the press coverage.  But far more insidious, dangerous and invisible are those who retreat into a place either deep inside themselves or flee to a place outside of their bodies — just like they did as children during the times of their assault. This encompasses both victims and witnesses.

In that state they cease to participate in the present moment. Because of that they become unable to make choices appropriate to their well-being. The societal implications of this are enormous.

On one level, for those who rarely got physically abused, but got to see the rest of us going through it, it was a bit more crazy-making. They never knew if or when.

With me, I knew that it was inevitable I’d soon do something to attract the ire of Ann Robert or one of the other abusive nuns in the school. Once you get pegged as troublesome by any one of the violent ones you become a target of the others as well, whether you’re in their class or not!

Sr. Ann Robert was not the only nun in the school with a reputation for physical violence. Corporal punishment was embedded in the culture, and for most of the nuns, an occasional hand slap, pulled ear, or swat on the behind was used to get the attention of the offending student.

But what distinguishes the Catholic school system from others is that a relatively high proportion of pathological abusers were tolerated within their systems.

In my school there were sixteen primary teachers and one Principal, all Dominican nuns. Of the teachers, I could name five who, over the course of my eight years at the school had a reputation for frequent and regular acts of intentional violence against the children in their classes. Then you can add to that the Principal herself.

I filtered through each and every one the violent nuns during my years in the school. My “peak” year was sixth grade when I drew Sr. Ann Robert again. One day, after sticking my tongue out at a nun, I was beaten by her, three others, brought to the Principal, beaten by her, and then sent home with bleeding welts on my behind, half of which were old wounds, re-opened.

But it goes one level deeper than just violent acts. There’s a difference between someone who utilizes corporal punishment because it’s an acceptable tool for discipline in that particular culture and that of someone who gets satisfaction from violence and seeks opportunities to express it.

Although not every one of them exuded that kind of energy each time, there were times when the most painful part of the beating was the perpetrator nun’s moment of glee.

And how could a young boy not interpret that as a form of hatred of his very manhood? At that age you still see yourself through the eyes of your adult significant others.

Another aspect largely neglected is the silence of the nuns who were NOT violent. The majority of nuns knew what was going on at the hands of the more violent of their peers. Not once did I witness a non-abusive nun come to the defense of one of her charges.

As an example to developing young women, this perpetuates passivity and helplessness. And how does a young man assimilate these experiences with powerful women into adulthood and his relationships? Women are potential threats who must be controlled.

I am happy to see so many people, from so many parts of the globe, finally speaking out against this glaring, institutionalized abuse.

And what is that doing? It’s actually uncovering the Catholic Church’s relationship with money. People are demanding and deserve reparations and the Catholic Church and all its divisions are doing everything they can to minimize the hit on their coffers, almost happily standing by while secular society foots the bill.

A 5/26/09 article on the most recent travails of the Christian Brothers in Ireland stated:

“The Brothers on Tuesday begged forgiveness for the children’s suffering and said they would review how much they could pay in reparation without compromising current services and investment.”

I don’t beleive the Brothers should be in the driver’s seat.

I beleive the assets of the Catholic Church — of ALL of the Catholic Church — should be identified, frozen and held in trust until such time as the worldwide impact of their patterns of child abuse are assessed.

And then that money should be put into programs that promote the health and well-being of children throughout the world, without the extra tax of human suffering that the Church has been exacting.

Now that Poverty and Chastity are gone,  Obedience must go back to a Higher Authority.

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1,273 Responses to “Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows”

  1. caitfinnegan Says:

    I too am from the Brooklyn diocese. I know the area of St. Vincent’s (although I grew up in Queens). I did live for a few years in Little Flower, not far from St V.

    I will link to your blog from mine.

    Cait Finnegan

    • bonnie richard Says:

      i went to a caholic school in 1960–where nuns would beat mentally
      torture you and you could do nothing –BELIEVE ME LOUISIANA IS WORST THAN BOSTON THEY ARE STILL HAVE THEIR LAWYER SCARE ME– THE TRUTH–THEY TEACH IT BUT DONT WANT TO HEAR IT=THEY WOULD BEAT BOYS HANDS WITH A PADDLE UNTIL THEY WOULD ALMOST BLEED-

  2. mark Says:

    I was beat up by nuns in the 70′s they were from the sisters of st francis philadelphia . The daily fear and physical abuse for 8 years at the hands of nuns is as bad as the priest scandal yet noone has the balls to talk about it in the media. I am going after this order of nuns and the baltimore archdiocese for sexual abuse by a priest and for litterally getting punched in the face by a nun right in front of my class. I am so frustrated by the cover up the nuns have done when it comes to this subject. What i experienced and witnessed was not corporal punishment it was violent physical abuse on a 10 year old child The bitch who hit me did it because i erased an answer on a test.My life definitely changed after leaving that school ( St anthonys of baltimore ) I also witnessed a nun grab a kid in my class by his hair and beat his head against a block wall for bitting on a pen that broke in his mouth. The Irish scandal has yet to influence this country’s spychotic catholic nuns past abuse.

    • ss Says:

      Hey Mark,I went thru the same abuse by the Sisters of Notre Dame at St James School in Mt Rainier Md .Imagine the fear every day trying to get thru the day with Attention Deficate Disorder and getting beat constantly for being stupid.Like you said this was’nt corporal punishment this was pure hate and abuse

      • brian Says:

        Iam from Australia and I went through the same abuse from the sisters of mercy in naracoorte south Australia feel that they should admit what they did and be prepared to give compensation My name is brian

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Hi Brian:

        Welcome to the group! —- We all were abused by the NUNS one way or another! —– They were trained to deal with children in a negative / abusive fashion. —- If you read the postings on this GREAT site, you will notice that the stories are VERY similar. —- Yet, — they are coming from different parts of the United States, — or from other countries. —– The only way that could happen, is if all the “teaching nuns” were trained in a “similar fashion” with a “similar educational philosophy!” —- And that is the “key” to the entire situation! —– They were trained to abuse the children under their charge, so that they could created obedient / non -thinking loyal slaves for the Catholic Church! —- When they became adults, they would not question church authority, and give all their money to the church. (The last time the world saw an organization like that was in Germany in the late 30′s!) —- I think that it is call “brain washing!” —— YES, the Catholic Church is a “evil institution / self-center” institution that is only out for itself! —– You and I have heard sermons where the priests suggests that people should give to the church until it hurts! —- They are suggesting that people should live in poverty so the clergy can live in luxury! —- I DO NOT THINK SO! —– Best regards! —– God Bless! —– Dwayne

  3. Brian Says:

    Thanks for sharing your blog. I too had the evil Dominicans at Incarnation School, Queens Village, NY in 1950′s and early 60′s. I too suffered all the abuses you mentioned. Let me add what Sr. Marie Michelle, a young one, thought would teach me to stop talking in the 3r grade. She made me crawl under her desk by her feet and she continued to kick me for the rest of the class. That torture has been impossible to forget to this day. Thanks for the shared memories, it helps some.

  4. Susanne Says:

    My name is Susanne and I, am the Author of The Throw Away Child. I would like to share some of my stories of abuse at the hands of the Sisters of the Presentation in Colonie NY. It was a Catholic run state supported foster home. Some children didn’t make it out of there alive. The state of NY covered it up. It makes me sick to think they got away with the deaths of at least two little boys. I need help to make an investigation happen. Any Ideas anyone?
    Susanne

  5. Pattyann Says:

    I am a living survivor of catholic school from 1961-1969.
    I was beaten, locked in closets for punishment, screamed at and debased during most of my time there. The horrors were so heart -breaking that I have suppressed them until recently.
    I was a scared little girl who was left in the hands of monsters for eight years. The psychological abuse was horrific and I am left with deep scars. This happened in Connecticut…..

    • gary allen Says:

      Pattyann,
      I feel your pain.I too was physically and sexually abused by a nun when I was 12 in 1963. I have kept this shame and guilt for many years until I couldnt take it anymore.I sought help. But the pain of what that woman did to me is still there.What she did to me on that couch in the storage room between the classrooms I will forgive her. I still have nightmares. I fear this will always be with me,but Im working on it and I know in time it will get better. And it will for you…God bless

  6. maura Says:

    not only did I go to a Catholic grade school, I was also in a Catholic orphanage. I was terrorized by several different nuns of the Sisters of Mercy order. But the pay off is…..I am now a lapsed catholic and if there is a God, then I know they must face Him. How does one that considers oneself to be “married” to Jesus explain terrorizing children on a daily basis??
    I know that they would be arrested and jailed for their actions in todays world if they were still actively teaching but I am now in therapy for the fifth time trying to overcome their vile teachings.

    • C. Villanueva Says:

      Maura, can I ask you what Catholic orphange you were in? I know several women who were in St. Vincent’s, Guardian Angel Home, Catholic Home, and the most notorious of all – The Cabrini Home. I’m in the process of compiling a book about the stories of these young girls from orphans to womenhood. It’s time we got our say and also named our abusers. I’ve carried a vendetta all my life to see these nuns tortured as I was. Unfortunately, they are dead now and I hope they suffered a horrible death. Also – any guys on this blog who were in Saint Joseph’s Home for Boys in Philadelphia? There was a rumor going around that a Sister Helen Constance almost beat a boy to death and the archdiocese then transferred her to Catholic Home for Girls. I still have a scar on my arm where this same nun beat me with her rosary beads.

      • maura hart Says:

        You can ask me anything. I wish someone would write a book an expose of these women. But I also feel great pity for them, they had very little, they had no choices available in their lives. Their mistake was using violence on helpless children. Although I have pity and compassion I feel no forgiveness and I really don’t think I ever will.

      • firetender Says:

        Well, this may be a little interesting, but I don’t quite feel the edge I so recently did in my raw hatred of the nuns and all they stood for. I have been moved by comments such as yours because they WERE very, very, painfully sick and even as a child I recognized it. That doesn’t lessen my desire to really KNOW that they suffered for their misdeeds, yet, heaping hatred upon sickness is even more sick and hateful and that’s all about creating one’s own Cancer. To see a wave beginning is incredibly healing for me, and even I haven’t begun to understand the implications of what is beginning here. After all, I’m just a firetender.

    • JP Says:

      I was severly emotionally and physically abused by the Sisters of Mercy in the 1960′s in Nebraska. The emotional pain I suffered as a child will always be with me. It is so odd that to this day I still feel shame when I recall the time I was made to clean up my own urine in a puddle at my desk because my teacher refused to let me go to the restroom …I was 5 years old. I was called to the front of the class after my recitation of the alphabet failed to meet this womans expectations….I’ll never forget how she encouraged the class to laugh at me. I can still hear her voice as she laughed and made me the butt of some sick joke and seeing the other kids laughing as if on cue. In second grade I remember having to scrub a floor with a toothbrush (in a dress of course) while the class carried on…. sixth grade and having the hem of my dress taken out, feeling the pinch on the back of my arms that would leave blood blisters…. I could go on and on. I recall no compassion in all of my grade school years….just constant fear of being singled out and being ridiculed for my clothing, my famiy’s poverty, my intellect, I wonder how God could have “mercy” on those women.

      • Ruth Says:

        I too had the same experience in 1st grade where I could not go to the restroom. I remember the rulers, pointers and the verbal abuse from the Dominican sisters in Michigan. Still today, I do not have any self worth. I was always told that I was stupid and would be threatened in front of the class if I would not know the answer. These nuns have made my life very hard. I am now married to a man for the last 11 years who is always telling me that I am a good person and I can do whatever I want. I always keep these memories in my mind and cannot let them go. The catholic nuns have physically, mentally and emotionally affected a lot of lives.

      • B. Robertson Says:

        Ruth, I read your comments and I understand where you are coming from. I think most in this blog do. I know I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…perhaps you might want to look into some treatment for it. I have always been made ‘fun of’ – although they think they are just ‘kidding’….friends tell me “Oh, you’re the Catholic girl”…..that statement makes me nuts!! The abuse suffered under the same Dominican Nuns throughout those precious childhood years remain, obviously. I don’t even know how or what I say when people are saying “you are the Catholic girl”……it hurts so much. The uncertified so called “teachers” (nuns)
        don’t realize the brainwashing and cruelty they caused thousands of us….or do they? Keep writing….people will help you here. You aren’t alone.

    • Tamar Says:

      Maura, I was in a catholic orphanage in Philadelphia when I was quite young, as were my brothers; but we were not together. I was severely sexually abused in the orphanage and I remember a lot very vividly – mind you I was only about 3 years of age, but I have a photographic memory and now at age 51, I am writing a book – I am looking for as many stories as I can . ..I had visions that have actually been confirmed by this site and with photos that I recently have seen. It is an wary feeling to have such a long ago memory confirmed and brought to life. Fortunately the real work to heal has already been done, or I would never be able to even touch it. For years, I could never follow through with a creative writing class, because inevitably an autobiography was required and I could never write mine… 1st I thought no one would believe it and second it was just to painful to address. The book is a novel primarily about my life – it may even be a series, but in story form – one really doesn’t know that it is my life until the end and like the movie the Magdalene Sisters, the premise of the story is true to form although the some of the specific story line may be altered for creative purposes or clarity…. but Catholic influence and the orphanage is a vital part of the story and is poignant because the abuse put upon any of the children within the catholic church runs deep. The parents who adopted me were both raised in the Catholic schools in Philadelphia for 12 years each from the mid 40s through the 50s… and they – especially him – were most abusive… she was much more like the nuns in the verbal degradation of me… ‘if I ever got raped it would be my fault because my mother was a whore.’ (which she wasn’t, but that isn’t even the real issue)… and she blamed me for him losing his temper … he was simply a monster… much like Sr. Constance… I actually remember her… she told me I was dirt and that I should return to the dirt I came from – mind you I was a very little girl … I never realized the absolute connection that was formed with the church though until I had watched the Magdalene Sisters and then came across this blog. With the movie, I felt as if I was watching myself although I lived it in the home wherein I eventually grew – and of course the flashes of the orphanage came through loud and clear. I did attend catholic school in my early years, but fortunately, the laws began to change and I then moved to Massachusetts where I attended public school – they were very different… Although, Massachusetts has a horrible record for sexual abuse in the church – but I got enough early on to last me a few life-times… At any rate. since I can’t give out any contact information, I cannot really speak with anyone privately about their own experiences… not everyone is comfortable being completely open in public… it took me many years to be as real as I am and I know how hard it is for many. I hope that as I continue in the book, I will be able to incorporate stories without ever being direct… I may use a piece here and a piece there… so the line may be a variation, but the theme will be the same.

  7. Mario Says:

    I went to Catholic school in Philadelphia, from 1948 to 1960. The abuse in Catholic Schools was rampant. I use to think that nuns, would stay up at night devising new ways to hit the kids. Such things as two yardsticks taped together. Paddles with holes drilled in them, so the air won’t cushion the shock. Some of the rulers had sharp metal edges on them and would draw blood when they hit you on the knuckles. There were those nuns that didn’t hit kids, but they would remain silent about the ones that did. There seems to be a code of silence among their colleagues.

    What I don’t understand, is when I was going to Catholic school, why the parents seem to think that the nuns or priest are always right? Why do they put these people up on pedestals? Underneath those garments they wear, they are still very human beings, and are fallible as such.

    In my observations of the class room, I have always noticed the kids that were well dressed and had money, seemed to have more attention from the nuns. They gravitated towards them. The girls in class uniforms was another story. The reason they wore those uniforms was to prevent class distinction. That didn’t make sense to me, there was still class distinctions, you could see who had the shabby uniforms and the ones that had nice brightly colored crisp ones. I wore just about rags, it was obvious that I was poor. Lower socioeconomic status (reads powerless) and full to the brim of blind faith. Sheds a new light on these poor, old, sickly “impulsive” abusers doesn’t it? If I didn’t know an answer, I would get smacked. This went on day in and day out, in the third grade with Sister St. Florence, or look for the smallest reason to smack you.

    Some of those nuns were toilet Nazis. They wouldn’t let you go to the toilet and would say, “sit down and shut up.” Kids would either defecate or wet their pants, and went home that way. Sister St. Florence was a toilet Nazi. She only let certain ones go when they asked. I remembered when she wouldn’t let me go, I couldn’t hold it any longer and went in my pants. At lunch time as we were getting ready to leave the room to go home for lunch. Sister had the unmitigated gall, to say, “who smells like a stable?” The kids held their noses and pointed at me. When I got home and told my grandmother that story, she said “I’m going to school with you.” After I got cleaned up she took my soiled underwear and put it in a bag. I was wondering what she was up to. She came to school with me and she said to “point out the nun.” I pointed out Sister St. Florence, and my grandmother motioned her over. My grandmother said to her clearly, “If you ever send my grandson home like this again, I wipe his underwear in U face, showing her the bag” I was shocked. I immediately bit my tongue to stop from laughing. I never expected my grandmother to say anything like that to a nun, being the devout Catholic that she was. Needless to say, she made my day. I went off into the school yard laughing. Never again did sister say “no” when I asked to go. But the smacks did still continue. My grandmother didn’t do anything about the smacks, she thought the nun was right.

    When I moved to a different area in Philadelphia, I had St. Joseph nuns, who were not any better than the IHM nuns I use to have. It was the same old, day in and day out with nuns hollering at us and rulers or pointers used on the kids. Nuns would sneak up behind kids and hit them with a hard covered book, in back of the head. Nothing has changed, just more of the same. I had the same type of nun in the seventh grade, that would hit me everyday for the smallest reasons she could find. This fact was bought out in my 50 year class reunion, when Nancy who sat in back of me recalled how I was hit everyday for the smallest reasons. I was glad she bought this up in the reunion meetings. I wasn’t going to because I didn’t want to spoil the reunion. Nancy did remember and stated that when she went to school, she would wonder what I was going to get hit for the next day. When I left Catholic grammar school I was glad, because I didn’t have to go to church anymore and have nuns breathing down my back to see if we came to church every Sunday. I started questioning the teachings of the Catholic church, since I was nine years old because of their actions.

    High School wasn’t much better, there we had fist swinging priests. I saw a kid get beat with closed fists by a priest, until his mouth was bleeding. That was Fr. Uricheck the school disciplinarian. He hit many kids with closed fists. He should have never been their as a disciplinarian. Where do they find these priest? They certainly are not gems among the garbage. That aforementioned kid, that the priest beat up with closed fists, on the last day of High School when we were turning in our cap and gowns he got into a fist fight with a priest. I was glad to see it happen, I also could understand why it happened, after four years of regimentation in Catholic High School. All through high school, I would keep saying to myself something is wrong with this religion. You wondered how people of this sort, can believe in God, or his silly son. Most of all I learned to hate. The priest and nuns, the church, school itself, including their phony teachings. Everything that can be found in the rituals or teachings of the Catholic church, can be found in other religions way before the Christian era. There is nothing new in Christianity.

    After I left High School I turned my back on the church. I no longer believed in what they taught. I didn’t marry in the church and wouldn’t send my kids to Catholic schools, the same well I was poisoned at.

    • pattyann Says:

      I am so sorry. Aftter reading your story, my heart just sank.
      I never could figure out what has been wrong with me all my adult life.
      I never figured out until recently, that it was child abuse in one of the most sadistic forms.
      People say, that was then, get over it. I never got over it. My trust in women has been tarnished and I hate the Catholic Church.
      I do have a strong faith in God though, and that is one good thing.
      My God is a bigger, more wonderful God than the one that they said would punish me and send me to hell.
      I was picked on because we were poor. I was taller than my classmates.
      The ones who were cute and upper-class were the ones who were picked as pets. The rest of us were just beaten up on a regular basis, or completely ignored altogether.
      I have discovered some things in the last few years. It seems that 4 of my old classmates died of acute alcohlism. There are a couple more who have been in and out of psychiatric institutions. Multiple marriages,
      drug abuse, incarceration seems to be the norm for quite a few of us survivors.

    • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

      Mario:
      There is something very wrong with the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Form of the Christian Religion! The Catholic Church wants compete control of each individual member so they can squeeze our every nickel and dime to support their religious machine and their political agenda. —— I refuse to give one dime to the Catholic Church. I know of a person who gave a large donation in the form of a check at Christmas time to the local Catholic Church. On the memo portion of the check he wrote: —- “Not to be used as hush money!” —- The pastor contacted this individual, and told him that he could not write that statement on the check, and that once the money was given to the church they had the right to spend it as they wished. —- In other words, they are supporting criminal behavior of the clergy. —- If you want to try a little experiment, attend a non Catholic Church for a month, and see how you feel about the Christian Religion. The people are very sincere and open. There are no hidden agendas. Then after a month go back to the Catholic Church and watch the behavior patterns of both the people and the clergy. —- I cannot stand being in the Catholic Church, listening to their meaningless sermons, and witnessing the phoniness of both the priests and nuns. —- My wife likes to attend a small chapel that is part of a Catholic Hospital. They have a service on a Saturday night, and it is only a half hour in length. I attend with her, because as her husband, it is my duty to support her. She understand that I have no feeing for the Catholic Church or respect for it’s Clergy. About a year ago, the nuns and the priest decide that because of the “flu epidemic” they were NOT going to give communion out in both forms, (the wafer and the cup). They would only use the “wafer.” They said that it would prevent the spread of germs. (NOTE: I would NEVER drink out of the “common cup!” The thought of this action makes me ill!) At the end of the Mass, when everyone is greeting the priest and deacon, I asked the priest this question. —– “Why are you so concerned about spreading the “flu” and you are not concerned about spreading HIV (Aids)? —- There was silence! —- You see the “Flu” is non-political, —- but HIV is a hot issue! — The Catholic Church is a “VERY SICK ORGANIZATION!” They have lost all touch with reality. There services are meaningless, and their services and sermons lack a “here and now meaning!” It is the only form of the Christian Religion that have hymns that the people cannot sing, because the range of the music is geared for only professional singers. How can a church build unity, if the people cannot participate? The Catholic Church is all about what YOU can do for them, not about what THEY can do for you! YOU are always deficient in some way, while they have the “key” to making you better “if” you just give them some more money! — Isn’t it funny, that God is all knowing, and all powerful, but he cannot seem to handle money. He always needs more money! Have you ever seen some of the vacation homes for the clergy? They are not homes, the are estates, and they are bought and paid for with your money! If you want to be happy in life, and you have a need for a religion, find a way to practice the Christian Religion away from the Catholic Church. I have found that “Catholic’s” are very “negative people” as a group. This does not surprise me since their religion creates negativity. —— Have a GREAT day. —– Best regards to all! —- Have fun in life! —- Life is “short” and this is not a rehearsal! —– Dwayne.

      • Mario Says:

        Hi Dawyne

        Now you hit on another one of my pet peeves, the military. I was in the Army from 60 to 63. I figured since I left Catholic School it would be a good time to do my military hitch. I was sent overseas to Korea from 61 to 62. This is what I learned while in Military service. There is nothing more remarkable, or more effective, then that of the socio-military institutions to instill by intimidation, in the young males of society the uncritical conviction that the government is omnipotent……Even though the government only exists by the consent of the people. The soldier is soon taught that a prayer is slow to reverse what a bullet can do in an instant. Thus, a man trained in a religious environment for eighteen years of his life can, by this instrument of government, be broken down, be purged of his fantasies and delusions in a matter of mere months. Once that conviction is instilled, all else becomes easy to instill.
        The three most corrupt systems since the last 5600 years of human civilization has been Religion, Politics and Commerce. So why would I want to go in another chruch and sit there to listen to his/her bullshit for? This would cause me to sit there and play the violin while he/she preaches. Religions were invented to keep people in line like good little servants. They follow like sheep we should not blindly follow mummified traditions and ancient texts that could very well prove to be misleading, misinterpreted and mythical. I’m a non-believer in any of these religions that includes the Dalai Lama who’s a phoney baloney. I can’t prove one way or another that there is or isn’t a God. I just don’t believe in these man made Gods of the last 5600 years. I thank the Catholic Church for leading me in this direction. That’s why I spent a good many years reading about these religions. It is difficult to credit any one religion as being True or any one god as being True when there have been so many throughout human history. None appears to have any greater claim to being more credible or reliable than any other.

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Hi Mario:
        I had the opportunity to read your posting again, and I like your ideas. YES, the military has a way of taking a “normal human being,” and in eight weeks making him into a killer. I understood this concept, when I completed my “firing for record” with the M1 Rife on the “pop up target course” in Fort Dix in 1963.

        On the other hand, the Catholic Church has also destroyed the lives of many young people with their need to control the individual! —– I personally do not like Catholic Education the Priests or Nuns. They just annoy me with their lack of sincerity.

        Best regards.
        Dwayne

  8. pattyann Says:

    I recall being hit across the side of the head with my geogrophy book
    (which was the biggest one we had) for not attending the mandatory 7:00AM Sunday Mass that we were forced to attend. It was Easter Sunday and we were supposed to attend a procession around the Church carrying a huge Easter Lily anf place it on the alter. That was the worst procession because we had to fast hours before Communion and kids would be passing out all over the place. I didn not want to go and so my parents and I attended a later Mass.
    After I was hit, my jaw cracked and I almost blacked out. I now suffer from jaw alignment problems.
    I remember having my mouth taped up with masking tape for a whole day because I talked in class. I was 7.
    Food was forced down my throat by the nun table monitor in the cafeteria if I did not finish my plate. I remember a deviled egg being literally jammed down my throat while I was vomiting it back up.
    We were refused bathroom breaks so there was constant urination on the floor. I vomited every morning before school because I was so nervous about what horror may occur that day.
    I was not the only one. It is not just about me. There were many of us.
    The nun would tell us to get out of the class for giving the wrong answer and go find another class that would take us.
    These were sick, sadistic monsters and the Church should be forced to compensate those of us who went through this hell. My mother now acksnowledges her mistake of forcing me to attend this torture chamber.
    She thought that they were doing the right thing for us at the time.
    My sister also atttended this school is a chronic alcoholic.

    • JP Says:

      Pattyann, I cried when I read your story….the abuse is so familiar. The though of a little 7 year old child being humiliated like that makes me sick. I, too, suffered horrible physical symptoms as a result of the psycological abuse. I have 11 brothers and sisters (yup, a good catholic family…poor as hell but damn good Catholics!) Many of us have terrible emotional scars, rampant alcoholism and suicide of my one sister who was probably the most sensitive thus affected the most. Her problems began is grade school and she never really overcame them. I survived but from time to time I can feel myself reliving some graphic and horrible scenes…I dont just relive it….I can FEEL it. The shame, embarresment and feelings of terribly low self esteem sweep over me like a dark shadow.

  9. Kristen Says:

    Funny that today they still do not want parents who speak up. My kid wasn’t physically abused. I feel so for all of you, most people treat their pets better than your church treated you. I am fighting right now to expose the mistreatment of my boy. It appears that they have moved from the obvious (physical) and are now focusing on the psychological. It is so much harder to prove what you cannot see. I do hope that all of you have been able to heal somewhat from your experiences. Lucky for me there we no Catholic Schools for me to go to when I was young, just the guilt I now have for sending my kids.

  10. mark s. Says:

    I attended the same school during the same time as the author. I had Sr. Cor Marie right up through Sr. Mary Ralph and I thank those nuns from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful education they gave, yes gave me. Was I disciplined? occasionally, the intensity of which was truly laughable. I suppose there may have been a difficult child here or there who may have brought a teacher to her wits end, but I never witnessed it. For every one disgruntled individual that came through that school, I’ll bet 100 well balanced, well adjusted, successful members of society did as well. I for one had a fine grammar school experience & got a better education then than high school graduates get today, probably because there is next to no discipline in today’s public school system.

    • firetender Says:

      Aloha Mark, and thank you for the reminder!

      Sr. Cor Marie, my First Grade teacher gave me the gift that carried me through the abuse of the other Nuns, and, in fact, has carried me through most of the very hard times of my life since: Singing. She was my Choir Teacher and somehow affected me such that I realized singing was my direct link to a God that loved me. Her example, energy, devotion, pure being-ness allowed me to distinguish between that which was Man and that which was God. She modeled what happens when God comes through a person as opposed to, as they say in AA “Self-will run riot.” as evidenced by the other nuns. It was my singing that helped me attain a heart-connection with a much wiser, guiding force than any adult provided me at that time. Thanks to her, I learned that I am empowered to find my own connection with my Creator, and it, above all things in my life, is infinitely adaptable to get me through Whatever.

      I’ve always credited my Mother with instilling in me a true joy of reading and writing. (This, by the way, was her primary gift to me, and, yes, unfortunately she was abusive. She herself was not physically abusive to me — to other of my siblings, yes — but when presented with the welts I described in this initial blog, sided with the Nuns.)

      AND, it was the Parochial School system, with Nuns as Agents, that gave me the tools and practice and encouragement I needed to develop a life that has primarily been supported by my skills in reading and writing. I will not disparage the Nun’s influence on my life in that respect. I am truly thankful for it!

      But, Jesus, what a price!

  11. Richard Says:

    I am just getting into reacting to this whole topic, when I recently saw that the Catholic grammar school that I attended in Norwich, Connecticut, from 1958 to 1964 will be closing down this year. It triggerred a swirling maelstrom of horrific memories of child abuse. For six years, many of the students in this gulag and myself were routinely slapped, punched, beaten, and humiliated by a corps of sadistic nuns. I never witnessed any sexual abuse, but the physical and emotional abuse was pervasive and persistent. I was finally allowed to go to a different Catholic junior high, and then on to a Catholic high school. the latter two schools were fine. If I had had the same experiences my second 6 years as I had had in my first 6, I would have ended up being either criminally insane or institutionalized. This whole topic sickens me, as I have been a professional educator for thirty plus years in Upstate New York. I will return and my stories will be told.

  12. Richard Says:

    St. Jopseph’s Catholic Grammar School, Norwich, Connecticut

    1958-59. First Grade. Sister Alice, The best of the lot, and it was all downhill from there. She would just slap you in the face every once in a while.

    1959-1960. Second Grade. Sister Sixtusa. A Nazi Concentration Camp Guard would have been a better career choice for her. A short, muscular thug, she would frequently make us kneel down on the floor and would repeatedly pummel our backs with her fists. Rulers on hands were always a good choice as well for her. She would have enjoyed the company of Hannibal Lecter.

    1960-1961. Third Grade. Sister Marietta; an improvement over Sister Sixtusa, but she would frequently flog our rear ends with a hand brush. We figured if we could dupe her into wearing winter coats, the pain would be less, but she was on to us. We got our asses whaled on a lot.

    1961-1962. Fourth Grade. Mother Superior. The Head Wench. Not too awful as some were, but she would grab your face cheeks in her hands and shake your head as if it was a can of paint in a paint shaking machine.

    1962-1963. Fifth Grade, Sister Marietta again. More of the hand brush routine. If you did not make it to church on a Sunday, for whatever reason, such as a tornado, blizzard, etc., she told us that we would die and go to hell, forever.

    1963-1964. Sixth Grade. Sister Michael, who absolutely, and unequivocally hated me, beyond a shodow of a doubt. The worst year of the 6, in terms of emotional abuse and humiliation. Finally, I begged, wheedled, cajoled, conned, and negotaiated to my parents to get me out this Eastern European prison. Finally, my mother relented, and I went to St. John’s Junior High, with normal nuns, priests, and little or no abuse, for 7th and 8th grades. I began the slow rise out of the depths of insanity and eventually came to lead a normal life. I am not done with this process; a care giver does not do to children what was routinely done to us.

  13. Maura Says:

    total total agreement. But then this is the same Catholic church that routinely helped Nazi’s escape to south america. Why should one be surprised at what they did to helpless terrified children? And look what has recently been reported about routine abuses from priests and nuns to catholic orphans. They will pay, when they meet their Lord.

  14. Maura Says:

    I clearly remember on the first day of school my parents sat me down and said do not come and and say the nuns hit you. What ever the nuns hand out, you will get again at home. so, there was no adults for me to tell about the abuse and terror.

  15. Richard Says:

    All who are interested in this sordid past should click on this website, for the Norwich Ct area and then the main website for access to other areas.

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ct_norwich/

  16. nancy kimble Says:

    How validating to read this! I attended Catholic grade school from 1959-67 with the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the physical/psychological abuse was unbelievable; in first grade the nun grabbed one of my little classmates by the nape of the neck and the seat of the pants and threw him head-first into a steam pipe…you know how head wounds bleed? This occurred because he stepped out of line to quickly get a drink of water from the fountain as we passed by it on our way back from the “playground” (an empty parking lot) on a very hot day returning to our classroom. How well I remember the bathroom nonsense that resulted in wet pants, children attempting to urinate into pencil cases (females as well as males,) vomiting, unbelievable physical as well as psychological abuse/humiliation that continued throughout all 8 yrs. of that hell. I broke my wrist while on the playground in 8th grade. I asked to go to the nurse’s office when we returned to the classroom and was of course refused. The next day when I came to school with a cast on my arm/hand, the nun made me stand in front of the class while she humiliated me, stated I was “looking for attention,” there was “nothing wrong with my hand/arm.”
    These nuns were able to create terror even if you were not the direct target-watching another child be abused and being powerless to prevent it/protect other classmates not only “set an example,” it inculcated learned helplessness among the rest of us. I’ve often thought to myself I would rather drown my child in a bath tub than send them to a Catholic school. I read/hear so much about the sexual abuse-and please, I am NOT AT ALL MINIMIZING the effect on these victims. However, the day-in/day-out terror of other types of physical/psychological abuse that occurred also needs to be recognized. The “problem” the Catholic Church has been facing regarding the “loss” of active members leaves me chuckling-these fools didn’t have the foresight to recognize we’d eventually become adults and choose to walk away from an institution that actively fostered abuse on the most vulnerable population to whom they had access.
    Here’s the real kicker: About 3 months ago out of nowhere, I received in the mail an “invitation” to become an “alumni member” (read they’re looking for money) of said grade school!! Forty three years later and YOU want ME to become a financial “cheer leader?” Also, I was invited to submit “My Best Memories!” HUH??!! What nerve. I felt like writing back: “Here’s my ‘pledge’-The sooner you go under the safer the community of children will be.” Thanks for this thread…again, the validation is so long in coming, so necessary to expose.

    • Dana Says:

      You certainly are NOT minimizing the situation, Nancy; I know that the wounds still are raw. Those memories will never fade, and it is infuriating to have some “sweetness-and-light” type croon that “you should forgive and forget.” (To me, that is as offensive as telling a victim of the Holocaust to “forgive the Nazis” who slaughtered that person’s family, and tortured the living victim in their death camps.)

      Of course, the sexual abuse aspect is more proveable in some cases, and is much worse because of the emphasis on “chastity” in the Catholic Church. But, the emotional carnage wrought by those monsters seems to be ignored because a person is always exhorted to “get on with your life, and forget about it.”

      I believe that MORE of these stories of physical and psychological abuse should be spotlighted, and the “naysayers” who sneer that “they were not abused” and “the whiners and the complainers probably deserved to be punished” should be exposed, either as apologists for the Church, or as the little “informants” and “kiss-ups” who made the Catholic school experience even MORE Hellish than it already was.

      Naturally, it would be difficult to prove monetary damages, but maybe, just maybe, our cautionary tales would warn others away from making the same mistake as our parents did, and protect another generation from becoming emotionally scarred for life.

      Incidentally, the lousy, substandard parochial school I was forced to attend over half a century ago still exists, but this time – with a bright blue coat of paint over its once-shabby facade. The $15 per year tuition ($7.50 for the next kid, $3.75 for the third, and the rest go free) has disappeared with nickel candy bars and the Henry-J. Now, the tuition is $7,500 (!) per student, the classes are limited to 15 students (!!) but – the girls are still forced to wear uniforms (but, thank God, no “fishtails for modesty’s sake” hanging down the back, nearly trailing on the ground. (My mother cut mine off and hemmed the skirt so it couldn’t be “added to,” and I didn’t hear the end of it for the entire school year…)

  17. Colleen Says:

    I too suffered greatly for eight years while in Catholic school. My first grade year was with a lay teacher, and therefore it was mostly positive. There was only abuse from nuns when at recess. From second grade on, I was instructed by highly abusive nuns. It was commonplace to be pulled along by your hair, ears, nose, or checks. All learning was done through public humiliation. Nuns would seek out the children who were having difficulty in subjects and abusively drag them to the front of the class and make fun of them, inciting the other children to laugh at them. This was what drove most kids to try harder. But we could never try hard enough. Every day, I woke up feeling terror and dread for what was going to happen to me that day. I was regularly abused with rulers and pointers, and I would also be whipped while standing fearfully in the lines. Often and for no reason at all other than the apparent pleasure of the nun, children would be whipped with the nuns leather belts which hung almost to the ground, making them a perfect weapon, and always available. I remember being called number 7 through much of the 8 years, 7 because my last name started with a D and it 7th on the class attendance list. I remember being prohibited from having any “best friend”. If a friendship was developing, it was always broken apart. I remember having nuns stick pencils, garbage, chewing gum, and other inappropriate items in my hair and taking me to the front of the class to be laughed at. This was supposed to “bring me out of my shell” and build my confidence. I remember having to “play” volleyball at recess and no speaking was allowed. The nun would stand with belt/whip in hand and say “rotate” when it was time, and not a seconds delay was ever tolerated. One of the strangest memories was our lunch period. We were not ever allowed to speak during lunch time. We were forced to look at these pull down posters of dead or starving children mostly from Biafra. The posters were about 15′x8′ across and the nun would stand and change the gory scene we were to look at every few minutes. So we went from seeing dead skeletal people, to children with bloated abdomens, covered in flies, to mothers crying with dead babies in their hands. Regular confessions were also bizarre. We were made to confess at the church under the nuns direction. If we had no sins to confess, we were punished for lying. Therefore, we frequently had to go into confession and lie about sins we never committed, to avoid abuse. I remember always ending my list of made up sins with “and I lied father” . That way I felt covered for the lies I was just forced to tell in confession. After 8 years of Catholic school, I was finally allowed to go to a public school, but only because my family had moved. Unfortunately though, even when I had a very good and caring teacher, I would only see him or her as the enemy. It wasnt until college that I was able to shake off the bad school experience, and really enjoy learning. I find that even now, I still have issues in my life as a result of the abuses. It took a long time for me to develop any real friendships, since they had been forbidden. And I still automatically assume the worst when meeting any new people. I either assume they are cruel and want to hurt me in some way, or I assume they hate me and don’t want anything to do with me. But happily, I am aware of where these feeling are coming from, and I have chosen to carry on with my life and interact with folks regardless of the fears I have when first meeting them.

    • Lori Grobelny Says:

      Colleen:
      So many details in your letter hit home with me. These are things I have never been able to vocalize with anyone before. The item that struck me so closely was the fact that “friendships” were were not encouraged or tolerated. All my life, I have had trouble cultivating real friendships and relationships. As with you, other issues occassionally crop up which I can immediately associate with the abuse that I put up with long ago. I was in Catholic school from 1959 through 1969.

      • Mary Says:

        I also went to a catholic grammar school in Massachusetts from 1960 to 1969 and saw kids abused for those 8 years. I myself got punched in the back about 10 times by a nun at the age of only 6 years old for an unknown reason. I may have been talking to someone and she did not like it. Then in the 3rd grade I got my hand slammed so hard by a yardstick during penmanship practice, because the nun said she did not like my writing skills. My hand was bleeding as I recall. I saw a boy get smashed with a yardstick in the back so hard that the yardstick broke in half. This was all because he did not know the answer to a math problem on the blackboard. I saw kids have their head shoved into a waste basket, boys had their hair pulled, bubblegum put on the noses of kids when they were caught chewing gum. Everyday was torture going into that school. You never knew what would happen on any given day. Hopefully, all of these nuns are now dead and in hell. That’s all I hope for. I’m sorry for all your pain. All we can do is go forward with our lives, knowing that these nuns must have had psychiatric issues and unfortunately we were left in their paths of destruction. Take care.

      • Lori Grobelny Says:

        Thank you for your reply and your understanding. It felt good to realize that I am not the only one with these kinds of memories and problems that resulted from them. I know that I am not alone. My best to you.

      • maureen ascenzo Says:

        i atarted reading on internet re abusive nuns. glad i could share. i had the urselines bx n.y i had a trace of lipstick on, the mother superior wiped my mouth with a dry brillo pad , i was in 8th grade will never forget the look on her mean ugly face i have never forgotten this witch, sometimes having nightmares. moe

  18. maura Says:

    Colleen, omg, your experience was my experience and as adults i am so like you. my feels are the same but I only wish I was as brave as you. Kudos to you and keep up the good work.
    nowamfound

  19. Pattyann Says:

    Colleen, I am truly sorry for what happened to you.
    Maura, I can feel your pain also.
    It is hard to this day for me to form friendships with women, because I do not trust them.
    The Confessional was indeed a dreaded place. We had to go monthly on a Friday morning as a group after Mass. The sisters would stand up in front and make sure we were in formation as we went behind the dreaded curtain. I remember shaking so badly that I would almost vomit. I was afraid that I would open the wrong purple curtain, and someone would already be in there. That equaled a hard slap on the back of the head and an ear pulling. I remember being in third grade and an entire family in our parish was involved in a fatal car crash. They were burned beyond recogniton. The children were in our school, so they forced us as a group to attend the funeral. I was just a little kid, and the viewing of five caskets in the middle aisle is still in my mind.
    Looking at those small caskets was the hardest. There was no counseling or permission slips to be signed. You had to go or you faced the consequences. I was way too young to experience this type of tragedy and should never have been forced to.

  20. Christina Says:

    How unfathomable that so many children that have were sent to private Cathloc schools for a superior education faced the backlash of repressed men and women known as nuns and priests. I attended St. Vincent Ferrer School in Delray Beach, Fla during the 1980′s. There was a mix of Sisters of Mercy from Ireland and lay teachers. Where shall i start?

    I was a student who never spoke out of turn and was on honor roll all of my years. And what was my reward? Well, I was prevented from going to the bathroom by Sister Mary Clare in 4th grade and subsequently threw up on myself and another student. Rather than comforting me, she pulled my arm, screaming at me that I had thrown up on a girl of Irish decent and that I was “stupid.” Then when a mass book was left in the Church, as liturgy coordinator, I was told to stand in front off my class and admitt that I was a “bad Catholic” by another nun.

    MY eight years there was nothing but verbal humiliation, scare tactics and physical abuse. The first week I began there in the 1st grade, I witnessed little 6 year old boys being hoisted out of their seats by their ears and hit on the hands and arms with wooden rulers.

    I can recall every detail like it was yesterday. To say they did this to make us smarter or stronger is a boldface LIE!!

    These women were sexually repressed and frustarted that they had no outside lives or hopes for ones. They were jealous, backbiting, instigating and just plain aweful.

    If these nuns were truly “Brides of Christ” they wouldn’t have behaved like this..or at least Jesus would have divorced them. I pray for all of us and and the souls of these women. God saw everything…

  21. Dana Says:

    And the Catholic Church wonders why their “tenacious hold” on the minds – and souls – of their hapless victims of the 1950s wasn’t so strong after all? They only have to look to the “Brides of Christ” (who, in my case, acted MORE like the “Brides of Frankenstein…”)

    I remember being sardined into a room with 93 children (they shoved the taller boys into the cloakroom at the back), in a schoolroom built to accommodate 1/3 that number – and that was only HALF the class; the other half was suffocating slowly in another room across the hall. (Post-War Baby Boom.)

    We were taught next-to-nothing by a fat, slobby little ignoramus who spent a large part of her time slapping, pinching, and reviling the children; the other half was wasted on “measuring” our workbooks -
    then screaming for an interminable amount of time if her “measurements” hadn’t been followed. Let me explain: we were given different instructions every morning to have our homework signed by our parents (either mother or father, depending upon her whim), with – blue ink, or blue-black ink, or blue ink, or turquoise ink, or red ink, or green ink, and “7/8 inches from the top, 5/16 inches from the right margin, 1-1/4 inches from the left margin, and 9-1/2 inches from the bottom of the page” – then, she would erase the information just as quickly as she had written it on the blackboard, and refuse to repeat it – thus, ensuring at least SOME children would be excoriated publicly (and beaten) the next day.

    I came in especially heavy for verbal abuse because (1) I had a sister in the order with whom they were “commiserating” because “our mother had been cruel to her” (i.e., she didn’t want her to go into the convent at age 18, before she actually had a chance to know what she wanted to do with her life), and (2) I had a high I.Q., but the nuns wanted us all to be grey, amorphous, mentally benumbed and subservient – especially the girls. Since I refused to capitulate – Heaven help me (and it didn’t appear to me that it did, because I was stuck in that cesspool with orangutans in “Penguin Suits” for the next several years. (And although I went to a concrete block school, the specter of the Our Lady of the Angels fire in December of 1958 STILL haunts me because I know that the numbskull nuns at my school would have probably kept us from escaping the flames – as was reported of that school tragedy – telling us to “offer it up,” or something equally stiupid.

    They didn’t really smack me around, because they were scared of my mother (bullies are always cowards), and the principal who slapped me viciously in the face when I was 5 (my mother hadn’t come to pick me up after school, and I wanted to walk home in a snowstorm, fearing she had fallen, and I that should rescue her) got her hand bitten with equal savagery. Despite the subsequent beating (she knotted her fingers around my waist-length hair painfully down to the scalp,the better to brutalizie me) – I got in a right hook which made her head catapult backwards, and probably made it ring like a carillon. (Big, strong kid.)

    Three of the nastiest things I remember well: (1) I was sent on a “errand” to the church (which was usually reserved for the little toadies and tattletales in the class) so my second-grade nun didn’t have to give me the holy cards she distributed to the rest of the class; (2) I was the only Catholic girl kept out of the Sodality “because THEY (the nuns) “didn’t consider me a true Catholic”; and (3) in May (when I was in the second grade), I was last in line to make a flower wreath with which to crown the May Queen because I had been ill.

    The night before, my mother helped me make a beautiful one with flowers from our garden (she assembled the little crown from a bent coat hanger and wire from the Sunday paper. She sprinkled it with water, wrapped it in waxed paper, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

    The next day, I took it to school, proud of the accomplishment. That hateful nun made me wait until the very end. Then, before I could crown the state of Mary, she snatched the wreath away from me, telling me that “it would be an insult to our Blessed Virgin to allow a child like me to crown her,” tossed the wreath in the waste basket (to the derisive laugh of her “favorites”) and crushed it down – making sure that it was effectively destroyed…

    I used to BEG my mother to allow me to join my father’s Protestant church, but she “couldn’t do that because she had made a vow to God to rear me in her Church,” etc., ad nauseam. Finally, when I was 17 (and after a real set-to with some of the people in the Church) I told her that I was quitting, and if she dragged me to Church on Sunday – I would create havoc during one of the Masses (which wasn’t really a Mass anymore, after the “aggiornamento.”) Wearily, she told me I no longer had to go.

    For the longest time, I was an atheist, and a very violently-disposed one; I would have loved to destroy the Catholic Church, brick-by-brick, for all the torments visited upon me and upon others whom I knew.
    (Incidentally, the principal who beat me – and who threatened tp “have me expelled because she KNEW my mother had dyed her hair – the sin of Vanity!”) was hauled off (so I was told) cackling and screaming in a strait jacket one day after she went berserk before some stunned parents. (Some years later, in a newspaper article, she was reported to have become “a psychiatric social worker” – Oh, brother! – and was all dolled up at a party in “a pink silk cocktail dress with matching pumps, and sipping a cocktail.” Pretty ritzy for a nun in her seventies, eh?

    But that was basically the problem; the nuns (so far as I know) were NOT
    sexual abusers (although they sure were heavy-handed sluggers, and
    shredders of juivenile egos), but – they were all secret lushes. My older sister let it slip that her order were heavy drinkers! No wonder the children received such savage beatings during the day – the nuns were in withdrawal. They couldn’t get their hands on the bottles, so they got them on the children, instead.

    Footnote: when my mother died, my sister (a nurse by this time) knew that our mother was dying, but didn’t alert me to that fact. (I thought that she would pull through in the hospital again, as she always had.)
    If I hadn’t been there, she would have died all alone, but my sister was about 200 miles north, enjoying CHRISTMAS with the “kinfolk.” (Incidentally, I don’t celebrate Christams anymore.) One of the nurses in the hospital was a bit shaken when I told her that my sister didn’t bother to stay (even though she knew our mother was dying), and the nurse told me: “Honey, you can always have Christmas, but you only have one mother.” (But my sister DOES have a mother: “The Holy Mother Church”;
    her flesh-and-blood mother was too “inadequate” for the purpose.)

    Thanks for giving me a forum to let off some steam; if any of those “apologists” for the Catholic Church had half a brain (which they don’t), they’d realize that their own emissaries were a greater influence for inspiring lifelong, visceral anti-Catholic sentiment (from ex-Catholics such as myself) than all the semi-literate vituperations of backwoods televangelists.

    But, they are too smugly arrogant; the Church types believe that they are proof against anything, and that they will go on forever because, as one priest put it: “we are monolithic.” But, monoliths have a nasty habit of eroding, and collapsing. Frankly, I hope I live long enough to witness the whole rotten system collapse under the weight of all its collective sins. The responsible parties are long-gone, and unregenerate to the end, but since their “spiritual descendants” won’t ever attempt to redress old wrongs – then let “the sins of the father be visited upon the son.”

  22. Richard Says:

    I guess that some of the stories that I told were mild compared to some of these. The take home message is that even though much attention has been focused on the horrors of sexual abuse committed by these pigs masquerading as Catholic clergy, nonetheless while all of that was going on, legions of children were being brutalized all over America in schools by a cadre of psychotically stunted thugs masquerading as nuns, priests, and brothers. For what it is worth, our story will be told, and, as General MacArthur said when he was exiled from the Phillipines, “I shall return”; and America will hear our stories.

  23. pattyann Says:

    With Easter passing, I knew in my heart that I did not have to attend church. I prayed quietly in my back yard, in the sunshine, taking in nature at its finest.
    My husband and I went to Walmart and did some grocery shopping.
    Long ago are the days of lillies, pattent leather shoes, and church processions.
    I felt a sense of freedom for the first time that day.
    I did not feel guilty for not attending church, or doing the family thing.
    It took me a long time to feel this way, but it was a pretty good feeling.
    I believe that this blog has helped me in that knowing that I was not alone. For years, I felt so ashamed and alone in my memories, that I only went through the motions, never enjoying the day for what it really was. Maybe a ray of freedom has shined into my heart. Maybe?????

  24. shelley Says:

    i was raised protestant and went to public school, but on my way to school i passed by the catholic school just in time to see the nuns beat the catholic kids into the building. boys were in one line, girls in another, nuns on both sides hitting them every so often with what looked like yardsticks – kind of like driving cattle.

    seeing that scared me. i was afraid the nuns would escape the chain link fence and come after me when they were done with the catholic kids.

    that was in the 50′s and early 60′s but i still sometimes have nightmares about sinister catholic schools or witches in nuns habits and witches hats.

    what i read here tells me how awful it was for the kids actually living through that kind of thing, not just hurrying by it like i was.

  25. Mary Rutley Says:

    The UK had vile nuns too. I was sent to a Catholic Boarding School in Dartford, Kent when I was four. The abuse by the nuns was mainly psychological, with one instance of sexual abuse after I committed a heinous crime – I wet the bed.

    This vile order – The Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy – also owned orphanages in Holywell and Preston were the nuns were even more cruel to the children. And this order’s name appears on the list of those connected with sexual abuse in the USA!

    • Dora Says:

      in reply to Mary’s comments re the Sisters of Charity of Our lady of Mercy. I and my two sisters (surname Savage) attended St Clares Convent Pantassah Holywell NE Wales from 1946-1951 approx. We were age one. two and three. I can confirm the terrible physical/mental abuse inflicted on little children. the sad thing is that at the time this abuse was considered ‘the norm’ by both the abusers and the abused (the abused knew no different way of life) It always affects people in later life one way or another. Morally, every child has the right to a happy childhood – the nuns ignored this right. I met one of the nasty nuns when I was older, about 15 and I looked at this fat little women in disbelief. She had terrorised my childhood but I remain silent. This is the hold they have on you. The abused mind is then in conflict -as these nuns are perceived by others as ‘holy’ and ‘righteous’, Who would believe your words against these paragons of virtue. If the truth were told everyone would be horrified that you had spoken out. . A conflict of knowing and pretending you don’t know. Is it a wonder that so many have problems in later life. There are comments on a BBC Wales site which was archived 2009 about St Clare’s Orphanage also a group photograph including myself and my two sisters with two nuns. As this site is now closed I have come to a full stop. there is also peter firth site to comment on.

  26. Martin Says:

    I was raised on Long Island, Rockville Center Diocese, schooled and abused by Amityville Dominicans. They stole my childhood and left me with a lifetime of pain. Many in the public see the nuns as victims of the priests. Not in our parish. The priests didn’t abuse anyone. The nuns seemed quite capable of abusing children without any prompting from the priests. Even if they were passing the abuse down from the patriarchal church, that has never been an acceptable excuse for abuse. The nuns were adults and we were small children. When I think back on the emotional and physical cruelty these sadists inflicted, I can say without a doubt that they were some of the most evil human beings I’ve ever known.

    • firetender Says:

      I see a trickle coming out of the cracks in the convent walls. Hopefully, they will soon burst from the pressure!

      Are you still in touch with your classmates? Have them check in. I bet the abuse in the NYC Parochial school system alone could choke the site’s processor!

      I have not solicited ANYONE I know to contribute to the topic of this Forum, nor am I seeking out other Forums to link to for new readers concerned with abuse by nuns within the protection of the Catholic Church. All the responses you see are by people who were attracted here by the Great Whatever.

      We are finding each other again, looking into each others’ eyes and saying, “No, you weren’t crazy, OR any of those despicable things you were told you were. You didn’t deserve the beatings. They were deeply disturbed people who protected each other while they hurt you willfully!” and maybe, “I love you for surviving, and thank you for speaking up!”

      It was wholesale abuse. We all saw it. We all felt it. Many of us were deeply hurt by it. At the very least, today we can comfort each other.

      It just dawned on me that that is exactly what is happening here. First off, I’ll speak for myself. When I see a new response in my mailbox, I smile. I am comforted because after 52 years, my classmates are finally acknowledging something we could only hint at then; the degree of the horror as experienced by us as little children! We are identifying our abusers, if only to each other, and making them real.

      (All these years a little voice inside has been saying “That couldn’t have happened, they were married to Jesus Christ for Goddsakes! Nobody would believe it then; who’d believe it now?”)

      With enough voices added to the chorus, denial will not even be necessary anymore.

      Every time a someone new speaks up, that’s another voice added to, what is now a roster of complaints, a characterization of the problem and its scope, and, finally, a showing of solidarity of the abused.

      We are beginning to paint a picture. Or perhaps a better metaphor would be we’re assembling a puzzle whose picture is that of child abuse at the hands of Catholic Nuns from the 1950′s (or thereabouts) until today. Right now, we’re doing it the way I was taught; assembling the outer borders.

    • Michael Says:

      Same nuns as Martin, the Amityville Dominicans in the Rockville Center Diocese. Those experiences are the reason I find myself reading these comments decades later. So much cruelty, so much fear. Tough I wasn’t a frequent. singled out target of direct abuse, the general atmosphere of managing children through fear, along with being an everyday witness to the abuse of others was emotionally debilitating.

      I tried to stay home from school as often as I could because school was, for me, so fraught with anxiety. I switched to public school out of state for high school. I could hardly believe the teachers were as kind as they were, but school had been so tainted by the Catholic experience that I barely limped through. I still carried a great deal of pain. It was only in college that I began to enjoy learning, but the painful memories, the anxiety I felt every weekday and Sunday night in anticipation of Monday– I wish I had a mental eraser.

      I was a very bright, sensitive and obedient child, I sometimes wonder how very different my childhood might have been had I been educated by kind people from the beginning.

      While the Catholic Church plays the victim of unjust persecution, I always think that the true depth of the damage done will never really come to light. They will never really come close to paying for the all the suffering they inflicted on children.

      • Dwayne James Mitchell Says:

        Well said and very well written! —- This is what I experienced as a child in New York City and New Jersey! —- Not only was my educational experience built on “FEAR,” but the quality of the “academic education” was VERY POOR! —- Nuns used Catholic Schools as the medium to indoctrinate the children into the Catholic Church, so that they would have loyal follows as adults to pay the bills of the Catholic Church. —- I did not enjoy my Catholic School educational experience until I became a student in a N.J. State College. —- When I first attended college as an English Major, I was asked by the “Communications Professor” to write an “opinion paper!” I had a very hard time with this assignment because I was never allowed to have an opinion on anything in Catholic School! —— I spend 12 years in school, and I was NOT educated! —— This is criminal! —– The Catholic Church needs to pay “BIG TIME” for this child abuse! ——— All the best to everyone! —– Dwayne

      • George Barilla Says:

        Dwayne, I think that anything we can do to make the catholic church realize that we know what they did and are doing can help us win. If you go to Google and type in “pope francis”, about half way down the page is a picture of me and a link to my blog where I wrote a post about the mafia “gunning” for the pope. It’s nice to see that there is something other than the media portraying francis as a great benefactor to catholics — when in reality he is another abusive nun enabler.

      • Dwayne James Mitchell Says:

        George:
        Every child has “greatness within them,” and it should be the goal of every “professional educator” to help the child to realize that greatness without placing “negativity” within the child’s life! — What went on in Catholic Schools, was beyond being unprofessional. — It was CRIMINAL! —– The “philosophy of the Catholic Church,” when it comes to educating children in not positive, but rather, it is built on imprinting a “negative philosophy within the child” as to their place in the universe! —– I come from a family that believes in the Catholic Church 100%. They do not make a move in their lives without consulting the rules and regulations of the Catholic Church. —- I have noticed something VERY interesting about the children in these families. With regards to their education and their careers, they DO NOT aspire to self-actualization, high standards and greatness. — Rather, they are more than willing to accept being “average,” and settling for “half a loaf of bread,” rather than aspiring to earn a “full loaf of bread!” —- This can be traced back to the “clever indoctrination of the nuns” in Catholic School beating down creativity, individualism, self-determination, goal setting and ambition. —– You cannot be great if you see yourself as small! —- You cannot be “ok” if you see yourself as “not ok!” —- God did not make junk! —- I had a “learning disability in school throughout my first 12 years of my Catholic Education,” and no one helped me! —— The nuns made sure that they “poured religion down my throat,” but they did little to assist me with my academic education. ——- I was drowning and no one would throw me a life-jacket. — My 12 years of Catholic Education was built on fear, and you cannot learn when you are afraid to go to school. —- It was only after I left Catholic Education, that I started to see the potential that I had, and I met successful people who taught me how to be successful. My life changed when I graduated from a School of Technology, had a positive experience in the U.S. Army, received my BA Degree in Education, married a GREAT Woman, (who is also a teacher), earned two MA Degrees in Education & Human Development, and had a VERY Successful Career in Public School Teaching. —- When I was in Junior year of H.S. a nun told me that no “Catholic College / University would ever accept me as a student.” —- I told her that I wanted to go to a State School. I have two degrees from a State Teachers College, and one from a private university. —– Once I took control of my own life, made my own decisions, set my own goals, developed my own plan of action, took organized focused action while using 100% of my talents, skills and abilities this changed my life from “negative to positive.” —– I would NEVER allow a child of mine to attend a Catholic School. —- I would NEVER bring up a child of mine Catholic. I would bring them up as a Christian! —— God bless everyone on this GREAT site. —- You are GREAT! — You have the power to do GREAT things in your life. —– “Turn off” the Catholic Church’s ideas about life and living. The Catholic Clergy are a sick group of people! —– They will destroy a child’s creativity! —– They will bury their GREATNESS! ———- They only want to seek control over them! —— Dwayne

      • Dwayne James Mitchell Says:

        All of our lives could have been much more “positive” had we not attended Catholic School! —— God Bless! —– Dwayne

      • Melpub Says:

        Anyone know anything about Augustinian nuns?

      • MaryW Says:

        WOW Michael, I can so identify with your hell as we all can with varying degrees of torture. God bless you and all of us that have gone through Catholic School Hell.

      • Brian Says:

        Michael and Martin, sorry to hear your story. What is it with the Dominican nuns, I was abused by them at Incarnation, Queens Village, NY in the late fifties. There have been so many postings about them and not just in NY, you are not alone brother.

  27. Richard Says:

    As long as I breathe oxygen, and am vertical, I will do everything that I can do to let the world know what happend to so many children all over this nation and the world as well, apparently. As we watch the pope and other Catholic clergy squirm over much of the sexual abuse that happened to so many, so long ago, we must also let the world know that children were emotionally and physically abused, and to a horrendous degree. To all my compadres on this site, I say, drive on, and let the world know what you went through. This is a catharsis.

  28. frank Says:

    Congratulations firetender on a well thought out, well argued and well-written article.

    Much of what I have been reading could have been written about the Irish nuns, priests and brothers in Australia’s Catholic schools. I was physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually abused by Good Samaritan nuns, Sisters of Mercy nuns and Christian Brothers in Brisbane in the 50s and 60s. On the first day of grade 1, I was hit with a cane (I believe made of lawyer vine) to the extent that I defecated in my pants. In grade 6 (10/11 years old) I was given over 600 cuts with the ‘cane’ by the sadistic Sister Genevieve. I was told that “I was the work of the devil”, that I was scarred for life as the product of a mixed marriage, that my mother was evil (a devout Anglican) and that any old day I could well die in my sleep in mortal sin and burn in hell for all eternity. I was petrified of going to sleep and would burn myself to help me stay awake at night. I won’t go on — you get the drift.

    It is affirming in some way to read everyone’s experience, to allow myself to say and feel things that have been buried for more than 40 years. Counselling and a five-day retreat for adults who were abused as children has helped a lot. While I am now a lot more accepting that what happened to me and a lot of others like me had major negative life impacts, I can only imagine how much more horrific and damaging it must have been/still is for those kids who were sexually abused as well.

    In supporting firetender’s conclusions, the fact that the patterns of abuse described here are so consistent, and pervasive — everywhere in the world the Irish Catholic clergy went, the story is the same, leads any thinking person to the conclusion that this is not about a few bad apples. Rather this is deeply rooted in the values, beliefs and culture of Catholic organisations involved with kids — schools, orphanages and other institutions.

    It grows out of and goes hand-in-hand with the stock in trade of Catholicism — guilt, fear, repression, dependency, conformity. Unless and until these disappear, until Catholicism is about a loving rather than a vengeful God, then the organisation will keep delivering what it has been delivering, even if over time the means change.

    I have absolutely no confidence that there will ever be a realistic attempt, let alone success, to make the fundamental changes necessary to prevent abuse in any form from being part and parcel of the Catholic experience.

    My sincere and heartfelt best wishes to all in coming to terms with your experience, and experiencing ongoing health and happiness in your lives.

  29. pattyann Says:

    I was told a couple of years ago by a local nursing home, that there are many residents near death who are terrified to die. Somewhere along the line the Church has convinced them that they are going to face a terrible dilemma when they pass over. They were told that they have sinned so terribly, that they cannot be forgiven. They will go straight to hell. How sad is that? To hang on, and not allow restful slumber to take hold of you.
    I think of all the horror that was pounded into us, and that we are indeed damaged goods.

  30. Maura Says:

    Reading these updates has been a big help to me in healing. Although its abhorrent to think others went through what I did, its good to know that I didn’t imagine how terrifying an experience catholic school and catholic nuns and a catholic orphanage was. I wonder how many of us still consider ourself catholic. I personally do not , although I do consider myself a Christian and a believer, I would only enter a catholic church if a friend was being married or buried.

  31. Monica Fairley Says:

    I, too, can support and validate all of the experiences voiced above.
    My entire schooling life was with the nuns – St Joseph’s and The Mercy’s in Brisbane, Australia, in the 1950′s and 60′s.
    The physical abuse with metal rimmed rulers, thumping, pushing, ear-pulling, caneing all took place. The humiliation for insignificant “sins”. Not being allowed to hold hands with a new “best friend”. Not allowed to visit the toilet resulting in “wetting the floor” – the place must’ve smelt like a cattle yard! Being terrified all through my school years to go to school wondering what I could possibly do “wrong” that day to incur the wrath of the nuns. The “volunteers” called for each afternoon to sweap the floors and clean the toilets.
    Music lessions were the same as well as sport. No encouragement was ever given for a job well done in case you got a “swelled head” which has left me a lifetime of jumping through hoops.
    I want to cry for all you people out there as well as for myself for the lost childhood, the constant waiting for someone to, even now, place a heavy hand on my shoulder, shove me into a wall and tell me I’ve been caught out.
    It’ll never go away but it has strengthened my resolve to never let it happen to any of my four children. One of them remarked to me after telling a little of what I went through..he said,”Mum, you have to realise now ..that it stopped with you”.
    Speak up everyone out there from all over the world. We are together now and we know we were not “bad” or the “devil’s children” and if anything, we are the best, the brightest and the most sensitive.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      To Monica and Frank:

      As you were both victims of the Mercy Sisters (the cruellest religious order, together with the Christian Brothers, to have come out of Ireland), I do wonder what the pair of you feel about the ‘celebrations’ by the Mercy Sisters after 150 years in Queensland. What is there to celebrate when the history of the state will be forever tainted by the abuses (Nudgee & Neerkol) committed by this wretched order?

      Personally, I wish the ship that brought the original

      sisters to Queensland had sunk at sea.

      • Frank Says:

        hi Mary,
        I am squarely focused on my continuing efforts at healing. I don’t harbour anger or vengeful feelings towards my tormentors. I’m not sure why that is… I think I pretty quickly stopped thinking of them as human beings and learned to not dignify their existence with any form of acknowledgement beyond standing there and being beaten… with a steely resolve to not let the pain show.

        I did not know about their 150 years celebrations… and now that I do, I have no emotion, no reaction, nothing to say about this total irrelevancy to me. Even if I came face to face with one of them today, I would have nothing to say. I’m not in the least curious about what led them to the beliefs they had and actions they took, nor if they still think they were right, or if they regret what they did and have changed… couldn’t care less!

        This is probably the same dehumanisation of one’s enemies that allows cold-blooded killing, summary execution without a care or a thought.

        I am no longer a catholic, nor a Christian, nor religious in any way, shape or form. God may exist, but there is absolutely no good reason why any religion should… and whether or not God exists does not change my values and beliefs about who I am, what I stand for, and how I can best live my life.

        As it happens, the sisters of Mercy were the least oppressive religious order I was exposed to. I remembered (in a therapy session) sister Loretta Mary at St Joseph’s convent at Kangaroo point in about 1961 showing me gratuitous kindness and affection… so at least they were not all rotten… at least not that one on that day anyway.

        I’m afraid that it would have taken a lot of ships sinking over a long period all round the world to have prevented this scourge befalling us… but then, that would have left the Irish kids to cop it all.

  32. Mary Says:

    I have read all of the stories above and they truly were heart wrenching. Hopefully the evil witches who called themselves nuns will burn in hell’s fire. I truly believe this will happen to them. I too went to school in Holyoke, Mass. and was tortured by the “nuns.” I got punched in the back about 10 times when I was only six years old and didn’t even know why. I was never even given an answer, and yet I still remember not doing anything bad to cause this to happen. I was a very quiet and shy kid as I remember. Then in the 3rd grade the nun didn’t like my handwriting, she called it sloppy, so she smashed my hand with a yardstick until my hand bled. I had to live in fear until the end of that school year. I was laughed at in front of the classroom when I didn’t know the correct answer to a question. I saw dozens of other children beat up, hair pulled, gum put on their nose, heads stuck in garbage pails, wetting their pants in fear, not being able to leave the cafeteria until every bit of food was eaten, heads slapped, ears pulled. It was an everyday occurrence at the school run by the Catholic nuns back in 1961 to 1969. The horror of it all. I have tried to put all of this behind me somehow and trying to convince myself that I was made to go to this school with mentally ill teachers. They had to be psychotic or mentally ill to treat innocent children in this way. I believe they will be punished in the end. I believe they are rotting in hell right now. That in itself brings peace to my mind. I will never forgive them though for all they’ve done, they don’t deserve my forgiveness. I will leave that up to God to decide. For all of the people who wrote the above horror stories, please stay strong and know that you were and always will be higher and way above those cowardly child abusers. May they rot in hell’s fire for their rotten deeds on this earth towards innocent children.

  33. Mary Rutley Says:

    To Frank of Brisbane, and to Monica Fairley: I also went to school in Brisbane and Kedron State High School was pure heaven after the four years of hell I endured at Our Lady’s High School in Dartford, England.

    Everyone in Brisbane KNEW that Catholic institutions were cruel places, but the vile monks and nuns brainwashed their victims to the degree that the kids hardly dared to think for themselves. And the parents had been brainwashed as well, so they didn’t protect their kids. When the child next door to us in Clayfield came home sobbing after she was bashed by a nun, her mother believed that a bride of Christ could do no wrong.

    What I would say to you, and to everyone on this site, is that we are lucky ones because we survived, and now WE WILL BE HEARD.

  34. Linda Merriott Davenport Says:

    I went to St. Louis Catholic school on Swope Parkway in Kansas City, MO. I was not Catholic. It was 1963-64?? I was in 5th or 6th grade.

    I saw a nun go crazy one day and beat a boy half to death! She beat him until he fell on the floor and then kept kicking him while he lay there. Then she dragged him to the cloak room and yelled at him not to move. AS IF HE COULD HAVE!!!

    We were all too scared to say anything or defend him. We had to step over him when we went to get our coats and lunches. He was gone when we came back. He never returned to school and he was never mentioned again. It was as if he never existed.

    I still wonder what ever happened to him. Did he have lasting physical/emotional trauma? How could he not?

    I wish I could find him and find out the rest of his story. I can’t remember his name or anything. Just that awful beating. He was not a bad kid. He was probably ADD. He just could not sit still. And that day the nun just lost it.

    If ANYONE out there knows and could help me find out who/where this kid is today I would very much appreciate it.

    God bless you all. And don’t blame God for what people do!

  35. Emme Says:

    You often hear abusers explain how they pick their victims – how they can “tell” if the child is maleable or weak-willed or powerless. All kinds of abusers talk about this, from pimps to pederasts to priest. Much of the testimonies I’ve read here have almost to a person described their sense of total powerlessness at the hands of the nuns. And it makes me wonder: how much of the abuse heaped upon these children by the nuns helped facilitate many students’ subsequent sexual abuse by the priests? I mean, if on a daily basis your powerlessness and/or emasculation is pounded into you (literally!) can you imagine how easy it is for the priest/pederast to cherry-pick his victims?

    • pattyann Says:

      This abuse opened the door to many other abuses in my life.
      My esteem was so low, I was a target for anyone looking for a victim.
      I did not know how to fight back, and had many abusive relationships and friendships throughout my life. The strange part was that I did not know I was being abused at the time. I was too familiar with being treated like gum on the bottom of someone’ s shoe.
      My abuse to myself was the worst.
      I was never abused by a priest, but by other so-called higher ups in the church. I was ripe for the picking.

  36. Nick Says:

    I was born and Raised in South west philadelphia. where We also suffered beatings at the hands of the Catholic Nuns of Saint Barnabas School.
    Not every Catholic Nun was a monster, but alot of them where very mean cruel people, who never should have become nuns in the first place. I dont have any fond memories of Nuns. Just the very thought of them brings back bad memories or dreams. They wear the black Cloak of Anger. I believe they where nasty people alot of times because of the lack of sex . Even the principal of this school would put us over her knee and beat us with a large wooden paddle. another of the Nuns was much more vicious.. *(Sister Girtrude) She would take her long fingernails that she would Sharpen ( no lie) and would scrape them on childrens arms and backs. thank god that evil demon nun is no longer walking this earth. i hope she burns in hell, evil wench

  37. Nick Says:

    Because of these evil lonely people , that we call people of god, I am no longer a Catholic, I still believe in Christ and God, but i am definetly not proud to be Catholic , Nor do i go to church anymore, the nuns would force you to go to Church sometimes twice a day and make us sing. If you refused to Sing, they would pull you out in the aisle and spank you in front of your whole class. It was very embarrasing and demeaning to me, and every other kid who was abused by these Bats of hell. I rejoiced very much when i heard that nuns could no longer be teachers in philadelphia. They thought they could just beat you till you act good, but the more they beat us, the more angry i would get, And now i have aggression problems. I hope i dont use these methods on my kids one day. Most of the Nuns of Saint barnabas Where very old and very cruel.
    I dont recall priest ever bein mean like that, just those Cruel Women we Call Nuns

  38. Brian Fellow Says:

    While I would never trade what the nuns did to me emotionally for what the priests did to others sexually, it did seem as though these angry, spiteful “women of god” were highly motivated to hurt us in the way they knew best. And, yes, this abuse was overwhelmingly directed at boys.

    While I no longer “belong” to any RC church (I didn’t leave the church however, they left me), and while I would never justify anything they have done, I have thought for a long that this sort of thing isn’t a function of Catholicism per se, its a result of any organization that is above reproach.

    If you take responsibility or accountability away from most people, they will quickly turn very selfish, mean, vindictive, and tyrannical. This is precisely what Plato was talking about with Ring of Gyges in Book 2 of The Republic almost 2500 years ago. If they don’t have to answer for their actions, watch out…

  39. C. Villanueva Says:

    Thank you for making this public! I was in the Catholic Home for Girls at 29th and Allegheny, Phila. PA. in the 60′s. It was run by the order of the Sisters of St. Joseph and they were extremely sadistic. We were helpless young people, some orphaned, and most heartbroken because our families didn’t want us, and these nuns who were our caretakers hated us and showed no mercy in inflicting physical and emotional pain on us. We didn’t talk about it because we were trapped in this system that believed in the goodness and kindness of the Catholic Church and all its nuns and priests. No one would have believed it back then. They say the truth will set you free and so I am compiling a book about the abuses in the Catholic Home and the stories of the girls that we were. I welcome anyone to contact me who was there.

    • Mario Di Boscio Says:

      Hi C. Villanueva

      I am familiar with the girls home at 29th & Allegheny Ave. There was a nun that taught at Holy Child School, that came from that girls home. Her name was Sister Tarcissius not sure of the spelling. I had this witch in 6th & 7th Grade. That would be from 53 to 55. The best way I can describe her she looks like the witch that played in the “Wizard of OZ” I mean it seriously. She use to hit me everyday, day in and day out when I was in seventh grade. She was very sadistical. Read the part in the blog that says “Mario Says”

      Regards,
      Mario

      • C. Villanueva Says:

        Hi Mario. No. I don’t recall the nun you described. She may have been transferred or died by the time I got there in 1965.

    • tea Says:

      I was in Catholic Home for Girls at 69th & Woodland 1976-1977. The girls were ready bait for the pimps who would come on campus and recruit them into prostitution. Behind the building was St. Joseph’s a place for unwedded moms. Hmmm. I tried to resist the drug culture there. It was so violent usu. girl on girl, sometimes pimp on girl, and depressing that I tried drugs. It was the first time I ever laughed in my whole life. We were at the intersection of 3 different gangs and prostitution and drugs were the core of their “business.” One night 3 of my girlfriends were raped by Pumpkin’s gang. Two died. Kia lived. When we told the nuns they ignored us. Called the cops; they ignored us. I called the other 2 rival gangs and a “war” broke out. That was on a Friday night. Monday they kicked me out on the street. Threw my clothes out the window. I was homeless for years and yet so much safer. No more rapes, beatings, or drug abuse. My schooling suffered, but my mind, body and soul are intact. Thank God!

  40. Richard Says:

    I agree that someone should write a book about the abuse those pigs masquerading as nuns did to kids all over America. For those of you new to this post, scroll back and read some of my posts, by “Richard”. Certainly the sexual abuse by priests was worse and should not be downplayed, but the physical and emotional abuse wrought by nuns in that era should not be forgotten either. I am curious if any “brothers” did much of this thing, most of the dialog seems to be about nuns.

  41. frank Says:

    Yes, the Christian Brothers are part of the whole messy picture as well … at least in my experience here in Australia. I can recall they had their fair share of sadists. They certainly shared the nuns’ view of Old Testament punishment and retribution. Personally I was not sexually abused, nor knew of any sexual abuse although there were rumors – but it was a day school – not a boarding school.

    I was subject at their hands to physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. What was different with them compared to the nuns was that the nuns had me from age 6-12, the brothers from 13-17 … so by the time I got to the brothers, even though the physical aspect of the abuse was considerably worse, I had worked out ways to cope, I was older, stronger, more resilient, I had no respect for them, I was starting to work out that there was one new option I had not seen before – escape the whole system – them, the Church, religion, their so called ‘God’. But there was a price to pay – my coping strategies were not optimal – I became comfortable and skilled at being angry and violent, lighting fires, breaking windows, fighting. It opened up more options for me, made them a little fearful and hesitant with me … I learned ‘well’ from them.

    Some kids got sent from the nuns to the brothers earlier … age 9. I don’t know, but can only imagine that their experience would have been similar to kids of the same age with the nuns.

  42. firetender Says:

    Looks like we’ve lit a tiny fire here!

    I was somewhat amazed at my Google search of “Catholic nuns child abuse” brought this blog out as #1. Okay, okay, that is the title, but looking over the first few pages it mostly shows up within the context of Priestly abuse.

    Once again, I encourage more stories to come out. We’ve already established a certain consistency state-to-state and country-to-country (incompletely, of course) in terms of behavior, but it’s enough to spur others on to speak out.

    I really don’t intend to lead a movement here, but I do want to be a catalyst in the hopes that others will contribute according to their ability to ban the Catholic Church from interacting with our children.

    Anecdotally, through my brother who is ten years older than me, I was aware of a similar pattern amongst Brothers of the Catholic Church.

  43. mary Says:

    I was beat up by the nuns on numerous occasions as a child when I attended a Catholic school back in the 60′s. Once was in the first grade when I was only six years old and again in the third grade when I was eight years old. The first incident in the first grade, I was punched in the back so hard about 10 times and I never even knew the reason. Even my little friend said to me “What did you do that made her so mad at you.” I couldn’t even answer her, as I did not know. The second incident the nun was walking around the room with her yardstick during our penmanship practice. She stopped and was watching me write. She didn’t like my penmanship, so she took the yardstick and slammed me in the hand so hard that my hand started bleeding. It was horrible. Then she made the statement, “Some day you will thank me for this.” The same nun hit a kid in the back so hard that the yardstick broke into two pieces all because he was having trouble with his math. I was totally appalled!!!

    Can you believe I still remember these incidents 50 years later? That’s the kind of impression these incidents left in my mind to this day. So I ask myself hundreds of times over, why, why, why, and I never can come up with an answer. I also ask myself why didn’t someone put a stop to this abuse by these horrible devils who called themselvse nuns? No one seemed to care back then. I reality of all of this still shocks me to this day.

  44. Fran Says:

    I too,like another poster on this site, C. Villanueva ..lived at The Catholic Home for Girls on 29th and Allegheney.I lived there from 1965 to 1969.

    Two sadistic nuns who especially stand out were Sister Baptista and Sister Helen Constance who imbued in my neurons a permanent case of Post Traumatic Stress which has plagued me the rest of my life.

    Also,there was an the old crone of a cook named Sister Rita Rose who held us girls in contempt.This same nun so much that that she called us “Homies”. It was another way of calling us societal rejects that no one wanted! :( This person was not above serving us inferior canned food and once gave us stale potato chips with ants in them.

  45. C. Villanueva Says:

    …and let’s not forget how the nuns ate steaks and drank wine while we ate the garbage food. I worked in the kitchen and remember how Sister Rita Rose scrapped food off our plates and put it in a big pot to be fed to us as “goulash” once a week.

  46. maura Says:

    Hi,
    For I guess what was an orientation period we were in a small house in Greensburg Pa
    called St Joseph’s I think.
    After that it St. Paul’s Home for boys and girls.
    It still makes me ill to hear those words.
    Thanks.
    Just let me know if you need a release to use my info.
    I will gladly give it.
    Pedophile priests are not the only thing the Church has to answer to.
    Violent nuns is another.
    Maura

  47. Craig Says:

    I empathisize with all of you. My brother and I attended Marist Brothers Observatory in Johannesburg, South Africa, while my sister was sent to Holy Family Convent. Let me say that I would really not care to relive my school years – they were one long nightmare from which I thought I would never awaken. I was a very shy inoffensive child but that didn’t save me. You see the rules of a catholic school, like a totalitarian state are set up so that it is impossible not to break them at some time. That way you are kept in a state of guilt and fear. So I would just like to thank the following people for making my formative years the hell they were:
    Mrs. Marcus – for emotionally degrading me and caning me on the hands for the smallest infringement,
    Mrs. Bothma – for stamping on my feet with high heel shoes and humiliating me in front of the class because I couldn’t touch my toes,
    Brother Gustav(grade 5-6) – for venting your frustration and anger by caning me on the back when you felt I was writing down the incorrect answers in your catechism class,
    Miss Paisley(grade 6) – for continually humiliating me in front of the class and for slapping me across the face because I folded a reply slip and put it in my pocket,
    Brother Raymond – although you never actually hit me, you did it to a lot of my friends – hard enough to split their backsides open. You are without doubt one of the angriest, most frustrated and most psychotic individuals I have ever met(and I was a reservist police officer for 8 years). You kept me in a state of almost constant fear,
    Sister Siglunde – I believe you had some kind of personal grudge against me. You caned me for almost anything you could find an excuse for. I particularly enjoyed it when you made me stand outside the class during singing lessons because my voice was “ugly and upsetting the harmony of the songs”,
    Brother McCartin – for being another psychotic bitter old man and especially for hitting me, when I was 10 or 11, with a cricket bat because my cricket stroke was not up to your standards.
    Finally I wish to thank the catholic church for unleashing these vile bastards and bitches on us. Be assured none of my children will ever go to a catholic school, or any religious school for that matter.
    There were many other beatings and humiliations but these are the most vivid.
    Keep in mind I went to a private school where there was still some accountibility. I shudder to think what went on in state sponsored or charitable schools where they had carte blanche with the kids.
    So to all of you I mentioned, please know that I hate you, sincerely and utterly.

  48. John Nancarrow Says:

    Reading all these posts has my head pounding, my heart racing, and my body experiencing spasms of trembling. It’s the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I have been suffering from since my 14 months in a Catholic School in Nowra, New South Wales, Australia in 1957.

    I attended St Michael’s Infants and Primary School and it was run by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. During that glorious year of 1957, I was a victim of a particularly sadistic Nun by the name of Sister Mary Rayfield. I was five, yes five, years old and turned six in the August of that year.

    Sr Rayfield hated everything in life, I’m sure, but she particularly hated me because I was a child of a “mixed marriage” and seemed determined to punish me for my father’s Protestantism. I really needed that bit of extra attention. Like everyone else on this blog, I was belted with a dowelling rod or a feather duster on a daily basis. One soon learned to memorise that hideous little book, The Catholic Catechism, and never, ever, make a mistake when she barked a question at you like “Who made the World”? And you’d jump up and answer, “God made the World”. Get it wrong and a belting ensued instantly.

    Apart from the beltings with the dowelling rods, cane feather dusters, slaps, ear pulling, kicks in the pants etc there was the usual humiliation and deprecation, endlessly and pornographic lectures on the suffering of Christ, the refusal to allow you to go the toilet, not being allowed to have lunch and a thousand other petty torments.

    Then there were the “stress positions” of being made to stay in a kneeling position for hours on end before a hideous and gory painting of Christ’s scourging; being made to cross a gravel quadrangle on ones knees, and being endlessly reminded of one’s impending death and the certainty of purgatory or hell if we died during the night and weren’t in a state of grace. All this at 5 years old!

    But the apogee of the whole thing happened on a Friday afternoon in October 1957. Immediately after lunch, I committed the terrible crime of accidentally sitting on my new packet of crayons and breaking them. Sr Rayfield went positively insane, dragged me to the front of the class, stood me with my face an inch from a brick wall, and proceeded to flog me for the next two and a half hours. During the course of this beating, she broke two 1/2 inch dowelling rods on me and then finished the flogging with a cane feather duster. I tried not to cry, but it was impossible, I shook uncontrollably from the pain and the shock, I fainted for a moment and this Bride of Christ showed not one iota of compassion. Strangely, when the end-of-school bell finally went, she must have realised that I would go home and that, maybe, my parents would do something about it, and she gave me a holy picture and promised not to tell my parents what I had done! I was taken to a doctor that night for some “pain relief medication” and he counted 47 distinct and separate bruises from the canes. There were only a few welts on my back and upper thighs that oozed blood. That didn’t count multiple hits in the same place or on places that didn’t show bruising clearly, such as the backs of the hands. I had bruises from the lower calves up both legs, across the back and arms and a nice “Y” shaped bruise across the cheeks. I had just turned six!

    That was my last day at the Catholic school. My father took me and my sister out and we went to state schools after that – but not before Father Purcell had rung to tell my parents that there could be serious repercussions from my father threatening the good Sisters!

    The worst “corporal punishment” I ever got in a state school wasn’t even a warm-up for what I’d got on a daily basis from Sr Rayfield.

    There must have been 50 or 60 kids in that 1957 Transition Class. Someone must remember. There’s a chance that Sr Rayfield is still alive and, if she is, I intend to sue her arse off.

    There was a girl in my class. I think her name was “Cathy” and she wore a creamy/whitish beret. Sr Rayfield seemed to hate her for some reason as well and belted her every day for no reason I could ever work out. I wonder what ever happened to her?

    If there is anyone else in Australia who remembers SISTER MARY RAYFIELD of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, or was in that class in NOWRA NSW in 1957 and witnessed these events, I’d love to hear from you.

    It was 53 years ago, but why should she get away with it and why should the Catholic Church and the Sisters of the Good Samaritan get away with it? They ruined a good part of my life, gave me PTSD which I still have. Even now, at 59, I still have nightmares occasionally about that beating and that hideous apparition in billowing black belting into me. For years, I had panic attacks every time I saw a Nun in billowing black – even if it was just in a movie.

    The one good thing that came out of that experience was that I became an atheist from the age of six. I could never reconcile the idea of a loving God with the terror, pain and humiliation inflicted on me by that Bride of Christ when I was 5 and 6 years old. I brought all my four kids up without the slightest touch of religious instruction and never inflicted Catholicism upon them. They are all well-balanced and creative people, secular, atheistic, and happy. Thankfully, not one of them could answer the first question from the Catholic Catechism. If asked, “Who made the world?” they’d answer, “the world formed 4 1/2 billion years ago, about 10 billion years after the big bang.”

    I don’t think my children believe me; it’s so different from anything they ever experienced. But it is all true – and I hate those rotten Nuns with a passion as great as the fury with which they bashed and flogged me.

    So again, if ANYONE was a student at St Michael’s Convent School in Nowra and was in that class with SISTER MARY RAYFIELD, in late 1957 and witnessed that hideous flogging of me, please contact me. I really need your help.

    • John Nancarrow Says:

      I did a bit more investigating and wrote to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. All those years I thought her name was Sr Mary Rayfield, but the Good Sisters told me it was Sr Mary Raphael. It seems she pronounced “Raphael” as “Ray-feel”.

      Anyway, I asked about her present whereabouts and the Good Sisters refused to tell me anything more about her. The only thing they offered was their “concern” and offered to refer me to “Towards Healing” i.e. an organisation set up by the Church’s insurance company in Australia to limit their liability to compensatory damages – mostly for survivors of sexual abuse. They even offered to send a priest around to pray with me! Yeah, right!

      I put an ad in the classified section of the local newspaper in Nowra seeking anyone who was in that class the day Sr Mary Raphael belted me into unconsciousness. I got three replies. One girl could remember me being caned and the fact that I never returned to the school after that. The others had vague recollections of my beating but better recollections of the general sadistic culture of the place. No-one was prepared to write an affidavit because they simply couldn’t remember with enough detail. It was 54 years ago, after all.

      What amazed me in writing to the current Superior of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan was how quickly they went into “lockdown” once they realised why I was seeking Sr Mary Raphael. In my original letter I had said that I was seeking her because “she had had a profound effect on my life” and they assumed it was for something good. They were very helpful and told me her name was “Raphael” and not “Rayfield” and that she had taught there from 1956-1958 and they were pleased that I remembered her with such “fondness”. When I told them the real reason I wanted to find her …well! They had no knowledge of her at all; no idea where she was now; no idea of where she taught after Nowra. She just disappeared! What a surprise, hey!

      There is no doubt about them – and all the other orders of sadists, perverts and child molesters who have been protected and hidden for the last 100 years. The iron curtain surely does come down quickly when they sniff a possible claim against them.

      Insofar as sending a priest around to pray with me … well they can shove that up their holy arses!

      • jane Says:

        Dear John: It is so very sad how this could have happened to you and so many other innocent children. I have too endured the violence of the nuns, but I had to go on and I had to let it go. I had to just let go of the horrible pain and try to go on with my life. As hard as that was to do, it had to be done. Please let it go, and don’t let it ruin even one more minute of your life. It is not worth it. The nuns will get it in the end, somehow, some way. That is what I truely believe. May God bless you and keep you safe. – Nancy

  49. Cat Says:

    I hear you all. My parents forced me to go to catholic (small ‘c’ intended) schools in the fifties in Montreal, Quebec. Those demented, twisted, sexually frustrated bitches psychologically scarred me. You do NOT tell a six-year-old “If you think this or that, or do this or don’t do that, you will go to hell and burn forever.” We were also made to stand for 10 minutes with our arms outstretched “like Jesus”. During our first communion in the school’s chapel, all the little girls had white dresses and veils and each girl was carrying a LIT candle about eight inches behind the girl in front. How DANGEROUS was that?

    It has overshadowed and warped every aspect of my life and I hate the nuns, the catholic church and school system for it. That was St. Urbain’s Academy on St. Urbain Street in Montreal from 1949 to 1952 (grades 1, 2 and 3). I had the same nun for those grades, Mother St. David. May she rot in hell. One day she took all the girls (all-girls school) down the hall near the bathroom and pulled down each girl’s pants to see which girl “hadn’t bathed”.

    I went to grades 8 and 9 at D’Arcy McGee on Pine Avenue in Montreal. One very hot weekend in June I went to a public pool and got a bad sunburn. The stupid “rule” was to wear “nylons” (before pantyhose) because it was “immodest” not to cover your legs. My legs were too sore for a garter belt and because they were tanned I figured I’d get away with not wearing any. Wrong. The old bitch who was the principal chose that day to feel all the girl’s legs and when she found I wasn’t wearing “nylons” gave me a dollar to go buy some. I did and when I returned I told her I didn’t have a garter belt. She said “I’ll fix that” and proceeded to twist the tops of my “nylons” and tuck the twisted tops in on my very sore sunburned legs. May she also be rotting in hell.

    I attended grades 10 and 11 at St. Patrick’s High School for girls on St. Alexander Street in downtown Montreal. I was the only one who refused to attend the weekend “retreat” and I’m still proud of that to this day. By then I was sick to death of religion being shoved down my throat and being told constantly about hell. I was also the FIRST one out on the last day of my last year and never went back. Some of the other girls did go back to visit the nuns. Why, I’ll never ever know.

    Those nuns and the catholic school system are a very large part of why I hate my childhood, and I resent my parents very, very strongly (now dead) to this day for making me go. Around grade 4, I became very rebellious and learned how to hate. I did manage to have one day in a normal large public high school where my friend went. It had a high Jewish population so on Jewish holidays the few remaining kids would be lumped into one homeroom. I skipped my school, went with my friend and, as I figured, I just blended in and the teacher didn’t recognize me. I still feel a huge sense of positive glee for having had it my way, even if it was only for one day. Needless to say I do NOT go to church and do NOT consider myself catholic. Any of those bloody nuns who are still alive should be sued.

  50. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Thank you for writing this. I too tested as a bright student, and it was after this testing that I was singled out for public abuse and humiliation, always in front of the mixed class. I thought all of these decades that they must have detected some pride or rebellion in me that they were trying to wipe out, since none of my classmates was treated this way. By the time I was 15, I underwent an experience of extreme self rejection that I am only now overcoming decades later. I began to understand when reading your post, that this was the dominican nun way of dealing with intelligent students. This sort of extreme abuse and hostility toward us for being gifted was something they were trained to do. Your description of the lifetime affects on the growing child who has yet little sense of self was very healing for me. Understanding does help.

  51. Christine Helrigel Says:

    I always thought it was my fault that I was treated so badly by the Dominican Nuns from first through eighth grades in the fifties and sixties. The emotional abuse and humiliation tore apart my developing sense of self, and it has taken me decades to find restoration. The honesty expressed in all of these posts helped me enormously, to realize that I was not alone, and that this abusive style of teaching must have been taught to these embittered and frustrated women. In the sixth grade, my mother insisted I wear a straight skirt to school that was owned by my much less curvaceous older sister. I fought not to wear it, I knew it would run afoul of sisters prudish standards. My sixth grade nun sent me with a note to the eighth grade nun’s classroom, for she was the principal, a woman with a death’s head as frightening as any. She made me turn to all sides to demonstrate to the class of teen boys and girls how my backside looked like a sausage, and how my posterior stuck out. I never again wore any item of clothing that followed the lines of the female body, and did not dare to wear a straight skirt for several decades after that. Sister could have spoken to me quietly in the hallway, and sent me home to change without humiliating me. But no, I was made an example of, and my developing female anatomy was mocked, and I was treated like a slut in training, for wearing a skirt only out of obedience to my mother.

  52. The Germanator Says:

    My experiences were a little bit different.

    I was born in 1983, and was enrolled at St. Gregory the Great School in Danbury, CT in 1989. By this time, only a fraction of parochial teachers in the country entire were of the cloth. All of my teachers, without exception, were lay.

    While others seemed to indicate the lay teachers were preferable to nuns, I find it difficult to believe given what I experienced and what I saw. Having spent 8 years at this school, there’s simply too much to relate, but here’s a few highlights.

    1- In sixth grade, my teacher began mocking an Italian student’s last name. She cooked up some patently derisive alternative, and made no qualms calling this child by that name. And you could see the glee in her eyes when she said it. She was mocking him, she knew it, and she was enjoying it. The kids, of course, picked up the name and coopted it for their own use. They bullied him until his parents moved him into a public school.

    A few weeks later, the boys in the class (myself included) were formally disciplined by this teacher for bullying. Obviously, the teacher was in hot water for losing the school a few thousand dollars per year, but wasn’t big enough to admit to the principal she’d started this whole mess.

    2- There was a set of twins at my school, a few grades below me. One of them developed a kidney disorder and required a transplant (which he received from his brother). A few weeks after the operation, they returned to school. A side effect of the surgery is, as they say in the drug commercials, “overactive bladder”. A few hours into class, the poor kid raised his hand and ask to go to the bathroom. Permission denied. A young kid, fresh off the operating table, made to squirm in his seat for no other reason than to satisfy the sadistic proclivities of his repressed, embittered housewife teacher. He pissed his pants, by the way. In front of the whole class.

    See, the abuse isn’t physical anymore. It’s all psychological. Teachers plucked from the “flock” – poorly educated and painfully underqualified – are given virtually free reign over their classrooms. They have their favorites and their favorite targets. With only thirty kids per class, it doesn’t take long for the students to realize which side of the fence they’re on.

    Real teachers cost money. As the church is more interested in making money than spending it, it doesn’t behoove them to recruit the most educated, dedicated, or most qualified people to teach their classes. The lay teachers they do recruit are almost always less competent and less professional than their public school counterparts.

    My second-grade teacher was 65 years old. She didn’t have a bachelor’s degree, much less a master’s of education. As far as I could tell, she didn’t have a teaching certificate, either. It didn’t really matter, as she was more concerned with getting us through First Communion than she was with actually teaching.

    My sixth-grade teacher was a sadistic witch who spent more time disciplining than she did teaching. Science? Math? History? She taught none of these. English and Catholic Dogma were the only topics which overtly concerned her. And what was her reward for humiliating and harassing her students? She was hailed as a master disciplinarian and was made principal of some other Catholic school, God help them.

    My seventh-grade teacher was an insufferable dullard who, when it came to most subjects, knew nothing outside what was outlined in our text books.

    My eight-grade teacher was an emotional cyclone who couldn’t get through an hour without relating to the class how her father was a strict disciplinarian, or how her brother is a homosexual, or how she couldn’t have children. How can a kid be expected to learn anything from a woman who can’t manage to put her own personal demons behind her for a measly 8 hours a day?

    We had an art teacher, a young girl fresh out of college who couldn’t manage to do anything better with her art degree. The job was part time and it no doubt paid horribly. She hated every minute it. She hated teaching. She hated kids. In second or third grade, she held up an original Crayola piece I was working on to declare to the class I was somebody utterly incapable of drawing. Funny, as she never bothered to teach us how to draw in the first place.

    Then there was the long line of gym teachers. I can’t even remember who taught it first. In third grade, they hired a guy who grabbed me by the shoulders and slammed me up against a wall for running to the water fountain after a game of basketball.

    Not all the teachers were bad, though. There were a few who were stern, but fair, and that went a long way when the other teachers were playing favorites. These teachers were, however, in the minority. They didn’t help me get to the sleep at night or look forward to going to school, ergo they just aren’t worth mentioning.

    Aside from the teachers, I had to worry about the other students as well. The favorites got away with murder while the targets couldn’t breathe without drawing a suspicious eye or a condemning glare. Girls, on average, were treated better than boys. They were always presumed innocent, while the boys were always presumed guilty. Whenever we lined up to go inside, or to go to recess, lines were segregated by sex. The girls always went first. The boys always went last.

    For nearly eight years, I was bullied and pushed around by the same three or four students. They called me names. They poked fun at my austere upbringing. They made fun of how I looked, how I dressed, what I read. My mother complained to the school at least a dozen times. Were any of these kids disciplined? Nope. Not a one.

    In first grade, three students, as a part of a make-believe game they were playing, tied another student to the rectory mailbox with a jump rope. Insta-detention for all parties involved, and this was something that followed them around for the rest of their time at the school.

    Tormenting a kid relentlessly for eight years straight = no punishment.
    A couple of seven-year-old kids goofing off with a jump rope = SINNERS.

    All in all, I’d have to say the eight years I spent in Catholic school were the worst of my life. I’ve never felt adequate as a human being, and developed a pretty heavy case of social phobia which to this day still makes social interaction a painful experience for me (job interviews are wonderful).

    Ultimately, it was my experiences at the school, seeing how “Catholics” behave, how the clergy behaves behind closed doors, which drove me away from the religion. It distilled within me a healthy dose of skepticism and doubt. I learned to value being treated well by others, and thereby learned why I should treat others well myself.

    In the end, I turned out to be a pretty decent human being. But I’m not a good person because I went to a Catholic school. I’m a good person despite having gone to a Catholic school.

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      To the Germanator:

      You are an incredibly gifted writer and communicator. The bullying spirit inherent in the catholic school system was not able to destroy your gift or your humanity, though I suspect that was their intent. The assaults on your developing sense of self may have wounded your ability to relate socially, but you are a bright and gifted human being and would be a treasure to any friend worth your time.

      I was also treated badly in catholic schools, and only just recently, at the age of 60, realized I had been taught to suspect, mistrust, and comdemn myself, and it became part of my own superego. After all these years I realized I had adopted this self dislike from the abuse of the nuns and the demons who drove them. Jesus is teaching me to see that I had believed the world saw me the way those angry nuns did, when I had really been deceived into seeing myself that way. I had continued the abuse at a level in my mind and I only thought it was the way others looked at me. Through counseling, I am getting free of a lifetime of discomfort in social interactions, and learning to stop killing myself inside.

      A very special generation of children began to come into this world in 1983, an anointed generation. There are churches praying for all of you around the clock. Thank you so much for your post.

  53. Cat Says:

    Unlike you, Christine, the horrific treatment made me hate, suspect, mistrust and condemn OTHER people, not myself. It made me very vengeful and angry and it made me hate authority generally. Unfair or unjust stories in the news can really, really bring out that anger. I try to remind myself that I’m free of those twisted nuns now. I’m 67 years old and I’m infuriated when I look back at how their nasty treatment affected every area of my life. May they rot in hell.

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      Cat, I can identify with those responses as well. I have had a tremendous mistrust of authority, I also have a furious response when reading of injustice. My husband won’t let me watch certain filmsor even news programs with him, because i want to decapitate the villains, and I am shrieking at the screen while he is trying to listen. There is a fury inside me that comes out toward evil people in authority that I still don’t understand. Thank you for mentioning this response; I am still trying to put all the pieces together and understand things about myself. No one else I know is cursing like a sailor and imagining beating to death those who prey on the weak in society, or so I thought. I hadn’t connected this response in myself to the nuns, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. And I have been as hypercritical of others as I have been of myself. It has taken me years of working it through. I did notice last week after getting free of more of my self criticism that my husband suddenly seemed much wiser and more articulate…as though the negative in me was both toward myself, and toward him. This is what makes this site so helpful, I think, talking about this with others who have been there. I have lived among protestants for so long that I had forgotten how different it was to be raised by twisted nuns. I kept wondering where the aggression came from in me, and how hard I have had to work not to critique those in charge constantly, actively looking for the bad teaching that could appear at any moment. So thanks, Cat. I appreciate your comments.

      • Cat Says:

        You’re not the only one cursing like a sailor when watching unjust stories in the news like, for instance, how child predators and murderers get out on bail!! I too am very, very critical of people in general — I can find fault with just about everyone — and I’ve been told I have an awful lot of anger and rage in me, which I certainly know. Sometimes I almost wish someone would pick a fight with me so I could vent that rage! Gotta watch it, and I’ll mention that I do make a point of staying away from situations in which I could become enraged, unlike in my younger days. I don’t mince my words and occasionally when something unfair is happening in MY life to ME, can come across as cutting, brutal, sarcastic and arrogant, maybe even vicious-sounding.

        Other things have happened in my life too of course that have enraged me and caused heartbreak and trauma but those nuns got to me when I was only six years old. I wish so much I could have gone to a regular public school. If I had, I really think my life might have been/would have been quite different. They and the BS they taught absolutely terrified and terrorized me. They talked down to me, were intimidating and condescending and psychologically damaged me, not physically as has happened to so many people, but nevertheless screwed up many years of my life. I was always afraid of hell. No more! I just love that poem “Invictus”.

        I do remember in grades 5, 6 and 7 going to another school, catholic of course, where there were no nuns, but the principal, Phyllis Maher, was a nasty bitch who’d line up the “bad” kids on the stage after lunch and strap their hands with a vengeance with all the other kids lined up watching. That was St. Kevin’s School in Montreal. I always made sure I did what I was told, was a “good little girl”, but inside I was absolutely seething.

        A lot of people I know who are my age say the nuns didn’t bother them, they just shrugged it off and figured they were nuts, and they, then, rejected the fear that the nuns tried to instill in them. I’m always amazed when I hear that, as they are amazed that it bothered me so much. I remember as a very young child (4-5 years old) believing with all my heart that whatever adults said MUST be true!

        I’ll also mention that while there is definitely a rage in me, I also have an awful lot of compassion for people who are suffering because I identify so strongly with suffering. Good luck to all of us!

  54. mary Says:

    So many horrible things happened in these so called Catholic schools. I think they should have been called “Schools of Devil’s Advocate.” That name surely would have been more appropriate. Mental, psychotic rejects working there to abuse poor innocent kids. We need to put all this behind us, as through “no fault of our own” we were sent there to endure all of this. We had nothing and I say “nothing” to do with what happened. We were the innocent victims. Hopefully, God will punish each and every abuser who tried to ruin the lives of all of those poor children.

  55. maura Says:

    well, I personally don’t care what anybody says about this website. This blog has helped me tremendously and I thank God that I found it. I have also been able to begin to forgive the women who took vows as nuns that abused, mistreated and terrorized me. So I for one am grateful.

  56. firetender Says:

    This is Samhain, Halloween, a holy day of death…and now, I see magic happening in an unexpected corner, and it’s about re-birth.

    Just to be clear, I reserve the right to use any religious reference as a metaphor as if I believed in it without holding myself to the belief in anything. In this way, I can insult no one and everyone!

    So, let’s begin…

    You know what, Folks? The Catholic Church is going to get away with this and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    The machine is very well-oiled. Thanks to its believers it has a storehouse of funds to defend itself in all the courts of every land!

    (makes me wonder if the Church isn’t psychic: How wise to salt that money away for a time when it would come to best use!)

    If I could have anything in my life more meaningful than a Certificate of Excommunication by the Pope himself, I can’t think of it.

    You know what? We are too old (most of us here) to be dealing with this shit, but here we are, and whether you want to swallow the metaphor or not, this is Redemption for us!

    Here’s what’s happening.

    I see a lot of children coming out of the cloakrooms of ages gone by who, after so many years of hiding, have come back into the classroom to share with each other…

    I DON’T WANT YOU TO MISS THIS…SHARE WITH EACH OTHER!!!

    This is what twisted our very our souls, kids. We were so AWESTRUCK at the abuse of the idea of Jesus, we were so FLOORED by the dichotomy between the love Eternal and the Conditional love that we had to earn from God’s representatives on earth, through literally TORTURE, that we stopped trusting ourselves completely,

    And with it, each other.

    Who of us EVER talked about this with their peers?

    These fucking women are SICK!

    So, what they say is that this Hallowed Eve is the time when the crack between this world and the next opens up a little. Let’s utilize the concept.

    Here’s a metaphor for you to play with. I’m just introducing it tonight because, quite frankly, I came home and was rocked by how you’re rallying to each others’ support and I’m not doing a damn thing to make it happen!

    It’s like I got pissed off, wrote a note how lonely it has been all these years about no one EVER talking about this shit and a year later, coming back to find that behind the door that the note was nailed to is a room of people helping each other to LOOK at this for the FIRST TIME, the door’s open and THEY are beckoning others in!

    Do you have ANY idea how touched I am?

    So let me throw in to this.

    I, too have been working through this abuse my whole life. I have other writings out on the internet under the general category, “Turning Shit Into Diamonds!” I don’t know if any of you have checked out my firetender.org website but that pretty much brings you into my world.

    It’s a FREE RESOURCE and my suggestion to you is to go to here:
    http://www.firetender.org/Articles.html I KNOW you will, ALL OF YOU, see your reflections there. Please, Dive IN! (I lived this shit for you!). I not only offer you food for thought, but possible pathways out of the morass. Every word is based on honestly shared, personal experience.

    A bunch of my articles not only deal with the abuse at the hands of nuns but also speak to the age we have been inhabiting and other journies in medicine, healing and spirituality. I have a bunch of articles on grief, and suicide as well.

    But I want to offer you something fresh here because I’m inspired.

    I present this to you as a metaphor; something that stands for something else. The something else is whatever translation of the concept you can make for yourself that rings true to your heart. Like, if I talk Jesus, you can see Buddha. (And I’ll use “Jesus” precisely because, if you were at all the child I was, you loved him and understood that THEY were not HIM!)

    It’s about your soul leaving your body. It’s about the piece of You, the child, who, faced with — literally to a child — unfathomable contradictions, had to wrench a part of his/her experience OUT of this painful world to protect it. Unfortunatley, a piece of him/her has always been on the outside, afraid to come back in because, “It HURTS in there!”

    I’m here to tell you, Spirit caught you and has brought you here to help each other heal. The psychic/emotional conflicts and trauma, of course were exponentially made more acute by exposure to repeated physical/emotional abuse that culmulatively became torture.

    It’s called PTSD and it is compounded, not lessened, by witnessing the torture of others because even if you DON’T get beaten you NEVER KNOW WHEN YOUR NUMBER WILL COME UP!

    THIS SHIT IS CRAZYMAKING, no wonder you left your body!

    But the mistrust in your own experience bled over to a mistrust in authority and out of it (if you’re like me, now that I think of it) ALSO a mistrust in anyone else who witnessed this with you.

    So you know what? Well, let me just speak for myself and this ain’t no metaphor; little Russell left his body in the middle of the Sixth Grade, when he was 11.

    Oddly enough, the first thing that strikes me this minute is Thank You Jesus! In a sense, a part of me fled to Him for safety, and the fact that I had somewhere to go at all is somewhat of a miracle of the first order.

    How about you? Can you see a piece of yourself out there?

    Yes, it’s tragic because we all know that a shitload of our peers just didn’t get to last as long as we did, and many of them burned out from the outrage but, we are Survivors and the last frikkin’ thing I want to allude to is that damn show but, it’s apt!

    We’re finding each other and letting each other know that what we experienced WAS REAL; those women WERE SICK; we have been carrying the pain and the suffering from this ALL OUR LIVES…

    …and we’re gonna help those of us who are left to get back into our bodies.

    Now, for some of you my metaphors may sound extreme, and I admit to many, many other levels of recieving childhood abuse, but, for now, I’ll leave you with my blessings and offer you these thoughts to ponder…

    (“Thanks a-fucking lot, firetender!” I hear you.)

    but with the qualification of now that we’re here together, it’a time for the HEALING to take place exponentially!

    One last thought. I’ll be honest and tell you I started this blog in outrage because no one ever really know how severely little boys were tortured and emasculated by the nuns. As I stated in my original post, in my view, the little girls got off relatively unscathed.

    First of all I want all the guys to know how much I appreciate their speaking about this stuff with such DEPTH, HONESTY, And also ENCOURAGEMENT FOR EACH OTHER. You guys are exceptional human beings!

    But, girls…I HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH YOU HAD TO CARRY AS WELL! and thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your acknowledgement that it hurt you, too, to see us in so much pain is very healing because all these years (48 to be exact) I was ashamed because I thought you were laughing at me! It all seemed staged to emasculate us IN FRONT OF YOU, and I bought into it; for me, it worked!

    DAMN THEM!

  57. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Thank you, Russell! Thank you for all that you wrote! I was cheering inside at how similar were the things that we suffered. Part of me was left behind, in fact, a delightful sprite that speaks to me sometimes, and shares her feelings with me. She is more me than I am, and she makes no apologies. I had come to the conclusion that Jesus separated this part of me from the abuse so that some of me could survive intact to be restored at a later, safer date. That is only just beginning to happen. You said you were 11 when you left your body. Judging by the age of this little one, I was much younger.

    I have been so grateful to you for starting this blog. It is delightful to read your delight at how we have all been drawn here to help each other. I was experiencing another round of bottomless guilt which I thought I had beaten, finally, until it overwhelmed me again for no reason when the Spirit told me out of the blue to google ‘dominican nun abuse’ on the net. That brought me here, and to the understanding that so much of the emotional damage came from the nuns twisted behavior.

    I am glad you understood that Jesus loved you, and the nuns did not speak for him. It has taken me a long time to fully believe that he doesn’t see me the way they did. Or make that it has taken me this long to see myself as He does. I had my own little evil super ego nun implant in my head.

    You said you realized also that the girls were not laughing at you, which made me realize that when I was mocked for my developing curves, there was not a heartless response from that 8th grade class as I had thought. They were probably horrified but afraid to speak. That truly is healing.

    Yeah, it was great to hear you cheering today. Fancy that, all this time what you started has been snowballing, and you never knew. Glad you checked in to see the blooming of the seeds.

  58. Angry Mom Says:

    My story is about my now 11 year old son who had attended a Catholic grammar school in Dutchess County, New York up until a couple of years ago. At the time I removed him, he was nine, going on ten. The reason I removed him was because he was physically and mentally abused by a seventy-two year old former nun who worked at this school for forty years. She retired at the end of the 2008 school year but came back as a “voulunteer” the next year and is still working there.

    The story goes as follows:

    It was December 17th, 2008 and the children were all excited about Christmas break coming up. On that particular day, my son “Ted” was experiencing the beginnings of a migraine (which is a chronic condition for him). He was going to lunch and was so happy to be the first one on line because he knew that if he had gotten to eat right away, he could possibly stave it off.

    Well, as he stood there waiting to get his food with the rest of his fourth grade classmates, the third grade came in and one of the little girls in that class started crying because she wanted her class to go first. Being that her mother was the assistan secretary of the school and was in charge of running the lunch room, she granted her daughter’s wishes and told the fourth grade to go and sit down while the third grade was now going to go first.

    With that, my son went and sat down. A few minutes later, the fourth grade got back on line and again, for some reason, this assistant secretary told them to go and sit down again beacause she hadn’t told them to get on line yet. At that point, my son was getting so sick from his migraine…the pain was intensifying beyond belief and with that, he went back to his seat, pulled out his chair, pushed it back in, pulled it out, sat down and put his head down on his arm on the table. Now, mind you, this is a straight A student with a pristine behavioral record who has never acted out EVER in school. But because of the extreme pain he was in acted out of pure frustration (and believe me, it was minimal). He was not a threat to anyone, wasn’t carrying on or throwing a tantrum of any sort…all he wanted to do was eat something to make his migraine subside.

    As he sat there in agony, this seventy-two year old, former nun who stands close to 5′ 7 or better, came up behind him, grabbed him under his armpit and yanked him out of his chair and yelled “You, get over here, now you don’t eat! Go stand in the corner!!!” My son, who was now in excruciating pain was being physically attacked by this bitch!

    As my son stood in the corner for the usual public humiliation the Catholic schools thrive on, he began to have an asthma attack (according to not only the students who witnessed this, but by the class mother who was there in the lunch room/gym watching this whole scene evolve. The children (as I was told by their parents) said his face turned beat red and “Ted” began to hyperventilate so badly that the kids got scared (some kids, as I was told, started yelling at her to “leave him alone, he’s a good boy!!!). So did the class mother (as she herself told me in the grocery store after the incident). I asked her why she didn’t step in and stop the attack, and she said it’s because “I didn’t feel I had the right to interfere between a teacher and student”.

    As my son tried to catch his breath and remain standing, he asked this old witch if he could please go to the nurse because his head hurt…and her answer to him was “Good, your head should hurt!!!” Again he said to her “Please can I go to the nurse…my mom said that anytime my head hurts like this, I have to go to the nurse”. With that, the bitch grabbed my son by his arm again and abruptly walked him down to the nurse stating to him “Hmph, you’re not going to allow this to happen again, are you???” Funny, but never did this woman ever ask my son what was wrong with him or anything…she just lost it on my kid!

    As she dragged him into the nurses office, the nurse looked up stunned (as she herself told me and my husband the next day) and said “What’s going on???” So, the old bitch said “He’s not eating!!!” The nurse asked my son what was wrong and he said “My head hurts.” Then the bitch chimed in with “Oh, he just kept banging and banging” (which was a flat out lie according to the witnesses). The nurse said, and I quote “Really, I find that extremely out of character for “Ted”. She then asked my son if he’d eaten anything and he told her (the nurse) “No”. The nurse then told that former teacher/bitch/volunteer to “Go get this child some food, he needs to eat!!!”

    After he tried to eat (all while still hyperventilating from an asthma attack which he’d never ever had before this day) tje nurse told “Ted” she’d call his mom to pick him up. And she did…but failed to tell me what happened…she just said that he had a migraine.

    A couple of days later, the nurse told me that this woman has a history of this behavior but it keeps getting covered up. Also, she told my husband and I that if we ever needed her to vouch for “Ted” to just let her know…”I work for the district and not for the school…the district placed me here”. Well, we’ve never been able to reach that nurse since…I wonder who threatened her???

    So, here I go to pick up my son and while we were walking out of the school, I knew something wasn’t right..he was acting kind of nervous. When we got in the car, I asked him what the matter was and he just said nothing…then he finally told me he had gotten in trouble for banging his chair against the table. I, of course, said that wasn’t right and he said he couldn’t help it because he was in so much pain at the time.

    About an hour or so later, one of the mom’s (her daughter was in my son’s class) called to ask about what had happened. I told her “Ted” came home with a migraine. She then proceeded to tell me what her daughter came home and told her (and it was just like what I wrote above). Then another mom called and another and so on…and they all told the same story. Their kids came home traumatized by what they had witnessed that day.

    Well, to sum this up, my husband and I stormed up to the school the next morning, confronted the principal and she acted as if she really was concerened (you’d think I would have known better). Then I called the local superintendent of schools up here in Dutchess (and she to pretended to care). Now, as I found out later, the principal and super both worked together and the super actually worked at this particular school over the years with the big former nun bitch.

    As you’ve probably guessed, they covered up the story…told me that there were no witnesses, no written documentation of the incident (lie…I had filed a police report and reported the incident to my son’s pediatrician who told me to report them to CPS..and even CPS said there is nothing you can do the the Archiocese) and that the only reason we removed our son was because we “couldn’t afford the tuition”.

    Then I contacted the Archbishop, Timothy Dolan in NYC and he wrote back to me and requested that I meet with the “big man on campus” Superintedent Dr. Timothy McNiff. What a bunch of creeps. The three of us (my husband, son and I) all head down to Manhattan where we were made to feel like losers who “perpetuate the anger” in my son by talking about this whole episode with him “too much” and basically, in a nutshell, my son was told by Dr. McNiff that “Sometimes in life you’ll come across stumbling blocks and this is one of them…time to get over it”. Imagine that…that’s what you tell a child??!! My poor son left the building crying and stating “Now I’ll never have closure…they don’t care!!!” And he’s right, they don’t!

    All I have learned is that this is one sick organization that is more interested in the almighty dollar than the “Almighty” himself. Anything to make a buck and to suck your bank account dry with all the donations they expect. If you can’t dole out tons of money to them, they don’t want you there…it’s as simple as that. They don’t care what happens to your child…they are well prepared to cover it up at any expense…and with all their money, it’s never a problem for them!!!

    I could elaborate even more, but it would take up so much space…so I consolidated it as much as possible.

    Thank you Russell for creating this site…I hope more people read it and really think long and hard before putting their children in this unprotected atmosphere!!!

    • Brian Says:

      Dear Angry Mom,

      I was shocked that children today are still going through what we did in the 50′s and 60′s. You child will heal and survive becasue of your love, but you must not let the Church get away with it. Hire a lawyer, get statements from all the parents of witneses you mentioned and then go after them. Have your lawyer subpoena all disciplinary records from the school and the entire Archdiocese. Bury them in legal paper and release details of your plight to any newspaper that will publish it. Then go back to Timothy Dolan and inform him in plain language that you will never stop the suit, that you will appear on every TV, radio and news outlet that will listen in the tri-state area until they apologize, fire the witch and initiate a policy to expose and prevent any reoccurance. Such notoriety is the only thing that gets their attention. Like the firetender says hit them where it hurts in the pocketbook. All you need is three or more persons picketing in front of St Patricks Cathedral and the Cardinals residence and you will get everyones attention.

      • Angry Mom Says:

        Hi Brian,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Believe it or not, I have already tried to get an attorney to help me and they all say the same thing…”There is nothing you can do”. The reason is because my son wasn’t broken or bloodied by this woman/beast…and it’s hard to prove psychological damage without major psychological evaluations and then slapping a label on him. I don’t want to put my son through any more hell than he’s already experienced.

        I have called the NY Times…CBS news…local papers and they all say that it’s not that big a story…they agree it’s sad and maddening, but not that big a deal…however, they’ll consider me if something else comes up that is bigger, and throw my son’s story in the mix. Also, since this is now almost two years old, it’s “not fresh enough”. Well, I think that what is going on here is bigger and still growing by the day…we’ll have to present ourselves to the media! Not individually, but as one huge collective group with serious psychological scars!

        I just find it criminal that a woman who has a history of this type of behavior with children is still, in this day and age, allowed to keep her job there.

        I would love to find some attorney out there who’d be willing to take them on, but I really don’t think any exist. I think they realize that you can’t fight the well oiled, Catholic “machine” (I stole that from Russell) and that’s that. I have been told that they are stronger than the “Mob”. You’ll never win against them.

        Let’s all ban together and take them to task!

    • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

      Hi Angry Mom:

      I read your story about the abuse that your son suffered. It brought back memories of my childhood! —- If I had a child that experienced that type of treatment, I would have appeared at the principal’s office with an attorney the next day. YES, I would have initiated “legal action” against the former nun, and the school! I would have made VERY sure that this legal action appeared in the local newspapers, and I would have had my attorney hold press conferences with local TV stations. My goal would be to create as much NEGATIVE publicity as possible for the school. This would hurt the school financially for the next academic year. I would have also filed criminal charges against the “former nun” for child abuse! —- We need to protect the children from these VERY SICK people! —–This is NOT the Christian Religion! —- I have a relative that went through 12 years of Catholic School, and four years of Catholic College in New York City. In terms of his life, he is a mental cripple. He cannot think for himself, and he follows the ruled and regulations of the church like a robot! He is separated from his wife and two children because of his verbal abuse directed toward his family members. ——- (His wife is a former nun! HOW COULD YOU MARRY A NUN????????????) —– Just my opinion! —- Best regards to all of us survivors! —- Dwayne

      • Angry Mom Says:

        Hi Dwayne,

        Thanks for your response. I did contact an attorney up here in Dutchess County…at a very well known firm…and after I told him the whole story, he told me he couldn’t help me because “We represent the archdiocese”. Can you imagine???? So, he went ahead and warned/prepared his clients of what was to come, so by the time I had gone to the city to meet with the superindendent, Timothy McNiff, they had their own version of what happened and said that the school told him it wasn’t true and that we just couldn’t afford the tuition! What a bunch of garbage!!!

        After contacting even more attorneys from here in Fishkill down to White Plains (and even one in NYC) they all kept saying the same thing…”He wasn’t injured enough. Mental damage is hard to prove without intense evaluation.” I couldn’t bring myself to have that done to my son. I just think that these bums in the archdiocese have so much money to fight that the attorneys don’t even want to bother because, unless the child had pysical scars, it’s a lose/lose situation.

        I just read an article about how there are more closings to come and that Timothy McNiff is going to set up an endowment program run by parishoners/parents in each parish. Does that mean since he’s going to be having other people do his job that he’ll cut his over $300,000.00 a year salary??? Apparenty all parishes are going to have to “spread the wealth” so to speak in order to save their dying schools. I hope they all go under.

        If you know of an attorney who’d be willing to help me, feel free to pass the info on to me…I can’t find a one!

        Thanks again for your respnse. :-)

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Hi Angry Mom:

        The only way to get justice for everyone, both “past” and “present,” is to form an organization of people who have be scarred by Catholic Education, (similar to an organization like the New Jersey Education Association), then get an attorney outside of New York State, and bring a “class action / legal action,” on behalf of everyone who is a member of the organization. —- While you might not win, the “negative publicity,” of such a “massive action” would expose the operating climate of the Catholic Church with regards to their dealing with children both in their schools, and in their orphanages in the past! ——- This will give the Catholic Church a major “black eye!” (This is not a bad idea!) —- The Catholic Church is a sly / sick organization. They will do anything to maintain their power over the people. If you and I question anything, we are dismissed as “nonbelievers. —— Be VERY careful of any organization that demands “blind obedience” from it’s membership. (The Nazi’s in WW2 demanded “blind obedience” from the people, and look what happen to them!) ———– After spending 12 unhappy years in Catholic School, I question everything! I do not drink the “religious” or “political Cool Aid!” —— The Catholic Church does not care about the individual member. YOU are on earth to serve the Catholic Church with your time, money and personal effort! —– My Academic Catholic education, on a scale from one to ten, was at best a five. Most of the educational effort was put into “religious instruction,” because they wanted loyal financial contributors to the Catholic Church in the future. It was simply brain washing! —— Recently my wife and I went back to our old Catholic High School. (When I was a Senior in this school, she was a Freshman). The school is no longer a High School. It is now a Catholic Elementary School. We toured the school with the non-religious principal, and it brought back a lot of memories both positive and negative. (Mostly Negative!) —– As we walked through the various classrooms, I related different stories about both teachers and students. We finally arrived at the Chapel were the school spent a lot of time. IT WAS BEING USED AS A STORE ROOM! There were boxes piled on the altar and the room was in total disarray. SO MUCH FOR RESPECT! This is a perfect example of the attitude of the Catholic Church. When they are finished with something, they simply discard it and move on to bigger and better things always seeking more money from the people who cannot think for themselves. They will discard you and I, and they will discard a Chapel in a Catholic School and use it as a “store room!” —— For people who profess to be doing “God’ Work,” they live VERY well on the backs of the people who pay the bills! —- Just my opinion. —- Best regards to all! —- WE are the survivors! —- WE are speaking out! —- WE are making a Big Difference because people are reading our postings! —– Dwayne

  59. Christine Helrigel Says:

    Angry Mom, Thank you for dispelling my naive hope that the era of catholic abuse of children was in the past. It is odd how all were mesmerized enough by the ‘position’ of this old witch that no one moved in to slap her. My prayer is that God will give her a migraine she will never forget, the type that makes her puke until she is upchucking bile. And while she is that sick, may someone do to her what she did to your son. May the Lord do to her exactly what she did to an innocent child. I am guessing that if you had slapped her, you would have been arrested for assault. But I so wish someone would have knocked that woman down and stepped on her.

    • Angry Mom Says:

      Hi Christine,

      Thank you so much for your reply. I have the same exact feelings.

      You know, the saddest thing about this whole incident is that I wasn’t there to protect him…because in my mind, that is what a mom is supposed to do. Alll I keep thinking is that as I was home cleaning and going about my business that day, my son was being attacked by a psycho! And the sickest thing about the whole thing is that they still cover this stuff up…no matter what!

      I think that we have to keep our stories out there so we can all ban together to stop this abuse of children.

      Funny, but when you mentioned how if I had done anything remotely like what she had done to my son, you know I would be the one getting arrested! I even said that to the principal…I told her right to her face that “If I yanked you out of your chair (which she was sitting in at the time) you’d be on the phone to the police!!! What makes what she did to my son acceptable?! And imagine feeling the way my son did at the time with that migraine!”

      My son’s migraines have been so bad at times that he’s actually rolled around on the floor screaming in pain! And also, the asthma attack that she had thrown him into…he’d never had that happen to him his whole life!!! The fear she put into him that day is what caused that. Even the school nurse was concerned! He had to be put on inhalers after that (now he’s off) because every time he’d get nervous (like when he started his new school) the asthma would kick in.

      All I can say is that thank God he’s coming along and is completely functional in his every day life…but the hurt and distrust of adults that she instilled in him is so damn infuriating to me! She totally interrupted his childhood…but he’ll make it through…I know he will.

      Thanks for your support…You have no idea how much that means to not only me, but my husband too!

      • Christine Helrigel Says:

        Angry Mom, thank you for your sweet reply to me! It helps me so much to know that I helped you. I am glad to hear that your son is coming along, hopefully the hurt and mistrust will dissolve with time. He is fortunate to have parents who were willing to stand up and pull him out before this went on any longer, and who let him know that they are furious about what happened to him. I have often wondered why my folks seemed oblivious to the hurt I was experiencing from the nuns; their indifference was the second layer of what made all the abuse dig in so deeply. Bravo for you and your husband.

  60. firetender Says:

    I just wrote my Nephew in response to his awe at reading this blog. I said “the last thing in the world I want to be is the poster boy for kids fucked up by nuns!”

    But I have an idea.

    Angry Mom makes it clear she’s fighting windmills. I absolutely, positively would NOT send her out to do battle. It will ruin her relationship with herself, her family and most important, her Son! It will suspend him in a state of constantly re-living what really amounted to an isolated incident of trauma. The re-experiencing and re-living is what got us adults here, isn’t it?

    I feel equally protective of you!

    I really don’t want to see anyone here putting their sanity on the line to do battle with the Machine that is the Catholic Church. It’s a losing battle in THIS lifetime for any one individual or small group of individuals.

    So let’s relax a little on the revenge crap and help each other.

    BUT KEEP THIS IMPORTANT POINT IN MIND: WE ARE THE SECOND WAVE OF ASSAULT. THE CHURCH’S DEFENSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN BREACHED BY THE WHOLE PRIEST THING. IT HAS ALREADY ILLUMINATED THE DENIAL AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE WITHIN THE CHURCH. A COORDINATED, SECOND WAVE MAY DO THE TRICK!

    But, WE GOTTA BE SLICK and bring some consciousness to the whole thing.

    I would like to see the direction of this site moving towards being a place where we adults can talk frankly about the abuses and share things we’ve learned in our journies that can help each other.

    Let’s face it, most of us are old as dirt and getting closer to retreating back into it. That means there’s a huge amount of collective wisdom for healing to tap into here. Can you hear the people showing up here suddenly figuring out, “Lord, I learned something!”?

    I’M NO FOOL; I HAVE A HIDDEN AGENDA!

    A SAFE HAVEN is a lot more attractive to wounded people than a central location for the accumulation and expression of Bile, hatred and revenge!

    LET’S NOT BECOME THE ANIMALS THEY WERE.

    Yes, start out venting, it’s important we all hear that, but then get right down to helping each other.

    This is ALL about empowerment. All we have to do is gather here and help each other. You watch, because YOU have already proven that it works, and you’ll see all the children we once were coming out of the darkness and isolation and joining voices.

    NOT ABOUT THE FIGHT, BUT TO THE HEALING…and this is NOT about turning the other cheek, either. How more real can you get than a bunch of adults sharing their struggles trying to help each other to get through what is a LIFETIME of trauma?

    (CAN YOU HEAR THE LAWYERS CALCULATING THE “PAIN AND SUFFERING”?)

    This is a purely manipulative way to get honest discussion going on here that is so HEALING, Massive and World-Wide that Class-action will be UNAVOIDABLE!

    If I may be so bold, OUR problem has been that as individuals THEN AND NOW, we’ve been overwhelmed by the “power” of the Church.

    Let’s take our time, REALLY look out for each other and ALLOW our numbers to swell. Before long the Press will pick it up, and then, it won’t be long before some Mouthpieces, perhaps men or women abused by Nuns themselves, will dedicate their careers to managing a well-coordinated and supported counter-assault on the ROOT of the problem. Let’s not watch each other get killed in tiny skirmishes. Let’s build a bomb.

    Metaphorically we are seeking to take out Hitler, not damage the SS.

  61. Colleen Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I posted here some time back about some of what occurred to me during my 8 years of Catholic school, which was a daily nightmare for me. But today, I saw something on TV, that brought back a whole new wave of Catholic abuse to me. So I thought I’d share it with you all. When I was 16, and very angry, rebellious, and distrustful after my 8 years of daily abuse, I became pregnant. The high school that I attended decided that I would be a bad influence on the other kids, and so did the local continuation school. Back then, the community hospital also wasn’t pleased to have a 16 year old maternity patient, so I was forced to attend a Catholic High School for unwed mothers, which was also attached to a Catholic adoption hospital. This hospital only dealt with unwed mothers. They provided no other medical care. The school I attended wasn’t too bad, because the teachers there were lay persons, and seemed to care about all the girls there. But the hospital was a whole different story. It was run totally by nuns. A nun was always present at our doctors appointments, and they would make evil comments while we were being examined in very private ways. I recall one nun telling me while I was having a pap exam that I’ve had a lot bigger things than that up there, so I had better keep my mouth shut during my exam. If we had problems such as extreme nausea during the pregnancy, we weren’t allowed to tell the doctor. We had to tell the nun in charge and she would then supposedly tell the doctor our problem. So throughout my pregnancy I was unable to ever get help for the discomforts I was having. I was told I deserved these. I was also told in a snotty manner ” bet you want be doing anything like this again will you?” (meaning sex). I remember just saying yes and thinking ‘better birth control’. All through the months I attended school there, the nuns were constantly bringing myself and all the other girls individually to their office, and trying to force us to give our babies up for adoption. Only a few of the hundred or more girls at the school were able to resist the constant pressure to give away their baby. I was one of them. The nuns were furious about this and they would become even more furious when a girl who gave birth and kept her baby would show up at the school to show us the new baby. When I finally went into labor, I was denied any visitors, even my parents. I remained in labor for 3 full days, and was not given anything at all for pain. I was in a locked room, and a nun would come in about once every 2-3 hours. All up and down the hall I could hear screams of agony just like my own. I heard girls pleading for help as their baby was about to come. When the nuns would come in, their was no kind words. I was told to shut up and stop whining. They would roughly check to see how dilated I was, then leave for a few more hours. After 3 days of this I was finally ready to deliver. By that time I was physically weak and exhausted. I had had no food and no sleep for almost 3 days. I was in very hard labor and felt the baby coming out and screamed for help frantically. When a nun finally arrived, she told me I would just have to wait in line til it’s my turn to have the baby. She said they were busy with someone else. The baby then started to be born and it was very large for a small person such as myself. As the head was coming out, I was torn badly. No one would help me. So with a head emerging, I got out of bed and was banging on the door screaming for help. Then another nun came and saw me in a puddle of blood with a head again emerging with another contraction. She then got a gurney and took me to delivery. There, a doctor whispered to me to look up at the metal light above me while a nun was not looking. This was the only way I would see my baby he told me. Withing a few minuted the baby was born, and a nun grabbed it and took it away from me. I pleaded to see my child and hold it, and was refused and told a good family was waiting for it and I was a bad mother for it. I was then cleaned up and took to a room. From that point on there was a constant flow of nuns and social workers in my room with adoption papers in hand telling me why I needed to give up my baby. I was constantly told how bad I was and how all parents of my age abuse and often even kill their babies eventually. I was shown movies depicting the abuses I would do and in the end it always showed an even sadder teenage mom giving her child away a year or more later. The day after the birth, I found out from family that they kept the babies on the 3rd floor of the hospital. I left my room and tried to see my baby, but the elevator for the 3rd floor was locked, so I tried the stairs, and the doors were locked there too. By then, my breasts were starting to hurt. I asked for my baby so I could feed her and they refused to let me and told me I was supposed to suffer that way for my sins. After three days of this, I was finally handed my baby and released to go home, but not without many more words on how bad I am from many evil nuns.

  62. Cat Says:

    Firetender, I applaud your suggestion. I would LOVE to see a class action suit against nuns, just absolutely LOVE it!! The perverted priests are finally getting theirs in the courts, the nuns should get what’s coming to them too.

    Colleen, I am so sorry for what you went through. But I congratulate you heartily on insisting on keeping your baby. Good for you!

  63. mary Says:

    I contacted a lawyer about these vicious nuns a few years ago and was told that they were not interested in my case because it happened so long ago, back in the 1960′s. It’s too bad that these nuns are going to get away with it. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Hopefully God will deal with them after they are dead.

    • Angry Mom Says:

      Hi Mary,

      Just in my own experience, two years is too long ago for attorneys. And they’ll only talk to you if you have had some serious physical damage or something more concrete.

      I think the best way to “try” to stop the insanity is by drawing attention to them in large numbers. See, when you go at it on your own, they’ll just say it’s you and you’re just disgruntled for one reason or another (like in my case…they said it was because we couldn’t afford the tuition but failed to mention the police report filed about an incident in their school regarding a teacher/voulunteer attacking my sick child). But if you bring attention to them via the media and in large groups of people from around the world, then what will they say??? We’re all disgruntled for no reason??? Hell no! They’ll realize that the game has ended.

      Let’s just forward Russell’s blog around the world to as many people as we can and that’s how we’ll deal with them.

      As my long time friend (who is a writer and used to work for Reader’s Digest) once said to me about what happened…”The pen is mightier than the sword”…and that’s true! I even questioned an attorney about “slander and defimation” and he told me as long as what I am saying is the truth, then let the truth be told!!!

      So let’s get to work and start forwarding this site and doing our research!
      :-)

  64. NEW CATEGORY: Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse Survivors (CNCAS) « a firetender’s Blog Says:

    [...] Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows [...]

  65. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    to Cat and all here:

    If there is any statement more healing for an abuse sufferer to hear than ‘You are not the only one who…’ I don’t know what it would be. I have been so perplexed and troubled by things in my personality that none of my siblings or friends struggle with. To discover that these are the results of nun abuse, and that there are others like me with these issues, is so reassuring that I was dancing around the living room last night after reading Cat’s most recent post. We are a band of fellow survivors. We are a wounded army all affected in similar ways, but I notice that we are a most articulate army. Jesus said that if anyone ‘hurt one of these little ones, that it would be better for them if a millstone were wrapped around their necks and they were thrown into the deepest part of the sea.’ That is some strong language. I am being freed from so much guilt just by discovering that the oddly furious aspects of my response to the world had a cause, one I would never have connected to these parts of myself. this is helping me understand and accept myself which feels pretty darn good. Thanks, Cat.

  66. Debbie Doenias Says:

    I’m with Angry Mom about bringing this to light publicly. I will be posting this blog on my Facebook page to encourage awareness of the issue.

  67. Cat Says:

    Yes, it does help to learn that others feel the same way. I was very glad to read that sharing my feelings helped you! And I hope it helped some of the others too. I have also often wondered what the hell was wrong with my personality, with me. Sometimes I’ve wondered if bad genes were what made me so nasty, vindictive and angry.

    I’m wondering if you, Christine, or any of the others here have reacted in some of the other ways I have. For instance, my distrust of people in general has led me to become an avid animal lover. They are so sweet and innocent and never hurt people on purpose, only if they’re in pain or if someone has hurt them.

    The fear instilled in me at a very young age, compounded of course by the many other hurtful and scary things that have happened to me, has also resulted in my developing an intense interest in anything paranormal, in psychic phenomena, in quantum theory, and I am enthralled with the concept of visualization, all I think to get “beyond” this nasty world, not to mention the mundaneness of it, in an effort to look for something better.

    My sole aim in life has been to avoid pain and not get hurt, to be very careful and cautious, and, of course, to dare not to do anything which might send me to hell. Afraid of everything, flying, driving on highways, elevators, subways, but at the same time though being very independent and extremely determined about things I’ve wanted to achieve. And yes, I am a survivor, but at what price? Being terrified all the time is not the way to live.

    Needless to say, all this caused tension and anxiety in me all my life. I have not really enjoyed life, except for the very odd time, but even those times were overshadowed by a pervasive sense of fear. Someone actually said to me in the past couple of years, “You don’t like life, do you?” When I hear other people say they do enjoy life or love life, I find it to be a mind-boggling concept. Years ago I started strongly suspecting that I’d never ever be happy here on this earth, and a few years ago resigned myself totally to that belief. I looked forward to heaven and the bliss I was told would be waiting for me… that is, if I was good and mindlessly believed everything that was shoved down my throat, things that definitely do not make any sense.

    The way I dealt with that horrendous way of “living” was to keep very busy with my work. However, my workload dropped substantially in the last year and I’ve had no choice with all that time on my hands but to think about many issues I’d ignored and shoved into the back of my mind. I now find myself in an astonishing period of questioning and re-evaluating absolutely everything I was taught and it’s amazing me and freeing me.

    Here’s a link to an article that many of you might find interesting: http://excatholicgirl.tumblr.com/post/1150523758

    TO COLLEEN:
    I’m positive that if I’d gotten pregnant in my teen years, I too would never have given up my baby. I remember acquaintances going off to other cities to stay with a “sick aunt”, returning months later, quieter, sad and more serious. To all the women out there who caved into the pressure and did give up their babies, I do hope you’ll be able to find a way to contact them now.

    TO FIRETENDER (Russell?):
    You said you’d love to be excommunicated. Here’s a link that you might find really interesting:

    http://www.43things.com/entries/view/4412666

    • firetender Says:

      “TO FIRETENDER (Russell?):
      You said you’d love to be excommunicated. Here’s a link that you might find really interesting”

      If I chose to work THAT hard putting together the words I think I’d lose a little self-respect because that would mean me spending more time in my life than I can afford to acknowledge the Church on ITS terms. I dunno; maybe I’m just hoping the Pope will notice and kick my ass out on his own!

      • Cat Says:

        For me, it’s enough to just decree that I am not a catholic and no longer belong to that church; I don’t need their approval, disapproval or acknowledgment about anything so I will neither be applying to be excommunicated nor writing any long letters.

  68. CindyLouwho Says:

    I went to Catholic school grade 1-8. This was from 66-74. There some sadistic nuns but also lay teachers. At that time we probably had a 50/50 split of lay teachers to nuns. The whole atmosphere was one of rules and rigidity . No speaking without raising your hand, no going to the bathroom during class time, no coloring outside the lines. Some of the teachers were nice, some were bastards. CP was rampant and the weapon of choice was a paddle.It was the first and usually only resort. There were also yardsticks, rulers and hands. I remember one incredibly crazy demented nun who would charge up and down the aisles with a flag pole that she used like a spear. She pretty much left the girls alone but she would be the boys, shoulders, back, neck, face. It was 8 yrs of terror and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I don’t blame my parents too much.. they were very simple, trusting naive people. I was too afraid and ashamed to tell them what was going on and they just assumed we were being taken care of I guess.

  69. Mary Rutley Says:

    Could we possibly have a list of all the orders that have abused us? It was the SISTERS OF CHARITY OF OUR LADY OF MERCY who damaged and abused me at a private boarding school in Kent in England: but this order was far more cruel to the children at its orphanages in Preston (England) and Pantasaph (Wales), and I want those victims to find this site. Although this site cannot undo the harm that the nuns inflicted on us, it could provide carthasis. And in some cases, it clearly has. Thanks!

    • Dora Says:

      Yes Mary we need to list all the orders. My abusers were The Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. Pantasaph North Wales 1946-1953. I speak also for my two sisters (nee Savage) who cannot speak for themselves. One suffers from severe depression and the other one killed herself 26years ago. They never got over the 7years we spent at St Clare’s Convent.

    • C. Villanueva Says:

      My abusers were the Sisters of St. Joseph from the Catholic Home for Girls at 29th and Allegheny in Philadelphia.

  70. Cat Says:

    Congregation de Notre Dame (CND) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  71. firetender Says:

    Dominican Order, Flatbush, NY

  72. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    The Adrian Dominican Nuns, out of Adrian, Michigan

  73. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    To Cat and all others,

    Cat, you asked if any of us share your love for animals, with their unconditional acceptance of us. You mentioned how you have longed for the next world, finding it so impossible to be happy in this one. You mentioned how cautiously you have lived out of fear of hell. I resonated with each paragraph, thinking how alike we are.

    When I was 21, I came across a bunch of catholic college kids, sharing the true message of Jesus, and I realized we had all been lied to about what he was like. He was not up there sitting on a throne going ‘tsk tsk’ each time I got another ‘black mark on my soul.’ He was funny, he was here to help, he was creativity itself, and he loved us. His death paid for every sin; there was no purgatory. There was no ‘earning our way through the means of grace’ — there was only accepting and believing what he had done for us. The catholic church fought back against Luther and ended up denouncing the very teachings of Paul to preserve their own authority.

    I know that theologically, we survivors are all over the spectrum. Some of us have always known Jesus was not as the nuns taught, and clung to what we knew he had to be. Some turned their backs on religion entirely, and some, perhaps, rejecting the idea of God. I don’t want to mess with the atmosphere of freedom. But I do want to express how pugilistic I have been since I discovered that they lied to us about Jesus himself, replacing the truth with a lie.

    Some have commented brilliantly that there is something tremendously wicked in the catholic church, at its heart. That at its heart, it hates children. I think I understand why, as of this morning. They put themselves in the place of God, and they overturned the gospel. They made themselves the savior. Only if we were faithful to the church, they said, we could be saved. We had to do what they said, and believe what they taught, and attend Mass and partake in their sacraments. I have been wondering for days how it is that these usurpations of the place of Jesus opened them up to such wicked and even demo

  74. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    demonic behavior.

    It finally came to me. Lucifer said ‘I will become like the most high.’ He wanted to replace God and take over his role on the earth and receive the worship and obedience of mankind for himself. Of course, when Lucifer receives those things, he destroys. It is inevitable, therefore, that since the catholic church has replaced the truth with its own version of salvation, that it became ugly, destructive, and utterly evil at its heart.

    I apologize for this theological interlude, but the question is inherent in our experiences: why has this church behaved so wickedly towards helpless children? Because it is truly evil, it is attempting to replace Jesus with itself, and the easiest way to destroy is to take down children.

  75. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Being held underwater by guilt and terror made me desperate to understand the world (and its unseen realities) for myself, so that no one could ever lie to me again. Thus the need to ask, to answer the questions. It made me cling to the Lord in an almost pugilistic stance toward the world. The nuns said ‘He doesn’t love you! He is more angry at you because you are smart, but you don’t use it!’ Looking back at my report cards that were all A’s and B’s, I don’t know what they were so critical about. So when I found Jesus for myself I felt like it was me and Him, against all of them, like a child shouting ‘He does love me! and I love him!’ as if I have had to prove it over and over. Not that the world cared. It was me who had such a hard time believing it.

    When you asked about pets and unconditional acceptance, Cat, I asked myself if I had ever felt that. I realized instead that I clung to my relationship with Jesus who was more than they thought or realized. It was there I sought to try to accept the reality of unconditional love. There was always something defensive about me, something I thrust at everyone else like a shield. Now I see why. It was me who had a hard time believing in that kind of accepting love.

    I do believe that our beloved pets live on, and that God takes them to heaven to wait for us. One week after my dachsund died, I heard her toenails click along the floor, and felt her jump up on the bed, and slide under the blankets to nestle by my feet. And I was wide awake.

  76. Mario Says:

    I had 2 different orders of nuns, aren’t I lucky. LOL

    I had the IHM nuns (Immaculate Heart of Mary)

    And the Wonderful St. Joseph nuns. Sarcastically said.

    With all the abuses by nuns and priests, I have read concerning the Catholic church, including my own experience. I have to dare ask the question, “WHERE IS GOD?” Why would such a good and glorious God, allow these kinds of people to work in his church. The Church that allegedly was founded by Jesus Christ. In Catholic school, we have learned that in order to become a priest or nun you need a calling from God. If that is so, why would God call on abusive nuns and priest, or pedophiles, to serve in his Church. Doesn’t God know the past, present and future? Why doesn’t God incinerate these people, with bolts of lightning, before they enter the church?……wouldn’t that be nice?

  77. Colleen Says:

    The nuns that were abusive to me were the Carmelite Sisters Of Charity.
    They were brought in from Barcelona Spain to ‘educate’ us in their ‘special’ ways.

  78. mary Says:

    I am still trying to figure out why these nuns were so mean and nasty. Is it because they were single and miserable? Lonely? Hated their profession? Hated children? Hated the Church? Hated living with the other nuns? Whatever it was, they truely needed psychiatric care and it’s too bad they probably didn’t receive any. They probably also needed to be on antidepressives or antipsychotic medications.

  79. patty ann Says:

    Mine were the Felician Sisters of Enfield, Ct.

  80. juna Says:

    I say, go after the nuns that are still alive. Sue the hell out of them. Sue the Church for your horrible suffering.

  81. George Says:

    Evil Nuns

    If you Google Sparkill Dominican nuns (New York) a phrase comes up: “Women Making a Difference”. All the articles about them are full of praise. They did make a difference: they ruined my life, caused my brother to commit suicide and hurt thousands of other children. In the 1940s these nuns ran a home for orphans or boys temporarily housed because of family problems in Sparkill, New York. No one knew what went on behind closed doors except those of us who survived the abuse. About 20 years ago 60 minutes CBS ran a segment on Sparkill but I had no luck finding any mention of it today.

    My wife is writing this for me because the brain damage prevents me from writing it myself. I was 3 and a half years old, at the end of 1947. My mother was mentally ill and put me and my older brother, 5 years old under the “care” of the nuns. I was so young that I couldn’t speak well and only my brother understood me and watched over me. My brother was intelligent and spoke well. But I couldn’t do what the nuns were asking – like hanging my coat on a high hook that I couldn’t reach. One nun sent all the other children out of the room and started beating me – she hit me about 30 or 40 times. She pulled my pants down, held me down and kept hitting – first with her hands, then with something harder. I yelled and cried but it didn’t help, she still kept beating. I remember passing out. I remember waking up in a dark room and crawling to the door which was locked. After that beating I didn’t cry anymore when they beat me. Every time they beat me it was until I was unconscious. Once when my mother came, the other children and my brother told her to take me home because the nuns were going to kill me.

    Another time a nun woke me up in the middle of the night, took my clothes off and dragged me right off the bed by my feet. I hit the floor and then she dragged me down a flight of stairs with my head hitting all the steps and dragged me into a large open shower. I kept trying to get up but they kicked me down. They kept changing the water from hot to cold. I remember the tile floor, with white marble tiles; my face was on the tiles and in a puddle of water. I was so weak and in so much pain that I couldn’t move. I didn’t know who these women were that were beating me, that they represented a religion. But even then, I felt there was something greater than them, that there was a God.

    One night my brother came to me in the middle of the night so the nuns wouldn’t see him. He gave me his Mickey Mouse watch. I asked him, “am I in heaven”? He shook his head with tears in his eyes and said, “No” very low. They would have beaten him if they caught him. I think he thought I was dying. The next day a nun came and told me to get out of bed. I couldn’t get up. I don’t know what happened after that. The beatings had gone on for 3 months. Soon after that or maybe after more beatings (I don’t really know), I went into a coma and was put in a hospital. My mother said she never came to see me because I was “white as a ghost and looked like you were dead.” I was in the coma for close to a year.
    Later I remember being out of the hospital and seeing my brother. I could see but was in a daze, everything in the world looked “smoky” and I couldn’t talk. My brother was heart broken because I couldn’t talk to him and I must have looked sickly. (I wasn’t able to talk until I was 7 or 8 years old after years of speech therapy).
    One day I was outside our first floor apartment and my brother was standing near me. He kept talking to me and saw no response – I saw his face and he was depressed. He looked towards the street, saw a car coming and ran out into the street in front of the speeding car. The car hit him and knocked him about 40 feet and then ran over his stomach. He didn’t die right away. The car had crushed his liver and stomach. He lived for a week in the hospital and kept asking for me and nobody else, but my mother never told me he was asking for me and never brought me to see him. I found out years later from my sister.

    I miss him every day and pray for him and wish those that did this to us and to all the other children pay for it – either in this life or the next. I read all of your stories and am hopeful that we can do something about these devils in the disguise of sisters of mercy. I once tried to ask the government in Sparkill if anything could be done but they said that unless I had been molested they wouldn’t do anything. I was too young to remember everything and I’m sure that all records were destroyed. But we can keep speaking out and each of us can tell others. When there is enough exposure we will be able to do to the nuns what the world did to the priests and the make the organization supporting them pay.

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      George, may the comfort of the Lord be with you. I am horrified by what these women did to you and your brother, and that the pain and shame of all this drove your brother to jump in front of a car. It is impossible to understand how these women, hidden away with vulnerable children in convent orphanages thought that no one saw them, and that they would not pay for what they did. ‘sinners in the hands of an angry God’ is a sermon that certainly applies to these women. the pathetic thing is that they thought that obedience to their order and the catholic church would save them from the fires of hell for what they did to vulnerable children. No one who behaved that way could possibly know Jesus. We don’t have to punish them, God will do that in due time. ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ said the Lord in the Old Testament. I am so sorry that there was no one there to fight for you. Your older brother was a true champion, he must have loved you very much.

      • George Says:

        Christine, thank you for your concern and supportive words. When I went through all of the abuse I always felt that somwhere there was God and a better and happier place. God, I am sure will bring vengeance in the next World, but I have always felt that God will bring justice in this World. And I think that as our collective voices expand and are heard by more and more people (as firetender says), we all will have our day in the Sun. I am happy for you that this blog is making a difference in your life that is carrying over into your family life as it is with mine.

  82. Mary Rutley Says:

    George,

    Your wife writes well. But it will be of little consolation to the pair of you to know that it appears that all the orders that abused children are keeping quiet about their crimes today. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Money was always their God.

    If you Google the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, you might imagine that it was a wonderful order. Yet some of the nuns within that order were the vilest creatures I have ever known.

  83. George Says:

    Mary Rutley, thank you for responding and my wife thanks you also. You are correct that they are all hiding. Your idea to list the names of the orders or nuns is good. The more they are exposed here and in other places and websites, the more likely that this widespread abuse will get media attention. It takes little drops to form mighty rivers and together we can all cause a tsunami to sweep them all away.

  84. Bob Says:

    I’m doing research and need to know why some nun’s resort to abusing children physically and emotionally. It isn’t enough to say they’re frustrated or sex starved. It appears clear from the many reports in this blog that the behavior of these nun’s borders on or is pathological. Lack of accountability alone does not turn people in stressful academic or orphanage settings into cruel tyrants. There are reasons. These behaviors beg questions: What causes a young girl such as this to drop out of society and take up a life of asceticism. Do they hate life, this earth? Low self-esteem? What is their view of sex? And their bodies? They cover them completely don’t they? What is the nature of their security and self-esteem. Surely, these have been compromised in some awful way? Were they themselves abused? Are they at war with themselves? Because of course human sexual need is innate and insistent in all of us as well as the need for love and the material goods that make life fun, interesting and comfortable? What is it that is making them so angry and capable of such awful transgressions against children? If anyone posting on this site can refer me to materials that will answer the question of why nuns abuse, I’d be grateful. I was lucky. I was in a catholic grammer school in the 40′s and ’50′s. And while in retrospect nun of the nus were outwardly happy or particularly nurturing, I was slapped only twice and received a good education. I am an atheist because as I grew I bought the dogma less and less. In fact in school I pretty much just went through the motions. There is still baggage nevertheless. Fear of death that may be attributed in part to the horror of purgatory and hell-incessantly taught. And coming late to a rational philosophy of life after perhaps having my logical faculty stunted by the irrationality of mysticism. My heart goes out to all children and yourselves who have suffered at the hands of these emotionally crippled beings. Bob

  85. Bob Says:

    grammatical error. should read “in retrospect none of the nuns:

  86. Mario Says:

    Mario Says

    Hi Bob

    Thank you for your input. From what I understand, many of these nuns were promised to the church when they were infants. This was during the turn of the century and into the 1920′s and 30′s. This may answer some of your questions, why they were so weird. When you promised your children to the church, it seems as if it was a guaranteed stairway to heaven. However, many of these nuns were ugly and often wondered who would marry these homely looking girls. Some were worse than ugly, they were oogly. They had such long faces, faces that could easily stop a clock. Some had kind faces, the funny kind. With their frustrations I wouldn’t doubt why they were, the way they were.

    What’s amazing to me, was the fact they seemed to have no fear of going to hell, or answering to their maker, about their abuses to children. This is why I questioned if they believed in their own teachings about Christ and God. Their actions in the class room caused me to look into the teachings of the Catholic Church. I spent many years in studying the origins of Christianity. It has nothing to do with Jesus Christ a non historical entity. But everything to do with the celebrations of the winter solstice and the spring equinox. These celebrations were going on since time immemorial, way before the Christian era. No one knowes who wrote the Bible there are no authors including the old testament. God of the Bible is not God, but a man made literary character.

  87. 2010 in review « a firetender’s Blog Says:

    [...] The busiest day of the year was November 4th with 152 views. The most popular post that day was Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows. [...]

  88. firetender Says:

    Thank you Mario and Christine for some historical background.

    As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is lies agreed upon.” Within the topic of the original thread can be found scads of competing versions of history, embraced by competing scores of believers.

    However, in this case, the blog is not about the roots of the religion or system that created these warped human beings. It is about the consequences of the permissions given them.

    There’s a dual spotlight here. One beam exposes the abuse, and the other shows a safe haven for people to support each other in recovering from it.

    Let’s please stick to the vision.

    • George Says:

      firetender, you said exactly what I was thinking and how I feel — that this site is about the consequences, not about rewriting history. I am working to overcome the results and the vision of this blog is a help. I hope to hear more about how others meet the challenge and overcome the damage that was done to us. George

  89. Pattyann Says:

    Thank you firetender and George. The history aspect was steering this website off of its original intention. I consider this to be a place where we can begin to heal and not feel so alone.

  90. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    I accidentally laptopped the above with my sleeve before finishing it. but I did just want to make sure that I admit here that this fighting response is part of my legacy from those days. My initial response was to fear that now no one would ever read me or defend me, and to walk away like a whipped dog. But we are here to heal from what we were actually left with, and this ‘don’t ever let anyone put something forward as truth if I don’t think it is without giving a good acount, without putting up a good fight’ is what I am left with. I have often wished that I could have stood up to the nuns better than I did. To not have let them get away with it. And I always feel as if I am fighting with a passle of small ones behind me who DO NOT NEED TO BE TOLD that there is no God. When I went back to read Mario’s post, I saw that he was only telling us what happened to him and explaining why. I way overreacted, as though he were here to convince us. ‘Take that, Sister Helen Bitch!’ It’s one thing to describe it to you all, and find some of you are left with the same scrap in you, its another thing to demonstrate it.

    I hope I can count on your understanding and sympathy despite the demonstration. This list has transformed me, just to know that I was not alone in my wounds and my life long struggle to overcome the terrible self image given me by the emotional abuse of the twisted nuns.

  91. George Says:

    Christine, I understand now that you were defending your belief in God against someone, who as you said, had the right not to believe but not the right to try to convince everyone of his beliefs. It was my belief that there was a God in heaven who had nothing to do with the evil Dominican nuns. I knew that there were evil people around me who wanted to destroy anything that was good. Knowing they were at fault is what helped me. When I think about what they did to me, I remember that it was them and not me that was bad and that God exists and thinking this way still helps. The damage is still there but this is a way around it.

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      George, thank you for understanding and for your kindness in writing to let me know. It meant a great deal to me.

  92. frank Says:

    Russell the firetender posted on November 2 about the importance of support for each other and to focus on healing. I believe he is right.

    Focus on Healing
    There is enormous potential benefit to be gained in pursuing healing, which will not come from other paths such as dwelling on retribution or revenge.

    PTSD & Professional Help
    Several posts have mentioned PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Without attempting to offer a medical opinion, it is probably a reasonable conclusion that many of us have this disorder… as I do. PTSD does not go away by itself or just with time. Unless and until the causal events are surfaced, examined and treated, those causal events are fresh and current for us, and triggered by all manner of stimuli. Personally I benefited from the support of a qualified, professional counsellor in surfacing and dealing with the PTSD caused by abuse as a child.

    Healing Tools
    Another important pillar in my healing journey has been a non-profit organisation here in Australia called Mayumarri (www.mayumarri.com.au) whose mission is healing for survivors of childhood trauma. It is run by survivors for survivors. I attended a week-long retreat in late 2009 that was very helpful in a number of ways – safety, validation, feeling and emotion, support, empowerment and encouragement, and practical tools for daily use in the healing process. If you can at all access a positive healing experience like this, it may be of enormous benefit. However as Mayumarri is not available to all on this blog, here is a ‘lite’ version of their approach and their tools in the hope that it may be useful.

    The Problem
    Their basic idea is that when we experienced abuse as a child, we had a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. However, we then commonly have that same reaction to a variety of (relatively) normal, non-traumatic situations (triggering events) that can stay with us forever. We overreact, we perceive threat where it does not really exist, and this commonly continues in our adult lives. We develop patterns of abnormal reactions to normal situations. The strategies and reactions we have when triggered are often flawed and dysfunctional.

    Their approach is to connect deeply with the child in us, to take responsibility for the care, safety, support and nurturing that all children need.

    De-triggering
    This is a five step process intended for daily use with no need for external help or resources, when we are having ‘an abnormal reaction to a normal situation’. De-triggering is an important process to break the cycle of reliving our trauma and reinforcing our flawed reactions. The five steps are:
    1. Recognize that you have been triggered… say to yourself “I was okay and now I’m not”. We need to own our own triggers, not blame others for our reactions, and see that we do have choice in how we respond.
    2. Speak the Feeling… say “I feel ___________” for each feeling you’re having. Say “it’s okay to have this feeling” for each feeling – validate it. Speaking out loud is important in discharging the feeling so that we can then respond rather than just react.
    3. Release the Energy around the feeling … go for a walk or run; wring out a towel; hit something; scream into a pillow — find something that works for you. These are strong feelings, and are accompanied by a lot of energy that is in motion (emotion) in our bodies. The idea is to release that, to give it up, to give it back.
    4. Re-Empower… Ask the child in us what s/he needs to do to take back their power? Reassure the child that they can’t hurt us any more, that I (adult self) won’t let that happen, and that we can respond to this situation, we can stand up for ourselves. So put the question to the child in you and see what ideas come up – a good ticking off to the perpetrator; ridiculing or laughing at them; treating them as unimportant and no influence in our lives or our decisions, etc etc. Then do what the child asks – out loud, perhaps in front of a mirror. The child needs us to listen to and validate them. The re-empowering step will store the memory as a satisfactorily completed event.
    5. Nurture… both the child and yourself. What does the child want to do for a reward? Again ask the question and see what ideas come up – to play a game, to paint, to have a favourite book read, go to a favourite place, etc etc.

    Practice
    The challenge is to be able to apply the process and go through the steps when we are not at our best. This is a skill and it can be learned – what it takes is practice. Once you get good at it, you will find that you can successfully apply it in increasingly challenging situations, and it truly does support healing in my experience.

    • Dora Says:

      I appreciate your comments Frank and I am happy with your resolve to survive and eventually get help.
      Each person’s mental attitude/perception/resolve is different (or else we would be robotic) I survived abusive conditions whereas my two sisters did not. Sadly PTSD made one sister mentally ill all her life and the other ended her life age 38years.
      I think that because we have survived in one way or another, this should be celebrated even if it is a case of Dont Let the Bast+++s Win.
      Our burdens are as heavy as we want or expect them to be. We can choose to carry them all our lives or gently lay them down. Peace be with you mate.

  93. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Thank you, Russ, for working this through with us all. I think this is healthy. My posts were a response to Mario’s posts, so I would prefer to let him go first. If there were no ‘God does not exist’ statement from him, I wold never have brought any of the ‘other side’ debate points out. Not here. I would be more than up to erasing everything I did write if the ‘threat’ were removed. I know I would be sympathetic to someone who said they did lose their faith due to abuse, and would probably only have empathized. But I don’t know how to change my posts until his changes, since I was responding, and reacting. It was Jesus who pulled me out of the desperation that no one else could understand, and I willl fight for him like Queen Boudica if his reputation is sullied. But if those remakrs are removed, I am completely okay with mine being removed as well.

  94. Mario Says:

    This is the last comment I will make on God and Religion. This is in response to those that sent me their argument, that the bible is true, that God exist and so on. It’s up to you to believe in whatever you want and to worship whichever God you prefer, I strongly defend my right to reject religion and their man made God in its entirety.

    The way the nuns and priest were, led me to question the validity of the Catholic church. How can these people act the way they do and believe in God? This is why I read about religions and their origins, I left High School after going to catholic school for 12 years 13 including kindergarten. Later in life I wound up with PTSD. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

    I was only stating my reasons why I don’t believe in any religion and their man made gods.

    Delete my 12/14/2010 Post & My 12/20/2010. if you wish

    Whomever is in charge. I Believe it’s Firetender

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      As you may not realize, it was only me who responded to your posts about God and the Bible, Mario. My responses to you may be deleted as well. And I acknowledge your right to believe as you choose, as well. I also question the validity of the Catholic church, and vigorously. But Jesus, I know personally. Him I have never questioned. He probably does not need my vigorous defense, as the Holy Spirit is more than capable of doing that job in the hearts of men. The final revival is coming, the outpouring of Joel 2. He would never judge the world without giving all mankind the opportunity to see Him as he truly is, healing, love and restoring. The God who is good, and far better than any of us who believe in Him could ever have dared to imagine. Just saying, since that is my understanding. Be at peace, Mario. And I am so sorry for the abuse that caused PTSD. It splits us into pieces inside, as the protector parts move to protect, and the firefighters take up a stance to argue against all that wounded us, and give us another way to live, one that might make us safe from those that hurt us. God understands far better than we know.

  95. Brian Says:

    Christine,

    Please leave poor Mario alone. To Mario and all I apologize for not making comments in reply earlier, just busy and lazy. I have my own demons to deal with. It should be evident that most of us who have entered this blog in the past have certainly given up on the papists and many on religion in general; however, this blog IS NOT A RELIGION DISCUSSION GROUP. This blog is a form of group therapy where victims of abuse can share their stories and find comfort in the knowledge that really were not alone, that we were not the problem, that the problem was the generational false belief in letting the catholic church provide unregulated education to children. My parents and grandparents were educated by the Sisters of St Dominic (Dominicans) in Brooklyn and that was why they were screwed up and did not participate in the education of their children, as was the case with their parents. Only from talking to my estranged siblings, other family members, years of therapy and the revelations on this blog have I come to terms with my abuse at the hands of the brides of Jesus.

    “Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings — that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide” – Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      The celibate state of such large numbers of men and women ‘religious’ in the church is unnatural, and has bred human beings who are seriously emotionally damaged. Despite the difficulties of marriage, it is a far more healthy state for all but a few humans.

      Your post hurt my feelings, Brian, when you told me to ‘leave poor Mario alone.’ Russell, the firetender himself, had already dealt with this issue quite kindly without taking sides or insulting either of us, and those posts were removed with our permission. So as my mother used to ask ‘Who died and left you in charge?’ If religion is off limits for you, why quote the Buddha?

      My father attended a Christian Brother’s Academy for half of his 13th year. He left in the middle of the semester. He would never tell any of us why he left so suddenly, or why he kept us in the Catholic schools despite his obvious distrust and anger toward the church. My guess is that just as your parents and grandparents had been wounded, so was my father. He was not malicious in any way toward us, ever, but he had an explosive and unpredictable temper. It was obvious there was a lot of pain in there. It does help me to understand why my folks did not defend us, no matter what stories of cruelty we brought home.

      • firetender Says:

        Throughout this blog we will see divergent points of view with certain of the contributors rallying to the defense of one or the other. You yourself, Christine have not been without your supporters. Rather than micromanage one sentence of Brian’s post, a brief opinion amidst valuable input on a broader topic, I trust that ALL will accept that sometimes we say stuff that hurts a little without the intention to damage.

  96. firetender Says:

    As is obvious, I removed a few comments, all with the agreement of the posters.

    I want to thank Mario and Christine for working through some of their differences and then agreeing with having some of their posts removed. It really helps us keep on track.

    The truth is that this stuff has twisted the crap out of us and each of us struggles by any means necessary, appropriate or inappropriate, to somehow make sense out of the senseless acts heaped upon us.

    One of the by-products of this, quite frankly, is we’ve learned to distrust. Especially anything that smacks of authority and, in many cases, each other AND ourselves. I think a common theme running through here is that each of us has his or her “triggers” that, when least expected and almost never prepared for, suddenly wrench us into reactivity and it literally takes us a while to calm down and get centered again.

    I acknowledge this aspect of our traumas and where possible, will allow such seeking of equilibrium amongst the players here run their course, let the process of closure be transparent and then delete divisive and diverted responses so we can stay focused on supporting each other.

    If any of you, at any time, feel like you need to leave this thread because of conflicts with others, please PM me at firetender@firetender.org and I’ll do my best to facilitate as long as all involved agree to keep the focus on recovery, for the good of all.

  97. firetender Says:

    I just re-read my latest blog on this site “Echoes of Abuse” and it said the biggest obstacle to overcome is that you realize you are HERE NOW and not THERE THEN.

    I need to take responsibility for my own blindness because it dawned on me that the nuns pretty much DID get away with it. The Catholic Church has changed significantly since the 1940′s, 50′s and 60′s and into the 70′s.

    Most of the “Old Guard” are dead and I don’t think they’ve been replaced. As evidenced on this site, one recent abusive situation was recounted, but even that was by a Nun from that sickening era.

    Could anyone here point us to a statistical summary of the populations of nuns in the US for each of the last seven decades? That would be helpful because I believe there has been a steady and significant decline in the hen house!

    That would mean, metaphorically, that as happens in this life and world, a wave of evil has passed; a tsunami that in historical time, swept in, decimated populations from all over the world, and then swept out.

    I honestly do not see the proportion of abuse going on today that I experienced. I suspect that Thanks to the spotlight on Priests — the tip of the iceberg — and a lessening of the overall cultural permission to allow corporal punishment, the individuals prone to such behavior keep themselves in check.

    Sadly, however, the attitude of the Holy See does not allow me to alter my position that, at the very least, the Catholic Church should be banned, like a child-molester, from having any formal contact with children. NOTHING IS BEING DONE TO EITHER ACKNOWLEDGE OR RESTRAIN THE “CULTURE” THAT SPAWNED THE ABUSE.

    It’s patently obvious that the Church is in a mode of Damage Control rather than modeling Christ-like contrition. ZERO effort is being placed on the re-design of the church so that the conditions that spawned the distorted actions by its sacred practitioners CAN NOT happen again. NOTHING IS BEING LOOKED AT, ONLY MONEY IS BEING JUGGLED!

    But I have to re-emphasize the reason I made this comment. Perhaps the War is over. Perhaps the enemy has passed, leaving us damaged to fend for ourselves. In those circumstances, what would we do? Well, we’d do our best to patch each other up and then rebuild a world where there’s no room for that kind of nonsense any more.

    Do any of you have children in Catholic Schools today?

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      When I looked up St. Francis of Assisi Elementary in Ann Arbor, MI, it appeared that all of the teachers are now ‘lay’ women; only the principle might be a nun. Until I came across this list, I assumed the abuse of the children was mostly sexual; I was assuming that the nuns had just taken a special dislike to me, but that they were kind to most students. So my question is: Is the world even aware that so many of us were abused sexually, physically, psychologically, and spiritually? The news media is glad to run with the news of each account of sexual abuse, but have the public at large ever heard that the cruelty of the church’s minions did far more than just defile its charges sexually? Each person on this list seems to be gifted as a writer. Are we the witnesses who need to bring our experiences into the public square, by as many written means as possible?

      • firetender Says:

        “Is the world even aware that so many of us were abused sexually, physically, psychologically, and spiritually? ”

        We’re workin’ on it!

  98. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    You are fair, Russell, and I appreciate that very much. May your tribe increase. And that is another one of my little mother’s expressions. She had a million of ‘em. She once read the wants ads out loud to us, and after giggling out ‘skunk for sale: $500′ she raised her eyes and said pointedly: ‘Hope springs eternal!’ It does indeed.

  99. George Says:

    While setting ourselves at variance with one another is unproductive and we can rather use our energy to hammer at the perpetrators, we did need Mario’s discussion. The back and forth interaction, while it was off the track of the blog, wound up helping us all to know and understand each other better, to make this a better blog and to recognize that the trauma affected all of us in different ways.

    The abusive nuns may be dead but the results of the evil they did still lives. Until we let the world know what the nuns did on a much broader scale and make the church pay for it the evil won’t be eradicated. We have to speak for all those who can’t speak for themselves, the dead and those who were so damaged that they can’t write on a blog or don’t have someone to write what they think as my wife does for me.

    I would like to know if any of you have ideas of the best places to write about nun abuse such as newspapers (NY Times?), magazines or other blogs or web sites. Also, (to firetender) if we did want to write an article for a newspaper or magazine, would it be all right to mention this blog (either by name or just that there is a blog on nun abuse)?

  100. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    I read the article about the Belgian man who was sexually abused; thank you for attaching the site. I couldn’t help but wonder that again, only sexual abuse was mentioned. Is it possible that it is common for children who are psychologically abused through verbal abuse and blame feel that they somehow deserved the punishments, whereas it is easier to be aware that sexuality should not

  101. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    again, my sleeve sent the post too soon. I was saying that it might be easier for us to internalize the psychological abuse as deserved, and therefore it is not yet being mentioned in any of the occasions where victims bring out the sexual abuse.

    Also, when an adult — especially one trained in a religious system that believes marriage is not as pure as celibacy — abused children sexually, one can assume there is a deep need for those adults to blame and find fault with the child for their own actions. They may even come to hate the very innocence of the child as an indictment of their own wickedness. They may have reserved their basest hatred for us when they got us in the church, with our little hands folded in prayer. After all, if we were not vile little demons, then they were terribly guilty for their treatment of us.

    I often felt that they were not just reprimanding me to get some behavior — real but more often imagined on their part — changed, but that they had some inner need to destroy me. There was a punch to their shrieking because of the hatred even a child could sense in the unfairness of it all sometimes. It was that extra spiritual kick to the gut that hurt the worst. It was that punch that I still react to at times when I am criticized, no matter how appropriately or kindly.

    But, perhaps more people like the Belgian in the recent article speak of sexual abuse yet still repressing the other kinds, because until coming upon a list like this, we do think maybe it was that we had it coming.

  102. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    The question we have asked, on this list, is why this sickness exists in the catholic church, that these men and women assigned to the care and education of small children were instead so abusive?

    Well, how about this as a hypothesis. Human needs suppressed, treated as temptations, and the most powerful urges built into the human race to preserve it being transformed into weapons inside them. We were created to love, to marry, to have children, to express our needs. And the church has so taught suspicion of these human survival urges, that these people have assumed they could live outside them, or curb them. When the reality of their own humanness was stronger than they were, what sort of sin, self hatred, and twistedness took over? As a child raised by catholic nuns, I was violent toward all of my own human feelings, and the result of that was often that the powerfully suppressed feelings had to go somewhere: often it was to an aggressive self righteousness. If I was to deprive myself, I was by golly going to get some pride out of it somehow. I was as critical toward others as I was to myself.

    The alteration of this came from a friend who urged me to acknowledge my own needs. They might never be met, but they were not to be despised. He called us ‘fractionaters’ because we tore ourselves into pieces to avoid feelings that we rejected.

    At bottom, it is a theological position held by the catholic church in regards to sexuality itself, celibacy, and marriage. And no amount of suggestion to them that this is an unbiblical stance could reach them, because they think of themselves as being ‘the true church’ and the only ones that are following the traditions of the apostles. This belief keeps them beyond the reach of change or rebuke. Meanwhile, the human nature of the ‘religious’ monks, nuns, brothers, and priests, is used against them internally like a mighty and powerful weapon. Their own human nature, unfulfilled, becomes a walking poison source. If they were more humble, or looked to the Scriptures they claim to protect, they would find in their a deep respect for those realities they think it is holy to deprive themselves of.

    Unless this theological position, and the arrogance and ignorance which underpins it could be overturned, the broken religious orders will continue to damage each new generation. No human could ever convince the papacy that it is fostering a system which destroys as naturally as darkness will kill all growing things which need the sun to survive.

    • firetender Says:

      I’m thinking in terms of a very flawed, human system attracting very flawed humans to it. But there’s something more to this than being essentially sick because you pledge your life to the service of the Lord. Like many forms of abuse, it’s not an INHERENT behavior, it is LEARNED.

      That leads me to suspect that upon entering the convent, young, impressionable girls are violently stripped of their innocence in many ways. It’s got to be in the culture, highly suggestive that the sickest and most power-hungry make it to the top. They, in turn, become the role-models for the more impressionable of the Newbies. Suffering is imposed on them to accentuate repentance; self-loathing is a result. THEN comes the kicker; my definition of Evil, anyway. From that point on, living inside the nuns may very well be the twisted desire to riip the innocence from children in much the same way as it was ripped from them!

      • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

        Russ, you have reminded me of a book I ran across on line several years ago. It was the story of an idealistic Canadian girl who joined the convent, truly to serve God. All was well until she had taken her final vows and there was no way back. She was expected to service the priests sexual needs, and when she refused, she was isolated, tortured, starved. She made some plan to escape and enlisted the help of a merchant who delivered to the convent door. She succeeded and made her way home to her family, who barely recognized her. They may even have been told that she had died. This was one of the cloistered convents, so that contact with family would have been cut off as she progressed through the system. That right there is sick. Who came up with such inhuman and unnatural ideas as ‘serving God’? The theoological base of this is NOT biblical, it has to come from hell.

        .It was hard for even me to believe the book was representative at the time. Was she telling the truth, I wondered? Was this some anomoly? Could this possibly be the norm? I seem to remember she wrote of the graves of the babies that had been conceived by the priestss, and the nuns who watched their infants taken away and murdered, and buried in the convent yard. At the time, it seemed too fantastical to be true. But she didn’t write like a person who just hated and wanted to lie and destroy. It was written like a testimony to what she lived through. So low key that it bore the marks of emotional masking, the tale of a person who had possibly truly lived through this hell.

        ‘We have no way of knowing.’ I thought. Because this does take place beyond locked convent doors. But I believed her, yet wondered why. God never asked this kind of crap of anyone in order to follow him. this is what the communists did with those who loved God: put them behind bars and deprived them of food for the crime of loving him. There they tried to force them to deny their love for Jesus. So isn’t this the very same as the woman said was done to her in this cloistered convent?

        Things done in secrecy were denounced by Jesus himself. What he did he did in the light. This stuff is purely from the pit of hell itself, depriving people of contact with their families as though this could make them ‘holy’, or as if this would do any good for anyone. It is sick. Isolation is a punishment in all the rest of the real world. And it sounds like the twisted but strong ones rose to power in these convents just as you suggest, Russ. So, we don’t know how often this was true, even in the convents where of necessity the women would be let out during the day to teach children, or work in hospitals. But it does seem that when we see a young woman twisted with hate, that someone is abusing her in the same ways behind closed doors.

      • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

        I should have done a quick search first to find the nun who is very open about her experiences in the cloisters. Sister Charlotte, ex Carmelite nun was the one I came across just now via search engine. I read the beginnings of her testimony, and if it isn’t the same I read before, it is so like I couldn’t tell the difference. It began in the confessional with the priest grooming her toward a religious vocation as they call it. She came from a very wealthy family, and her forturne whatever she might inherit would be signed over to the convent when she took the black veil. She became a protestant preacher, and is one to this day, and says she does not hate the roman catholic people, and has forgiven them. If I knew how to send the little webaddresses to click on, I would do so. But searching via google brought up many sites, including discussions.

      • firetender Says:

        Here’s some other articles …I put them in our archives, as well — don’t miss those resources, folks!

        AND ADD TO THEM PLEASE
        http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29500544.html

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/former-nun-tells-of-sex-and-suffering-inside-indian-convent-1627077.html

        http://www.weirdload.com/nuns.html (At this point in my life, I really seek to understand the bigger picture. This is one more piece to the puzzle in my discovery of the culture of which I was a part and victim of.

        http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2010/03/14/catholic-church-child-abuse-nuns-now-also-accused/ (Mar. 2010)

        http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/08/25/loc_loc2kychurch.html (Somebody sued!)

        http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/victims-abuse-nuns-speak-out
        Here’s that National Catholic Review online

        http://ethicalnag.org/2010/07/31/women-catholic-church/
        Here’s an interesting overview of current issues, with lots of valuable links.

  103. Robert Godley Says:

    I’m 69 years old and have been and Episcopal priest for the last 35 years. When I speak publically in an ecumenical setting, I thank the Sisrers of Charity at Resurrection-Ascension School, Rego Park, NY, for my ordination to priesthood in he Episcopal Church. The comment is usually greeted by laughter as though intended as a joke. But I don’t intend it t be funny. I was from a foster home and had what we now know is ADD. The Good Sisters of Charity of Halifax were quick to point our that by not remebering long catachism answers, and the correct spelling of words I was being obstinant and disobdient. That I recovered to the extent I have from the emotional and physical scars. especially those inflicted by the sadistacaly gleeful Sister Catherine Therese, is a miracle. It took me years to realize that she and her fellow tormenters were formd by a diabolical system that only recently has come to be identified for what it was and could still be. God bless and keep whoever devloped and maintains this page. Forgiveness comes slowley, but by God’s grace it does.

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      I am glad you found your way here, Robert Godley. I see by the time stamp you were up late reading the posts. We are indeed a posse of refugees. brought here by God’s grace. So happy that you are now among us.

  104. maura hart Says:

    I’ve been reading these posts and have come a long way towards healing and understanding. that is not to say I forgive the women who tortured me and I wonder how they faced their God when they died. Today, we would arrest people like this. I hope others find these posts as helpful as I. There is always particular notice of the priests abusing sexually but you seldom see anything about violent nuns.

  105. Mario Says:

    Read about the Magdalen nuns and the laundries of Ireland. How children were severly abused and held in slavery. I saw the movie in 2002 Called the Magdalen nuns. The movie wasn’t out long for obvious reasons.

    http://www.netreach.net/~steed/magdalen.html

  106. maura hart Says:

    in my experience it was only violence not sexual abuse. Can you tell me
    whether most of you were violently abused or sexually abused?

    • firetender Says:

      Physically, non-sexual; though psychologically and emotionally, significant damage to my understanding and accepting myself as a male.

    • frank Says:

      not sexually, but physically, emotionally and spiritually. There was a gender bias with the good nuns, boys copped it much worse. 8th grade boys (12 year olds – final year of primary school) were all lined up and caned (“six of the best”) on Friday mornings at the start of school because they “need it at that age”.

  107. maura hart Says:

    the thing is, that it is incumbent upon ourselves for healing. Holding on to anger is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. So, I’m 61 now, my abusers have most likely died, and I do believe they lived most unhappy, sad, unfulfilled lives. that has to be enough.

  108. maura hart Says:

    Interestingly, now, there are so few nuns left. Most Catholic schools are staffed by lay people and there are laws to protect children and parents would no longer accept abuse as normal treatment. So, perhaps, time has taken care of this scourge?

  109. frank Says:

    I want to affirm the firetender’s initial contention on this blog “it’s time to close it down” despite the evidence that the scourge of nuns abusing children has largely passed (are we sure this is not just in the developed world?). Here’s why. The Catholic Church is a highly successful multi-national organisation – powerful, enduring, wealthy, huge global ‘customer’ base with lifelong ‘loyalty’ to their ‘brand’ and their ‘products’. Why is this? Let’s examine their organisation from a structure, strategy and culture/norms perspective.

    BUREAUCRACY: It is a bureaucracy with a “we are right, everyone else is wrong” (the one true, holy, catholic and apostolic church) belief – which is how it justifies to itself the litany of horrors over its history: holy wars, the Spanish Inquisition, etc … and the abuse of its constituents, be they altruistic novitiate nuns, or abused kids in schools like us.

    SIN, GUILT, FEAR, PUNISHMENT: They focus on sin, guilt, fear, punishment, temporary or conditional redemption, and then restart the cycle. A distinct absence or fostering of love, innate goodness, self-confidence and self-esteem, forgiveness and support. As long as there is sin (in their terms), and as long as people believe the church is necessary to mediate their spirituality and relationship with the divine, they will be in business.

    ‘HIRING’: The people who join have already been through the system, they fit in, they perpetuate the culture and norms. The few of them who develop misgivings don’t often make waves, as the ultimate ‘crime’ is to do anything that might ‘damage the church’. They are fearful victims of the system they perpetuate – different fearful victims from us kids they abused – but fearful victims nonetheless.

    But these things are not unique – other religions are also bureaucracies that focus on sin, guilt etc. It seems that whenever and wherever people have held themselves up to be believed and followed regarding spirituality and the divine, i.e. all religions, seriously bad stuff inevitably happens. In looking at what might be unique and different about the religion/organisation that is the Catholic Church, three things stand out to me:

    1. Infallibility of the Pope – God’s representative on Earth, with rank-and-file clergy not far behind… certainly not created equal with the rest of us in terms of relationship with the divine; happy to have and to wield power and influence; hubris; completely and unquestioningly comfortable that they are right, that their way is the only way, and therefore comfortable that everyone else should fall in line. You never hear “I think . . . “ or “I believe . . . “ or “in my opinion . . . “, everything is stated as bald, unassailable, irrefutable truth. There is no room for question, let alone challenge. These are taken as evidence that the devil is at work. This is the formula that bureaucracies, dictatorships and cults rely on. In psychological terms it is called ‘classical conditioning’, which means “if I believe X to be true, and I know why I believe X to be true, then faced with new data I can change my belief. But if I believe X to be true and that is it … then data is irrelevant”. This is why the catechism was pounded into us by rote learning.

    2. Original Sin – this part of the organisation’s strategy is what I think feeds both their motivation and rationalisation for their overall approach to children. The nuns told us repeatedly that we are born full of sin and labelled some of us ‘evil’ and ‘the work of the devil’. Baptism, and later, confirmation are only steps on the way to “getting the devil out of” certain kids (“you can take the nail out of the piece of wood, but the hole will always be there”). They see themselves as righteous custodians, ever vigilant for “the work of the devil” and exacting vengeance on God’s behalf by beating the devil out of kids until they become (compliant) children of the church (and by the way, reliable supporters of the organisation in all manner of ways throughout their adult lives). Break them down, belittle them, remove their dignity, reduce them to nothing, then you can rebuild them. I know it sounds like a clichéd movie about military bootcamp (another bureaucracy) but that is what they systematically did … and original sin is the justification.

    3. Political & Economic Power – The other thing that they have done way better than anyone else historically as an organisation is building and maintaining political and economic power and influence in society. They have had no racial or ethnic boundaries … anywhere they could get in and colonise souls, they have done so. They have always been closely allied and influential with secular and political leaders no matter how abhorrent, or actually been the head of state themselves in those times when church and state were indivisible. It was only this week in Sydney where Cardinal Pell called on Catholic politicians to align with the Church regarding contentious social issues such as abortion, gay marriage etc. This was clearly pointed at Premier Keneally, a self-professed devout Catholic http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/premiers-unholy-row-with-cardinal/story-fn6bm90q-1225984274530
    As for economic influence, they have continued to amass wealth very effectively over an extremely long period of time. This has been an essential part of their power platform, allowing them to have so much sway politically.

    Finally, as others have recently posted, the scourge that is child abuse by nuns that we all experienced may well be over in the western world, but is it where child abuse is not yet condemned by society? What are the church’s methods there – in parts of Asia or Eastern Europe, Africa or South America? What about the sexual abuse of children and adults by priests in those societies where the individual is insignificant and the church all-powerful? These are artefacts of a structurally and systematically flawed organisation that will inevitably continue to perpetrate atrocities in various forms, at various times and places as it has done throughout its history.

    But an organisation history perspective also provides encouragement for us that despite their success and longevity, perpetuity is by no means guaranteed. Witness the Roman Empire, any number of dynasties, communism, etc. How these things come to an end is also worth looking at – it is not a linear, step-wise disintegration – no, it is cataclysmic – it is the crumbling of the Berlin wall, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the snowflake that causes the unstoppable avalanche. Is any one of you confident enough to say that the current ‘snowstorm’ the Catholic Church finds itself in, or our ‘snowflake’ in particular, won’t prove to be the beginning of the end for this evil anachronism?

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      Frank, this is an incredible piece of analysis and argumentation. Bravo! Very well organized and beautifully written. I like what Russel said too, we are going nowhere but UP!

      Speaking of original sin, too, it is ironic that they only saw this original sin in the children in their care and not in themselves. The actual biblical original sin can be stated this way: ‘We will know good and evil for ourselves and we don’t have to listen to God anymore to know it!’ And that, they assumed they did. Just like you wrote, they believe they are right and there is no standard outside of themselves to which anyone can hold them. So the very foundations of this colossal behemoth of human pride is original sin: ‘We know what is right and wrong and NO ONE, not even God, can tell us otherwise.’

    • firetender Says:

      Frank, it is so very important that we get reflections like this — kind of a sociological perspective, overview and opinion. It has always been my position that I seek to better understand the driving forces of the execution of an idea rather than the idea itself. Which is to say, ideas (Dogma, Beliefs, Commandments, etc.), like Gods, come and go. What we are affected by in the here and now is HOW those ideas were presented to us and the effects that had on our lives.

      I encourage you all to read my latest Blog “OMG What Did I Do?” I think I’m coming better to understand what is going on here. I think Frank’s post is relevant to the overview of understanding that contributes to healing. I hope you agree. Also, I added a number of new articles to our ARCHIVE; please, as you reference them in what you contribute, add them to the archive as well. I think it can be done.

    • George Says:

      Frank,

      The information that you wrote after “Let’s examine their organisation from a structure, strategy and culture/norms perspective” is very interesting. My wife wants to know if you have references for it or is it something you wrote. If it is the latter, then she would like to quote it in a book she is writing. Let me know.
      George

      • frank Says:

        Yes George, it’s something I wrote. I am an organisational change consultant, so wrote from that perspective, and also as a ‘participant’ in the system. I am happy for it to be quoted. Also happy to discuss the context/thrust for using this in the book as I have written other pieces from this perspective that may suit too. Perhaps we could continue exploring this outside the blog?

    • George Says:

      Frank, we would like to contact you outside of the blog. Can you get my email address from Rus? Or is there another way to provide yours without putting it on this blog?
      George

  110. maura hart Says:

    I totally agree it is NOT time to close down this blog. I cannot begin to tell you how this has helped me heal.

  111. maura hart Says:

    close down the blog? When I think of how those women beat me and terrorized me…..I wish I knew their real names. i would publish them every day and detail exactly what they did as the brides of Christ. They have not begun to answer for their sins, nor has the church itself begun to answer for its protection of pedophile priests, its position on condoms in Africa to prevent AIDS transmission, nor its protection of Nazi’s after WWiI
    And now we have a Nazi Pope. ????????????????

  112. maura hart Says:

    Firetender, I think this blog will die a natural death as fewer and fewer children go through what we did. In the meantime, it heals the hurts and hearts and minds of innocents. The nuns….well, God will take care of them. We are still here, and there are probably untold more. Allow them this venue to speak until it runs out on its own accord.

  113. frank Says:

    To Russ the firetender … where is the ARCHIVE, and how can we add stuff to it?
    thx
    frank

    • frank Says:

      http://www.rte.ie/tv/wouldyoubelieve/av_index.html
      This is an Irish TV documentary aired on Jan 17, 2011 which clearly but very gently shines the light on the Vatican’s role in covering up and mishandling sexual abuse by priests. Once you see this you will understand why they would not spare a single thought for the issue of child abuse perpetrated by nuns, even if that abuse was sexual.

      • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

        ah Frank, it was you who sent the Irish doc link, thank you. my response to you shows up one letter down, under Maura’s note. I still don’t have the hang of this reply business. letter always seems to be somewhere other than where I thought…

  114. maura hart Says:

    this blog rules! These nuns would have had their power wielded over children till the early 70′s when nuns began leaving the convent in droves.
    there are millions more kids out there that haven’t seen this and still feel crazy. This is a good place, Firetender you have done a Mitzvah.

  115. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Thank you for sending the link to ‘Would You Believe’ which was an Irish made documentary on the sexual abuse in the Irish church that the bishops tried to deal with and the Vatican would not let them. This is recent. Several have suggested that the dearth of nuns means the abuse is in the past. It is not…

    CHRISTINE, AS I SAID BEFORE, IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THIS SITE I WILL BE ENFORCING ITS KEEPING ON POINT. I CHOSE TO REMOVE ANYTHING FROM YOUR LAST POST NOT CONNECTED TO OUR PURPOSE, WHICH IS TO BE A PLACE OF RESPITE AND HONESTY AND SUPPORT FOR THOSE ABUSED BY NUNS.

    I PURPOSELY LEFT IT UP FOR A FEW DAYS TO SEE IF IT ATTRACTED ANY COMMENTS THAT COULD BE APPLIED TO WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE. IT DID NOT.

    You can e-mail me at firetender@firetender.org if you have questions. Thank you in advance for your cooperation, I DO appreciate your contributions to this blog!

    Russ, a firetender

  116. Mary Rutley Says:

    The cruelty that you and your sisters endured, Dora, at the hands of THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF OUR LADY OF MERCY, was unforgivable. Charitable and merciful? My arse!

    This order of nuns has a dreadful history. When I was a little boarder at their convent in Dartford, they frightened me half to death. But the children at a private convent could run away – and some did. We also had freedom from the nuns’ abuse during the holidays, unlike the kiddies in the orphanages for whom there was no escape.

    Coincidentally, I was also terrorised by a midget – Sister Immaculate. Indeed, I remember many of the Dartford nuns for being midgets, misfits and ugly mugs – they had obviously become the brides of Christ because they knew they would never become the brides of anyone else.

    Sister Teresa had a face like a bowl of vomit. When she left Dartford, she was sent to your old orphanage at Pantasaph, and then to Preston. Her photo appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post about four years ago, and she hadn’t changed – she still looked like a mad old bat. I emailed the journalist responsible for the photo in the LEP about my memories of Sr Teresa’s perverted behaviour, and the article was removed from the net.

    When the Pope came to Britain last September, he spoke about the “unspeakable crimes” committed against children. He was referring, as the world knows, to the paedophiles within the Catholic priesthood who invaded little boys’ rectums. But when is Benedict, and the Vatican, going to confront the psychological, physical and sexual abuse inflicted upon generations of children by Roman Catholic nuns?

  117. pattyann Says:

    I thought about writing to the archbishop in our area in hope of enlightening him to the horrors of my past. I do not know if it will do any good. The mother house is still where it has always been, and I have thought of sending a letter there too. I wonder how healing it would be for me to express my pain to someone in authority in this day and age. Would they read it? Who knows.
    I attended a Mass a few years back where they were having a collection for the retired clergy. The priest said “to those of you who have nightmares to this day about Catholic school, put a couple of bucks in, those old nuns are dead.” This made me think that my experience was more widespread than I thought.

    • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

      Hi Pattyann,

      Just to hear it acknowledged even that much felt a bit validating to me. I don’t know what age that priest was, but he may have been one of those kids himself.

    • frank Says:

      Hi Pattyann,
      Your experience is certainly widespread. These are important issues you raise … personally I have found it helpful to separate HEALING and JUSTICE – and you (and we all) owe it to ourselves to make good choices about these things – because we are worth it! Healing can be attained without justice, and justice without healing. They don’t necessarily go together.

      The Church may well be the worst place to go for either healing or justice. Time and evidence have established that the Church system has a defensive, self-protective stance to the issue of abuse, and the abused don’t figure in their plans, except as far as damage minimisation goes – but they are not interested in your healing, nor justice for you, except on their own terms and from their perspective on the issue.

      If you got a response from writing to the Archbishop, you will almost certainly be left feeling worse in a number of ways or tricked into entering into their version of your healing and justice for you, which may read okay, but that trail is littered with damage and disappointment for those who have tried before you.

      If you want justice, think about finding a group or lawyer whose mission is justice for the clerically abused. They can tell you what is involved, how best to go about it, help you make an informed decision based on the risks and rewards, and how to get started.

      On healing, you say: “I wonder how healing it would be for me to express my pain to someone in authority in this day and age” … what about professional counselling and group work with other survivors of child abuse instead? That is far more likely to help move you forward than the system that abused you.

    • George Says:

      pattyann, about writing to the abusers: if it were me, I would write to them. I wouldn’t expect a reply. But even if they don’t respond they will know that this issue has not gone away –that it is still out there. We don’t want them to think we have forgotten what they did to us. I would just state the facts of what happened: when, where and who did the abusing. It shouldn’t sound like you are vulnerable or frightened — just let them know they need to take responsibility for what they did to you and to all of us. You should be confident because we all support you.

      • firetender Says:

        It feels to me kinda like going to the Grand Nephew of your Father and telling him what a creep your Dad was.

        How is that serving you? It may as well be a stranger on the street because whatever you say has no applicability to the recipient’s life, unless, of course, it’s important that he know HE’S being watched.

        But he’s not. No one is because everyone acts like the issue of nuns was never alive in the first place.

        That’s WHERE I think you and all of us can make a difference. The energy it would take (psychic and otherwise) to get up the gumption to try and convert the unconvertible might be better spent recruiting more of US to speak our truths and support each other.

    • George Says:

      pattyann, thank you for asking whether it was a good idea to contact the abusers. It gave me the incentive to go to the website of the Dominican nuns and send them an email relating what those “Women who make a difference” did to me (and many others) and telling them it was time that they took responsibility for their actions.

      • George Says:

        firetender,

        I agree with what you said, that it is imporant that the abusers know they are being watched. True, they might not reply but if it gives even one of them some grief, then we are tipping the scale of justice towards us.

  118. maura Says:

    Patty Ann, I read your response today about the mass where the priest said that if you still had nightmares about catholic school, those old nuns were dead and you should throw a couple of bucks in the basket. Well the catholic church is the biggest real estate holding company in the world, and he was glossing over gross abuse of power, and in fact criminal acts.
    Personally, at that time I would have walked out!

  119. Robert Godley Says:

    What a reflief it has been to discover that all those painful memories of humiliation and physical abuse, were not just exageserated and distorted personal memories. The nuns n my parish were so fear provoking and powerful, even the priests, themselves proucts of the Catholic scholl system, would cower in their presence. Thank you all for this window of memory validation. I believe the statutes of limitation in some states have been extended in the case of sexal abuse by priests. That happened only after an avalance of pubicity. Going public in some heavy duty ways about nun abouse, may br required efore the Rman Cathlic Church seriosly.

    • George Says:

      Robert,

      Going public is a great idea. Now that I sent a letter to the website of the Dominican nuns, I feel a lot better. Writing to the abusers enabled me to say what I had wanted to say when I was a defenseless child but without getting beat into a coma from those cowards. They can’t hurt me now that I am an adult. The person who reads the email, a representative of the church, will know what their predecessors did. It’s like the Holocaust, if everyone forgets about it, it never happened. I plan to send more letters to any representatives of the church that I can find, including to the Vatican. If even one recipient thinks a kind thought or drops out of the church, it is worthwhile.

  120. Mary Rutley Says:

    Twenty years ago, I had a letter published in The Times about the psychological sadists at my Catholic boarding school in Kent. In response, I received an avalanche of correspondence from readers who had endured similar experiences at the hands of nuns in Britain.

    So I sent a copy of my letter in The Times, together with copies of some of the readers’ letters, to the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy at their headquarters in Wales, without knowing that they had also owned two orphanages where their cruelty had been far more extreme than anything I had endured. Did any of those perishing reply? Of course not!

  121. Brian Says:

    Blog entry fron “Topix.com” about tens of thousands of nuns having no siciakl security, no safety net upon retirement and being left on the streets. Entry in response to those saying the poor old nuns.

    R… wrote:
    It is sad how the dedicated nuns who where the back bone of the catholic church wereso un noticed for all their good works While the bishops and priests such a life of luxury and freedom and brought much scandal to the church Judgement day is coming

    What “Bells of Saint Mary” fantasy are you living? As someone who had no one but the Sisters of Saint Joseph in parochial grade school in the 1970′s, I have nothing but contempt for them. Of the 32 or so Nun that I was subjected to, I had only two sisters who were only moderately christian and competent in their behavior but the rest were vile, vindicative harpies.
    The demise of the majority of liberal women religious order can not happen soon enough. Let them embrace the cross of true proverty and beg for alms on the street.

    • Jack W Says:

      Brian, re the Sisters of St Joseph, parochial grade school, and the “vile, vindictive harpies,” you mention. If I were to narrate my experience, it would include every word you have written. Maybe I’ll get into specifics later. The Sisters of St Joseph I had the misfortune to experience were an outfit out of Philadelphia; the school was called St Joseph (the Carpenter?), and it was located in Roselle, NJ. My dates of attendance were grades 1-6 in the years 1942-1948. I would have given anything of the little I then possessed to have gone to the public schools in Roselle (before that town decayed), and I envied my playmates who did.

      Most of these nuns were physically abusive, and used painful earpulling and cheek tweaking as well as face slapping. There was nothing in their example that I ever detected, of Christian charity–you know, the Golden Rule, the Beatitudes, etc. They did significant and enduring emotional damage, but the effects have decreased over the years, and I have become quite philosophical about the matter. I can “share” with other recovering Catholics among my Unitarian co-religionists.

      I recall having seen the “Bells of Saint Mary’s” too, which came out, I think, in the late 1940s. Ironies about the actors were that the “good nun,” (I could hardly believe one such existed!) “committed adultery” in real life, and the crooner frequently used the belt on his children. But, few today remember these ephemera, and perhaps they are not relevant here.

      My second and third grade teacher (unfortunately one and the same) did lots of slapping and screaming, and often flew into hysterical rages, and at such time, the class, quaking in terror (second and third graders do that) were required to sit erect, silent, and fold their hands. The two worst were the furies I suffered in grades 4 and 6, viz, Sister Alma Gertrude and Sister St. John of the Eucharist. Both were in the habit of holding general inquisitions by means of a lineup. The suspects were lined up in front of the class, and interrogated, while being slapped or tweaked severely in order to extract some kind of confession. To those who had been slapped, but were later conceded to be “not guilty,” these little sinners were counseled to “give it up–the pain–for the souls in purgatory.” The best defense mechanism was elaborate prevarication and covering for each other. As we got bigger with age, some nuns became more diffident about dishing out punishment. One aggravates 6th grader hit back once, and with telling effect. That was his ticket to public school. Some of us were guilty of the capital sin of Envy. Most of the girls were spared these rigors, but there were exceptions. If they were really poor and with a very bad home background–well, let’s say, that didn’t help.

      But, consider the rewards. Every now and then, these nuns would give us “holy pictures,” which we could contemplate, and perhaps tuck into the missals we had received at our first holy communions. Some of these gems included St. Lawrence being roasted, St. Sebastian being perforated with arrows, and St. Agnes (you really don’t want to know!). I wonder, for those who saved these gems, are they like rare baseball cards? How much would they be worth today?

  122. maura Says:

    Firetender,
    Thank you for all you have done.
    Maura

  123. nancy kimble Says:

    Interesting discussion and thank ALL of you for sharing your experiences and perspectives. They have been very helpful to me personally-more than you all know.
    I live in the here-and-now, not the there-and-then. My only objective in contributing to this discussion was to share my experience, not to discuss larger ecumenical issues. However, it’s about impossible to ignore them, no?
    I am not at all surprised to hear of experiences that resulted in PTSD, C-PTSD, etc. that were the result of attending Catholic schools and directly attributable to the actions of the nuns.
    However, they are responsible for their abuses. The etiology/pathology in my perspective is irrelevant: The fact that they had access to, abused and continued to do so despite the knowledge of those in positions of authority is neither acceptable nor excusable. Many of us come from less than charmed backgrounds….and we did not become abusers. More ethically disgusting IMO was and is the refusal of the Catholic Church to acknowledge the reality of their complicity in the abuse.
    There are acts of commission and acts of OMISSION-as in “Sweep it under the rug.” Certainly not an outright or stated agenda, but to remain mute in the evidence that is presented-informally, perhaps, but no less real and GLOBAL is to participate in the silence-and complicity….
    Oh that we, the survivors could simply “sweep” the abusers and abuse away. As children we are physically/psychologically/emotionally/ spiritually “pliable” as well as vulnerable. I believe it’s called Human Growth And Development. We were the unwitting victims of incomprehensible perpetrators-we were the kids, they were the “gown-ups” AND more terrifying in view of the “authority” vested in them by the Catholic Church. We bear no culpability. The onus and disgrace lies with the Catholic Church and its minions. An apology will never be forthcoming as it would underscore institutional responsibility which ultimately lies with each participant. In any event, if one were to be rendered it would be a “blanket” and disingenuous “apology” no doubt.
    Consequently, my personal response has been to leave this “Church” and to speak my truth when and if the topic arises. A “boycott” by one can become a movement by many if we chose to act on our own moral imperative, practical experience as well as own personal spiritual growth-DESPITE our experiences.
    Again, many thanks to all. I see the School Sisters of Notre Dame (the abusers I was exposed to) have a web site. I have no clue why they would choose to “advertise” in view of their horrific heritage of abuse of children. No doubt history is being re-written in terms of their despicable legacy in an effort to “recruit” those whom, for all I know are the next generation of abusers.
    We do not have that luxury: We can not re-write or rebuke our histories and experiences.
    Nonetheless, we ALL know the cliche regarding history and those who refuse to learn-never mind acknowledge the “lessons learned.” In view of this reality I have no reason to trust the Catholic Church as a viable institution which is self-reflective, never mind self-corrective.
    Thanks, once again to all of you.

  124. George Says:

    Today on CNN there is a story about pedophile priests getting caught in Philadelphia. I went on their blog and said the following. A lot of people will see this and hopefully it will contribute to exposure of all of the Vatican’s henchmen and women.

    These priests should receive much harsher punishment than non-clerical pedophiles because they have broken not only society’s laws, but God’s laws. They took God’s name in vain when they used His name to persuade these poor children to do their bidding. The priests are just the tip of the iceberg. There are tens of thousands of children all over the world who were physically and sexually abused by Roman Catholic nuns — these women were just as wicked or worse than the priests. Just Google “abusive nuns” and you will find out about the rest of the Vatican’s evil minions.

  125. frank Says:

    Here is a recently published cogent historical perspective covering the church, the State, the general populace and the sexually abused of Ireland.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/magazine/13Irish-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

    It is relatively easy for the church to brush off the rantings of the abused on blogs around the world, but much harder to ignore a six-page, journalistically excellent treatise published in one of the world’s pre-eminent newspapers. It is exactly this type of ‘sledgehammer’ that needs to be taken to the ‘Berlin Wall’ that is the Catholic Church… And like the Berlin Wall, its demise will be a result of critical mass — continuing to stand, appearing solid, until a rapid and catastrophic disintegration as the structural and systemic malaise at the foundation of the organisation engulfs it.

    It is exactly pieces like this that expose and illuminate the invalidity of the standard ‘party line’ that the church trots out “… Yes there have been some problems, but it is just a few bad apples… And now we have redressed the issue”. The story amply demonstrates that it indeed is an organisational issue in which the culture continues to be blind, tolerant and apologetic of the elephant in the room that it sees as a mouse, as part of its pathetic and misguided attempts to ensure sustainability based on power/control, both of people and governments, and of wealth. The other major misapprehension the church organisation suffers under is that it is right, it has always been right, and it will continue to be right. They are huge, inflexible and know no other way. This is why the change that would be required equates with obliteration. It is inconceivable that the organisation could make the changes required and continue to exist. It would amount to the creation of an organisation totally unrecognizable as the church given the structural and systemic nature of the beliefs, values, attitudes, structures, systems and culture that tolerated, if not encouraged, this longstanding global abomination. Organisations are perfectly designed to be as they are, and get what they get.

    When I wrote a letter to the editor of the Honolulu Advertiser in 1998 calling for the anachronism that is the Catholic Church to forever close its doors in the wake of the senior prelate of Boston at the time being exposed doing the ‘paedophile shuffle’ of offending priests from Parish to Parish, their refusal to publish was predictable. What was not predictable at the time, or imaginable, was stories like this appearing in the mainstream press. There is a palpable increase in momentum over the last decade and a bit. However, large masses of humanity aren’t really interested in the stories of mature adults who were sexually abused as children for two reasons — it happened a long time ago, and the organisation involved is irrelevant to them anyway. The real challenge is with the faithful and whether or not they can separate their faith from the organisation that touts itself as its keeper, whether they can move on to establish a direct spiritual connection with the divine, un-mediated by the grossly flawed interventions of human beings that history shows to have been the bane of all religions.

    There is however an issue that isn’t being receiving much press, possibly because it is both secondary and related to the primary focus of sexual abuse of children by priests. What about the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse of far more people than have been sexually abused? What about the abuse doled out by nuns and brothers in schools and institutions? Innumerable people who were non-sexually abused by other than priests in the Catholic system have had their lives ruined. Such people are finally coming together and telling their stories in online blogs such as this.

    When looked at from an organisational perspective, non sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the organisation other than priests undoubtedly derives from the same fundamental organisational imperatives. I would love to read a story by this journalist on this other part of the dark underbelly of the Catholic Church.

    • firetender Says:

      BRAVO, FRANK! (You in HI?)

      • George Says:

        Frank, you said, “It is relatively easy for the church to brush off the rantings of the abused on blogs around the world.” It doesn’t appear to me that people on this blog or other blogs are, “ranting” — for someone who is such a prolific writer, you could choose your words more carefully. There are words that better reflect the nature of the people who blog about abuse.

      • George Says:

        Firetender, I saw that you started another blog called Building Abusers. I added a comment but do others on this blog know about it? I don’t see any other comments.

      • firetender Says:

        Somewhere along the line I may be missing something.

        “A firetender’s blog” was originally set up for me to talk about some things that have and continue to shape me in my exploration of the healing arts. It was meant to be a companion to my http://www.firetender.org website. I placed a post about my outrage regarding the way Nuns have gotten off the hook for abusing children like myself and it took on a life of its own.

        So, WITHIN my “a firetender’s blog” I set up a “category” for all my postings regarding Child Abuse at the hands of Nuns. “Building Abusers” was a separate POST within that CATEGORY.

        I think what’s happened is my initial posting was a THREAD on a firetender’s blog. You all became a part of that THREAD.

        What I probably need to do is SEPARATE the THEME from my larger Blog so it is focused and no one gets confused.

        This goes along with the Facebbook page. Yes, I am Russ Reina, a firetender on Facebook, but we need to be a separate entity. I embrace the role I’m playing here but DO NOT want to be identified with it. This stuff, today, is but one small part of the work I’m doing within the realm of the healing arts, and remember, my intention is NOT to be the Poster Boy for Child Abuse at the hands of Nuns, I want this Blog’s primary purpose to be a SAFE HAVEN for those affected to WORK THROUGH the traumas WITH each other…not to necessarily be a POLITICAL FORCE.

        So, what do you guys think and who knows how to do it…

        Should we separate the info here into a dedicated blog called something like, “Underneath the tip of the Iceberg; Nuns, Child Abuse and the Catholic Church.” And then establish a Facebook Page for just the promotion of the web site?

        What do you think and who can help me do this right?

        Did you get the

      • George Says:

        Firetender, In reply to your request:

        Should we separate the info here into a dedicated blog called something like, “Underneath the tip of the Iceberg; Nuns, Child Abuse and the Catholic Church.” And then establish a Facebook Page for just the promotion of the web site?

        I think it is a good idea to separate the Nuns, Child Abuse blog from the promotion of your web site and any other endeavors you are making to help people. But you could put a link to your website for those who want to expand their efforts. On the website you could link to Facebook or any other information not related to nun abuse.

      • firetender Says:

        I think it is a good idea to separate the Nuns, Child Abuse blog from the promotion of your web site and any other endeavors you are making to help people.

        George, I go back and forth about this a bit. I set up a firetender’s blog so I could talk about personal things outside of the context of my greater life, which, only in part, includes letting people know about the work I do. Most of my writing efforts are a giveaway. Were you to see my bankbook you’d be clear on how little the firetender.org website promotes or sells!

        The truth is, this topic is the ONLY aspect of my personal life I’ve been examining!

        The only thing I’m really selling now is my book, and I have other websites and blogs set up to do that. The book and its blog is already linked to the firetender site but those, and references to counseling or workshops, comprise maybe 5% of its content.

        So, where I’m at today is moving this on to its own site will mean my focus will need to shift to the managing of that site, it will inevitably get political, not personal and I don’t want to have a lot of my life energy wrapped up in that.

        What I think I can do best today is to provide a space and keep the focus on track for people who are really interested in helping each other heal.

        Any of you are welcome to start a Facebook page on the subject and link to me. a firetender’s blog is meant to be personal and I want to keep it that way.

        I reserve the right to be swayed to change my mind, but for now…

        Once again, I’m not interested in starting, promoting or furthering a movement. Whatever began here was an inadvertent by-product of my need to vent. I simply want to continue my personal exploration of the traumas of my childhood experience.

        I really didn’t want to go back there myself, but your input has called on me to look deeper and, from what I learn, report on possible ways out for other kids affected like myself.

        To that extent, I may be more useful to refer the activists amongst us to the Facebook page while retaining the original intent of this blog; to be a place where the Warriors can come for respite and support.

      • frank Says:

        In reply to your question George, I’m not on Facebook and have no idea if it could become a significant tool for putting pressure on the church. To the firetender’s thoughts, I agree that the focus of this blog (even if it gets restructured for the reasons outlined) should continue as is – a safe haven for those abused by nuns to share, encourage, talk about healing and justice.

  126. frank Says:

    Thanks George, and my sincere apologies for any offence taken … I don’t for one minute think that what you, I and others have written here is ranting. What I meant was — that is how the Church hierarchy might describe it. The Church can trivialise or ignore what you, I and others write here and not be too bothered at all by it.

    However they will find it very difficult to ignore good journalism such as Russell Shorto’s New York Times article. Investigative journalists in democratic societies have proven to be a particularly powerful force for social change over the years, exposing organised crime (mafia, drugs, human trafficking), government and judicial corruption (Watergate; CIA intervention in foreign politics) and organisations with dark secrets (tobacco, asbestos, pollution, offshore child labour). Here in Australia, there are two journalists at the Melbourne Age — Nick McKenzie and Rafael Epstein who regularly shine a light on the issue of child abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.

    One of the tangible, practical things any of us can do is to make contact with journalists who write on this issue, encourage them and reinforce just how important and meaningful it is that this story continue to be told from all angles — the hardships of the abused; the malevolence of the perpetrators; the cover-ups, secrecy, inaction and illegal practices of the Church.

    • George Says:

      Frank, getting noticed in the NY Times is certainly a good way to further our cause but it isn’t easy to get a Times reporter to do an article. Journalists here in the U.S. don’t seem to be interested unless there is a major case of clergy abuse. What about Facebook? If enough of us belong to it, this could be a good way to get more people aware of clergy and especially nun abuse. Do you or Firetender belong to it I wonder.

    • George Says:

      Frank, well I didn’t get directly to a journalist, but I did get my account of nun abuse on a popular website. It is the National Catholic Reporer website. Here is the web link.

      http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/victims-abuse-nuns-speak-out

      It is a good starting place. Now if you and other people on this blog can respond to my posting and get their stories on the web site we can further expose the abusive nuns and their organization. Getting our message out is gaining momentum. If there is already publicity on the web then a journalist may be more interested.

  127. Mario Says:

    Great minds run in great circles.

  128. Tom Says:

    Firetender,

    I was “educated” by the Dominican sisters of Akron, Ohio, and still have the scars 50 years later. I don’t have the energy to read it all now, nor to respond, but thank you from the bottom of my heart. It helps so much to know I was not alone and that I was not and am not crazy. When I look at children now, I wonder how any adult could have treated children so badly.

    So many of those sisters are dying. Their obituaries always speak of their devoted service, etc. I’d like to see just one that told the truth. I always think of showing up at a nun’s funeral to sing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

  129. Mario Says:

    Tom I couldn’t agree more, I would sing it with you. LOLOLOL

    The Catholic Church, have fathers who aren’t fathers, mothers who aren’t mothers, brothers who aren’t brothers, and sisters who aren’t sisters, they swear off sex, and then try to explain ‘family values’ to the rest of us.

  130. maura Says:

    Hi Firetender,
    this site helped me realize I wasn’t crazy, what happened to me happened to many others also. Thank you for your time and hard work. I have even connected with some other people that were in the same catholic orphanage as me.

  131. Mary Rutley Says:

    An alumnus of St Aldabert’s in Elmhurst has described the abuses by the nuns at that school on the Catholic National Register. It’s a horribly familiar story – with a caveat. Not all the nuns at St Aldabert’s would have been ‘psychotic’. For as the world now knows, innocent children were abused by twisted and sexually repressed nuns who were not insane, but depraved. But any page on FACEBOOK where there is criticism of St Aldabert’s is always taken down. So thank you to Firetender for giving a voice to all the victims of Cathlic Nun Abuse.

    • George Says:

      Mary,
      I put the following on the St. Adalbert’s School Survivor site when I saw your comment.
      “Like Mary Rutley I was incarcerated in another school, St. Agnes in Sparkhill NY, run by the Dominican nuns. They put me in a coma when I was 3 years old and gave me permanent brain damage. Abusive nuns are all over the world and the more we talk about them, the better our chances of making what they did as visible as the priest scandal. I just got some info put on the Catholic National Register. I urge you all to send something to them about abusive nuns. the more the world hears of this, the better.” They must have someone watching the group and getting it removed. I wonder what the criteria is for getting a group removed from facebook? This seems like freedom of speech is not recognized by facebook. I noted there was foul language on the site and I wonder if that is it?
      I wonder if someone can censor this blog?

      • Mary Rutley Says:

        George,

        At least we have freedom of speech here. But I, too, have wondered if someone will try to censor this blog. JUST LET THEM TRY. Vengeance is ours; we will repay, saith the victims of Catholic NUN abuse.

      • George Says:

        Mary and All

        I checked and Facebook does take pages down if there is profanity. So that St. Adalbert page keeps disappearing because of their wording. WordPress also censors material on blogs that they run but what they take down seems to vary. They have a program running to catch objectionable text but it’s not public.

  132. frank Says:

    Philadelphia Grand Jury names 21 priests

    get this – A Grand Jury indictment and they’re placed on leave!!!!

    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/priests-named-in-sex-report-suspended/story-e6frfku0-1226018220502

    Here’s the script: “deny, pre-varicate, shift the focus, cover-up, deflect, obfuscate, downplay, obstruct, placate, minimalise … But whatever you do, don’t take any real action!!”

    These are the essential steps being passed down from Pope to Cardinal to Archbishop to Bishop in “The Paedophile Shuffle” the wildly popular dance craze that has swept through the Church hierarchy worldwide for more than a decade, whereby you skilfully manoeuvre problem priests from parish to parish with hardly anyone noticing!!

  133. George Says:

    Firetender, that was a great piece of writing! You said it all. Why are these priests, who are all U.S. citizens, I assume, going free? If they are citizens of the corrupt Vatican, then why doesn’t the Court deport them and get them off the streets of Philadelphia? A one way ticket would be good. And I like you getting political – you’re good at it.

  134. tomal Says:

    I too suffered abuse by the “sisters of St Joseph” at Sacred Heart School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. I attended from 1960 to 1966. Of the three children in my family; I have severe disableing panic attacks / agorophobia from my experiences at this school….My brother and sister also attended and have panic attacks as well …all related to our abuse by the nuns. It was too bad that the most violent nun in the school was the “First Grade Nun”. She had this obsession that the inside of our desk had to be perfect. She would stand in the back of the class, bend her head down so she could see in the desks….then….when she saw a messy one would run up quickly, scoop her hands in the desk and fling everything inside it all over the floor. Then she would yell…..”you like a mess…then I’ll give you a mess”…..PICK IT UP

  135. Florence Silworth Says:

    Like many of your other contrbutors I personally witnessed he harshness
    of the harshness of these women,in the late 1960′s,while a boarder at an
    Like many of your other contributors I personally witnessed the harshness of these women,in the late 1960′swhile a boarder at an all girls
    Sister of Mercy convent secondary school in New South Wales,Australia
    The school was in a predominantly working class area
    with a large number of immigrant families and many social problems like broken homes,teenage gangs and solvent abuse So,I guess it wasn’t all that surprising that quite a few ‘troubled teens’ from this area ended up at our school The convent also took in catholic girls who had been expelled from other schools and a few Island girls.from Samoa and Tonga who had been in trouble in the islands One would have thought that the sisters would have been kind and understanding to such girls and taken the time to counsel them But sadly this was not the case
    Many of these women,particularly the older ones,were bad tempered and unfriendly and went out of their way to find fault with these girls behaviour and frequently resorted to the use of corporal punishment
    And,at our convent you could get the strap or the ruler over the hand or back of your legs for the smallest things like running in the corridors or talking during prayers It was so unjust but we dared not question their right to treat us like this for fear of being sent to Mother Superior a humourless nun in her fifties from Ireland
    Unlike the teaching sisters she used the cane which at our school was only given cross girls bottoms She also believed in humiliating wrongdoers at assembly in front of the school So,sometimes hair would be cut shockingly short for wrong hairstyles,mouths washed out with soap for swearing and if you had been rude to one of her sisters you would be publicly browbeaten before being sent off to srub floors or,wait outside her office tobe caned In cases where girls had brought shame to her convent these canings would almost always be carried out in front of the school as warning to the rest of us Shortly after I arrived at the convent a hardcase ex gang girl from the islands and four of her final year classmates got caught drinking in a bar in town and were really
    rude to the policewoman who brought them back to school
    Next morning all five were told to report to assembly in their thin cotton pe shorts and after the formal business of assembly was over they were bundled onto the stage where they had to make a full apology to the policewoman.mother superior and the other sisters for what they had done Then one by one in truly humiliating fashion she bent each girl over a table and caned her It was awful and everybody present in the hall was shocked They were tough high spirited girls but by the time she had finished with them they were in tears and wouldn’t be able to sit down properly on their stinging bottoms for days after and according to one of my friends the marks left by the cane were quite awful This kind of thing happened a number of times while I was there and there were countless more canings in her office
    Looking back it makes me so angry that these women got away with treating us like this I know schools were much stricter in those days,than today,but there was certainly no excuse for humiliating girls at assembly
    or the excessive use of corporal punishment though I suppose there a few times when the strap and even the cane might have done a lot of
    good I don’t know if other convents in our country,who didn’t take in problem girls,were as strict as ours but what I do know is that these sisters will have a lot to answer for on judgement day!

  136. Mary Rutley Says:

    Yesterday I watched a film, based on fact, about evil and abusive nuns at a Magdalen laundry in Ireland where teenage girls were routinely abused. One girl called the Reverend Mother a “fucking twisted bitch”. As the above stories confirm, there were an awful lot of fucking twisted bitches in the Roman Catholic Church.

    And isn’t it strange that none of the orders we have exposed has dared to deny our allegations? They are all frightened, of course, of opening a hornet’s nest.

  137. firetender Says:

    MAJOR ALERT! MAJOR ALERT!

    Sorry for the late notice, but such is life!

    Check out my latest BLOG in this category to see how it happened,

    https://firetender.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/an-unexpected-gift/

    then tune in! I hooked up with a Blogtalk Radio host for this show. What’s very cool is we get RE-BROADCAST on two larger shows in NY and Houston for a week as well!

    Tuesday, April 12 at 8-9PM EASTERN / 5-6PM PACIFIC time

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wellnessfortherealworld/2011/04/13/predators-in-the-pulpit

    Yes, the show will be on live and listeners can call in to participate, : 714-364-4731 Press 1 to signal if you have a question.

    About 20 minutes after the show concludes, it will be available to listen to download on demand.

    AND THE RE-BROADCASTS!

    Sunday 4/17 it will air nightly for 7 days at 8:30pm ET on http://www.oldgrumpynewyork.com, and 9PM CT on http://www.oldgrumpyhouston.com.

    No guarantee how long I will be on as other guests will be sharing the space, but I will be prepared to stoke some fires!

  138. Harry Says:

    I was in a Catholic home at the age of 6, The first was St.Mary of the angels in Syosset NY, and the other was the Daughter of Wisdom in Port Jefferson NY. The orphanage had planty of butt kissers and brown noseing for the nuns. Always ratten on others. Two legged rats. They behave as if the Catholic orphanage was their real home. You want to know what a nun is, nun of this and nun of that.

    Harry

  139. carmen Says:

    Here in Philippines, the nuns and the priests are the worst. I even have videos of nuns overtaking in lines just because they are nuns. They are arrogant and feel that they are royalties. I have videos of two dominican sisters overtaking the lines during election. They don’t pay the taxes yet have the gall to intervene in our government.

  140. frank Says:

    One line of thinking is that nuns who abuse children think they are doing the right thing — have good intentions — but go about it in the worst possible way because of their own upbringing, because of their beliefs, because of the system/organisation they belong to and what is expected of them.

    The other line of thinking is that they are criminals – sick, twisted, perverted, sadistic, of evil intent — wishing to harm, to control, to punish, to weaken, to poison, to destroy. A newspaper article in the Melbourne Age in October 2009 lends some weight to this argument. Here is an excerpt:
    “Ms Tiffin said she had been repeatedly raped – orally, vaginally and anally – by serial pedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale while she and her brother were in Nazareth House in 1963-64. She was seven when it began. She said some of the nuns used to come and get children at night and take them to Ridsdale. They would put them in his room, say ”be nice”, then leave the victim alone with him.”

    Here is a link to the full article:
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/priests-warned-to-ignore-letter-on-child-abuse-20091028-hl0n.html

    What would we think of anyone who would enable a paedophile by providing a vulnerable child for them to abuse? Would we not deem such a person to be totally devoid of morals, to be absolutely lacking in decency?

    How then should we characterise a group of women who have dedicated their lives to God, who knowingly chose to regularly and systematically aid and abet this paedophile priest by providing him with a steady diet of kids who were under their care, and silently collude with each other so that it could continue?

    Was the alternative that he would rape them? Were they in such fear that the head nun could not tell the bishop about it? Were they in total denial of the reality of what was happening? Did they deep down think that it was okay, that this priest like many others they knew about needed “to express their love” in this safe and secret way? Where are these nuns now? What does it say that they have not spoken up?

    We know far more now about abuse at the hands of the clergy in the Catholic Church than we did five years ago… and far more then than we knew a decade before that. The more we know, the uglier the picture becomes — the more widespread and horrific is this scourge in this organisation.

    As these things go, history would tell us that this is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ situation where there is far more not known about this scourge than is known at this point. For every reported case of abuse, for every cover-up by the hierarchy, for every brave individual, parent or family who have spoken up — how many countless others will never be known about, never see the light of day, never heal, never see justice?

    And what does it say about the so-called good Catholics — clergy or lay people? What sort of rationalisation could they possibly make that would lead them to the conclusion that this is an organisation that continues to be worth belonging to?

    And finally what does it say about the broader society we live in? What does it say about our civic and political leaders who, apart from a few recent cases, pander to the church hierarchy by letting them deal with this as an in-house moral issue, rather than bring the full and swift weight of the law to bear on this most despicable and disgusting of criminal activity — indeed a crime against humanity.

    • George Says:

      Well said, Frank. We need to keep up the momentum and get the truth out to everyone that the catholic church is a breeding ground for rapists and pedophiles.
      George

  141. Henry Sienkiewicz Says:

    I went to Holy Cross School in Mount Carmel Pennsylvania in the late 60s. They weren’t all monsters, most of them were enablers of the first order. There were three nuns who’s faces are burned into my mind. Looking back these so called wives of Jesus could smell weakness, they were predators looking for a victim. Their main course was humiliation followed by a close second, physical violence. All of which was applied with a look of glee in their eyes. I have pstd from those years of school. I remember one day being ill, I told sister Philip.Instead of sending me to the nurse she had me standing in front of the class for the rest of the day with the bail of a cleaning bucket over my head so the bucket would hang under my chin in case I vomited. I missed school for the next eight days because I came down with the mumps. Thank you sister for showing me the compassion of Christ. My parents were Polish Catholic so when my son was born I kept him as far away from the church as possible until he was old enough to investigate it himself. There was a great deal of pressure from the family. The church missed the vulnerable years where their brainwashing takes place and they lost my son. He is free from the disease that is the Catholic church.

    Thanks for the shared memories and allowing me to tell a bit of my experience.

  142. Pattyann Says:

    The sex abuse issue by priests is a whole separate matter. Reading Mr. Sienkiewicz’ s post really hit home. For me, it is about the nuns and their dehumanizing tactics to torture the most vulnerable members of society. I had no voice back then. I had to take it or face the consequences. Believe me, I hated those consequnces.
    Vomiting was not an acceptable excuse.. ever.
    I remember the bucket. I can still see it. If I had to use it, I was weak.
    Being sick was a means to belittle and humilitate me in front of the class which was about thirty five or so.
    I was just thinking that many of these so called “brides of Christ” became nurses and wore white vails. I wonder if they were cut from a different mold?

    • Henry Sienkiewicz Says:

      Pattyann, Good point.”I was just thinking that many of these so called “brides of Christ” became nurses and wore white vails. I wonder if they were cut from a different mold?” No they are one of the same.These brides of Christ are not unlike chameleons. They can change from demonic to angelic and back again in a heartbeat. It all depends on how vulnerable they perceive their victims. I worked in a hospital years ago and saw for myself a nun caring for a male patient with all the kindness of a saint and then seconds later in the next room a display of nastiness bordering on outright abuse. What was the difference. The second patient was a stroke victim and unable to speak and barely conscious.

  143. George Says:

    Here is an important article. Will the Pope’s letter to the Bishops say that he will support an end to the statue of limitations that prevents survivors from getting justice? I responded with my opinion in the blog for this article

    Eliminate Statutes of Limitation in Childhood Sexual Abuse Cases: A Litmus Test for the Vatican
    If the Pope believes in truth and protection for the vulnerable, his letter to the bishops will endorse statutes of limitations reform.
    By Marci A. Hamilton, May 12, 2011 LINK:

    http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Eliminate-Statutes-of-Limitation-in-Childhood-Sexual-Abuse-Cases-Marci-Hamilton-05-13-2011.html

  144. frank Says:

    About Healing, Hate, Love, Forgiveness …

    Here is a remarkable story about a Palestinian doctor whose children were killed in their bedroom by Israeli tank fire. He has more reason than most to hate, to want revenge, to seek retribution. He has more reason than most to want to heal, to recover from the damage others have caused him.

    Read his story and reflect…
    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/message-of-peace-emerges-from-a-fathers-anguish-and-humiliation-20110401-1cnp6.html

    • George Says:

      To all that read the article and to Frank

      I’m not sure whether someone who is promoting a book about peace and making publicity appearances is as genuine as the people on this blog. His daughters may have been killed in an air strike and that is sad, but it was not the personal suffering and death that victims of nun and priest abuse suffered. If his daughters had been raped and killed by clergy perpetrators using the name of God, he may not have been so ready to accept it. I know I wouldn’t accept it and I could never say I would accept my children’s murders under any circumstances.

  145. frank Says:

    Polish nun jailed for child abuse

    AN appeals court in Poland is sending a Catholic nun to prison after she was convicted of beating children at a home for troubled youths and allowing one resident to be sexually abused by other children.

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/polish-nun-jailed-for-child-abuse/story-e6frfku0-1226062348044

    This may be a first. Does anyone know of any nun anywhere who has been charged with child abuse, let alone had to stand trial and be found guilty?

    What is staggering from a number of perspectives is that the abuse took place in 2005 and 2006.

    Another nun from the same convent was found guilty of ‘verbally insulting children’ and given a suspended sentence. I guess that’s progress… in the 50s and 60s, nuns could verbally, physically, emotionally and spiritually abuse children without so much as a rebuke — and often with support.

    The nuns involved at the home for troubled youths came from God’s Mercy Convent… how ironic?

  146. Mary Says:

    This is what we need to know, Frank. While the Arab/Israeli conflict is tragic, this website exists to expose the abuses inflicted all over the world by RC nuns. And if we can get up the nose of the heirarchy in the Church of Rome, then so be it!

    I believe that the religious orders that have been named by us are hoping that by keeping quiet the story will go away. Not a chance!

  147. Sue Remington Says:

    After reading all of the above, it does answer some life long questions I’ve had about my life. You were all pretty brave to tell of your experiences and I can only hope that emotionally you will get through your suffering.

    I too, went to catholic grammar school, St. Teresa’s, Runnemede, NJ. I went through 8 years, graduating in 1972. We had I.H.M. nuns, and yes, they beat the hell out of boys and girls, but mostly the boys.

    I remember this one year, I’m guessing 3rd or 4th grade, when these 4 or 5 nuns beat the daylights out of a group of maybe 6 boys. The nuns beat them infront of the entire student body for starting a “gang”.

    In 3rd grade, a nun, Sr. Mary Matthew attempted to throw a little boy, Paul Doyle, out a window that was maybe 10 to 12 feet from the ground! She didnt really throw him out the window, but she did scare the daylights out of him!

    Many years later, after I was married and had my own son, thank God he went to public school; I saw Paul Doyle. And let me tell you; he wasnt in good shape! We discussed what had happened. This truly messed up his life! I felt so sorry for him.

    I am no longer a catholic. Some years ago I joined the Nazarene Church. All of my life I was a devout catholic. It was a soul searching mission, but for me, I know I made the right choice. The catholics showed me what “religion” was; the Nazarene’s showed me what a “relationship with Christ and God” was.

    The worst part, for me anyway, was my parents paid all that tuition money for 8 years, money they totally DID NOT HAVE, and all I got out of those spent dollars was great handwriting! Whoppe do!!! What a waste!

    There are many other stories of abuses I remember. But as for me, I gave them all to God. I can only thank Him that I wasnt one of the abused kids! As for all the others, I can only pray that you will be able to release these horrible memories to Him and let Him comfort you on the inside. And try to remember that the vengence is His! God bless you all.

  148. TonyZ Says:

    My first two years of the Catholic indoctrination process in the early 70′s were in first and second grades at St. Simon and Jude in Brooklyn, NY. For the most part, it was a positive, nurturing experience under the supervision of two lay teachers (two peace loving hippies). In 1975, I moved to Staten Island and attended St. Roch’s where I had my first experience with a twisted, sadistic, neanderthal named Sister Pauline. Being a newcomer and thus, an unknown quantity to the benevolent Sr. Pauline, I became an instant target. From day one, I found myself looking over my shoulder for that bony, wrinkled hand coming from behind, grabbing my hair down to the scalp and throttling my head to and fro for any perceived transgression. Sr. Pauline who was Irish, made no bones about her hatred for Italians. All non Irish students, were generally singled out for these indiscriminate and random attacks. No sympathy or understanding came from the principal Sr. John Gregory, a tall, muscular and obese behemoth who toted a large hand shaped wooded paddle with the words “Mama’s Helping Hand” proudly emblazoned on it. After a year of head throttling, face smacks and ruler beatings, I begged and pleaded to my parents to emancipate me from this House of Horrors. Mercifully I was allowed to attend public school where I was so far behind in my math skills (despite having an 85 average in math at St. Rochs), that I needed to be remediated after school for 6 months just to be on par with my peers.
    Having not been confirmed however, I was expected to attend Catechism classes after school once a week at Our Lady of Pity Church with other Catholic students in my public school. One day, I made the mistake of disclosing to Sister Athanasius, a hulking, bespectacled Amazon with an inordinate amount of facial hair, that I had gum in my mouth that I wanted to dispose of. With this, I was pulled out of the pew by my hair and was whisked up to the alter where the benevolent sister made me kneel in front of the altar with my arms raised above my head for two hours in front of 200 other kids. All attempts to lower my arms for temporary relief, were met with a slap to the back of the head. So much for being a good Catholic.

    Fast forward to the 9th grade when I gave Catholic education another go. Falsely assuming that the climate had changed since then, I attended St. Joseph by the sea where I was to experience more abuse at the hands of an angry, stout bulldog of a woman named sister Anna Regina who seemed to get great pleasure from random stealth attacks on students for transgressions such as slouching, coughing too loud and things of that nature.
    Needless to say, it is quite consoling to see people coming forward and holding these barbarians responsible once and for all. As I get older, I’d like to believe that there is a God watching over us and that he is doling out the same, if not worse punishment to these thugs in habits and collars that claim to act on his behalf.
    At this time, I take great pleasure in watching the collapse of this evil enterprise through multimillion dollar legal settlements and negative publicity.

    • Vérité Says:

      The brutality the Irish hierarchy within the church inflicted upon the innocent Italian American children is immeasurable.
      Those of us in those horrible institutions were the victims of a religious elite which preached the Word, yet never practiced. Those of us who were darker skinned, darker haired, had a vowel at the end of their name took the brunt of those Irish monsters who bullied us, berated us, beat us, then blames us took a tremendous psychological toll from their punishment.

      • Brian Says:

        Verite,

        I don’t know maybe there were no Irish kids in your school. I saw no distinction in the brutality. Of course maybe I was getting beaten up so much I never particuarly noticed special attention to Italian kids. All my neighborhood friends were Italian and they all went to public school. Incarnation, Queens Village, 1950′s, Dominican nuns. Which nuns did you have?

      • Vérité Says:

        It is kind of a Chicago bred mental disease that still exists to this day. The priests, the nuns and the lay teachers were 95% Irish, and their Irishness has engrained in that city for way too long.
        My experience was during the 1950s when the Chicago Catholic school we attended was run by the Irish. The Austin district had St Angela’s church and school (now defunct) which was a breeding ground of non-tolerance toward all other religions, ethnics, and races. There was most definitely a great deal of partiality shown toward the Irish children over everyone else.

        There was a pecking order measured by the color tone of your skin that the more sadistic ones came up with. Whiter than white were the Irish so they were on top, then the Germans and Poles, but they were called DPs because their parents were immigrants, next were the Italians, French Canadians, and even one Greek kid, they were olive skinned and of course inferior to the Irish. The children of Spanish/Latin American descent were on the bottom.

        Every St Patrick’s Day and the week that lead up to it was when there was the worst abuse. All the kids had to learn and sing songs about the dominant group. Then we had to listen to story after story from the priests visiting the classes, and the nuns and teachers who boasted insistently of how wonderful and superior the Irish were.

        The city put on it’s biggest chest thumping Democrat Machine parade they could muster, led by mayor Richard J Daley marching down State St.
        The Chicago TV stations kowtowed by backing up their claims with movie after movie about the Irish. So by the time St Patrick’s Day arrived the Irish kids were pumped up believing they had to live up to the John Wayne or Jimmy Cagney tough guy routine. This would inevitably lead to the Irish teasing and goading the non-Irish boys, and some of the girls and fights broke out by the score.
        The other kids were trying to defend themselves from the relentless slurs. The nuns did little to stop them and probably even encouraged them. The Irish consciously or not work at keeping other people down.

        From 3rd grade on the nuns and lay teachers would ask each child in front of the whole class what their ethnic heritage was. It was not a way to show ethnic pride, we were not allowed to do that. In fact they were still running on the WWII propaganda slogan, “Don’t speak the language of our enemies” By 6th grade I was so fed up with all of this baiting that I lied when I answered that I was 1/4 American Indian and joked now get off my land.

        As stated earlier this is a sort of Chicago bred mental disease, that was never discussed. It was used consistently by the Irish bosses in government, mayors, politicians, police and fire departments, and unions to cut out those least like themselves. They had the top positions of power, and gave them the power to hire who they wanted.

        In time every dog has his day. The neighborhoods changed. When black families began moving in, and the real estate Panic Peddlers were ravaging the neighborhoods, white people began to move out in droves. The news media called it White Flight to the Suburbs. All of our old friends and neighbors went to the suburbs. The Irish had to stay because they were city workers obligated for their lively hood to live in the city.

        When we talk about the old times, the school, the church, what happened there is a unanimous agreement that the move was for the better. Our dads and moms had opportunities never afforded to them in the Irish run Chicago system.

        When this is brought up to any one from that parish who is Irish, there are usually three reactions.

        The reaction of non belief, “We never did that, why some of my best friends were….”.

        The reaction of fake sympathy “Awww, were you one of them who was picked on. Did we call you names, awww?”

        The most genuine reaction, “You deserved a beating.”

        After all of this time, through the 60s, the Civil Rights movement, the wars, the politics, they just did not learn.

        In conclusion along with the Catholic nuns we can also toss the Irish led Church on the heap of human suffering.

      • firetender Says:

        My first reaction was to shut down a little because of the pointing of a finger at an ethnic group much as I would react if you had said Italians.

        However, I must reflect that the Dominican nuns at my own school, and most certainly the nuns who abused me, were, in fact Irish. The rage was widespread throughout the convent yet to be perfectly honest i DO recall a preponderence of Irish nuns doing the damage!

        So that leaves me with letting the comment stand because it could be a cultural factor coming into play. I just acknowledged an article offering apologies from the Church for the abuse of 10,000 children at the hands of IRISH nuns, so now, I have to wonder aloud to what degree is this a disease of culture as well? Or what factors in the Irish culture gave the abuse such permission and sting?

        I’ll be the first to admit that this is the reflection of a syndrome that has multiple factors and expressions. The abuse we suffered was part of a complex system. It’s not enough for me to say “You’re absolutely right, those Irish caused and perpetuated this whole mess!” because I know it was a coming together of multiple forces that included individual rage and frustration, self-loathing, a desire to destroy innocence, cultural permission, opportunity, absence of consequences, forgiveness by God and self-righteous indignation fueled by religious fervor and godknowswhatelse!

        (Maybe the Irish led the charge?)

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Verite:

        Your posting is VERY WELL WRITTEN! You are “right on the money” with your assessment of the problem. ——– I ran into the same issues in New York City in the 1950′s in an Irish Parish in Greenwich Village N.Y.. ——- Being part Italian, I understand how the “non Irish children” were treated by the Irish Nuns. ——- Our school had to supply the Altar Boys for all the church services. —- (The Academy School that was associated with the church did not have this obligation. Those children came from “money” so they were treated much better!) —– The only time the Altar Boys received any money for their services was if they served a wedding. —– NOTE: —- Only the Irish Altar boys were assigned to weddings! ——— Yes, the nuns did encourage Irish students to mock other students of who were non-Irish! —— The quality of the Academic Education was poor. —– (The purpose of the school was to indoctrinate the child into the Catholic Religion.) —– The Catholic Church will NEVER take responsibility for their actions. The reason is simple, —- they can never be wrong! —– When people, (who were abused by the nuns die off), there will not be any witnesses to the atrocities that were committed on the children by the nuns. —- Most, if not all the nuns, that I had in the NYC Catholic School are dead. —— Only the “abused children are alive,’ and we are getting older everyday. —-The Catholic Church is a lying / self-serving / underhanded / sneaky organization! —– It will do anything to survive! —- The management of the Church will “lie” and “spin the truth” to their own advantage! —- Because of the “Flue Epidemic in our area,” my wife and I have avoided going to areas where large crowds of people exist. —– We have not attended Saturday Mass at the local Hospital. —– (My wife is “still a practicing Catholic!” —- I got “good at it,” so I DO NOT practice! —- I go along for the ride, and think about pleasant things during the service! —- I DO NOT PARTICIPATE!) —-We have noticed that since we have not attended church, we are very happy! —- Our life is very enjoyable! —– Could there be a connection?

        All the best to everyone on this GREAT site! —– God bless! —- Have a GREAT day! —– We are telling the truth! —- We are getting the word out! —- Dwayne

  149. TonyZ Says:

    PS. Allow me to preface my motivation to post the previous statement. In todays’ local paper, it was announced that St. Roch’s is closing its’ doors after the school year. Apparently, the NY Archdiocese is bankrupt from paying out all those settlements and well intentioned parents can no longer afford the exorbitant tuition for an inferior education.

  150. tim Says:

    I attended St. Sebastian, Belle Vernon, Pa 1956 through 1964. Horrible, horrible years. I remember a nun repeatedly beating a student on the back using with her fist. The girl tried to run away but the nun grabbed her a started to beat her again. I remember the nun’s rosary (that big thing wrapped around her waist) and habit flying through the air as she beat on poor Beatrice as Beatrice’s mother just stood there!
    I have many more horrible stories that that took place during those years. I will never, ever forget it. I can relate to all of the statements within this article. Someone should pay.

  151. Rich Taber Says:

    I recently had a conversation with a devout Catholic and told him about this website. He commented with the line that “percentage wise, there was a lot more abuse going on in Protestant chuches, yada yada yada,”. My only reply was that when you are an eight year old kid getting your ass whaled on by some sadistic psychpathic nun, you really don’t give a rat’s ass about statistics about Protestants.

  152. tony Says:

    i never had any ill experence with nuns ,I do remember some of the same treatment described there done in public school,when i went there too. It was the way things were done by teachers back in the 50′s & 60′s

  153. Frank Says:

    Rich’s experience with the “devout catholic” is just another example of the stonewall of deflection, denial, trivialisation, delay etc, not to mention misrepresentation and other forms of lying and trickery that come from those on the side of the Church… be they rank and file Catholics right up to the very top job.

    I deliberately say “on the side of the Church”, because, apart from the very rare exception, you do not find people who are both for the victims AND for the Church. It is a polarised situation – you are either for the victims OR for the church.

    The bottom line is that the likelihood of genuine and heartfelt HEALING coming from the direction of the Church is nil. There may yet be JUSTICE exacted from the Church in the same way that criminals are sometimes made to pay… but don’t hold your breath waiting for healing from that source.

    Here is an article from earlier this week on the Catholic run laundries of Ireland:
    “The 1955 advert for the Magdalene laundry in Dublin, Ireland reads like a tear-jerking charity appeal: “The Superioress and Sisters of The Magdalen Asylum … very earnestly beg the support of the liberal and kind-hearted to help them with the upkeep of the Institution for 130 Poor Penitents, who receive a home within its walls.”

    But the reality for many of the “penitents” — or repentant sinners — living in these institutions was very different from the ad’s beneficent tone. The ten Magdalene laundries,” . . . read more

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2081008,00.html

  154. Dennis Griffin Says:

    In 1957 I was a nine year old fourth grader at St. Helena’s in Center Square, Pennsylvania. Just outside of Philly. The fourth grade was in the basement of the Mercy nun convent separate from the main school building. Someone wrote some graffiti on the basement wall : Elvis, and Little Richard. I had those names on one of my book covers and was tried and convicted by the 300 pound principal of the school, Sr. Sebastian, we called her Sr. Subway. For the better part of an afternoon she beat me to the inch of my life. Kneeling on the hard floor the whole time she pulled my ears, applied vice grip type pinches on my cheeks in between slapping my face with both her hands in unison, occasionally using her fists, screaming at the top of her lungs while trying to force a confession from me. I was nine. Years later as an adult during a family reunion I went by the scene of the crime and all I wanted was five minutes with her. She was probably long dead and gone by then but I sure hope she got her just reward. Rotting in hell up to her neck in sewage. I come from a family of six kids, all my siblings have horror stories about the nuns. My parents, God rest their souls, did what they thought was the best for their children. Makes me wonder what it was like for them in the ’30′s in Catholic school in the diocese of Philadelphia. We were born Irish Catholic but we are still Irish.

  155. trish griffin Says:

    myself and three other siblings were damaged at the hands of “Charity” nuns in Riviera Beach, Florida and Dominican nuns in West Palm Beach, Florida in the 1950s and 1960s. My two eldest brothers seemed to escape the violence, seemingly in schools that were the exeption to the rule in Pennsylvania, perhaps they had a stronger will to endure witnissing and enduring the beatings and verbal abuse. These were bad and evil people, even the priests who “preyed” on children, just like the song says, exposing every weakness. We were small children and did not have the emotional maturity to understand or will to stand up to these sadistic sociopaths. I hope they all rot in hell, ugly, fat, walls of useless flesh.

  156. trish griffin Says:

    These experiences have crippled us in adulthood, problems with intimacy, authority figures, self-esteem, and addictions to name a few obstacles we have faced in our adult lives due to the abuse we endured as impressionable and helpless children.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      You have said it in a nutshell. One of the nuns who abused me when I was a four-year-old boarder at Our Lady’s High School in Dartford, now lives in a nursing home for the nuns in her order (Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy). So, I recently sent Sr Teresa a letter catalogueing the abuse – there was no reply, of course. She could easily sue for libel if my accusations had been false. But there have been too many complaints about this order!

  157. Nancy Says:

    What is even more appalling is that when you mention some of this horrible incidents when making comments as a blogger (when other issues arise regarding the Catholic church), no one seems to care. They don’t even care to make a comment and choose to ignore what I say. Unbelievable. Are these people of today also in denial or maybe they refuse to believe stuff like this happened to us?

  158. Frank Says:

    The chronicle of abuse by nuns on this blog continues to lengthen as we read the experiences of TonyZ, Tim and the Griffins. Personally I am becoming more sensitive to reading these accounts of abuse as time goes on and the list here grows. It breaks my heart to read what happened to everyone, makes me very sad, and sick to the pit of my stomach. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way…

    There is one new bright ray of sunshine bravely poking through the dark storm clouds of the multiple scandals of child abuse, the tolerance of the abuse from the Church, the protection of and support for abusers, the apathy towards victims, and the massive global cover-up. For the first time in history, the political leader of a Western democratic nation has denounced the abuse and its handling by the Catholic Church in no uncertain terms. The language used by Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny was strong and unequivocal as he addressed the Parliament (Dail) on Wednesday of this week in the wake of the Cloyne Report showing up the woeful inadequacy of the Church in dealing with child abuse at any level. Enda Kenny said in parliament that the Cloyne report, released on 13 July, had exposed the Vatican’s attempt to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse. He said the report had illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominant in the Vatican… that Rome seemed more interested in upholding the church’s power and reputation than confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders. Kenny said the rape and torture of children had been downplayed or “managed” to uphold the institution’s power and reputation. Read more …
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/20/irish-prime-minister-attacks-vatican
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/vatican-stung-by-irish-pm-enda-kennys-rebuke-16026400.html

    • George Says:

      Frank, I just saw your July 22 post about the Irish Prime Minister taking a stand against the vatican. Maybe this will be an example for other heads of countries to do the same. Everyone needs to read these encouraging articles.

  159. domestic violence definition Says:

    domestic violence definition…

    Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows « a firetender’s Blog…

  160. trish griffin Says:

    One of the vivid and unfortunately lasting memories I have carried with me for over 50 years is witnessing Sr. Edwarda and Sr. Rita at St. Francis in Riviera Beach, FL in the early 60s storming into the little boys’ restroom yelling and screaming at the boys, and hearing heads being knocked against the tile floors and basins. Restrooms are seemingly a safe and private place, yet there were no save havens in catholic schools. Can you imagine being one of those little boys standing at a urinal with your groin exposed with satan’s wife approaching you with the intent to cause harm? I can only imagine the psychological issues these boys have had in their adult lives. I can still hear the sadistic roars of the nuns and the cries of the little boys echoing in that restroom. These memories are vivid to me as if they happened yesterday.

    • Dennis Griffin Says:

      True story. I was in the eighth grade sitting first row first seat right next to the classroom door on the second floor when Str. Paula took exception to my laughing when she finally found a missing object that was right under her nose. She picked me up by the back of my collar and my trousers and threw me out the door. Only my instincts had me grab the bottom rail of the railing or I would have fallen to the assembly area below. Real nice. Sisters of Charity my ars.

  161. George Says:

    Trish, the nuns’ brutality you witnessed is right in keeping with nun brutality that I and others witnessed and in my case received. It was going on in the 1940s and the 1960s and is still going on. The only way we can stop them is to keep exposing what they are doing. The power of the internet and social media will bring them down. I hope more survivors will be encouraged to tell their experiences or add to what they have already written.

  162. B. Robertson Says:

    I am not from New York. I am from Toledo, OH. I endured their abuse from 1960 to 1968. Both sexes were abused physically and psychologically. I have always wondered why the priests were certainly discussed with their horrid behavior; however, the nuns, day after day, did so much damage to most children. And, I, one of them. I am not and have not been a Catholic since graduating from high school. I feel Dominican nuns (or most) are evil. I hold no respect for religion anymore. If anything, they directed me right out of any beliefs in a higher power.

  163. Don Says:

    My favorite Aunt attended All Saints on Whipple Street in Brooklyn (Dominicans) and Queen of All Saints on Vanderbilt (Josephites, I think) and had the Sisters of Charity of New York (the “Doubt” Sisters). Aunt Kate said the worst were the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of St. Joseph in her day were called the rocking chair order. I had the Sisters of St. Joseph at Our Lady of Victory in Floral Park, NY and at Most Holy Redeemer in Tampa, FL. The Sisters of St. Joseph used to teach all over the place, but they were really horrible. At OLV in Floral Park most were pretty sadistic but the worst of the heap was Sister St. Vincent, CSJ. She taught in seventh grade. Sister Ann Maura, CSJ (we called her Sam) was also a sadist. Sister St. Vincent regularly beat the crap out of my Sister and especially hated “little girls” and she enjoyed humiliating them. My Sister was a very tiny girl. Frustrated lesbo leather girl was old Vinnie, if you ask me – she used to raise the windows in the dead of Winter causing the kids to catch colds, and would play Mitch Miller records during exams. She would call my Sister up to the blackboard, grab her by the hair and slam her head against the chalkboard. A livid bitch. She croked in 1971 and now she is writing the autobiography of Satan.

    • Brian Says:

      Don,

      Thanks for sharing your blog.Dominicans at Incarnation School, Queens Village, NY in 1950′s and early 60′s. I too suffered all the abuses you mentioned. Let me add what Sr. Marie Michelle, a young one, thought would teach me to stop talking in the 3r grade. She made me crawl under her desk by her feet and she continued to kick me for the rest of the class. That torture has been impossible to forget to this day.
      I have since learned from my sister that she too was tortured by the Dominicans at Dominican Commercial High School, Jamaica, Queens.

      I now live in St Louis, the most Catholic city n America and these people think I’m nuts, they absolutely do not beleie anything evel about or priests. Maybe the FRench tradition in STL was actually good, but I doubt it. They will have their moments of truth, shame and criminal revelation soon enought.

  164. Don Says:

    I am very sorry to hear of that. That has to have been extremely painful and I sincerely hope that it has not stood in the way of your life. As strange as this may sound, I am a practicing adult Catholic, highly active in my Parish. My Grandmother’s cousin (now deceased) was a Cardinal over the STL archdiocese and he died many years ago. He was from Brooklyn. I accept the Church as an inperfect institution because it is made of men, and men err. This is the only way I have been able to stay in the Church. I keep my attention at my Parish, no further, and I belong to a wonderful one. I don’t minimize any of the hurt you experienced and, yes, it certainly did happen. The Church is not God. God is perfect, the Church is not. At 56 I’ve grow because of some things and in spite of others. Plenty on the spite side so far as the Church is concerned and I would love to be able to confront my abusers (as I would imagine you would) but then most of them are gone. Take care and thanks.

  165. Joanne McGuire Says:

    I am an Australian and was also beaten almost daily by the nuns and teachers at a catholic school. I honestly thought I was a bad child. I was too afraid to tell my parents in case I got into more trouble. I was tortured by one particular nun who singled me out. She would leave the classroom then return to find the entire class talking but would beat me as I sat closest to the door. She accused me of being a cheat and if I got my spellings right, would humiliate me by checking them in front of the class. I took to getting one wrong deliberately to avoid the humiliation. She was the cruelest woman I ever knew and 40 years later I am still scarred by her actions. She would call me stupid and I tell me I would never amount to anything and I believed her. I had low self esteem which has taken years to overcome. I hope she is burning in hell!

  166. Tim Says:

    I went to Our Lady of Peace school in Columbus, Ohio from 1962-1968
    The school was staffed by the Dominican Sisters. I noticed the sadistic behavior starting in first grade. The nuns would even coax their pets of the class to join in. One boy got ratted on by one of the teacher’s pets because he did not finish drinking all of his milk in his thermos. (Most of us used lunch boxes) Sister Mary Alma went to his desk, took his thermos, held it sideways over his desk and opened the lid, letting the milk inside spill out over his desk. She then proclaimed, “look at that mess” and then made him stay after school to clean it up. I myself never got paddled, but I witnessed quite a few others.

    In the fifth grade one boy was sent to the office for back talking the teacher. The principal, Sister Christopher marched him back to the classroom and then ordered him to go back to her office to get her paddle. She then took him out to the hall and we heard a loud crack. Just from the sound of it, we knew it was not a hit on the behind. The boy came back in the room wimpering and his mouth was bleeding. I had personally seen him get paddled before and not even flinch. Sister Christopher tried to tell us that he bit his lip. Nobody bleeds that much from biting their lip.

    This parish played favorites. The Catholic families who had extra money would buy influence. Of course their kids could do no wrong according to the nuns. When the new church was dedicated on December 10, 1967, all the families who gave money were listed in the dedication book published for the occasion. Others including my parents, who did the grunt work were ignored.

  167. Jane Says:

    Those evil nuns!!! May they all rot in hell.

  168. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Tim,
    I so understand where you are coming from – it seems as if I was there! Talking of the wealthy…we were a poor family (five children) and my parents were thrilled when they learned that the priests decided to permit us to attend their parochial school free of charge. For 8 years, me (and my sisters) endured unspeakable abuse at their hands and I feel much of the abuse was due to the fact that we were not wealthy. On a daily basis, I would beg my parents to allow me to attend public schools, but their reply was that I was ungrateful for the great education that I was getting!

    I know forgiveness is ‘divine’ unless one can’t and then we are supposed to give it to God. But, the priests were called on the carpet for their sexual abuse to boys…and I often wondered why none of us have spoken up about the daily abuse we encountered at the hands of these sadistic women who nevereven had a teaching certificate. As a matter of fact, I do know that many teen girls were thrown into convents by wealthy families who did not want the embarrassment of having their child in a mental insitution.

    And, oh how clever they were too. At parent conferences, they would say nothing but wonderful things about us. I often wish that somehow we could form some type of group to finally speak of the horrors we all endured at the hands of these absolutely insane women. I do know to this day, and I am 58 years of age, I can still not even look at a nun. I sincerely think they are all mentally ill. And I realize things have changed now. However, their is much to be said about accountability and they should be called out on this.

  169. Don Says:

    Where did you grow up and what religious community taught you? Curious. I am 56. I found back then that parents really did not listen to their children much. I found that several times during the course of my lifetime I was abused outside the home and, yes, including school – and then when I told my parents, they never took it seriously, though they knew that, as a rule, I never lied. The abuse is bad, but not being taken seriously when you are a child and you try to tell an adult, even worse. If anything when I went to school if you were beaten in school you were in for another one when you got home. I don’t know why the state you attended school would have tolerated such women that were glorified teenagers and not fit to teach, who did not even have teaching certificates, or were you educated in the United States?

  170. B. Robertson Says:

    Hello,
    I went to Blessed Sacrament School in Toledo, OH. I think that the Dominican order (at least) should be held accountable as the priests were. I still get angry at myself for letting this go, because of the severe emotional impact it had on me. I left the Catholic religion after 8th grade, realizing that not only the priests/nuns were sadistic, but basically, the whole basis of the religion’s belief in hell-fire and brimstone crap continues. I’ve studied many religions and am now interested in Buddism…just being kind and loving in life. And to be truthful, even though things have changed for the better…I can still not even look at any nun in the eye – and I hold absolutely no respect whatsoever for any of them. No, I have never forgiven them and never will. We were victims and I feel I continue to suffer from post traumatic stress from those vicious women.

  171. Brian Says:

    I agree completely. I think the Dominicans were the worst of the whore brides of Jesus. Uneducated, unqualified, uncaring, unrsponsible. He pitiful they we were/are. Our parents went through the same system and knew no better, so if you complained of a beating you got another one. The nuns grew up in that system as well, sold virtually sold to nunneries as slaves to get rid of them. I have relatives in Ireland were only 10% of the population still goes to church and the priests are held in extremely low esteem. My how two generations have changed things for the better. Now if can just get rid of the evangelicals in USA the world will be a better place.

  172. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Brian, I have just spent decades working through the damage caused by Dominican nun abuse, and do not wish to do anything but empathize with a fellow sufferer, but I must take issue with your statement that you believe if we…’get rid of the evangelicals in USA the world will be a better place.’ I met Jesus when I was 21 and am not sure what a label would be for me, but ‘evangelical’ might be one of them. I doubt that I am the only one in this group who still believes in and loves the Lord, despite the lies told in the catholic church, and the abuse we suffered. The nuns were evil, but God is good. I hate to see one of us actually suggesting ridding our freedom loving nation of ‘evangelicals.’ What are you hoping for, pogroms? re-education camps and brainwashing? Outlawing church? Execution of those of us stubborn enough to refuse to give up our faith? I suspect your statement was not serious, but come on. I didn’t join this abuse list to be told that believers like me should be eradicated for the betterment of mankind.

  173. Mario Says:

    Christine

    Since you met Jesus when you were 21, can you kindly describe what he looked like. Did he have a beard or was he clean shaven? What was he wearing? Was he in the form of a ghost or a three dimensional human being? Stuff like that. Does he look like those photos we find in bibles, prayerbooks and other sorts of literature? I never saw Jesus, except in photos which are nothing more than an artist’s conception.

  174. B. Robertson Says:

    Hello Christine,
    I am in total agreement with you; however, I still have some difficulty wondering why the Lord would ‘allow’ this to occur. But, then I think of the horrendous acts done by some of the Catholic priests, 9/11, the Holocaust, etc…so I guess there is a reason for everything. As I have said, I’ve researched many religions and it seems there is a little truth in all of them. I wish we could create a church with all those ‘little truths’. My belief in Our Lord will never go away. At least that was instilled in me during those very trying years. I also realize nuns are very different today. However, in the 40′s, 50′s, 60′s and even into the 70′s until abuse came into light – the stories that are emerging are so horrible. I simply feel the nuns should be held accountable but my question is if they are even alive anymore. They have to be well into their 80′s by now (one would think).

    • George Says:

      Nuns are not “very different” today. It depends on where you look. Maybe those in the spotlight in Western countries are behaving. But there are still many in third world countries, where no one is paying attention — where children are being abused every day by nuns (and priests). Where children can’t speak up like deaf and autistic children, the abuse is still going on today. So we still have live clergy to watch.

  175. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi George,
    Very true and how very sad. I am sure the Vatican has to have some idea of all of this abuse. Prior to finding this site, I continued to keep all of my
    nun’ feelings inside. Now, all these feelings are arising…wow it is really strange. I can remember what a nun did to my sister one time. She caught her chewing gum and made her sit in the waste basket al day with the chewed gum on her nose. If that happened today, that nun would be where she belonged – behind bars

  176. jane Says:

    I remember a boy vomited in the trash can in the classroom and the nun violent put his head in the trash can for about 2 minutes so he could look at the vomit. Unbelievable. Reminds me of the things you heard about during World War II and the Nazi regime.

  177. B. Robertson Says:

    I sit and wonder what we can do. It would be wonderful for alll of us to appear IN PERSON to tell of the horrors that were done to us. But, how and who would be the most important person to speak to? All I can think of is the Vatican. And, then, I don’t even trust them; after all, they knew that the Holocaust was happening at the time and did nothing. One shining bit about the Catholic Religion is that it is in serious declin – many thousands of people have left this religion. How wonderful.

    • firetender Says:

      I’m hoping this is what we are doing…building momentum. This is developing into a Grass Roots Movement. At some Critical-Mass point, there will be enough responses on this blog (unbidden and recruited, simply by attraction alone) that someone(s) somewhere(s) will “Adopt ” the cause and use us as a resource to take a battering ram to the doors of the Church and get them the hell away from our Children! (AT LEAST!)

  178. Frank Says:

    It is heartening to look at what has been done, and what is being done… as well as what we can do.

    On the political front …
    If you look back on this blog to July 22, there is the report of an unprecedented attack on the Vatican by the Irish prime minister.

    He followed that up with the demand for $1 billion as compensation for abuse of the Irish people at the hands of the church.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-14/irish-chase-church-cash-real-estate-toward-2-billion-child-abuse-bill.html

    This will give other political leaders encouragement to go after the church as they should. Since Kenny’s comments in Ireland, Attorney-General Robert Clark in the state of Victoria, Australia is considering an inquiry into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church after an impassioned plea from an Oakleigh family fighting for justice for their daughters.
    http://waverley-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/oakleigh-familys-plea-for-church-abuse-inquiry/

    Advocate for those abused by Church and State, Kevin Annett of Canada, is bringing a lot of pressure to bear through both political means and through international law courts. He reports on a Global Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State convening, with power to arrest and convict. http://kevinannett.com/

    At the United Nations, Keith Wood, representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, made a forthright attack on the Catholic Church’s deplorable record on child abuse at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday 15 March 2011.
    http://www.secularism.org.uk/keith-again-slams-vatican-failur.html

    Newspaper editors have been as fearful of upsetting the Church as anyone, yet they too are now weighing in – read ‘Church betrayed its people’ Editorial http://www.southernstar.ie/article.php?id=2812

    Even the Church itself is now being forced to acknowledge what it would not just a short time ago. Read ‘Catholic Church sorry for forced adoption’ http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/catholic-church-sorry-for-forced-adoption-20110725-1hvzh.html

    On the legal front …
    In this blog on May 24, there is a link to a story of a Polish nun being jailed for child abuse.

    Earlier in the year, the US State of Pennsylvania went after the Church – ‘Philadelphia: Ground Zero for Catholic Bishops’. Survivors can now see that the tide is turning and many rank and file Catholics now comprehend the depth and the scope of what the Philadelphia Archdiocese has done.
    http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Philadelphia-Ground-Zero-for-Catholic-Bishops-Marci-Hamilton-02-25-2011.html

    Two weeks ago, a cleric was jailed in Victoria, Australia – ‘Paedophile rapist Christian Brother jailed for 14 years’
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/paedophile-rapist-christian-brother-jailed-for-14-years/story-fn7x8me2-1226110831374

    And last week, this headline ‘Vatican releases internal files on alleged child abuser’. A federal judge in Portland, Ore., ordered the Holy See to turn over to U.S. lawyers representing a man who says he was abused by the Rev. Andrew Ronan in Portland. The man, known in court papers as John V. Doe, is seeking to hold the Vatican liable for the abuse. It is the first time the Holy See, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has been forced to turn over documentation in a sex-abuse case.
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2015939212_vatican18.html

    And there are way more than these few pivotal examples. None of these things would be imaginable 5 years ago. There is a groundswell, there is more awareness in society, there is more political and legal will to pursue this evil, and there is increasingly nowhere for the Church to hide.

    It may never be that nuns become a major focus of the church abuse scandal. However all parts of the Church are impacted by this turning tide of exposure and intolerance for what the Church has perpetrated. They are all feeling the heat.

    So what can we do?
    1. actively pursue our own individual healing, first and foremost.
    2. have the courage to speak up, to speak out… as many do on this blog. Help others in your social network understand what has happened to you.
    3. support people with integrity who are going after the perpetrators and the system that supports and protects them. Let your local politician know of your experience. Ask them to take firm decisions and action against the Church.
    4. some may be considering legal action regarding their abuse. Talk with a legal service for survivors… explore your options.
    5. be united with fellow abused… be tolerant of individual choices in making sense of and responding to their abuse.

    • firetender Says:

      Awesome post, Frank, many thanks!

      Maybe we’ll get lucky and turn into the straw that breaks the camel’s back! Let the issues with the priests generate their outrage, and then, let us nail it down that it is the very CULTURE of the Catholic Church that promotes child abuse.

  179. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Brian

    Our remarkable brains are filled with thoughts and emotions that cannot be seen; I suspect they are spirit and that we were designed to relate to a God who is Spirit in the most intimate places of our being. We were apparently designed to be able to communicate with a God who cannot be seen. He probably enters into discussion with us over years when we don’t realize it is Him, and not just us debating ourselves.

    Russell said it was in song that he connected with this Being. Or Central Force. For me it was when I wrote the assignments that sister gave us. An incredible joy would come over me, and ideas that I thought were hilarious. I was laughing when I wrote, and laughed when I tried to read these stories to the class. I thought it was merely inspiriation. But the day that I say I ‘met Jesus’ was the day I realized that those moments were not just inspiration, that was Jesus coming to help a lonely and emotionally battered little girl right there under the noses of those nuns. The Word says ‘He prepares a table for me in the midst of my enemies.’ and I believe that when he came and shared ideas with me and helped me write, he was doing just that.

    He seemed eager to point out to me, in my these new thoughts in my mind when I was 21, that he was not the dour jugding figure the nuns taught me about, he was instead the companion of my heart and thoughts that shared hilarity and creativity with me. When I realized it had been Him, I knew how much I loved him. He was there for me when sister bitchversionoftheyear was trying to turn me to jelly.

    For me it was a matter of recognition that those moments of inspiration were not just a gift of creativity, it was HIM. So while the nuns were telling me God was as disapproving of me as they were, he was conspiratorially helping me survive them, and best them. They truly seemed to get angrier because I had this ‘talent.’

    So yeah, I met Jesus. More like I realized I had known Him for a long time without realizing who he was.

    I don’t mind the snippiness in which you asked the question, because I know you ask it that way out of rage, like Russell wrote. But in the midst of the treatment that so damaged me that I am STILL crawling out from the terrible self image it gave me, Jesus was sitting beside me, laughing with me, showing me who he really was in a way he could point back to, and say ‘THAT was me That nun never knew me. She lied to you about who I was, but I was with you.’

  180. Mary Rutley Says:

    I haven’t met God – but I can tell you this. If the perishing nuns from my boarding school were residing in heaven, then I would tell St Peter that I would be much happier with Richard Dawkins in hell.

  181. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Mary, he has spoken to you more often than you realize. But you don’t need to wonder if the wicked nuns belonged to him, or that you would meet them in heaven. Jesus said we would know his followers by the way they lived, by their ‘fruit.’ and the ‘fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, lonsuffering’ etc. Since these women were wretchedly cruel, it is obvious that they were not manifesting the ‘fruit of the Spirit.’

    Jesus also said ‘if anyone should hurt one of these little ones and cause them to sin, it would be better for them if a millstone were tied around their necks and they be thrown into the depths of the sea.’ better than facing his wrath, that sounds like, to me.

    And what’s more, he said that many would come to the end of their life and tell him that they ‘taught (prophesied) in his name, cast out devils, and did miracles’ and yet he says to them ‘depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.’ Yes, these nuns thought they taught in his name, but they didn’t know him, nor did he know them. if they had been his, they would have had love and patience and been unwilling to hurt a child.

    I always wondered about that ‘we taught in your name’ thing. How could anyone be so deceived as to think they were serving him, but yet have NO relationship with him at all? Yesterday I realized it is the perfect picture of the catholic nuns and priests. They damaged us in his name, because they never knew him.. They treated us as the devil wanted us treated, with merciless cruelty. Because of this, so many have been unable to trust God, because these terrible women claimed to speak for him. They don’t. We were told to judge those who say they are serving him by the fruit. The fruit of their presence in our lives is woundedness, damage, loss of faith, and so much more. bad fruit. bad women.

    Please don’t say you want to be with Dawkins in hell so as to not be in heaven with nuns. You probably just don’t want to be in a heaven in which they were right, in which their smugness greets you at the door, because you desperately want in your heart to know that the god these women brutalized you with, is not the real one. The real one cried with you and took the blows with you when they were cruel, helping you survive. ‘What you do to the least of these, you do to me.’ he told us plainly. He was on our side.

    You can rest assured if any of them made it to heaven, it would be only after realizing how wrong they had been. They would meet you and ask your forgiveness. They would be different. You could handle that. Our biggest need, I think, is to know how wrong they were, and that God loves us and is good. Their worst sin was in portraying a god who would treat children that way, and that would be because he IS good. and because to live in a world where God is not good would be unbearable. The fear of find out they may have been right has driven many people on this list away from him entrirely, better not to know. Maybe Buddha? Maybe no afterlife. Because they made us fear that the ultimate reality in life is as dangerous and unpredictable as they were.

    He is not. He is good.

  182. B. Robertson Says:

    Christine,
    I read your comment and it was certainly a beautiful blog. I applaud your values. And I am also aware of how we should forgive. But to take an innocent chld and rip a beautiful sparkling soul right out of them (us included) is sick sick sick. I will never forgive them and I pray that I never meet one in a ‘dark alley’. I am currently researching all religions and I hope there is such a thing as reincarnation because nothing would do my heart better than to have these demented nuns return to be abused on a daily basis – what we endured as children. I am 58 years old and I am still angry. You refer to ‘hell’ of which I do not believe in. Life is hell. These nuns need to return to experience what they did to us…..that to me is sweet revenge. I could tell you stories that would send you right into the bathroom, believe me. How can anyone forgive? Forgiveness is certainly beyond me.

  183. Rich Says:

    I have been following this forum off and on for about a year and a half, and you can find most of my postings back in spring 2010. My take home message is that there is no forgiveness; these brutal wenches (Catholic school nuns) stole the childhoods from so many of us. To physically beat us, to emotionally humiliate us, and to degrade us to the level of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs stole our childhoods from us. We missed out on so much of the good life that could have been ours. May they (nuns) rot in hell. Forever. And the Catholic church? This nun abuse coupled with the priest’s sexual abuses; and the insidious long term coverup? How can anyone take this institution seriously.

  184. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Thank you, B. Robertson, for your kind words. There is some evidence that God never intends to forgive certain people either. Jesus said God deliberately furthers the hardness in them so that they will never come to him and then he never has to forgive them: This is what Jesus said in John 12:40:.. Also note that he was speaking here about those who were hyperreligious, but were at heart truly nasty people:

    American King James Version
    He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

    The books of Moses indicate that God hardened pharoah, so that he would not let the Hebrew people go until he had lost his son, his cattle, his wealth, his crops, his kingdom, and his life. Thinking about this today made me wonder if this is one reason the hierarchy in this catholic church is refusing to acknowledge their crimes against children, even when driven to it by lawsuit. If they repented and asked for his forgiveness, he would have to forgive them, and he may not want to. He plans to judge them instead. Part of that judgment is that we have found each other, and their evil is being exposed.

    I do believe in hell. Jesus believed in hell. I think the human heart cries out for justice, as we so often read on this list: ‘I hope they are burning in hell.’ They don’t have to be reincarnated as victims to know what it was like for us. There have been tales of people who died during heart attacks who ended up in hell, and come back to tell what it was like. It sounds like more than enough eternal agony.

    I suspect that if any one of us had a tearful, broken nun approach us and tell us she realized what she had done, and was devastated, that the humanity in us would soften our rage. We want to be validated, we want to know the world or even the villain who hurt us acknowkledges those crimes and our pain. But I don’t hear any of us with a tale of such broken forgiveness seeking nuns. We don’t read websites of nuns who have realized what they did, repenting publlically and seeking us out, their victims.

    It isn’t happening as far as any of us know. Corrie Ten Boom discovered when the German guard who treated her and her sister so brutally asked for forgiveness that it was beyond her to do so. You are not alone in this.. She felt the love of Jesus take over within her, and her hand moved toward him in a grace she didn;t understand, and ‘his hot burning love’ came into her heart and enabled her to forgive. But he came to her and asked, our nuns have not.

    .I don’t know what my own heart is as to forgiving them. Never thought about it. It is enough for me to know that God was with me, which may have been why the devil drove them to torment me to start with. I suspect that may be true of all of us here, for we seem like a particularly sensitive and articulate bunch. The devil must have feared what we would do if he didn’t break us first.

    Anyway, B., I have always been with you in spirit each time you wrote. Like you a lot.

  185. Frank Says:

    Given the recent comments on ‘forgiveness’, here is an interesting perspective “The Forgiveness Fallacy: Standing by our Painful Truth”. It is the current post on the website of international activist on child abuse by Church and State, Kevin Annett.

    Here’s an excerpt:
    By refusing to forgive, I give up my illusions.
    – Alice Miller, Breaking Down the Wall of Silence

    Harry Wilson is still alive, somehow. He is homeless, starving, plagued by alcoholism and drug addiction, and regularly beaten and robbed on Vancouver’s meanest streets. Yet neither his present suffering, nor his childhood rape and torture by a clergyman with an electric cattle prod, has caused him to collapse, as it has most of his fellow alumni from the death camps called Indian Residential Schools.

    None of these others have ever found their voice, but Harry has: and when he speaks of his life, he always ends by saying the same thing:

    “I’ll never forgive those bastards for what they did to me.”

    Read the full article here http://kevinannett.com/

  186. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Christine – Wow, you should be a writer! You are indeed very spiritual. I thought and thought of your words and you are right. I have found a place where I can safely ‘vent’ and I am finding that anger is rising from places I never knew existed/buried. I am not an evil person and have a ‘soft’ heart. If a nun approached me with sincere regret of the severe emotional damage she inflicted on all of us…of course I would forgive her. I have often thought of searching at least one out so I could speak to her, but park that thought quickly. I guess it is simply post trama stress. Thank God for this site. But my simple question remains and that is “why”….Child abuse is a horror that is beyond me anyway. But, I am feeling better and better and will deal with post traumatic stress syndrome with someone experienced in dealing with adults that attended parochial schools in generations past. The saying ‘take the higher ground’ is correct. So, thanks, I think I’m on my way, so to speak.

  187. nancy Says:

    These nuns were in the wrong profession. Dealing with children everyday and not having the patience or the know how in teaching children – truly appalling. They should have been in any other profession, but this one. In today’s day and age, they would have been in jail for what they did. Times have changed, but I still question why were things like that allowed to happen back in the 60′s and 70′s?

  188. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    B. Robertson, You just made my day! It took me a while to know how to respond because your response to my letter made me feel so good I didn’t know how to respond back. I have been working with a counselor now for almost two years, and she has been such a help. She has said she likes counseling me, mostly for the chance to ‘watch how Jesus fixes somebody.’ He knows where all the hurts are buried. Just in the past week I was puking out another level of hidden self loathing born of nun abuse. I didn’t even realize how negatively I had learned to view myself, that I was so messed up I believed I was dangerous. It must have colored everything I did, with me always trying to prove myself. Judging by the fact that I seem to have not offended you, as I feared I might have, something inside me really did get removed, something like my own personal self assault system. So, thank you. Something I wrote helped another person see the best inside themselves, instead of me bringing out anger. Yes, you really made my day. What a sweet post you wrote, and yes, you do have a tender heart.

  189. Mario Says:

    Some of you guys said, that Richard Dawkins is going to hell. Are you sure about that? do you know if there is a heaven or hell? How can you be so sure? Why do you judge other people? Richard Dawkins is my friend and many others like D.M. Murdock aka Acharya S who wrote, “The Christ Conspiracy,” “The Suns of God,” and several others. These people are brilliant. They don’t think like you they use their scientific minds, not faith. I’m glad that there are people with a different school of thought and not the run of the mill mundane religions.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      Mario, I think you need to lighten up. I made the comment about Richard Dawkins – not only on this website, but also in a national newspaper in the UK. I was, as anyone with a full set of marbles would easily acknowledge, being satirical. I’m a great admirer of Richard Dawkins as is my friend, Graham, who was taught by the professor at Jesus College, Oxford.

  190. B. Robertson Says:

    Mario, I read your reply and I respect your comments. What I take away from this blog is the fact that so many lives were hurt when (we) were young, We were hurt emotionally and physically. Sounds like you were too, reading what you endured for 12 years – not just the 8 that I went through. One has to remember that we had religion crammed into our heads daily. Remember going to church every day, when the nuns used their ‘clicker’ for genuflecting? One click – down, the next click -up. Religion is going to be intertwined in all of our comments. After all, we were all confirmed as “catholics”. If you agree with Richard D., that’s okay with me. You certainly have every right. However, the nuns were catholic and as children we were too. This is a wonderful place to vent what happened to all of us and to me, it doesn’t matter what our beliefs are – it is all about the abuse we suffered. Please don’t get angry at people because of their religions. Hell, I’m so confused as to what to believe anymore – while others are very comfortable with ‘Jesus’ – you are comfortable with Richard D. That’s great. Let’s not argue about our beliefs as adults. I feel ‘firetender’ created this blog so somehow we can finally hold those damn nuns accountable.

  191. Jane Says:

    We were forced to go to mass for one hour every morning even before school started or we couldn’t go to school. Does that make any sense? I did not want to go to church every single day. I loved God dearly, but to be forced to go to church every day just because the nuns wanted us to is ridiculous. We had religion forced down our throats. Those crazy nuns had to right to make us do this.

  192. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    ‘they don’t think like you they use their scientific minds, not faith.’ is a statement worthy of debate, Mario. The other day I was having trouble finding something interesting to think about when I was struggling with insomnia, and I asked the Lord what was going on. ‘Your brain is differentiating.’ he said. He has been in a process of healing my emotional damage over the past two years, so I thought ‘Huh. Wonder what that means.’

    I looked up ‘differentiation of the brain’ in a search engine, and ended up with three possible meanings, one of which was a site about the formation of something called ‘glions’ which form on little ‘scaffolds’ in the brain before they travel to the site where…..

    At which point I ceased to think about what Jesus meant about what he was doing in my brain, and instead marvelled at how utterly complex even the tiniest actions in our body are, things taking place at the cellular level to keep us thinking which I could not even understand. This made me think that it is DAWKINS’ position which requires faith, huge amounts of it, far more faith than it takes for me to believe in the God who helps me all the time, and comforts me. It has to take a huge amount of faith to assume such complex processes formed by accident and mutation over millions of years.

    I would think that scientific thinking requires the assumption that great complexity requires a designer.

    By the way, you know the man? And Mary’s friend was taught by him at Jesus college? I’m impressed. Wow.

  193. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    The catholic church is indeed a truly frightening institution. And you are right when you say it stole our lives from us. I have been thinking that its belief that it is above the law, that it is the law, that it does not have to submit to the Scriptures, but is above them, is the source of their wrongheadedness. ‘Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ certainly seems to apply in their case.

    As I was reading through some of their acts throughout the centuries, their refusal to listen to anyone who brought a criticism against them because they saw their authority and refused to believe they were ever in the wrong, I realized how big this is. Martin Luther, one of the RCC’s brightest monks, went after them for selling indulgences. Their response? They condemned him. He managed to die of a bad heart, not burning at the stake, but many others like him paid the ultimate price for rejecting papal authority.

  194. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    I am at the moment feeling a tremendous longing to be with people. It hit me really hard just now, and this is not normal for me. I avoid human contact. The sun is going down just now, the beginning of the biblical sabbath. I thought of Jesus the week before he died, crying out to Israel that he knew was about to utterly reject him ‘…how often I would have gathered you under my wings as a hen does her chicks…’ and because I was already feeiing this terrible longing, I connected with those words, and realized he was feeling what I was feeling when he said them.

    and if he would say such a thing about rebellious Israel, how much more would he long to stretch out his wings over us, and gather us to him like the little wounded chicks we are? yeah, we are tough. we are survivors. we are tough wonded survivors. ‘how often have I longed to gather you under my wings as a hen does her chicks.’ that is an image I never thought about before in terms of HIM wanting to gather me, and all of us, underneath for protection.

  195. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Rick,
    I couldn’t agree more. What drives me nuts is the fact that there are millions more of us out there. Where are they? God, I used to get into so much trouble with those schitzo-nuns by defending my classmates. I can remember the first day in 5th grade and we singularly had to stand up and state our name. The girl behind me was new and very shy. She did not say her name loud enough so the bitch threw her in back of the room and told her to yell her name. The little girl stood there sobbing. I was so furious that I stood up, ran back to the girl and put my arm around her and yelled her name for that sadistic bitch. I think she was stunned because the girl and I walked back to our seats and nothing else happened that day; however, the nun got her revenge on me the rest of the year. I may have been abused in a horrid manner but I was never ‘easy’ on them either. I got my statements in and a lot of disobedience too. Tee Hee

  196. Mario Says:

    Hi B. Robertson and all

    My disbelief in the Catholic Churches teachings goes back a long ways. My Grandmother was a devout Catholic. It started when I was nine years old. I guess it must have been the age of reason for me. My Grandmother would go to church everyday without missing a day unless she was sick and that was very seldom. She would get up at 4, am and say the rosary before she went to church. She went to the 6, O’clock Mass. This went on the whole time, I was living with her up until I was ten years old. With all her prayers nothing seemed to change. Every time someone gave me money, my grandmother would have her hand out to give it to the church. I would give it to her. Until one day, when I was nine years old as usual she had her hand out and I told her this shit is got to stop. I told her you give the church more money than you give me. I would only get a penny everyday for school and she would give the church five cents each day. On Sunday she would put a dime in an envelop for me to give to the church. Well, that shit came to a grinding halt. After that I took the dime out of the envelop and bought me a pie. That pie never tasted so good, when you buy it with church money. Now that was a big step for me because, I was committing a big sin for stealing from the church. Jesus, didn’t send me a bolt of lightning for doing that so I kept on doing it.

    I did not like the way the church treated my grandmother. She was poor and they didn’t seem to like poor people in the church. The kids that went to Catholic School who’s parents had money were treated well. So much for the root of all evil. I thought of the church as a bunch of beggars. Every week the priest would say we need money for the poor. The poor never got it. When my grandmother for the first time in her life asked a priest five bucks. He said, “No.” I said, to my grandmother, “With all the times you asked me for the money people had given me, to give to the church and this is how your rewarded? She didn’t know what to say. Then I retorted F**k the church. She gasped a loud gasp as if she was going to have a heart attack. After saying that there were no lightning bolts from the sky. That’s what I loved about my grandmother, I could say what I want even though she would get mad.

    My grandmother had a candle burning every night without fail, in front of the blessed mother statue. One night the glass holding the candle cracked and all the wax ran out rendering the room dark. She became very frightened and so did I. It made we wonder why was she so frightened because a candle went out? It took me years to find out, that she was afraid of the devil, that’s why she burnt a candle every night. When I was older I told her no devil is going to come here, with all these statues and pictures you have including the crucifix.

    To let you know how superstitious she was. She wouldn’t let me buy “devil dogs,” they were a small chocolate cakes with creme in the middle sold in the NY and Philadelphia area. Anything with the word devil she would not buy. Such as Devil food cake, or Deviled ham, she would not dare make Deviled eggs.

    All this, led me to question all these things that she believed in. All through Catholic school, I kept saying to myself, something is wrong with this religion. What kind of God, would send you to hell for all eternity for eating meat on Friday. Doesn’t sound like a God to me. By the time I left the eight grade I was happy I didn’t have to go to church anymore. The last time I went to church was in 1956. That’s been over 55 years ago. I think I’m going to get some kind of award, for not going to church for that long. Something like a Stanley cup I think. LOL

    After serving in the military and I was out of school and no more church. When I reached the age of 23 I got PATS. Which stayed with me for a good thirty years. I was in and out of Doctors offices, I realized my childhood was robbed not just by the church but also my parents, of whom I went to live with from ten years old onward. They were not believers of the Catholic faith they continued to send me to Catholic school because my Grandmother wanted me to finish in Catholic School. I use to ask my step mother if she didn’t believe in the Catholic faith why do you have a crucifix in your room. Her answer was, “Just in case” I had to laugh at that one. No bolts of lightning on that one either.

    When I studied on my own about the origins of these religions. I was realizing more and more that a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. Reading the Bible cover to cover only made me question even more what God would say these things. I went on to read about the origins of these religions. There are some good wisdom’s in the Bible no doubt. However, there are other things that are claimed that God said, and I don’t believe such a good God would send his minions to wars, to kill and plunder whole populations. Those things are mans doings not Gods. I view the Bible as a very human book, with very human characteristics.

    The Three most corrupt things in this world is Religion, Politics and Commerce.

    • George Says:

      Mario, others asked and I would like to know, what is PATS?

    • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

      MARIO:
      When I was in the Army in the 60′s, we were told that we could eat meat on Friday, and we did not have to fast before receiving Communion. I guess the U.S. Army is more powerful than the Catholic Church! ——- Dwayne

      • mcccmar Says:

        Hi — If you were in the army in the 60s it well could have coincided with Vatican 2 – post vatican 2we COULD eat meat on Friday and had to fast only one HOUR before receiving. SO.. maybe it wasnt the army after all lol

  197. trish griffin Says:

    Dear friends of the firetender’s blog, there are many references made that the “rich” kids were granted preferential treatment. I would not consider my family rich, but my father gave a lot of money to the church. We were still battered unspeakably and witnessed a lot of misdeeds by nuns and priests. My father passed away suddenly when he was 47 and the day after the funeral the priest stopped by the house looking for a check from my mother who was completely distraught and in utter grief. Heartless bastards all of them.

    • firetender Says:

      A large part of the abuse aspect by Nuns is that these were public displays; directed to one or more individuals but witnessed by classroomsfull of students. Witnessing such despicable acts is psychologically and emotionally almost as damaging to the viewer as it is to the recipient. In some cases, equally if not more damaging because the question always looming in the back of one’s head is “When will it be ME?”

      This is Crazymaking at its best and my experience was that the Nuns were completely Equal Opportunity Abusers on the economic level.

      At first I thought the effects of the abuse were primarily held by the Boys, but this blog has taught me that the girls were easily as abused and many of them, as expressed here, haunted for the rest of their lives as well.

  198. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Now I feel like I know you, Mario. That was amazing. Thanks for that.

  199. Mary Rutley Says:

    Hi guys,

    On Wednesday (24 Aug) I had a letter published in Metro UK about the cruelty inflicted by evil nuns upon generations of children from around the world. The Vatican has admitted to the assaults – sexual, physical and psychological – by RC priests, but I’m still waiting for its apology for the damage inflicted by the nuns. Will we have to wait forever?

  200. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Mario – Wow I really enjoyed reading your comments. I have seen many ‘grandmothers’ you speak of in so many of the catholic churches – priests preyed on people like her. They were like parasites. And I love how all churches now require either 10% of our earnings or paycheck stubs. Love the fact that you began taking some money for food. Our lives are kind of similar, as the so called loving church took my family ‘in’ because my father was an alcoholic and there were 5 children my mother had to raise by herself. I was literally taken from my little town near West Virginia, where there were no damn parochial schools, and slammed in the first grade being introduced to someone who scared the hell out of me. God, she looked so strange – her name was Sister Marie Agnes and aside from her long black dress or whatever they were called, I recall a white stiff covering across her forehead. I saw her adjust it and she had a deep purple line across her head. Anyway, that was my descent into what I refer to as hell. My mother started out as a nurse aid in a local hospital. My sisters and I were malnourished. We got evicted from five houses and by the time I was 11 or 12, I would babysit for money and as soon as I would leave after babysitting, would run to the local carry out and buy a Hostess Apple Pie with milk. God, I remember being so hungry and laying in bed at night shiverring because it was so cold in our house. I can also remember having spaghetti one Thanksgiving because my mother could not afford a turkey. I really never was able to enjoy a childhood because I was abused at school and pretty much neglected at home. But as a very young girl, I made a promise to myself that my children would never be beaten, hungry or cold. And, that they weren’t. Not to brag, but one of my grandson’s is a Navy Seal. I am so damn proud of that fact! By the way, you mentioned the Stanley Cup (Go Red Wings) LOL – I live in Farmington Hills, MI so love hockey. I did have a question about “PATS”. What is that? Anyway, GO YOU! You seem like a great guy…I really don’t know how we all made it. But I’m so glad we are here and alive. And, as you have stated, I haven’t been struck by lightening yet either….God the things they put in our heads. I feel religion is almost like a ‘collective unconsciousness’ of belief to control the masses. And, as for the Bible, my belief is that in the years it was written by the “Apostles”, in the middle east there were fields upon fields of untouched poppies (well..maybe they were touched LOL). I sincerely feel the people that wrote the Bible were ‘high’ on opium, hallucinating on these plants as they sat and wrote. Too much evidence for that, at least I have found. So, have a great weekend! I know a lot of you are on the East Coast….be careful over there. I know Irene is headed your way. Take Cover!!!

  201. Mario Says:

    Hi All

    And thank you for your nice comments.

    I did forget to mention that my father was an alcoholic as well Robertson and a dead beat to boot. He worshiped the gods of beer. And Trish, there are exceptions to the rule and rules to the exceptions. Mary we will get an apology when Jesus Christ, comes back in the second coming which is nil. If Christ does comeback where would we meet Him. Maybe at Hollywood and Vine?

    Another thing, I remembered in Catholic School the nuns would tell us how we are born in sin. Making it sound like we are unworthy pieces of garbage and they would drill this into our dear little ears. Why would God create human beings that, are born in sin? And the original sin is removed via a mystical and supernatural scapegoat ritual, i.e., the sacrifice of Jesus. Baptism too is supposed to remove magically the taint of original sin, but, as we can tell from the state of the world, this mystical mumbo-jumbo has little to no effect. If baptism were effective why conduct a brutal, bloody and barbaric human-sacrifice ritual, murdering God as his own son?

    These things did not make sense to me. I don’t believe that human beings are born in sin. I would not dare question these things in the classroom, for fear of reprisals from the brides of Christ. Who by the way, were ugly looking broads married to Christ.

  202. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Mario,
    Boy, that is so true about nuns! I always told my sisters that if God was really married to these horrid people, that he had really really bad taste!! They all could have used some mouthwash once in awhile too. Reading your comments brought a comedic thought to me. Remember our ‘first confessions’? I sure do, because we had to enter those dark little boxes and speak to someone who was blurred from our vision. I couldn’t think of any sins I had done (I was only 8 for God’s sakes). So, I simply said “I lied one time” – and the lie was me making up something to say or else I would’ve gotten in trouble. Without boring you with the multitudes of stories I have, another time we were in church (for the millionth time that year) I can recall the girl next to me kind of like swaying back and forth. I was too terrified to move. She finally leaned on my shoulder and I was so afraid that I nudged my shoulder to get her off of me and she fell off the pew onto the floor – completely fainting. How sad is that…to be afraid to move because I’d catch hell on earth and here this poor girl was on the floor. The nun approached and took her away (she was fine – just hot that day). And about baptism. I delivered a full term stillborn baby in 1974. Not a church going person at the time, I could not forget about the ‘early teachings’ we received re: dying without baptism. So, my daughter is in ‘limbo’ because she still had capital sin in her? If a God does that to a newborn baby then I’m not interested in meeting him anyway. As I said, the catholic religion has many people under what I feel is a collective unconscious…kind of like what Hitler did in Germany. And Hitler was a sociopath. I feel the sociopathic tendencies spilled over in some way to the Vatican/Catholics. I wish – like many others here – that the Catholic religion would just go away.

  203. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Get it all out, puke it out. You have held that in for a very long time, havn’t you? I am so sorry for those of you who had drunken fathers on top of everything else.

    I was really surprised by the courage and depth of your letter last night, it was as if some sort of door opened inside you and you began to tell us your truth. You never did this before. Some new incredible liberty seemed to spring up inside you. It was beautiful and amazing. That kind of honesty can only be respected. I think you would be surprised the ways in which God himself agrees with your position on the catholic church. he sends no one to hell over whether they eat meat on Friday. He said that those who are His hear his voice and they follow him, and they will not listen to the voice of a stranger. It struck me that you had honorably been holding out against the voice of a stranger all of your life. That took some real stuff. I had the decided impression that he is closer to you than you think. Why do I think this? When I was so filled with loneliness last night, and couldn’t tell if it was my longing, or his longing to comfort us all on this list, it was YOU who suddenly opened up and revealed so much of yourself to us. It was YOU who heard that call,. and responded.

    It made me feel so much better. People being themselves, being honest. It was a gift when you did that.

  204. Mario Says:

    Hi ya All

    Christine I was just being a jokester about that. I know he was supposed to appear in Jerusalem. This does give me an idea though glad you bought that up. I can go their to sell, Jesus balloons to the kids and hamburgs and hot dogs. Just think, I may be able to perform a miracle by feeding 5,000 people from two hot dogs and a bag of rolls. You’ll probably catch it on the six O’clock news. All the Christians that will be their waiting for his arrival. It’s a good time to make a few bucks. Might as well take advantage of the occasion.

    Let’s say he does show up what’s going to happen is, the Catholic Clergy are going to ask, “Is this your first or second coming?” If he says first, the Pope will say, “Ok boys you know what to do with him.”

    George are you sure it’s not PAT that means “port address translation,” PAT has to do with NAT “network address translation” what it all means I have no idea, it is a computer terminology. I don’t know if that’s the answer your looking for.

  205. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Christine! My husband is fishing for salmon in Lake Michigan this weekend so I have really allowed an abundance of pent up feelings to arise in me. And, you know what? I feel so much better. It may seem silly, but it is like we are all here for a reason. I think you are all such wonderful people. But, we made it. My only regret is that we didn’t do something much sooner in life. You state that Jesus will stand on the Mt. of Olives – I wish he’d come and stand on all the nuns who tortured us as well. I probably won’t be sharing as much anymore, but to me it has been a healing process and such an excellent place to just feel better about things in general. One thought though – Jesus was a Jew. I have to research how the Catholic religion arose from that. Christians have stated he has come, the Jews state he has not. Pure confusion. It will take a lot of time to sort through what my beliefs are. I still lean toward Buddhism – to be loving and kind. What a simple thing to do! No threats of hell and punishment. No killing and being unkind – that’s their belief. And I like that. I must admit, I have been rather ‘unkind’ in expressing my anger toward nuns. But it’s all good now. I feel like perhaps a few weights have been lifted from my shoulders (and heart).

    • firetender Says:

      Nothing would please me more than thousands of people coming here, like you, getting some form of healing that helps carry you to your own next stage and then splitting!

      God has already blessed you; thanks for bringing it here!

      Much Aloha!

      Russ, a firetender

  206. Frank Says:

    “My conclusion is that the whole church system is unsafe for children and vulnerable people. There is a dynamic of abuse at the heart of the church …” Martin Ridge.

    “Society must listen to survivors; they are the experts.” Martin Ridge.

    Martin Ridge was a police officer in Donegal, Ireland who investigated cases of child abuse in the late 1990s/early 2000s. In 2008 he published a book – Breaking the Silence which told of that investigation.

    http://innocentvoicesuk.com/martin-ridge/

  207. Jane Says:

    It Was Not My Fault – A poem for abused children

    Words hurt when written
    from the chore of the heart
    Where pain resides
    Hidden in the folds of memory
    They sometimes fester and die
    The shocking secret of a child
    I had to dig deep
    I had to convince my soul
    It was okay
    That secrets could be revealed
    Once buried deep and safe
    Away from prying eyes for years
    Behind the veil of hidden tears
    I used to smile
    Mask in place
    hiding from my devastating past
    My child mind convinced it was my fault
    Never wanting them to know
    My innocent life shattered
    Shards of mirror reflecting
    the emptiness inside my soul
    Never trusting
    A fugitive in life
    I roamed lost in confusion
    Running away from ugly truths
    The voice inside whispering
    A trembling soul
    Wasted years and growing old
    But now I know
    I remember his evil mind
    The cold blue eyes
    The monster of my dreams
    The wasted years
    And I know it was not my fault

  208. Marie Carney Says:

    I was hit repeatedly on the back of my legs and Achilles tendons by Sr. Ruth Delores at Sacred Heart Academy in Klamath Falls, OR. The year was 1957. I was in first grade. My offense was breaking my thermos and spilling milk mixed with glass on the floor. The nun swooped down on me and grabbed me by the ear, dragging me to the front of the class and (still holding me by the ear) hit the back of my legs at least 10 times. She was swinging wildly and was completely out of control.

    This sort of thing happened in the school all four years I attended. My parents figured I needed additional “discipline” at home if I’d done something so horrendous to make a nun leave welts all over the back of my legs. They FINALLY started to believe me when I was in the 4th grade and my mother received a call from the school saying that I had damaged school property and they would have to pay additional money to cover the janitorial costs before I would be allowed to return to school.

    When my mother asked how I had damaged school property the nun just said that I was told not to enter the building and I did and now they had additional janitorial expenses and my mother should come and get me because I was suspended until they paid.

    I had bled all over the school hallway. I had fallen in the school yard and split my knee open. (50+ years later I still have a faint scar from the stitches required.) The nasty nun who was on yard duty did tell me to stay out of the building, but I ran in to go to the restroom to get some paper towels to try and stop the bleeding.

    I could go on and on and on. As I write these words I still feel the sting of resentment. I am now a Christ-follower in a non-denominational protestant church, but I haven’t made peace with my feelings about nuns.

    When my mom got sick, I had no choice but to put her in a Catholic nursing home (this was 2003). She (my mother) accused me of being spiteful and vindictive about her having sent me to Catholic school. She was suffering from dementia, so I didn’t really give it too much thought until I received a phone call almost identical to the one my mother had received when I was in 4th grade. The nun said, “Your mother has urinated on the carpet and it’s going to cost $600 to replace the carpet, are you going to pay it?”

    What she failed to mention, was that my mother had suffered a massive stroke and the nuns had left her lying in her own urine for about an hour because they thought she was being stubborn and wouldn’t get up off the floor. That was Sister Julia from New Bethany Assisted Living home in Los Banos, CA.

    • firetender Says:

      I just had a fear rush because everybody is naming names here. Oh, wait a minute; that’s how I started this! This is realer than real. So many of us have lived in obscurity just because as youngins we didn’t have the courage to point out our tormentors and say “That’s what SHE did!”

      It’s time and I thank you!

  209. Mary Arroyo Says:

    I attended St. Albert the Great grammer school (just outside Chicago) in the 1960′s. The Catholic church not only extracted eight years of my life during the school day, but at night as well, my father was also a deacon at the church. Some of the priests from this church are listed as sexual abusers. The abuse did not stop there.

    I was born with a birth defect which left me with a speak impediment. The nuns at this school felt this impacted my IQ and I was humiliated on a regular basis. My parents were blind, loyal Catholics and whatever a priest or nun said or did was never wrong. Even when the state offered help for my disability through the public school system, it was denied as the nuns deemed it unnecessary.

    I had the Catholic experience rammed down my throat my entire childhood (two of my dad’s cousins were priests). I went to school in shoes that had holes and in a tattered uniform, my parents were financially stretched to the penny, but the school always got its tuition and the Sunday envelopes where always filled.

    In third grade I had done something incorrectly on a paper, as the nun was walking up and down the aisles she stopped and put her hand on my shoulder…for a moment I thought it was the long sought act of kindness I craved, but in short order she grabbed my hair and shook my head violently. I couldn’t respond, Not because of fear, but physically, I was unable. This nun would report to my parents that I “day dreamed” everyday, for which I was punished and humiliated at home. I had some difficulties with memory and would lie to fill in the blanks of time, for fear of further humiliation. It was determined much later in life that I suffered from focal seizures stemming from a malformation of blood vessels in my brain.

    In fifth grade I remember a young man by the name of James B. He was a great guy and a bit of a cut up, he had to be with the excuse for a mother he had, anyway he had “talked back” to the nun in charge, she had his mother come to school, lay him over a desk and proceeded to beat him mercilessly in front of the entire class. To James B.’s credit, he would not give them satisfaction of crying, he turned purple from humiliation and was never the same kid again, but they did not make him cry. I also remember the smug look of satisfaction the nun had on her face during this assault on a child..she got off on it! This same nun would give straight A’s to kids whose parents either had money to give or offered other favors.

    In eighth grade I got a bit of my soul back…albeit a small bit. Our classes were divided into groups A,B, C, and D based on how smart the nuns thought you were (or how much your parents gave). I was in group “C” and was only “promoted” to group “B” after I realized that the nuns where deliberately teaching incorrect information to the kids in the two lower groups, thus their test scores proved they were “stupid”. I took a Constitution test which all eighth graders had to pass before going on to HS. Being somewhat literate in regards to the US Constitution (as an adult it was a mainstay of my career) I knew we were being taught the wrong answers. I got 100 out of 100 questions correct when I took the test. This was quite an enigma for the nun who taught the US History class (as no one else got this score I could not have cheated) and to the end, I don’t think she knew how I did it. I looked up the correct answers and studied for two weeks. I completed the test in 3.5 minutes. I can still remember spending another 1.5 minutes making sure my name was written legibly at the top, as missing this would result in an automatic 0. I can still remember the feeling of satisfaction when I looked at her puzzled puss.

    When I married, (well I think I am married, because the priest my dad insisted preform the ceremony was one of Chicago’s most vile child sexual predators), I never looked back. and cut off ties with my family.

    My prayer for the Catholic Church and its clergy is the same kindness it has bestowed upon its children.

    • firetender Says:

      Are you guys all getting how we are survivors of the first order having weathered incredibly EPIC JOURNEYS!

      I don’t know why, because I really wasn’t terribly sophisticated in my reading, but I recall thinking — had to have been in the 6th Grade, so Ten years old, that I thought shit like this only happened in Dickens Novels! I honestly remember feeling surprise that such tortures at the hands of teachers and caregivers, as barbaric as they were, were STILL being heaped upon children like me!

      This kid was quite perceptive beyond his years.

      Do you see this being any less so with yourself?

      When I think of US (this site) I hear “Resilient!”

  210. B. Robertson Says:

    Hello Mary, I read your thoughts with a tear running down my cheek. And firetender states we are resilient. And I guess that we are. Keep blogging on this site. You will feel so much better. Get it out. I know I did. And everyone was so understanding. We know where you’ve been….and are there for you now. I do know one thing, I grew up very quickly in the parochial school system….hardly remembering nice childhood memories.

  211. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Marie Carney,

    Thank you for telling us what the nuns did to your mother in an old people’s home. Apparently anyone who is helpless can become their victim.

    I just did the ‘Dominican nun abuse’ search on ask.com that I use now and again, and came up with the Lourdes Home on the island of Malta, run by dominicans, being under investigation for years of child abuse, physical, sexual, and psychological. Recent abuse of people in their 20′s, 30;s and 40′s. The church has clamped down as usual, despite the recent nature of these allegations, and all is being investigated in secrecy. Many of the nuns were asked to leave the place however.

    But what is the response of the Dominican order which runs the place? They are converting this children’s home into an old people’s home. Which we see by your mother’s experience, Marie, is not going to change the abuse that goes on there, most likely.

  212. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Since many keep asking ‘Why’ the catholic clergy and convents are so full of abusers, I want to recommend a couple of books that might give insight to those who wish to consider them. Both books are old, and are available for download to ‘kindle for P.C’ which is available free at Amazon.com for free use on any computer.

    The first is called ‘The Two Babylons’ and was written by Alexander Hislop 150 years ago. Hislop argued that Catholicism was NOT Christianity, but paganism disguised. The second book is ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs’ which tells the tales of the thousands upon thousands who were tortured and killed by the papal inquisitors over hundreds of years, for rejecting papal authority and daring to read the Bible for themselves.

    Hislop argues that Nuns and monks as an invention came out the pagan religions, not the Bible. The ‘Queen of Heaven’ so beloved by the Dominican nuns who taught many of us, was condemned in the Old Testament Scriptures by the prophets when Israel adopted her pagan worship and ‘made cakes to the queen of heaven.’ .

    And for those of us abused by Dominican nuns, otherwise known as the ‘Order of Preachers’, history shows that Pope ‘Innocent’ III assigned Dominic, founder of that order, to establish the inquisition and its torture of ‘heretics’, which he did with great enthusiasm. The women who abused us were following in a tradition of such vileness that helps me understand why torturing us seemed so easy for them. My husband just now suggested we should call them ‘the demonicans.’ instead.

    I am suggesting these for those who really want to understand ‘why’ and are looking to research possible spiritual causes. Foxe is very hard to read due to the violence, and Hislop due to his antiquated writing style.

  213. Mario Says:

    Maybe we should make T-shirts that say, “I survived Catholic school.” Those baseball type hats as well.

    Being through Catholic school seems to me, is like living the Orwellian, Nightmare. Everybody has to love big brother or sister. They have a ministry of truth that they teach the kids. In reality, it was a ministry of lies. They would treat us like cattle, our parents would place these nuns and priest on pedestals they rarely, if ever, deserve to be on.

    Ye shall know a fruitcake by its nuts.

  214. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Thank you Robertson for your kind words. I do not think we can recover from such childhood memories, they are too ingrained in our psyche, only learn to make our peace with ourselves and make damn sure we do all we can to stop these narcissistic monsters.

    I find it interesting firetender compared it to “something out of a Dickens novel.” I too was fond of reading Dickens as a youth, because it seemed there, in another time and place, it validates that which we witnessed. I think that may very well be the reason for such suffering, for us to bear witness. I know as a child I was not believed, as a young adult I was not believed, I can forgive the action, but the persistent denial or worse the smug looks of “what are you going to do about it?” I cannot forgive. However, we do live in the twenty first century, and I am more than willing to take a polygraph (assuming it was given by an objective party), I wonder if the Catholic clergy would do the same? I hope more people bravely come forward, naming names, evil can only persist, if good men do nothing.

    • Frank Says:

      Mary, I am with B. Robertson, your story touched me deeply. My heart sank when I read “I do not think we can recover from such childhood memories… etc” because I believed that for the longest time … hell, I did not even lift the lid on those memories for 40 years! There is a lot of evidence, including this blog, to support this… stories of lives wrecked by substance abuse, other addictions, of failed relationships, inability to hold down a job… and of suicide. It is a reasonable and understandable conclusion to come to.

      Mary also said “learn to make out peace with ourselves…” and that lifted my spirits, because it is also true that there are stories of recovery, of healing, of learning to function well in spite of how we were treated as kids… never forgetting what happened, but confronting our fears and demons, engaging the best of our adult brains and hearts to comfort, reassure and protect the scared and damaged child inside us. It is powerful, helpful and useful to first believe that yes, I can recover, as that opens the door to the possibility. If I believe I can’t… I am right!

      It is not easy to truly accept what happened … that cruel twist of fate; it’s not fair; why me? What did I do to deserve this? I’m a victim! Not so very different from innocent bystanders caught up in war.

      But it is the hand we all here have been dealt, and don’t we owe it to ourselves first and foremost to do our absolute damnedest to recover? Isn’t that the only sure sign that we are worth it, that we do think well of ourselves, that we have just as much innate value as any human being?

      I believe that I can recover and learn to make peace with myself. I am now on that journey every day… and likely will be for the rest of my life. I also believe that I have come a long way… and have quite a way to go. The weight of media coverage of church abuse became sufficient four years ago at age 57 to prompt me to look at what had happened to me that I had buried for all those years. I have post-traumatic stress disorder, as many of us do. I needed professional help… and I still do. I first had to work up the courage to seek that help. I feel fortunate to be able to get that help, but I see it as a high priority in my life and do what I need to do so that I can access it, both individual therapy, and group therapy for survivors of child abuse.

      I echo the firetender Russ’ words in saying how important this blog is in realising that I am not alone, that what happened to me happened to others… across time and across oceans, and it happened to so many.

      I hope that more will be done, more will be available to everyone like us everywhere to help us make peace with ourselves, to help us act on the belief that our lives can be better and more fulfilling, and that we can effectively come to terms with our dreadful shared legacy.

      • firetender Says:

        For a long time each of us individually felt, in some twisted way, that the nuns were right.

        We bought into their bottom line assessment of us that we were beneath God’s contempt. Well you know what? The part that WAS our Creator didn’t let us down. Through that relationship we were led to the truth, and the truth became so real that maybe NO human being could have taught it. Can you see how we were touched by All That Is Good? The fact that most of us lost complete faith in the “Representatives of Christ” as we were introduced to them helped us to hear the voice of the Almighty. We learned to trust by following what amounted to our own Inner Voices. If we haven’t come to better understand the true nature of Jesus, who has? In our travels (sure, call it “fleeing” if you will!) we stumbled over the Great Mystery time and time again until we completely recognized that IT wasn’t THEM!

        And somehow, that got us all here, didn’t it?

        Can you see how we were created FOR each other?

        Thank you, Frank!

    • George Says:

      Mary, when you said, “I hope more people bravely come forward, naming names, evil can only persist, if good men do nothing,” that was what Albert Einstein said in similar words: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” We are the ones who will do something and name the names and tell the facts. Those “narcissist monsters” are on their way to becoming extinct.

  215. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Mary,
    Certainly couldn’t agree more….I would even be willing to march in front of whatever cathedral is most important in the USA!!

    • George Says:

      B. Robertson, marching is a good idea, that is what the people at SNAP do, I don’t know where you live but SNAP has groups all over the world that are bringing grief to the pope, chief of the pedophiles.

  216. B. Robertson Says:

    Frank,
    Wow – you just wrote ‘it’ all down in such an eloquent fashion. I’m with you 110%.

  217. Vincent Says:

    Hello All,
    I’m touched by what I’ve read here. Though I was never physically abused by nuns or priests, my Catholic school experience in upstate New York included some bizarre (related) incidents that influenced my social views of the Church, which I effectively left at age 17. Some mild mental abuse and head games. Some examples:

    * All kinds of things related to favoring one student over another, even one lay teacher in 8th grade changing a kid’s grade from B+ to A based on his request that she reconsider his marks (and the fact of his mother being friendly with the priests, nuns and teachers).

    * A nun punishing my entire 8th grade class (this was June 1975) by keeping us after school, and threatening to cancel the graduation trip, for schoolyard vandalism attributed to one boy in the class who maintained his innocence, leading several boys to physically threaten the “suspect” (guess who).

    * A 28-ish mother in the parish flirting with my friend who was then 12 or 13.

    * The associate pastor carrying on with a friend’s mother (they were both between 35 and 40).

    * Witholding my 8th grade diploma because my father, never the epitome of responsibility, hadn’t paid the tuition in full (my mother was deceased).

    * My classmate (a little guy) in 8th grade punching the nun who grabbed him during lunch time – I’m ambivalent about that as a question of judgement and unsure whether I’d have had his courage.

    This was all part of the pattern of corrupt and un-Christian behavior in that environment. Everything I ever had to know about corruption and the evils of the adult world I learned in Catholic schools before age 14. There were some good times too. I’m not emotionally scarred, but I’ve never forgotten the weird experiences, which obviously shaped my views about some things.

    Vince

  218. rjgodley Says:

    Are we just going to coninue listening to each other’s horror stories? At first it was consoling: I was not alone, Isn’t it time to move out from our isolation and do something?. How many wounded souls out there, unable to articulate and share to the degre we have, needs to know they were not at fault.

    • firetender Says:

      Perhaps in this blog I should change my name to IRETENDER !

      rj, I’m clear on my role with this blog and you all. My focus is to provide a safe space for you and others of my brothers and sisters who were so assaulted to come to. Here, you can see that what you experienced was real, and then look around you to finally discover that there are people who went through what you did and have made themselves available for a healing process that includes us all.

      Every time a new “horror story” comes in it is a celebration! That’s one person standing up and publically claiming his or her power. Since NO ONE ELSE in our lives paid attention, maybe one of the most potent things we can do for each other is to LISTEN and ANSWER.

      In a sense, you came here for consolation and now got so pissed off you’re saying, “Okay ENOUGH, let’s get to the Work!” But for here, this IS the work, and the work is about this site being a SPRINGBOARD for people like yourself.

      Personally, I’ve made it clear I don’t want to do the fighting, just the rallying. But therein lies my responsibility to you and the site and that would be to keep its simple purpose on-track.

      So as a guideline for the future, I want me and everyone here to be Cheerleaders for each other as we, in our own ways, do what we, individually, are called to do to weaken the armor of the system and individuals that facilitated our torture. To that end, if you come up with an approach and want others to hear about it:

      1) Take some time to get it clear in your own mind, then, tell us about it.
      2) Refer us to other RESOURCES so we can go further in understanding what you’re seeking to accomplish without bogging us down with details; remember, here we get to express our personal experiences, there we get to take what we learned to its logical next ACTION step
      3) This is NOT about recruiting, this is about sharing
      4) Let us know the kinds of assistance you might need to accomplish your goal
      5) Post CONTACT INFORMATION so those interested in joining you can do so OFF-SITE
      6) Accept the result; if you don’t find the support you’re seeking, it’s just the time isn’t right for the people here.
      7) Please update us on your progress!

      I hear your call for “Somebody do something!”

      Feel free to find kindred spirits here that will help you find something to do, and then do it while maintaining the integrity of the purpose of the site, which is to become an UNAVOIDABLE record of the abuses of children at the hands of female Clergy of the Catholic Church.

  219. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Does anyone know how to go about finding appropriate therapy? In the past, I have not gotten much out of therapy, if the therapist has not had the Catholic school experience, they really don’t know how to direct the session. I have contacted my local SNAP group as was suggested by George, but I have not heard anything back as of yet.

  220. Frank Says:

    Mary, here is an excellent guide for those who have experienced trauma and may have post-traumatic stress disorder:
    http://helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

    I know what you mean about therapists who do not understand… I went to one who just did not relate. The clinic she was operating in was a healthcare organisation run by a Christian church. I suspect that some of the things I talked about she found personally challenging and confronting and may have become a bit defensive. This is just a personal perspective, but I would never go near a church run or church sponsored clinic, therapist or group again… and I mean any church/mosque/synagogue/Temple… whatever, for the simple reason that they may have personal beliefs, values or organisational norms that could influence their perspective and approach on the issue of child abuse by religious people.

    What I have come to learn though is three things:
    1. It is NOT essential for the therapist to have the catholic or similar experience.
    2. It IS essential for the therapist to be a trauma/PTSD specialist (assuming that this is the problem, which it is in my case and I am sure in many others on this blog).
    3. Survivors’ groups are where people really get us, and can identify with our stuff.
    So both approaches, trauma specialist and survivor group together can provide what is needed.

    There is a relatively new mode of therapy that has the best track record of any in dealing with trauma/PTSD. It is called EMDR. Practitioners have to be trained and qualified in it, and usually advertise the fact in the description of what they offer. So look for both trauma/PTSD treatment and EMDR in their blurb. EMDR is described in the website link above.

    I have started this therapy a couple of months ago, and while I am a long way from being done, it has already produced more significant movement than anything else I have tried.

    Anyone else tried EMDR?

  221. B. Robertson Says:

    If anyone reads “Rolling Stone” magazine, a recent article (I think this month) re: Philadelphia priests/pedophiles and the horrible journey of a boy named “Billy”. Some of the quotes I wrote down and wanted to share were quite shocking. Although not about nuns -this article is deeply connected. Some quotes I wanted to share: “The Catholic Church is cloaked in secrecy”, “This is not the fault of medival bureaucracy – rather the deliberate and criminal work of a cold and calculating organization -the Catholic Church”, other quotes were “Similar to cult behavior”, and a comment by a prosecutor said: “It was like infiltrating a racketeering organization – they (priests) were not like priests – they were just thugs”. I feel this topic is gaining in momentum BUT STILL THE NUNS ARE NOT MENTIONED/IMPLICATED. I did read the priests won’t be charged with child endangerment; however, WHAT ABOUT THE NUNS? I know my life was endangered….every damn day. We were in a cult. A big one and a quite dangerous one. And to this day the nuns remained protected somehow/someway. It’s disgusting.

    • George Says:

      B. Robertson
      That Rolling Stone article was the best article I’ve seen about clergy abuse. Anyone who wants to read it online can access:

      http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-catholic-churchs-secret-sex-crime-files-20110906

      You are right that the nuns need to get the same treatment. However, if we get the priests and go all the ways up to the Pope and get rid of him and his entourage then there will be no one to support the nuns. If “evil central” is gone, they will go with it. At least that would stop future abuse. For the past nun abusers some of them are burning in hell and everyone who knows the names, places and facts about those still living need to tell the media.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      It riles me that the perishing nuns seem to be escaping punishment. I believe the abusive orders are keeping quiet in the hope that the perpetrators will die off, and their victims will give up. Not a chance!

  222. B. Robertson Says:

    Touche’ George! Let’s get busy talking to the media

  223. Nancy Says:

    I carry this forever. In the first grade, a little tiny child, age 6, punched in the back at least 10 times in front of all of her classmates and when the nun was done, I had to ask myself what did I do to deserve this? I didn’t even know, because I don’t think I did anything, maybe I was talking to someone next to me and she didn’t like that. To this day, I will never know why. Then again in the 3rd grade the nun stopped by my desk during penmanship practice. She was watching me for a short time, didn’t like my handwriting, she said it was not neat enough, and slammed a yardstick into my hand. I remember blood splatterd all of the white paper. All she said was that someday I would thank her for what she did and that my handwriting would someday be perfect. Why?? That’s all I ask to this day.

  224. Henry Sienkiewicz Says:

    Frank. I have had years of EMDR. The only reason it took years is because I had years of trauma that needed processing. EMDR is safe and effective. One important thing that everyone should remember about the abuse we experienced, that the object of therapy, EMDR or whatever method you choose, is not to forget what happened but to free yourself from the emotional storm that is associated with the memory. That way remembering is like a movie that plays and you just don’t care, it means nothing to you because there is no emotional reaction.

    • Frank Says:

      Thanks Henry… how would you rate yourself now regarding your PTSD? Has your life changed in terms of stress, anxiety, sleep, relationships, negative behaviours, health, how you deal with things… etc etc (and how has it changed)?

      • Henry Sienkiewicz Says:

        My life has changed dramatically for the better. The symptom’s for the most part have fallen away. I still get triggered but instead of being overwhelmed and paralyzed by the emotional upheaval it is more like a subconscious irritation that desapates when it comes into my awareness. Please understand that I was very ill with extreme mood swings and out bursts of violence. I had been the victim of years of psychological/ sexual torture. It had come to the point where it was a life or death choice because I couldn’t stand the pain any longer. I made my choice and decided to do what ever was necessary to recover. That I did and it paid off. You asked about different aspects of my life before and after, it would be very hard to get into detail about each one because the end result would be me writing the equivalent of a book.

    • Frank Says:

      Your first 2 sentences say it all… I have the greatest admiration for your decision “to do what ever was necessary to recover”… and to see it through. It certainly isn’t an easy option. I’m inspired by your courage and strength for my own journey. I’m also very happy for you with your dramatically improved quality of life.

      Heartfelt thanks Henry for sharing this with us.

  225. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Can someone explain what EMDR is? Or perhaps an article on the subject? I am very interested. I was diagnosed with PTSD quite awhile ago and have found only one therapist who really was effective, however I had to move out of the area and have not been able to find help since. One big problem is that I need someone who provides a sliding scale fee for service as my insurance is very limited, but so far all I can find are “church” run therapists for sliding fees. My husband is in law enforcement and he always tells me there is no such thing as “coincidence”. I find it very much a coincidence that the only access to affordable therapy is through church run organizations. Who better to police the clergy than the church? Perhaps I am just paranoid.

  226. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Thank you for the help and for all the support on this site. I only wish there was a more structured support method. I seen so many sites which have been victim of “astroturf”. Wiki gives the best definition, but basically when a group like this gets started… hired goons begin to blog under hundreds of sudo names and gang up and bully in an effort to end the website. They are usually paid for by a large organization with an agenda.

    I just wanted to share something that struck me yesterday. I mentioned this site to my son and recalled the last time he saw my parents. My husband was a product of the foster care system and thus had no extended family, so after I had children I tried once more to try to get along and just agree to disagree. This was some twenty-six years ago, I brought a glazed ham to Easter Sunday dinner (the ham cost our entire week’s budget for food). The only one other man at the table that ate the ham was my Jewish brother-in-law, but it was okay because my father made him give up his God before he could marry my sister. Anyway, when the meal was over the ham was tossed in the trash….I wanted to cry…my son, then six years old, did cry at the waste. We left soon after, My mother gave the other grandchildren their Easter gifts the day before, so what she handed my kids was a baggy with a few jelly beans and one colored hard boiled egg. My boys were glad to get the eggs and cracked them as soon as they got outside. the eggs were not boiled at all, my sweet son was so angry he threw what was left in his hands at their house. Easter Sunday as a weapon…I still can’t get over that….but directed at a child?! What kind of sick mind even thinks of that!

    My son is in his thirties now and has his own family. He has a very high IQ, using standardized modern tests, he scores 183 and 187. He is the most objective person I have ever met. If someone flips him off on the road, he assumes they had a bad day. He never looks at one side of an issue, except when it comes to my parents. My daughter was curious as a teenager and asked him what they were like and his response was “a void, a dark void with an immense need for control If they didn’t know what they were doing I would call them sick as it is though, they are evil.”

    My first twenty years or so, were full of such examples, that is why I stated earlier I doubt I can recover, only learn to live with myself.

    • Henry Sienkiewicz Says:

      Mary, I remember reading about behavior such as you described on sites dealing with malignant narcissism, narcissism victim syndrome and about narcissistic mothers. It might be worth googling them just to see if your experieces match what is described. If they do you will have something solid to work with on your way to recovery. It boggles my mind about your family and the way they treated you and the children. It sounds like out of your whole family you were blessed with sanity and the rest missed the boat entirely. Remember always one day at a time and knowledge is power. Take care.

  227. B. Robertson Says:

    Hi Mary,
    I have learned to get some tissue before I open a comment from this site. OMG, my heart so goes out to you. You’ve had a rough life my dear. But you have to know that you raised such an incredible son (and more children too?)…Your comments lead me to the fact that you were not only severely abused by nuns, but also at home – as I was. I do know that neglect fits firmly into abuse and that was my case at home. It seems with your last post that you are losing hope stating “I doubt I can recover”….well, YES YOU CAN. You seem strong, you are a beautiful and expressive writer! Perhaps writing is your way ‘out’. I am currently writing a book or treatise perhaps, I don’t know yet, not that far but nuns are in the book along with the atrocities suffered by being thrown – daily – into their insane minds. I happen to be a diagnosed “severe adult attention deficit disorder” individual with post traumatic stress associated with literal depletion of two neurotransmitters that left me quickly as I tried to survive the treachery of nuns. And I am not alone. My story involves multiple marriages, multiple jobs….interrupting people to finish their sentences…and they are trying to ‘drug’ me with speed. But, speed is a good medication that supresses ADD for people like me. I guess it makes me ‘normal’. By all rights I should be dead. My life was simply an upheaval of horror after horror along with the diminishment of my entire being brought about mainly by vicious nuns – at least at home nobody knew I was there so I wasn’t hit or talked down to – but school took care of that portion. I most of all, DO BELIEVE I WILL RECOVER. I will recover because I am angry as hell. The nuns I had hated me because I liked boys. They only catered to the girls that wanted to be nuns. A doctor has prescribed Adderall for me and every time I take one I think of nuns and I do blame them. But I am not going to be one of their casualties. I guess anger is making me survive. I do not feel any effects of Adderall but hopefully in time it may help.
    Many times in my life, I wanted to just die. But I’m still here so it must be for some reason. So, cheer up and either get mad, write – JUST DO SOMETHING. You’re a precious human being damn it! I wish we could sit and have coffee together. I’m worried about you. Cmon Mary, you are not alone here. We care. I will say a prayer for you today. Look at all the good in yourself. And I so understand the COST of getting decent help. Most people cannot afford it. So we have to do it alone sometimes. I can just ‘feel’ you are so capable of doing great things.

  228. lhmscadet Says:

    Please read the blog about abuse carried out by the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia at Linton Hall Military School.

    lhmscadet.wordpress.com

  229. Mary Arroyo Says:

    I read the blog regarding Linton Hall and it sounded all too familiar.

    To B. Robertson, thank you for your very kind words of support. We all know what we express here merely scratches the surface, so many of us have not been believed or suffered retaliation. Most of the pain cannot be expressed with mere words, this was an assault on our very souls. I had someone with whom I could talk, she went through much of the same trials and under stood the hold the Catholic Church has on the psyche. She tried to get help, believe me, but I do not think the physicians she worked with understood the full scope of the damage. She remained a Catholic in spite of it all.

    Three years ago she called me on Good Friday and was not doing well, I convinced her to go to the hospital where she was admitted for a few days and released, the following Friday she did not call me, but rather decided to put an end to the pain. She was found with her Rosary beads clasped in her hands. While the Catholic experience was not the only pain from which she suffered, it was the foundation. So you see, it is not myself for which I have no hope. This obviously is not an option for me for two reasons, one, I have a supportive spouse and two, I have a grandchild, and anyone who messes with him while I am still on this planet will need God’s help believe me, because I will not stand by and let abuse like this happen again, ever.

    I humbly accept your prayers and will do the same for all of you. Putting this in words is one of the most painful efforts of my meager existence, so for now, I need to stop writing, but I encourage everyone to speak out. It is your civil responsibility, and if you believe in God, it is your testimony.

  230. Frank Says:

    29 nuns have been named in a new lawsuit in Montana. Here is some of the story:
    New sexual abuse case filed in MT against Catholic Church
    MISSOULA- Montana attorneys are filing another civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church, this time seeking damages for 45 victims of sexual abuse at church schools and institutions in Western Montana.

    This time the suit is alleging nuns as well as priests were involved in sexually abusing children . . . read more at
    http://www1.kaj18.com/news/new-sexual-abuse-case-filed-in-mt-against-catholic-church/

  231. Frank Says:

    Trauma and Transformation: the Catholic Church and the Sexual Abuse Crisis, a conference Oct. 14-15 at McGill University, Ottawa, Canada.

    I came across an article on this conference http://www.catholicregister.org/news/canada/item/13046-abuse-response-not-deep-enough#itemCommentsAnchor
    and thought to myself that this appeared healthy and progressive… until I went to the conference website and read what they have planned: http://traumaandtransformation.org/the-conference

    Now I sit here dictating this comment on the blog vibrating with fury. How dare they!! How dare they!! For one, victims have not been invited to speak… if their voice is heard, it will be through a lawyer/advocate… and I can only find one of them, the rest of the speakers being mainstream Catholic clergy.

    That was bad enough… then I read what they describe as the core questions: http://traumaandtransformation.org/the-core-questions
    Nowhere in there is the question – what are the cultural, structural and systemic causal factors within the Catholic Church that have fostered child abuse, the protection of abusers, and the cover-up of abuse across the globe and across the centuries? Nor the follow-up question – Has anything really substantial changed at this point that could lend confidence that these cultural, structural and systemic causal factors… the processes/systems of causation… no longer exist?

    There is no talk of radical transformation needed. It appears like a naive, “well-meaning” attempt to do something real by a bunch of people so deeply immersed in their beloved Catholic culture that their perspective is subverted. No, that is wrong! They have never had a realistic, uncontaminated perspective… ever! Either that, or it is a cynical, self-serving attempt to give credibility to church efforts on the issue, to whitewash, to salve their souls, to justify the unjustifiable.

    The only contact details for the conference that they offer are for a couple of administrative assistants (is it cynical of me to think that they are trying to run a closed shop?). The English-speaking one is conference administrator: jon.waind@mcgill.ca

    I intend to contact him with the essence of what I have written here and ask him to pass it on to the Conference Directors. I hope that many of you might consider likewise (remember he is only the messenger).

    Shame on them!!

  232. Nancy Says:

    I tried to hire a lawyer in the Boston, Mass., area to try and sue the Catholic nuns and/or the Catholic Church who caused so much damage to me as a child back in the 1960′s. I was told I had no proof because this happened so long ago and also because most, if not all, of the nuns are now dead. They refused to take my case. Where does that leave me??

    • Frank Says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Do you know of a group called SNAP – Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests? http://www.snapnetwork.org/. If you do already, the following information might be useful for others.

      They have support groups http://www.snapnetwork.org/support_groups that meet regularly in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Australia http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_locations.

      I contacted them sometime back here in Australia and asked:
      * Does your scope extend to nuns?
      * Does your scope include abuse other than sexual?
      * Do you support people who wish to pursue justice?

      This is their reply: SNAP deals with abuse other than sexual abuse, and we cover all religious, including nuns. SNAP itself does not participate in civil lawsuits, but we are very happy to help victims pursue that option in any way we can. SNAP would be very happy to support anyone who wanted to go through the civil court system. We can certainly give you the names of some lawyers you can speak to, if you do not already have one, and will endeavour to provide a support person to help you if you do not have someone you can take to meetings or to court. We can also tell you about our own experiences with the various options available to us, or draw on the feedback of other victims we have spoken to about this.

      They do have a group in Boston. There are contact details for a victim’s advocate listed at http://www.snapnetwork.org/massachusetts

      SNAP’s mission is to support people like us. The lawyers they recommend are ‘friendlies’ and have experience in this area. They can share knowledge and experience learned from other cases and help guide you regarding the strength of your case, the pros and cons of proceeding, and so on. It may well be that the initial legal advice you got is accurate… there may not be enough evidence to proceed, or no identifiable defendant to sue… but at least you are hearing that from an organisation, and people, who are on your side. They also have the support group pathway, whether or not the legal one is available to you.

      • George Says:

        Frank, I received (in email) your response dated Oct. 19th to Mary Rutley giving your opinion of the Mercy sisters. I looked on the blog site and I don’t see the response there. Is there some problem with the wordpress web site? By the way, I don’t believe that the nuns, priests and all the way up to and including the pope are human — just devils walking the earth.
        George

      • Frank Says:

        Hi George,
        it is located as a reply under a posting:
        Monica Fairley Says:
        May 18, 2010 at 2:06 am
        way up near the top of the blog.

        The blog organizes new postings by date, but all replies to posts are nested with the original, no matter what the date.

  233. Mary Arroyo Says:

    In response to Nancy, I am merely expressing my opinion, but I do not think there is much of anything we can do for the children of the 1950s and 60s, better to concentrate our efforts on being guarding angels to the children of today and tomorrow. Trying not to offend anyone out there, however the legal profession is populated by bottom feeders who only express righteous indignation when there is money (and a lot of it) to be had or in defending themselves. Better to rip the mask off the monster and expose it for what it is.

    There is no way you are going to “out lawyer” the Vatican. My opinion is the best efforts should be made enforcing the separation of church and state. The church has lost many of its people and other than the loss of money and political influence, they do not seem to be very concerned, however thanks to the WWII generation they now have more money than God, so the only logical thing for them to do is to morph into something else, hide and operate like the cowards they are.

    I shutter when I hear politicians talk out getting rid of social programs like welfare, medicaid and food stamps, while certainly changes need to be made to these programs to weed out fraud and to avoid creating a class of people who cannot or will not fend for themselves, it is a civic responsibility to feed and educate those who cannot do it for themselves. Sometimes the fraud is so obvious I believe it is encourage to ignite public outrage in the attempt to get rid of the programs altogether. As of late, I have heard the battle cry to leave such matters to private charities. Have you ever looked at the compensation packages for board members of many private “charities”? It is very similar to the compensation packages of private corporate executives. Many of these private charities also have an established legal department, ahhh lawyers. If the least of our brothers are left solely to private charities, this will only promote more abuses of power we have experienced or at best create a cheap labor force, read about the Magdalene homes for wayward girls (laundries) in Ireland which on the surface were established by the Catholic Church to help unwed mothers or any girl who was deemed “promiscuous” by the Church. In fact, they were a free labor force for the Catholic Church where many, upon many abuses took place. There was a movie made, I believe the name of it was “The Magdalene Sisters”. The movie was able to (on a very low level) communicate some of the psychological tactics used by the nuns.

    If you are able to go the legal route and actually find an attorney with a conscience, who is also brave enough to take on the Vatican, I say go for it, as cold, hard cash is the only thing they (the church) understands or really cares about other than their political influence, it is after all, just another very powerful, international corporation.

  234. B. Robertson Says:

    Why did we wait so long. As many have stated above, most of these demon-nuns are dead (or at least the one’s that hurt us) I don’t know about everyone here…..but I am angry that I waited and now it’s too late. I am an avid procrastinator..this should teach me a lesson. It is too late and the Vatican is way too powerful.

  235. Mary Arroyo Says:

    We waited because no one believed us! It was not until the priests’ sexual scandal broke and then that tide was so huge it just wasn’t good press to complain about mere physical and emotional abuse.

    Have you forgotten all that Catholic dogma? The fear of hell’s fire? priests and nuns were like doctors, “all knowing”.? In addition the Catholic Church has always had its hands in politics, we had to wait for that generation to die off. The damage was so debilitating it literally took decades to peel back all the layers, not to mention any of us who did seek help were steered toward church run counseling.

    Do not blame yourself because you are awakening now…most people never wake up!

  236. Nancy Says:

    The nuns who abused the innocent children hopefully are dead and buried by now and rotting in hell’s fire for eternity, where they will never hurt anyone again. This is the justice they deserve.

  237. Mary Arroyo Says:

    If they (nuns) believed in a God, then it is now God’s business, so let God tend to it. If they did not believe in God, then they are not in the presence of God and are therefore damned.

    Perhaps some were abused themselves, perhaps some thought they were doing the right thing, or perhaps some were just evil, the fault lies with the Church officials who turned a blind eye and to our parents who worshiped these false idols, they were the ones with control. The Church new full well what was going on for centuries, (and you wonder why it took you so long to come forward, on that scale you did pretty well) why else would they have hid it from view with such adroit legal maneuvers?

    I would not hold my breath waiting for an apology, from a legal point of view, that would be an admittance of guilt.

  238. Food for Thought: Linton Hall Military School and the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia « —–Linton Hall Military School Memories—– Says:

    [...] https://firetender.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/catholic-nuns-child-abuse-and-vows/#comments [...]

  239. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Today a young friend of mine, 33 years old, received a letter inquiring about abuse of children in the Milwaukee Archdiocese….a glimmer of hope…I doubt it. But it is a tiny victory for us that at least our children are being asked about it. I am more inclined to believe they are looking to point out how many weren’t abused, that is why these inquiries never come to folks who went through that hell in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, they are doing what they do best, waiting for us to just die off. I stand by my word. I am more than willing to take a polygraph by an objective party.

    • Nancy Says:

      It really amazes me how all of this seemed the norm back in the 50′s and 60′s, how the nuns were allowed all of this authority to do as they pleased, allowed to hit kids and punish them so severely, without any questions asked. Then I ask myself, why did out parents put up with this? It does not even make sense to me to this day. Why didn’t our parents call the police or take us out of these horrible schools and put us in a public school. Nothing makes sense to me when I think of these things that happened back then. Today, things are totally different. Teachers aren’t allowed to hit kids or a big lawsuit will ensue. Why? I can’t find an answer.

      • trish griffin Says:

        Nancy, I can’t blame my parents..they were raised the same way in catholic families..perhaps it was “accepted” as the catholic families were so big, it was impossible to discipline all of them. That is just a hunch I have. Mothers were so overwhelmed and fathers were working themselves to death. My mother did stand up to these people and seriously got in their face in the 40s, 50s and 60s. My father, God bless him, fell line and died suddenly of a heart attack at age 47. I witnessed a lot of evil that I carry in my heart to this day. Love to you and all of our friends on this site.

      • Frank Says:

        hi Nancy,

        You’re absolutely right… this was the norm back then. I have struggled myself coming to terms with how my parents could have allowed the things to happen to me that did. Here is what I came up with:
        * people respected authority without question back then… lawyers, doctors, politicians, clergy, teachers etc. Parents would not dare question or criticise nuns. They honestly believed that the nuns/church were right and that we deserved punishment/discipline to mould us into good human beings. Part of that meant beating the devil out of us. Glass half full idea had not been invented… everything was viewed with a negative slant.
        * “spare the rod and spoil the child” – almost every kid I know got hit by parents and teachers.
        * displays of strong emotion were seen as weak and indulgent, and were discouraged or even unacceptable – crying/sadness, fear, anger, Joy/laughter… except when it came to parents or teachers disciplining children – then anger apparently was okay. How many of us got the protection and nurture we needed? Fathers would discourage mothers from such behaviour (for those who were inclined that way) “don’t spoil/coddle the child, it will just make them weak and lazy”. “Stop crying… be strong!”.
        * psychology was an infant science back then. No one – not parents, not police, not teachers, not clergy, not doctors – absolutely no one realised or thought that how society was treating its children in general was damaging and harmful. Because we were not well-behaved as children, parents and teachers were ‘forced’ to treat us as they did – “this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you” “now look what you made me do!!”. I had non-Catholic schoolfriends whose parents had sent them to the catholic school so that they could get the discipline that was lacking in government schools.

        So not only did society not view what was happening as wrong, there was a pervasive attitude that what was happening was right. If there were voices for sanity and reason back then, they had no influence and attracted little interest.

        It is difficult to think back to those times and to imagine the mindset that allowed society to treat its children as they did… none worse than the catholic system of institutions and schools. To put things into perspective, remember that this was less than two decades after much of the world stood by silently as Nazi Germany embarked on eliminating a whole race of people. If they had not also attacked other countries, who’s to say whether or not they would have been challenged in their pursuit of exterminating Jews. It is well documented and well-known that the Vatican did not mind one little bit.

      • Nancy Says:

        To Frank: You are absolutely right Frank. The mentality of people back in the 50s and 60s was certainly different than it is in today’s day and age. If only they had realized the damage they were causing to the children of future generations!! Thank God those days are gone and over with. So many things have changed since then and the children of today are very lucky to have better teachers, who can actually teach them without violence in the classroom. Thank you for responding. You hit the nail right on the head.

    • firetenderfiretender Says:

      As I read Franks response, something clicked. Could our parents have avoided questioning what the nuns were doing because they returned docile children to them?

      Our parents didn’t have to discipline us, the nuns were beating fear of authority into us. My mother, though she beat my 10 year older brother incessently never laid a hand on me once I started school. I didn’t learn to respect her from the nuns, I learned to fear women.

      • Nancy Says:

        You made a very good point. Things were so different back then. I would never let my kids be treated like that at school. Never. I just wish my parents had taken me out of that Catholic school. It would have saved me a lot of pain.

  240. Mario Says:

    In Response to Frank

    http://www.liberalslikechrist.org/Catholic/1933Concordat.html

    Here is the 1933 concordat on the Catholic church being in cahoots with Adolf Hitler. Hitler told two bishops in Germany that he’s only doing what the Catholic Church was trying to do to the Jews for the last 1500 years. Not a peep out of either Bishop.

    It’s well worth the read. We were lied to in school about history and religion.

  241. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Okay, so this is out in the twilight zone…I am aware of that, but when I was a kid I could not help but to feel the oppression left in the wake of the loss of millions of lives in the 1940s …about the same time our parent’s generation was pressured to be “good Catholics” and populate….hmmmm……methinks I best shut up.

  242. firetenderfiretender Says:

    I want to add one more comment about “hope”.

    THIS is hope; at the very least the first step of hope.

    Now, silence has been broken.

    This need not be about revenge. It’s about presenting ourselves to others so there is, once again at the very least, a record.

    Someone needed to speak out. Until the moment that you added your voices, there was no hope.

  243. firetenderfiretender Says:

    An interesting wrinkle here!

    Apparently a Catholic Bishop gfrom Kansas has been indicted for NOT REPORTING CHILD ABUSE.

    The whole story is here: http://news.yahoo.com/kc-bishop-charged-not-bringing-porn-police-185423369.html

    Now, we’re I to have the juice to fight windmills, I’d try to find a lawyer savvy enough to get permission to view the Bishop’s records in search of reported incidences of nuns abusing children.

    I betcha a buck, underneath the one porny-priest would lie an underground city of reports against nun’s abuses! None of which, of course, had any action taken.

    It could be an angle; maybe the Achille’s Heel that could put EVERY Bishop in the Church into hellfire while publicizing the outrages done against us by nuns. Remember all of you, you always have this site to refer others to as evidence that you are not alone.

    • Tamar Says:

      I think that is the key – that we are NOT alone. Any form of abuse is degrading, but abuse by someone who is representative of G-d, the ALL KNOWING Seer of Life, truly makes one feel like climbing into a whole and disappearing forever simply because it is the G-d complex.

      I think it is imperative that, as survivors, we find the strength to band together, but the problem is that conditioning has kept our secrets hidden. I found this site quite by accident in doing research on Catholic orphanages in Philadelphia. I knew I could not have been the only one who experienced what I did, but I certainly never dreamed that there was a entire active community out there. I kept it all to myself, my therapist and my husband and my children. Most who are abused do not openly discussed their abuse because when they do, they are often not taken seriously, or it becomes a matter of ‘get over it already,’ and so, as adults it becomes an issue of simply getting through the day. The abuse gets hidden away for years, until the stink from it all causes a breakdown of sort and professional help is finally sought. By then, years have passed and it becomes a matter of simply finding one’s way back to the surface… I am not sure exactly what will change this pattern of behavior.

      I read the story in the link; it is simply shameful that a simple $1000.00 dollars could amend the matter… a fine, a year in jail? What about the life of the children? We as a society need to grasp the very real issue here… it is not simply the Catholic Church, but the societal law themselves .. we may be unique in that as ‘church survivors’ we have lived our own special war. But, as long as we continue to simply slap them on the wrist for such crimes – failure to report is a crime – then the future children do not have a chance. We must be their voice, both for our sake to heal and for theirs as their guardians. We need to shout from the roof tops until we are heard…

  244. Mary Arroyo Says:

    You want some really interesting reading, which I promise will fill in some blanks for some of you. Read about the Catholic Knights of Columbus and gangstalking.

    My dad’s obit read that he was a 3rd degree, but I think he reached 4th or damn close by the time he died. The deeper you get in your reading on the subject the more frightening it will get.. I only bring this up because most of my memories of my dad were of his absence from a kid’s school function to go to a K of C emergency meeting. I also recall the way my husband was treated, as sub human because he refused to join the rank and file, he refused to put government, family, wife and children in their place and he refused to sign any documents promising our children would be raised and educated as Catholics.

  245. Mary Rutley Says:

    Hi Frank, So you wont be using your powers of erudition to inform the editor of the Courier Mail that Queenlanders have little for which to thank the Mercy Sisters after 150 years of residency in the state?

    This bunch of Irish harridans exported their cruel and abusive practices wherever they went in the world, and while I’m glad that you experienced one act of gratuitous kindness from a member of this order, too many children received only gratuitous violence from the Mercy Sisters.

    And I’m sickened by the way the councillor for Northgate has endorsed St Vincent’s Orphanage in Nudgee, as though it had been a place of sanctuary!

    Like you, I’m an atheist. Religion is a crutch for the weak-minded, and has done great damage in the world.

  246. Frank Says:

    Hi Mary, I started writing letters to newspaper editors over 10 years ago… the first to the Honolulu Advertiser when I was living in the US after the Boston Archdiocese was exposed doing the “paedophile shuffle”… pretty much the first time that the Church came into the public spotlight for child abuse, protection of abusers and secrecy/cover-ups about what it knew and when. My letter was never published, despite several calls when I finally got a sub editor who told me that the paper would never risk alienating the large catholic population of Hawaii or the church in Hawaii by publishing anything seriously critical of them.

    Most recently a few months ago I wrote to the Sydney morning Herald (I haven’t lived in Queensland for over 20 years) when a spokesperson for a bunch of disgruntled priests appeared in a newspaper story saying how upset they were that the church had mandated 8 changes to the liturgy of the mass, mostly minor word changes, and how the priests were going to stand their ground and refuse to comply… much like union action against an employer.

    So I wrote a letter asking how come they were not up in arms about the endemic issue of child abuse and cover-ups? How come they continued to work for an organisation riddled with paedophiles, and one that did little to discourage them? My letter, which complied totally with publishing guidelines, was hacked down to a basically meaningless and miserable couple of lines in the Comments column that runs beside the published letters.

    So I don’t have a lot of energy any more for letters to the editor. I have not found it a good way to open people’s eyes, to capture hearts, or to change minds… and that is the point of the exercise. Conversely, there may be a general perception that people who write to newspapers just have an axe to grind.

    These days I write to investigative journalists and others who get published on this topic, and brave enough to write stories about it, confirming how important what they are doing is, reassuring them that a lot of people are watching and following, and encouraging them to keep going. Nick McKenzie of the Melbourne Age is one of the leading lights here in Australia. Just last week I wrote to the author of this article http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/clergy-victims-need-justice-now-20111013-1lmzy.html#ixzz1agoiQ0e4 and received a lengthy personal reply that clearly demonstrated the support I offered was well received.

    I think it is tough trying to find an angle on something like a centenary celebration that might make people stop and think, or change someone’s mind. It could easily be seen as sour grapes, or a party spoiler. What might work is if someone who came out of the orphanage, or who had a horrid experience at the hands of the Mercy nuns wrote something personal. That would also increase its chances of being published.

    Have you considered a call to the councillor?

    • jane Says:

      I know you mentioned Mercy nuns, but I also believe that the nuns from the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Massachusetts were also terrible abusers of children.

  247. Mary Rutley Says:

    Hello, again, Frank

    I’ve been much luckier with the British press. My first letter about the abusive nuns at my Catholic boarding school in Kent was published in The Times in 1995. I received and avalanche of letters from other victims in reponse.

    I loathe the Mercy Sisters, although I never had to endure them, because of their cruelty to unmarried girls in the laundries. And because a colleague of mine was in a children’s home in England where the Mercy Sisters were sadists and perverts.

    And yes, I did send an email to the councillor at Northgate,who is clearly more concerned about Catholic votes than with Queensland’s terrible history of child abuse.

  248. Florence Says:

    In my previous posting I talked about the harsh duscipline at my Sister of Mercy convent,an all girls boarding school,in Sydney during the early nineteen sixties
    Like Nancy I sometimes wondered why catholic schools in the past were so strict and how the Sisters in some Orders managed to get away with hitting us so much-which in some cases bordered on abuse
    I believe there were a number of reasons why this kind of thing happened at my convent in Australia To begin with the Mercy Order had a reputation for being real disciplinarians in their schools in Ireland so I suppose it wasn’t surprising that the same was true in their convents in our country
    Another reason was that our particular convent took in quite a
    few ‘problem girls’ who had been expelled from other catholic
    schools,been in gangs and some Polynesian girls who had been in trouble in the Pacific Islands Some of these girls were shockingly behaved when they first came to the school and bullied other girls,swore,fought etc and I remember in once case a girl spat in a Sister’s face,so,at times, the Sisters struggled to control some of these girls As mentioned in my previous posting rather than counsel these girls the nuns slapped them and hit them with their heavy leather belts and when this didn’t work they bundled them off to Mother Superor’s where in most cases they got the hiding of there lives-sometimes up to six strokes of
    the cane over their bottoms and even the toughest girls cried
    Unlike the strap it left terrible welts and most girls couldn’t sit down properly for days some of these girls changed their behaviour quite quickly while others didn’t and more canings followed sometimes in front of the school and if they continued to play up they were eventually kicked out of the convent
    So,how did the Sisters of Mercy get away with treating us like this?
    Well in the the past,perhaps because Australia was a pioneering country with lots of immigrants there was a certain hardness in everyday life and I think this found its way into the schools here
    So,in both government and independent schools principals were allowed to cane unruly kids and the use of such punishments was really widespread I personally believe that catholic schools were the strictest and in their schools girls were often caned too as anyone who as watched the TV mini-series Brides of Christ would know
    To make matter worse this kind of discipline was apparently supported by parents particularly in Catholic and other church schools where disciplining was supposedly done in the name of God! So I believe that our Mother Superior made the most of this situation and during my time at the convent many girls,including myself were caned
    Looking back now I don’t believe that an occasional caning in the convent would really have done us any harm-like when the girl spat at the nun,because,this was the authorised punishment
    in that era the Real problem in our convent was that the cane was ‘misused’ Like at our school you could get it for trivial things like skipping mass when counselling would have been a better option Also sometimes girls were beaten by Mother Superior for things that they never did because the Sisters lied about their behaviour I also believe it was humiliating and degrading for teenage girls,often only dressed in their pe gear,to get their backsides beaten in front of the school which sometimes happened when girls had done something really bad Such disciplining should have been carried out with sensitivity in the
    privacy of the principal’s office Mother Superior’s habit of bringing her cane to assemby to frighten us,when talking about
    misbehaviour was yet another example of the misuse of the cane,such theatrics should never have happened I could go on an on…but I think you have got the picture
    It has always puzzled me why more men and women who went through the Catholic education system in Australia,in the past,
    haven’t spoken out about their mistreatment at the hands of the catholic Sisters and Brothers I can only assume that many people who are still ‘catholic to the bone’ still not prepared to say bad things about their religion I would encourage others to speak out like i have and welcome your comments

  249. Frank Says:

    The scourge of child abuse by Catholic Church clergy dates back to 60 A.D.…yep! right from the very start! Have a look at this well researched and very enlightening three-minute youtube video on the history of how the church has dealt with… or rather, not dealt with… this defining hallmark of their true identity.

  250. Larry Says:

    You are only at the tip of the iceberg. The way that church finances perpetuate the evil that you speak of should be the next major scandal. Hopefully it will come to light. They are getting smarter, unfortunately. So many of these horrendous stories on this blog are now adults trying to come to grips with the abuse. We must also be concerned for the poor children currently enduring new abuse. It continues and is very insidious now. This guy McNiff that is in your story makes $300,000 and went to a diploma mill. He is an acknowledged fraud and liar. He is there to attract big money to perpetuate the cycle that your story and these brave contributors testify to. He glad hands donors to get them to give and that fills the coffers to keep the sick ones in power. They are running out of loyal Catholic money because many of us are waking up because we remember how it was and know how it is. Now they bring in a slick fundraiser like McNiff to attract “philanthropists.” It is now non-Catholic big money (think Bloomberg and his friends) that are funding the abuse, sometimes without their knowledge. Dig into this a bit. See who now sits on the Boards of these Catholic schools and their philanthropic arms and you will have your eyes opened.

  251. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Does anyone know of any notable authors or artists who have written anything on this subject? The only reference I have found is in The Tides That Bind pages 317-318. In which Bruce Springsteen references the abuses he received at the hands of the nuns at St. Rose of Lima in Freehold, NJ.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      ‘Rock me gently’ by Judith Kelly tells of the terrible abuse she endured in a Catholic children’s home in England, which was run by the perishing Sisters of Nazareth. This order also abused children in Australia and NZ.

    • Tamar Says:

      Have you seen the Magdalene Sisters movie? It is directly about abuse by nuns… a most powerful and definitely unnerving film for anyone who has experienced that kind of abuse by nuns or those en-scripted by nuns. I was in an orphanage in the 60s and was severely abused, and then eventually adopted and abused for the remainder of my non-existent childhood. The couple that adopted me had both been raised in the Catholic church and both had spent 12 years under Catholic educational reign… thus I may as well have been raised by the nuns themselves for the entire time …. For all intensive purposes, the forms of abuse that I experienced were exact to the movie…. I was damned to hell for even existing. I will warn you though, the movie shook me bad enough that and I had to stop it several times because of flashbacks….. and I have had years of therapy and have many tools of which to handle such things…. but even so … it was as if I was there the whole time… when you’ve lived it, you can feel it.

  252. Mariol Says:

    Mary Arryo

    Check out this site…..http://www.catholicabusesurvivorsni.com/?p=359

    Hope this helps.

  253. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Thanks Mariol, its a start. I wonder how long this blog will go on before someone tries to shut it down, so get out the info. This is written history folks, it will never be completely erased from memory now.

  254. Mary M. Says:

    I went to Catholic school in PA during the 1960′s and 1970′s. I remember the abuse. It was over forty years ago but it nevers leaves you. I think witnessing the abuse was as bad as being abused. I still remember being sick in the stomach at the thought of going to school. Talking in line was a serious infraction. The punishment was physical abuse. I could go on and on. Where else can a nun commit assault, battery, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats and get away with it. The Cathloic school system did. I begged my mother to send me to public high school. I cried when she said no. Four more years of abuse and humilitation. I have no respect for the institution. It never practicied what it preached.

    • Nancy Says:

      I know exactly what you’re feeling. I went to a Catholic school in Holyoke, Mass, in the 60s, and still remember to this day the things that those nuns did to the kids. It was horrible. I felt sick just about every day having to be at that school, never knowing from minute to minute what abuse would be coming next. I got my hand hit with a yardstick so bad that it bled, because the nun did not like the way my penmanship looked. I was only 8 years old, in the 3rd grade, at the time. In the 1st grade I got punched in the back about 10 times and never even knew why this happened. I saw dozens of kids tormented daily. My parents refused to make me quit and go to a non-Catholic school so I was stuck there for 9 horrible years. The worst part of all of this is that they got away with it. I stilll believe to this day that the nuns will rot in hell for what they did. They may have gotten away with it in this lifetime, but not in the next.

  255. Florence Silworth Says:

    Nancy I’m a little surprised you didn’t respond to my posting about the reasons why the Sisters behaved the way they did ai my convent in Australia Anyway I do hope you could make a few comments on what i wrote about

  256. Mary Says:

    My heart goes out to each of you, I too went to Catholic School in Oklahoma and the school was run my the Sacred Heart Sisters. I think?? Wore little hearts around their necks. It was a living hell for NINE years starting with Kindergarten to eighth grade. Slaped in the face for nothing, constant fear of abuse from these fuckers. God help us it was hell. The school no longer exists because I am sure the nuns have long since passed away. Yes, I have PTSD from my life at Catholic school and take meds every day.

  257. B. Robertson Says:

    Mary, I too am trying to tolerate meds for PTSD, but they don’t agree with me. Of course, completely turning my back on Catholicism, I have researched other religions. I reallly enjoyed “Buddhism”…..they are all about kindess and gentleness. Scientific research has identified the cause of PTSD/Adult ADHD and these researhers state it results from depletion of neruotransmitters as a child being abused. Very interesting. I am a spiritual person and believe that there are levels when one dies. There are two bottom levels religion states, of which I feel is a kind of hell…..so to make our day….that is where all those nuns are. I hope there is no hope for redemption of those so called ‘brides of Christ’. To date, even though I am 58 years old, I still would like to meet just one of them in a dark alley. Shame on me. But, my life was ruined by those insane women. They enjoyed inflicting pain and humiliation. Anyway, Merry Christmas (or…..oooppps….Happy Holidays?). I am trying so hard to “forget”. Yeah, right.

    • Mary Says:

      Thank you so much for such a kind and wonderful response. I am sorry I am just now going through my e-mail. Merry Christmas is great with me and I hope your holidays were enjoyable too. :) My younger brother hates the Catholic church and won’t even step foot in the door because the the hell he went through. But I think us older ones, I am 58 and older than us had it worse. I can remember so many things the nuns did I think about it now and almost faint from the thought of it. I hope you get better and I pray you will find some peace. Oh by the way I found out that a priest a new was the cause of the 4.5 million dollar cost of molesting boys. Oh my stars you could have push me over with a noodle. They need to get the sociopaths out of the church, but then who would be left. lol xxx ooo

  258. Mary Arroyo Says:

    Please try not to hate. It is not worth the energy. In the late 1930′s Charlie Chaplin made a movie, a comedy about Adolf Hitler. How could a Jew, at such a time in history, write and perform in a comedy about Hitler? The name of the movie was The Little Dictator, I believe it was made in 1939. If you’ve never seen it, watch it, it is hilarious. At the end of the movie Chaplin gives a heart wrenching speech dressed in character but gives the speech as himself Charlie Chaplin. That speech is every bit applicable today as it was then, so much so it is frightening.

    Chaplin used the most effective tool at his means, with the precision of a surgeon’s knife….humor. He exposed the Nazis for what they were, under educated, completely lacking in socialization school yard bullies working for a few very rich with agendas. Ridiculing them not only makes them angry, which is always fun to watch, but it takes away their power. Admittedly not a completely solution, just a small piece of the puzzle.

  259. Mary Says:

    Actually for centuries the priesthood and nun factories were really staffed by misfits and sociopaths. I think 99% of the folks were really sent there because no one else wanted them or could deal with them. It is such a crime that they got away with such torture and inflicted so much damage on thousands upon thousands of innocent children. I don’t think the church has any good people they are all sociopaths looking for a place to do their work.

  260. Mario Says:

    Mary, I couldn’t agree more about the staff of misfits and sociopaths.

    They live off the fat of the land. It’s donations from the believers that keeps food on their table of pigs. I didn’t see many skinny nuns were I was. Ever walk in while they are eating. The table has hams and all kinds of good stuff on it. Yet their are people in the parish that eat poorly. My wife worked in a supermarket and she told me they get gorumet foods and fillet minon steaks they spare no expense. They think they deserve it because they do God’s Work. Blah!! what nonsense.

    They are always begging for money for the poor. I don’t see anyone that are poor get anything from the church.

    • Frank Says:

      Hi Mario… your posting brought back a long forgotten memory in an instant, and clear as a bell. It was the line “ever walk-in while they are eating”.

      As part of punishment one-day, I was forced to carry cartons of canned foods from a storeroom in the school to the convent kitchen (St Benedict’s, East Brisbane – Good Samaritan nuns). It was lunchtime on a weekday, and there they were with their snouts in the trough eating big thick grilled pork chops –2 each, dished up by Mrs Somers – a parishioner who cooked for them.

      In the 50s and 60s, East Brisbane was a working-class suburb with a substantial migrant population as new arrivals moved from the immigration hostel at Kangaroo Point out into the community. Quite a few kids regularly came to school not having had much to eat, and without much for lunch. A snack after school was a slice of yesterday’s bread spread with beef lard saved from cooking. My family was relatively well-off –we could afford a chicken once a week for a family of 5 (roasted for Sunday lunch), but pork of any description was a total luxury that you might see once a year at Christmas.

      As a kid, I never put 2 and 2 together – the hypocrisy of the parish priest and nuns living “in poverty” eating pork chops for lunch mid-week, while Catholic families dug deep constantly to give to the “poor and needy”, the missions, and of course the plate at Mass on Sundays… twice!!

      No one ever questioned this “system”, no one ever rose up in revolt… they were the elite, they had the power, they knew it… and so did the rest of us!

      • Mary Says:

        That is the God’s truth. I have often wondered why the church never does anything for the parishioners. Can’t they ban togehter and get a Catholic health insurance program for the parishioners. How about job help for those who don’t have a job. Nope, just give us more money.. What a mess from hell.

    • Mary Says:

      You are spot on Mario – I never was helped by the church when I lost everything I owned in a tornado. Never called not jack shit. As I was saying earlier I think they need to get a Catholic health insurance group for the parishoners that need medical care. duh that would be all of us. They want Catholics back prove you are sorry about the fucking nuns too and offer help to us.

  261. pattyann Says:

    I am still dealing with PTSD from my years at Catholic school.
    They say that time heals all wounds, but mine never went away.
    I was a scared little girl, and am now a very scared adult.
    My formative years were spent living in terror of what would happen next. I chose not to go to college, because I wanted out of the classroom all together. I had no coping skills. I still trust no one.
    When I hear of bullying on the news, I go right back to the 1960s.
    I could have been a lot more, but did not have the backbone to succeed. It was broken in third grade. I still have the scars to prove it.

    • nancy Says:

      You are absolutely right. The same thing happened to me back in the 3rd grade when the nun slammed my hand so hard with a yard stick that it bled because she did not like my penmanship. Wonderful way of teaching a child. To this day I hate to write or sign anything. Hopefully, that nun will rot in hell for what she did to me and all the other poor children in our so called “catholic school.” All of those schools of abuse should have been closed and the dam nuns thrown in jail for child abuse. It’s too bad it never happened that way back then, because in today’s day and age it would have. May God bless you and give you strength to at least try to forget these crazy child abusers.

      • B. Robertson Says:

        “Try to forget” is an impossible feat. I think my “anger *at 58 yrs of age is the fact that somehow we all repressed the abuse because of religion. The Vatican protects all…..and they are all powerful – obvious in reading of all pedophile priests…..somehow they all just mysteriously disappear..Hmmmm. Although at least my memories will always be present it isn’t happening as frequently (at least in the USA) as it used to. My trigger point is driving past a parochial school. God, I try so hard to redirect my thinking. Very difficult thing to do. Oh well…at least writing of experiences can be an effective method of ‘getting the anger out”. And we are certainly not alone. This blog has really helped me. I hope it stays up and running for a long time to come…..

      • Mary Says:

        Hello :) I hope it stays up and running also. AND there is NO way you can forget being in a prison camp and being treated a the whim of those crazy misfits in black in white. Funny thing, but no funny, I few years ago I went to work in a different area at Verizon.. There were two evil, nasty, cruel bullies and they rulled the others too even the men were afraid of them. When they started their tactics on me, man I snaped. I was crying in the shower getting ready for work, and I kept repeating “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, I had to go to a psychiatrist to get meds for the PTSD. These women were nasty just like the nuns, but fortunately they could not use corpal punishment, but they did everything else. I have read lots of bullying books and they are like they have written my life. Maybe those will help you also. “The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job ” [Paperback] It notes the same type of cruelty minus the hitting, the slapping the kneeling etc…. but the gate keeper of knowledge, same as the gate keeper if you will eat or breathe. I was a wonderful book I hope you can find it on Amazon. It saved my life. But the numerous meds keep me going so I don’t go completely insane from the flashbacks. God Bless :)

      • B. Robertson Says:

        OMG you really sound like you are angry also. Yes, they certainly beat us up/down/verbally (which was probably the worst in my case – because I liked boys and didn’t want to be a nun) but I guess the best way to think of it is to move on…..because there is no help…we have to find the strength within ouselves because no one understands but the people that endured it as ourselves. So, here we are and you just vent all you want because everyone here gets it. I suffered in OH. Where are you from?

      • Mary Says:

        Hello Again :) I am from Texas, but the Hitler Nuns were while I went to Catholic Hell School for 9 years. Maybe the sacred heart nuns. I have moved one, but the horror is embedded in our cells and each cell remembers. Also it brings to mind, the theory of abuse is more likely to occur when there are more than one doing it. Criminal behavior notes that in numbers they do what they might not do if they acted alone. So I think that is true too. I forgive them, because they were insane sociopaths, but that does not mean I will ever forget. merem01@aol.com is my email address if you want to write me. :) Take care and God Bless.

      • nancy Says:

        I really did not mean “try to forget” literally. I meant try to go on with your lives the best you can,” because that is all you can really do.

      • Mary Says:

        Hello Nancy, I was doing pretty good until one day I went to work in a different area in Verizon. AND came across these two bullies from hell. Man it made me snap… I was crying in the shower ever day saying “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, “I’m Not Safe”, over and over so went to the shink got on meds, but it will NEVER go away. Every cell remembers trauma and when it is triggered you are in such pain and agony. I want to go to a good Catholic Church ,but most are so cold and weird so I don’t go ever.

  262. George Says:

    I found a good description of the nuns and priests to share with you. They are truly psycohpaths or worse.

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deception. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are disproportionately responsible for violent crime when in a violent emotional state or situation. Though lacking empathy and emotional depth, they often manage to pass themselves off as average individuals by feigning emotions and lying about their past.

  263. Mario Says:

    To those that responded

    Frank

    That’s true no one ever responded because we were controlled like sheep. All through church history the few ruled the many, through fear and intimidation. These are the same people who taught us about the Cardinal Sin of gluttony. Yet they are glutons and I wouldn’t doubt they belched and farted at the table. The same ones that say to practice humility. There wasn’t any humility among them. The same ones that told us to give until it hurts, yet they were so tight to give to the poor, that their shoes squeeked. They also told us about the love of money being the root to all evil. Yet they were lovers of money in fact money was their God.
    Those pork chops that you told me about Frank, were they kosher? Convents also recieve donations from businesses in their parish. Especially with a child going to the schools if his/her parents own a food market. And whatever else they can grab. Yes they were on the receiving end of donations of all sorts. As far as the giving end goes, that was for suckers.

    Organized religion is like organized crime; it preys on peoples’ weaknesses, generates huge profits for its operators, and is almost impossible to eradicate.

  264. Mary Arroyo Says:

    How can you forget your formative years, while all are filled with angst and humiliation from time to time, have you ever tried to explain this situation (prior to the outing of the priests) to other people? If they were catholic and did not experience the pain because they were one of the chosen ones (their parents provided money or favors) they would, tell you that you are damned to hell for eternity and then tell the “elders” what you said. If the person was not catholic, they usually thought you were lying, trying to get attention, or pitied you for being crazy. For such a long time people thought we were lying. I know I was ostracized and life is very lonely when you have no social history. With age you can see the insanity of it all, but at the time,it all seem so beyond reproach. While most of these nuns are dead, the organization for which they operated is still very much alive and just biding time for things to settle down in the press and wait for people to become desperate enough to come in and save the day (they control most of the world’s money).

    My mom like so many others, used the same tactic to start fights among her grown brothers and sisters and in-laws, she was very skillful, she would set the whole thing up, sit back and watch the explosion, then come in and be the peace maker so everyone kissed her ass.She usually remained teflon, but on the rare occasion when she was cornered, she would put the blame on one of her six kids.

    • B. Robertson Says:

      Hi Mary,
      Eloquently written. So true. As they say – “Just Sayin”…..

      • Nancy Says:

        As I remember, the nuns always acted as if they smarter and better than everyone else and could do no wrong. They were the “chosen ones,” and everyone else was beneath them. What gave them this almighty power? I often wonder.

      • Mary Says:

        Yes, the chosen ones for sure Nancy :) and if your family was not rich you were trash. Guess what it is still the same. Even in every Catholic Church if you don’t have lots of M O N E Y they don’t give a rats fat butt about you. So many groups among the parishoners unless you are rich, they don’t give you the time of day. They make me sick. So it is not just the Clergy, the parish people are bad too.

  265. Mary Arroyo Says:

    The “power” came from the catholic church,, the pope who in their teachings was god himself on earth. By “chosen ones” I meant the next chosen generation of ruling Catholics. Not all were bad, they needed a group of people who looked like the Kennedy Family and acted truly benevolent to some, I am sure they had the best of interest at heart, but like so very many, they were clueless to the underbelly of the beast.

  266. Christin onee La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    Thousands of years of world history demonstrate that religious systems can be taken over by evil. This happened in Ancient Israel. This happened as we all know so well with the Catholic Church. The prophets of Israel were given a message by God that made one thing very clear: He was angry about them fattening themselves at the expense of the sheep, and letting us starve, and He was going to come and feed the sheep himself.

    We have to do only one thing to receive very direct help from the One who loves us: Ask for it. ‘God, I just need to know who you really are. I just need to know if you are there. I need to know if you love me.’ Especially after the abuse we suffered, He will move heaven and earth to respond to such a prayer.

    A friend of mine thought to herself that she would take a day to find out if there was anything in the world that is actually true, that she could believe in. She paged through her considerable library, searching. Finding nothing she could not argue both ways about, she decided to get down the Bible since it had lasted so many centuries; perhaps she would find some folksy wisdom in there. The first passage she opened to, which she had barely even read, she heard a trumpet sound behind her and the presence of the Lord surrounded her, and she knew that he was real and that He loved her, and that Jesus was his son. But we don’t have to take anyone’s word for this, ask for your own food.

    With all the garbage and lies poured down on our heads in our early vulnerable years, I believe the devil had one purpose: to convince us that there was no God who cared enough to answer such a question. If we believe that and never ask God who he really is, then the devil who has abused us all through the nuns and priests will have won. If we search the religions of the world with their own failed systems, and never ask, the devil will have won.

    Don’t let the devil one keep you from God. Go around the church, and ask God to show himself to you. He promised ‘I will feed the sheep myself.’ because the shepherds had fattened themselves and lied to the sheep.and stomped their food and ruined it. If you think WE are angry about that, how do you think God feels? He actually does love us and want to be around us. Those who wounded us so that we either were afraid to approach him, or wanted nothing to do with him, cannot keep us from Him if we really will just ASK. Don’t take it from anyone, not even your own ideas, ASK. The nuns made us feel we were too bad to deserve love, and that the God who was there was like them. I hate them for this more than anything. Don’t let them win. Go around them.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      Christine,

      Sorry, but some of us who were abused don’t want ANYTHING to do with God or religion. I just hope that one of the nun’s who abused me when I was a four-year old boarder, and who is now sitting comfortably in a nuns’ geriatric home in Pantasaph, will suffer retribution.

      • nancy Says:

        I also wonder why the nuns and priests wore the color black. What would black signify?? And why would they cover their hair with the black and white habits back in the 60′s and early 70′s? Very strange when I think of it now.

      • Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

        I hear you Mary. I HEAR you. You want nothing to do with God or religion because of the way you were treated by wicked catholic nuns. But if there is not a just and loving God to whom we can appeal, who do you think is going to provide the retribution you are seeking? If there is not a loving God who cares what happened to helpless kids, to whom shall we appeal? And on the basis of what standards? Is the world based in ‘the survival of the fittest’ as Darwin argued, or is there a God who declared that murder and cruelty are wrong? Who is going to bring this justice? The vatican? The American justice system with its stature of limitationes and burden of proof requirements?

        Jesus on the other hand not only remembers each cruel act, but judges hearts, andknows intimately how the abuse was damaging us. . ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ was HIS statement. Only a just and loving God can punish wickedness and comfort and heal the broken. If you think he doesn’t understand what it feels like to be tortured, remember what they did to him when he was killed by the religious system of his day.

        I can testify that he does care. I have even come to be glad that these terrible things happened to me, because he has shown me so much love and personal attention because of it. He has hidden me under his wing. What I am saying is that if you haven’t asked him to show you who he really is, you have never given him a chance, and this means that so far the devil is winning. Don’t let him.

        Not only that, but God is perfectly able to deal with an angry and wounded person and their honesty about how they feel about him. Many have come to him telling him they want nothing to do with him because of abuse by religious systems. I am suggesting if we want justice, there is no other source. If we want healing. If we want retribution.I am suggesting you give God the chance to reveal himself as He is. The problem with the catholic church is that it really does not know God. How does it help if those hurt by it refuse to know him?

    • JOEY NOBLE Says:

      What I remember most from the Cabrini nuns was that they were great at having lynchings of certain students before the class.Mother Timothy as she as known as then,she left the order as she must had seen she had no place in the education of children or too hide herself away under the guise of consercrated person.I came from another school under the St.Joe nuns it was a world apart for sure.She hated me from the start as I was elected class president and was one of the higest scores on the Archdiocesian IQ exams.I came from a broken home filled with violence,as kids my brother and I were moved from pillar to post until my mother could get a place of our own.We had to hide the fact that our father took off as the Cabrini nuns made it a rule of thumb to use kids who were poor or from divorced famolies as scape goats of scorn before the class.She was our teacher for three years;I was beaten with her open hand,yard sticks,rulers etc.,she made other students life a calvary.Being a bright kid very out going it deformed my personality to the point that I rebeled aganist the RCC while in catholic high school and was thrown out in my senior year.Here’s the catch I had a vocation after all that abuse.I converted to the Anglican church soon after and I am a franciscan friar.We were victims of the School Machine created by the American church to keep us catholic admist what they considered a non catholic society.All but a few orders were from Ireland etc.,their goal was to glean as many vocations as possiable to their crown as the largest order etc.Once caught in this machine of vows that needed special dispensation to leave ,working as slaves of sorts in the forced education of catholic children.They took out their rage on their students.Religious life or better yet monastic life can only be attained by seperation from the material life;Monasterys and Convents were always meant to be small houses of prayer and service and simple life and habits.What they have sown they have reaped,thats why most of these orders are now composed of old ladies with no vocations selling off empty convents.American Catholicism in its present state is a reflection of the churchs desire to control not to teach and empower the faithful.We have to see it in this way the nuns for the most part were victims of the Machine and they took it out on us.I maybe wrong as I often am,but the experience of catholic education left no other choice than to go else where to find Christ and His peace.

  267. Christine La Vasseur Helrigel Says:

    As I have always told you, I submit to your authority when you ask me too. Zipped lips.

  268. pattyann Says:

    I guess that I am lost. I thought that this blog was a safe place for me to come and share some of the horrors that I had experienced as a child. It was a place where I could identify with others and hopefully not feel so alone;
    Now it is becoming a preaching page which does not have anything to do with the original purpose.
    Could we please go back to the way it used to be?
    This (name removed) person scares the heck out of me..

    • firetender Says:

      I want everyone here to listen carefully to each other. If one person does not feel safe to come there then we’re missing our purpose. Please keep the focus on support.

      Please keep the focus on support.

      There are no sides to take here except making room for everyone.

      Thank you all for your hearts!

      • Mary Says:

        So true!! Everyone needs to be respected and loved here. We are in no position to judge one another.

    • George Says:

      Pattyann: When I first looked at this blog I thought the same as you – that it was a safe place where I could find other people like us and we could help one another. Everyone should have a chance to voice their opinion, but if all we are hearing is Psalms going back and forth then they should take it offline — along with their anger as B. Robertson says. I and maybe you too have heard too much preaching from those who hurt us and this only reawakens bad memories. I hope the blog does go back to its original purpose as a place to heal and that you feel safe reading it. As Russ says, there should be room for everyone but also everyone should feel safe.

      • Brian Says:

        There is only one main Evanltizer on this blog who has been annoying from the beginning and won’t adhere to the principles and spirit established by Russ the Firetender. Just ignore that person. The blog has been a great help and comfort to me knowing that I and my sister were not alone. I think I was one of the first five respondents, that’s how long I have been tracking and the past four years have been made far easier for me to live knowing all the other stories. It’s been worth years of therapy – so don’t give up. Read, commiserate and feel better.
        By the way, what order of nuns, school and state were cruel to you? I have found it helps others to learn they were not alone in being abused by the so and so’s at such and such school. My sister and I were abused by the Dominican nuns at Incarnation Grammar School, Queens Village, NYC in the fifties/early sixties. Then my poor sister was abused further (unbeknownst to me at the time) at Dominican Commercial High School, Jamaica, NYC a secretarial school where the crazies told them they were no good and not worthy of going to college, only to make more Catholic babies or work under men. And I have seen quite a few entries over the years mentioning Dominican nuns as being bad her and overseas. Any they are still teaching, mainly now in Africa! As the Klingons say – Kaplah!

      • George Says:

        Brian, you write very well; I read some of your earlier blogs. You have good advice about ignoring those who don’t adhere to Russ’ vision for this site. Those nuns who tortured me were Dominicans at St. Agnes in Sparkill, NY. It seems that Dominican nuns were the worst. It also seems like New York and surrounding areas had many centers of nun abuse. We know we will win in the next world but let’s do what we can to see they get what they deserve now.

    • Tamar Says:

      My Dear Pattyann, you are a Blessed soul. Do not fear what others may think or say, for you are pure and of the LIGHT… You ARE safe. There are MANY here to support you; I have read the entire string. There are many here who do not judge… your thoughts, your feelings, your journey … all of it … is yours … and of great and intense value! I PERSONALLY thank you for sharing, for me anyone who can stand up and tell his or her story is brave, and I have great admiration for bravery; it is a scary world out there…. it takes great courage to face the horrors that we all have endured – to even speak them allowed…. Afterall, weren’t we were all damned to hell for eternity if we ever opened our mouths …. Please, Dear One, do not allow ANYONE to ever take away your dignity, your spirit, your joy ever again!!! We may not have had power as children, but as adults we can say STOP…. keep shouting from the rooftops…. it is yours and yours alone…. much love and light always. <3.

  269. B. Robertson Says:

    To: Pattyann
    Liked your response…and am in total agreement. I sincerely read each post and empathize but I don’t care for the ‘preaching’ either. And a note to (name removed)….you are searching for an argument. Take your anger elsewhere please. This is a place to heal.

  270. Mary Rutley Says:

    I will never forgive my parents for sending me to board at Our Lady’s High School in Dartford when I was four years old. The nuns in charge of the boarders – Srs Immaculate and Teresa – were heartless witches who should never have been allowed near infants.

    But I thought my experiences were normal until the age of eight, when I was sent to an Anglican prep school which was heavenly compared with the convent. But although I was never harmed by the Church of England, I cannot tolerate the pontification of any priest – or anyone. This is because I had so much religion forced down my throat at the convent that I had Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary leaking out of every orifice.

    • Brian Says:

      Mary, Forgive but do not forget would be the better avenue. Remember our parents and grandparents were raised in the same corrupt system and in their times no one ever complained about anything in the Church, Politics, the Military, etc. Your parents probably couldn’t even conceive of complaining about the system. Trace the roots of every family that used the belt, locked their kids in closets for time out, etc and it will all go back back to the Church teachings. And from this pool of confused shell shocked individuals came the priests and nuns who perpetuated the cycle of abuse. For me, I’ll never set foot in a Catholic Church until women can be priests and the priests can marry, as it was generally before the Council of Nicea, 325CE.

  271. Brian Says:

    Everyone, I just had to post this, the pederasty never seems to stop. From the Milwaukee Journal

    “At least 550 people filed sex-abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Wednesday’s deadline in its bankruptcy proceedings – by far the largest number of claims among the eight Catholic diocesan bankruptcies in the United States since 2004, and on par with a 2009 Jesuit bankruptcy that covered victims in five states”.

    http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/at-least-550-people-file-sexual-abuse-claims-qc41d68-138542119.html

    • Mary Says:

      And if we could file for all the horrilbe abuse by the nuns, not sexual, just the horrible, horrible abuse it would shut the whole system down. I would like to be compensated for the hell I went through for nine years in Catholic School Hell.

  272. Tamar Says:

    My brothers were at St John’s Orphan Asylumin Philadelphia in the 60s… I am still trying to get a confirmation wherein what orphanage I was place… As a young girl, I believe it was St. Vincent’s but I cannot seem to find information on the orphanages for girls in Philly … I have a photographic memory and and I can describe a very large foyer with a floor to ceiling cross… rooms with many many beds (cribs) I was 3 when I entered. and I was severely sexually abused there… my cervix was so damaged that 5 of my 6 children were all born a month over due…Now usually a woman will have difficulty on the first birth, maybe even the second… but I had a terrible time with ALL my children…. it was so unusual… they tried everything to move me along, but my cervix would not dilate. I happened to have really great health insurance when I was birthing my last child, and so I had ob/gyn specialist – head of the hospital department – and it was he who found the reason for the delay… Here was my sixth child and I still would not dilate… why? There was scar tissue on my cervix so severe as to cause the cervix to be unable to work properly…. he broke the barrier of scar tissue and out she came…the easiest birth I ever had. I usually was in labor a good week… as long as the baby was fine and my pressure was good … nature was counted upon to take its course… Anyway, it became the confirmation of the very clear memory that I had of that place and of the event that occurred – of course there was many others – but when that doctor looked me straight in my eye and said… “It’s scar tissue” I knew he knew that it had to be abuse… my family was all present that day, so he was congenial and did not continue, However, when I went into his office for follow up, he again looked me directly in my eyes and said ‘I broke the scar tissue and I am here to help you if you need or want to talk about what happened..” Again, I knew he knew. He said ” It had to be a traumatic incident.” I thanked him and said I would think about it. I never said anything more to him about it. I was kind of numb at the time… in shock that someone else knew, in shock that it was real, in shock that I was truly sane… in short, a most overwhelming experience, At any rate, I am currently writing a rather intense novel being a story in form and written in 3rd person and, of course, in part there within is the clarity of the violence and abuse … and even though I was eventually adopted, how they chose my parents, I will never know – I spent my entire childhood trying to dodge abuse in many forms… and little did I succeed. But I count myself as the lucky one… i always knew it was ‘they’ who were the crazy ones… and never believed any of what they said of me as we all know abusers throw it all back on the abusee. As sad as it sounds, it is a comfort to know I am not alone in all of this… these stories are real and heart-fully told; I commend ALL of you for your bravery…. if you have ever read the story ‘A Boy Called It’ … you would have a clearer picture of my adopted home… but still, I long ago forgave them ALL… including the nuns, the priests, and layman who did what they did to me…. perhaps they simply knew no better. I have no hate, no anger…no fear…. I bless them all with love and hope they find peace upon their death… no matter what happens in our lives, we are all part of the same circle… and as Eva Moses Kor forgave Dr. Mengle and the others who hurt her in the concentration camps – I too can forgive so that I can be free. I am not telling you this to judge or condemn anyone’s thoughts, for each of us alone must follow our own hearts and and our paths… For me, I can now tell the story and not be afraid, occasionally I cry for the little girl who hurts, but mostly I rejoice for the woman I have become…. I have a great relationship with G-d, I am no longer Catholic, I am a converted Jew … but even in that I am mostly a Spiritualist… I saw an angel in that orphanage who helped to keep me sane and I recognize that sometimes bad things happen to good people, but it is what we take with us that really counts…. ..I would like to find others who dealt specifically with the sexual abuse in the orphanages … if any of you would care to share your stories or if you have any information, that can lead me into that direction, I would be most grateful… Unfortunately, I know I wasn’t the only one who endured it. (edited out personal contact info; not allowed on the site for everyone’s safety — firetender) Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your own special light that has crossed my path. <3 Have a most blessed day!

    • Lori Grobelny Says:

      My heart goes out to you. While I suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the nuns, I was lucky to have been spared the atrocities you endured. I admire you for being so forgiving. I don’t know if I could have taken that road. I have trouble forgetting the abuse I did put up with. It never leaves my mind. May God Bless you and protect you..

      • Tamar Says:

        Lori, I thank you so very much for your kind words and for your support, But I must be fair, It took many years of therapy to get to this point of forgiveness… I was so angry with so many that it was sucking the life out of me and literally making me sick. I had headaches, I was vomiting, I had pains in my body that just would flare out of nowhere… Once I was in the market and the floor started moving on me… sure sign of a panic attack ….. I learned that they were body memories …. I had to find a way to start healing.

        Please know that it is not that I accept what any of them did to me. It is that I have allowed it to leave my space – my space – the space that is my heart and my life. Together, they all STOLE my childhood; I was not about to let them have the rest of my life too. Yes, there are still times when a memory or a trigger – smell, site, touch – will remind me of something, – for instance … the research I am doing for my book has jolted some feelings of nausea and reading all of these sad and horrific stories takes me right back there, but I have the tools … I have learned how to protect myself and I have learned to breathe and to ground, and to remind myself that they are only memories and that they can no longer hurt me but only to the extent that I allow them to……

        It took 10 years of therapy to connect all the dots. Because the abuse started so young, I would often leave my body and watch it from above. I came to understand that it is a technique that young children are often quite adept at performing as a form of protection… but it also can cause splitting to occur. If you ever read the book Sybil, it is much like that. I never did form an alternative personality though… something within in me was strong and very defiant… But, I did compartmentalized all of the experiences simply to survive, and it was only after I was secure and safe as an adult that it all came flying at me at once… one afternoon,

        I nearly burned my husband with a hot iron because I thought he was one of the abusers … Daily, sometimes more than once a day, I started to have real-life flash backs that were so severe I could have killed someone… PTSS is no joke … there were many … another time I kept gagging and vomiting because I thought I was drowning – it was the body memory of having my head held under water in a toilet bowl … but like I said it was the weekly therapy that helped me to learn how to heal. I had a great therapist who was able to help me to stop having such crazy spells .. or rather to recognize when they were oncoming and how to address them. I can stay in my body now and not be afraid of any of it; I have learned to scream and shout and dance and play…. play was such an odd thing for me as a child … I was always afraid, as I am sure that many here have felt the same ….but all of the forgiving I did, I did for ME….

        I deserve to be happy … We ALL here deserve to be happy… WE are good people … WE were good children . and whatever ‘mistakes’ WE all made we made because WE ALL were children… how dare they blame us …. WE had really rotten experiences… and WE were hurt and maimed … and scarred for life … but… I refuse to let them win….. perhaps it is an attitude, perhaps it is that I just don’t want to hurt anymore…. I cannot go back and change any of it… I cannot get back my childhood … I cannot make it all go away… What I can do is heal … I can look at those people and recognize that they were and are obviously very sick people indeed … Who beats a child for a mistake? Who holds a child’s head under water? Who pulls a child’s hair or call them names? I will tell you who does ….REALLY< REALLY SICK PEOPLE … and all of those people that hurt us are just that… SICK…. some may even say that they are evil… I don't know if they are… but for certain, something is wrong with the way they think and act and …. what I do know is that I can't fix them!

        I don't want to have to fix them…I don't want to waste my energy on them anymore… I want to fix ME…the me that they tried to break….the me that wants to play and laugh and enjoy my children and grandchildren. I once had a nun tell my adopted parents that if they could only break my wild spirit that I might become a fine upstanding woman… Huh .. well they tried indeed – actually they came really close to succeeding…. but I ran away from home for the final time at age 17 and never returned…. I was near suicide …

        My given birth name was changed when I was 4 and I had two 4 year-old birthdays… yes, they changed my name and my year of birth – I have found through the adoption forum, that this was a fairly common practice within the Catholic orphanages. … An infant, maybe – But who does that to a 4 year old child? So, in my late 20s I got the courage and I changed it back; and it triggered a rebirth.

        It would be 10 years before I would seriously enter therapy and 10 years more before I was really good. But my spirit returned as spunky and strong as it ever was when I was small…I had children and now I have grandchildren who are the same… strong-headed, wild, loving, happy, not afraid of anything… non-conforming, gotta smile all the time kids… how dare they try to take that from me…

        Forgiveness is not about saying that what they did is OK. and it is certainly not about forgetting … Unless you have a brain transplant and even then I doubt it – memories are attached to the soul not the brain – forgetting is not really an option. NONE of what they did is OK. But, it is about letting it go… letting go of something I cannot change… letting go of the parts that hurt so deep it makes one want to murder another…. Don't get me wrong… I cried and cried and cried… and on occasion I still do, but grieving is part of the healing… under all anger is pain and in that pain there is hurt – grief … My heart bleeds for everyone here…. I KNOW the pain that comes with abuse… It is horrific and it eats away at your heart, your body, your mind, your always afraid and always certain that others can see right through you… always feeling different… and not in a good way …

        But I know also that forgiving them has brought me peace, and I am happy, and my heart is light… I will always have a special place in my heart for those who suffer at the hands of others… I will lobby for and support them until the day I pass. When I was going through it all, I would always try to find 'something' good … like if a beating left me so bruised and sore I literally couldn't sit, then I was grateful I had legs upon which to stand…. Defiance can be defined in many ways; and yes, I was most defiant … and I always managed to find something for which to be be grateful … ..and not out of some holier than thou attitude. I did it because doing so gave me the power to survive… it was a choice, a perspective that allowed me to believe that I was OK… that I was good .. that someone out there had it worse than me and I could cry for them instead of me….

        But, forgiving is different. Forgiving gave me the power to live… to enjoy life in a most profound way and I intend to live the rest of my life in joy! ( Now what do you say to that Sr.Constance? – Nah never mind, you would only tell me I deserved to be ground dirt like the dirt I came from… well guess what, I'm happy Sister, and I sure hope it makes you happy too!)

        Love to you Lori, and may you also be protected – you do deserve to be happy!!!!

        PS .. my given birth name means palm tree in Hebrew … don't ya think it somewhat fitting that a palm tree can be tossed about in a raging hurricane and still remain planted…
        Yes, I like my given name :)

      • Lori Grobelny Says:

        Tamar, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your beautiful letter. I learned much from your thoughts, and from the eloquent way in which you expressed them. You helped me put some of my thoughts in perspective, and maybe I can achieve some healing now. Thank you for the good wishes you extended toward me. You, too, are deserving of all things that are good. God Be With You.

        Lori

  273. noele Says:

    The Church today does not address the mental abuse that occurs among the volunteers in ministry, nor the abuse by the clerical toward volunteers. The treatment is unbelievable. We’ve only seen the sexual abuse and child abuse discussed, but there is the ongoing dynamics of adult interactions that are often overlooked. All of this indicates a very dysfunctional structure. And people, particularly older people, are fearful of complaining.

    • Mary Says:

      WOW, no wonder I cannot bring myself to walk back into a Catholic Church. There seems to be no goodness what so ever in that place.

  274. jeff a Says:

    mary your horror story hit home not a week goes by without remembering all the abuse physical and verbal from the nuns at most holy redeemer on the south side of chicago good luck jeff

  275. Laurence Venne Says:

    I felt the pain of a Catholic School. Our (male) principal was abusing young boys in the school, including my best friend, who later committed suicide. The nuns and other teachers knew and did nothing. He attempted with me as well, but didn’t get anywhere. The year after we left that school because of a fight my father had with the parish priest. They demanded 1/3 of my dad’s wages and when he refused, he was told that he would go to Hell! We were a poor family, my mother was very ill and my dad made $168. month, with 6 mouths to feed. Funny, not long after, that same priest was caught in bed with his (married) secretary, by her husband. The priest wasn’t dismissed, he was simply transferred. WOW.

  276. Andre M. Smith Says:

    The capacity for the Roman Catholic in authority for wreaking havoc on the innocent child must be endemic to the authority that those holding it have granted to themselves. As an apparent survivor, more or less intact seemingly without need for any support beyond my own resources, I marvel that so many of my fellow travelers have succombed to their miseries. I can come to only two conclusions on this point, both with objective observation of decades: Either I’m stronger than most other people or I got off lightly in my own trial by fire with female Bendictines; a profoundly pathological gathering of The Brides of Christ. Their base of assault during my own era of enforced holiness was http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=1&oq=linton+hall+school&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=linton+hall+military+school+bristow+va&gs_upl=0l0l2l22015lllllllllll0&aqi=s861

    Take a scoll down that list and read how others have recalled their Golden Years of Childhood. Then move further on to get a good review of the kinds of distrubed persons who held governance over us, for DECADES!

    Our published memoirs will be our revenge!
    ______________________

    (Poster’s personal information removed to assure anonymity)

  277. Eunice Oghinan Says:

    I attended a catholic school in Lagos, Nigeria. It was awful. much of the same things that happened here. I was carried up by my ears too. Really they were psychotic

  278. Eunice Oghinan Says:

    Mistake please my catholic school was in Benin, Nigeria.

  279. Frank Says:

    “If I were to feel moral outrage over an organisation riddled with paedophiles expressing their moral outrage over contraception, I certainly wouldn’t tweet about it”.
    Chuck Lorre commenting on his aversion to social media.

    Chuck Lorre is an American writer, director, producer and composer who has created many American sitcoms, including Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Lorre also served as an executive producer of the sitcom Roseanne, and currently serves as an executive producer for CBS’s Mike & Molly.

  280. Andre M. Smith Says:

    Where are these nuns today? Why can they not be ferreted out and held to some standard of accountability, as are priests and the Christian Brothers? Why have rehabilitation programs directly overseen by religious orders become exempt from public scrutiny and their patients exempt from compensation to complainants? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_of_the_Servants_of_the_Paraclete

    I’d like to think their day of judgement will come, but I’m not so sure. Witness the contrived pretexts for delays to compensate wronged Jews of Europe during the Nazi era emanating from Germany.

  281. Andre M. Smith Says:

    There is a web site, http://lintonhallmilitaryschool.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-do-some-alumni-see-nothing-negative.html, devoted specifically to the history of Linton Hall Military School in Bristow, Virginia under the control of The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia; a true trial by fire for all who passed through it.

    On that site I have written about various features of the unfortunate history of LHMS. Today, I drew the attention of readers to your own site to it with comments about your writings here.

    You might be interested to know also of http://lhmscadet.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/food-for-thought-linton-hall-military-school-and-the-benedictine-sisters-of-virginia/. Devastating!

  282. Micahe; Says:

    Yep, familiar and sad stories. My experience is much the same, but I did not get the worst of it by any means. I can credit some of the nuns for being demanding in academics. The physical and emotional abuse was not needed. I would have thought these practices went by the wayside by now, but maybe not. My Catholic grammar school has a Facebook page. When I raised these issues and gave concrete examples of abuse, There were some alumni who responded by denying it ever happened. Denail is not just a river in Egypt.

  283. Michael Kozaczek Says:

    YEP! Many sad and familiar stories. Serial child abuse. When I lived in the Detroit area church attendance dropped so low the diocese took out TV ads apologizing for any hurt caused by words or actions of a nun or priest. What is most amazing is that some people rationalize the abuse as somehow being “good for the kids” and that such brutality was deserved. This is what child abusers do to justify their own actions.

  284. Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

    Hi all:
    I went to Catholic School for twelve years! —- I hated every year of my education! —– The Academic Education was of a very poor quality! —– The “nuns” destroyed the self-esteem of many students! —- I would NEVER send a child to a Catholic School. — I completed my education at State Colleges and Private Universities! — NO CATHOLIC COLLEGES FOR ME! —- A am a Christian today, not a Catholic!

    Best regards to all!
    Dwayne

  285. Rocco Cocchiola Says:

    I came upon this blog accidentally while on Facebook. After reading various entries, it is apparent that, for the most part, all contributors appear very literate. So my first question is: Where did your basic literacy training come from?” That’s a rhetorical question. As for me, my basic training came from 8 years of parochial school and 4 years of Catholic high school. All of you appear to state you had similar schooling. The particular Order your nuns belonged to does not matter, although you seem to put your plight on one or two specific groups. Whether you believe it or not, nuns are very self-disciplined and very disciplinary in nature, and for the most part, very dedicated. My pre-high school days were filled with much discipline, but never was there any abuse of any kind. Yes, we were punished , sometimes with a ruler and sometimes with a rod, but that was the price for doing or not doing something.

    This blog is filled with nothing but allegations of physical abuse that is disturbing to me. It bothers me to imagine such things being done by nuns to children.

    Someone decided to start a forum with no apparent redeeming qualities except it’s a place where people can write about how sorry they feel for themselves. Then the comments gravitate beyond accusations of physical abuse to charges of prejudice to criticism of the Pope and ends with a condemnation of the Catholic Church. Pardon me, but I have to say this……What A Bunch Of Losers.

    What comes next? The ‘firetender’ asking you to drink the kool aid? Has your ‘firetender’ become your cult leader? That’s what it sounds like.

    If you’ve had bad times in the past, get over it or learn to deal with it. Stop making excuses why you can’t walk into a Catholic Church or aren’t a Catholic anymore but that you’re now a Christian. What do you think Catholics are? Aren’t Catholics also Christians?

    Whatever you do in life, feel good about yourselves.

    • firetender Says:

      Rocco, I very much appreciate you taking the time to take me and this blog to task.

      I’m also amazed that I’ve only had (maybe? it’s all on the board, double-check me.) two other commenters who denied having had any experiences of child abuse at the hands of nuns. I’m not offering that as proof abuse went on, I’m just giving the numbers, which means three comments of that type, including yours, out of 459. The truth is, the only way people get here is by stumbling in to it. I do NOTHING to promote this blog. Since 459 is the number of Posts, I’d say I could count on about 150 people (guessing on the # of multiple posts) who stumbled on to the site and felt compelled to respond. Of those respondents, only two others resembled your own. I think it takes a lot for someone to respond to these faceless blogs. By the way, these responses were from all over the WORLD!

      I have posted here my gratitude for the education I received from parochial school (I have largely supported myself through writing) and I have credited certain nuns with saving my soul, so please don’t get too carried away! But let me tell you how we got to here.

      At a certain point, I read one too many articles about Catholic Priests getting popped for sexual molestation of children. Why? because there are a hell of a lot more nuns than priests, child abuse at their hands was part of the culture and this was practiced wholesale throughout the New York City parochial school system. I’m not saying every one because I don’t know, but every peer I knew from around my world (Brooklyn) reported much the same experience.

      Now I’ve spent a significant part of my life “working through” personality quirks that came from my constantly being on edge for seven of my eight years in Catholic School, and quite frankly, I POPPED! So, I made my initial post here on this blog. You could say it was a child’s reaction, I’m okay with that. You know why? Because no one ever talked about the damage that was caused back then, and I didn’t see anyone else giving the issue any life at that time. I honestly had neither the intention or the desire for what I Said to be picked up by anyone, I simply wanted to say MY piece, and I did; without censorship of any kind. At various times, I considered squashing it for the evil it showed in me. I chose not to because this is how abuse lives “inside” folks and if I was going to tackle my innermost feelings, I was going to be bare-knuckles honest.

      What about this: Do you think for one second that, considering the other works I do, I’d be so stupid as to have my “Brand”, firetender, associated with an all-out war on the Catholic Church? I have allowed my inner-child his rage, I’ve allowed him to tell us His version of the world he lived in. Still, I’m quite aware of the uselessness of entering such a war and I’ve made that clear as well. But I’m a writer and an artist and first and foremost my job is to express my experience and see if anyone can relate. The idea is to turn to each other to reduce our suffering. At first, I just wanted to releive my own, so I wrote. But then this blog took on a life of its own.

      Follow the timing of my posts. Can you see how LITTLE time and concentration I put into this blog? And when I do I let my bile run because I don’t post unless I’m moved to and there is much on this subject that truly irks me. Such absurd things deserve my comments. As example, I had to laugh when I googled firetender’s blog and found my front page piece was the one about me trashing the effigy Pope’s appearance in Mexico! I am successfully alienating every devout Catholic on the planet! Now THAT is really good for firetender’s work in the healing arts, isn’t it?

      But it is now necessary and I have to stand behind my experience. Here’s why. I wrote the blog, probably gave it some attention for a few weeks and then, something like a year later I checked in and found something like 20, 30, maybe 50 (I dunno, it’s all in here) Comments, most all of which were adults my own age in their fifties and sixties who were just BEGINNING to recognize the degree that they were abused in their childhoods. These aren’t susceptible kids, these are survivors that were just starting to recognize what they had survived, and many of them, some for the first time in their lives, spoke of their experiences. When I chimed in, for the most part it was to preserve the integrity of the intent that the blog evolved in to: a safe haven, on-line, for people to come to and share their experiences about the trauma they recieved at the hands of Catholic nuns.

      If you can’t see the support that emanates throughout the site, then I suggest you take a more thorough read through. I didn’t create anything that goes on here, I just tell my truth and see what happens. You see one part of what’s happening, but you’re completely missing the meat of the story. Look at what you said:

      If you’ve had bad times in the past, get over it or learn to deal with it.”

      Don’t you get it? These people have come here because they weren’t listened to before. They weren’t taken seriously and were written off as wimps who just needed to toughen up. Many of them (myself included at one time) wondered if they were nuts! Well, from the unsolicited responses that came from all over the world, apparently they weren’t then and are not now nuts! If anything they are leaving the insanity of denial and self-questioning. Am I causing this to happen? I see a lot of hands of the fellow-abused reaching out to help people face this stuff for the first time.

      I especially liked the Cult remark! If I had that power, I wouldn’t be doing this, believe me, I’d be chasing the benefits of leadership!

      In your own words, brother:

      “This blog is filled with nothing but allegations of physical abuse that is disturbing to me. It bothers me to imagine such things being done by nuns to children.”

      Physical abuse is just the tip of the iceberg. I will admit to you all now that some of the stuff I read here horrified and disgusted me! Even I didn’t IMAGINE the incredible arsenal of abuse these twisted characters drew from. Now that IS scary, and without trying to “convert” you, can you see that if this stuff were real (and can you picture all these people making up these detailed lies?) there’s a REAL problem with the system that supports it. This blog is here to disturb you in the hopes that maybe you’ll ask questions about our responsibilities to our children as well.

      And the worst part is, I honestly do not see resolution of these widespread traumas; none at the hands of the Catholic Church anyway. Yup, some priests will get reamed but most of those nuns? They’re dead now. They already did their damage.

      This blog serves a purpose by being somewhere that people who have been traumatized by their experience with nuns can come to for support. This was never supposed to be the blog that people associate with my larger work in the healing arts, but since the issue is real and lives inside me and a lot more people, it needs to stay here, with or without my participation.

    • B. Robertson Says:

      Wow, Mr. Cocchiola…..I read your comments and found them very interesting. You seem to be “all over the place” with this. You indicate that this firetender blog is a cult…that we should all ‘get over it’.. It sounds as if your education was not too abusive. Good for you. However, it also sounds like you are saying we are all weak with no ‘guts’. Hmmmm. Never judge…isn’t that what Christians want? Your psychopathy is indeed judgemental. After all, this is a ‘freedom of speech’ blog. This site has helped me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. And this is no cult either. It is obvious you saw nothing more than a ‘ruler’ episode. Mental/physical abuse to a child is evil. Many many people here endured much more than what you experienced. Post Traumatic Stress is painful. A lot of people that visit this site have PTSD. I do. Reading your comments, it sounds like you perhaps were one of the ‘favored’ individuals that these mentally ill nuns left alone. In the 1960′s and perhaps even into the 1970′s many of these nuns were not even certified to teach. Perhaps you have ‘buried’ your memories, I don’t know….but if you are ‘laughing’ at our weaknesses…..why would you even bother to comment here? Maybe more is going on in your heart than you think.

      • George Says:

        B. Robertson: that was a great response to someone who obviously doesn’t have a clue as to what this site is all about. I always enjoy your responses.

      • ROCCO COCCHIOLA Says:

        Understand I have or had no intention to ridicule you or anyone on this blog. What I read disturbed me greatly.

        In my first reply, I stated I found all contributors to be very literate. Fortunately, I prefaced it with “for the most part”. Read it again and you may find I was voicing my opinion. I’m not qualified to do any more than that because I’m not a professional ‘shrink’ and certainly am not trained to be able to call anyone “mentally ill”. I don’t know who you are, but Mr or Ms Robertson, I resent you attempting to preach to me about religion, or values, or your observation about something going on in my heart. Save that for the kudos you get for being so eloquent in your contributions to this forum. Listen, I’m not here to challenge or rebut anybody here. All I did was voice my opinion about my perception of a terrible situation.

        If, indeed, any of you feel damaged in any way from the experiences you’ve had in a Catholic school, then do something about it. Do what all those males did. Bring it to court. Press charges. I don’t believe there’s a statute of limitations on child abuse. Bring it to the forefront and maybe you’ll get closure. In the meantime, what I perceive is a bunch of people who were injured, mentally or physically, who are venting but not traveling toward relief. Some things just don’t go away by themselves.

        Mr. Firetender, is coming from Brooklyn supposed to have some relevance to your experiences? Were the nuns tougher because they taught in Brooklyn? Possibly they may have been tougher because most of Brooklyn had tough times and tough people AND tough kids. Just for the record, I come from the Brownsville-East New York section in Brooklyn. In school, I wasn’t one of the “favored ones” as there were none in my school. The nuns were tough, but “mentally ill”, I doubt it. in fact, a few years ago, our graduating class (1951) from parochial school chartered a bus and made a trip to Tenafly, NJ. That where the retirement home for Franciscan Sisters is located. We went to visit our 8th grade teacher. At that time she must have been in her mid 90′s, but still sharp. To us, she was the toughest of them all. In her career, she had been transferred from Brooklyn to teach in a school somewhere in Georgia. One of her pupils down there was a guy named Clarence Thomas. Today, Clarence Thomas is a devout Catholic and coincidentally, a Judge in the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s not a bad testament for one of those ‘mentally ill nuns’.

        I wish all of you the very best and hope someday you will find the peace you deserve.

        Rocco Cocchiola
        Tampa Bay, Florida

    • Mary Says:

      Dear Rocco,

      This is a place of healing for most of us. How do we heal, we talk about it to others. I am happy you had a good experience with Catholic School. No one here is ungrateful for anything. But most of us were seriously abused. We do not feel sorry for ourselves, we feel sorry for each other. You are a very ignorant man when it comes to what torture does to the human mind. I suggest you go get a phd in psych and then come back and comment. As for Clarence Thomas I would not brag on that piece of trash being Catholic. He is not an example of what I consider a good human being, just another evil man put into power.

      • firetender Says:

        I removed a couple of responses and counter-responses to this post. Opinions are honored, but if phrased as attacks or without respect, they will be removed.

    • Mary Rutley Says:

      In 2001, a friend of mine died from leukaemia. She
      In 2001, a friend of mine died from leukaemia. She never complained about being ill, but went to the grave with murderous hatred for the nuns who had abused her, and her little brother, at their school in Lancashire.

      Some people, lacking in imagination and empathy, believe that victims of Catholic abuse – sexual, physical or psychological – should just move on. Others, including Lord Carlile and Baroness Hollins, acknowledge that the effect of childhood abuse can
      be lifelong.

      Lord Carlile, an eminent lawyer, was commissioned to investigate the abuse scandal at St Benedict’s School in Ealing. This private school had been abusing boys for decades and would still be doing so – but for the courage of old boys who confronted the power of the Catholic Church. Lord Carlile met old boys who had attended the school 70 years ago, and whose whole lives had been tarnished by the abuse.

      And only this week, on BBC radio, Baroness Hollins acknowledged the reality of childhood abuse. Sheila Hollins, a psychiatrist and an influential Roman Catholic, is not afraid to accept the shameful facts about her church.

      She knows, as do we all, that the Catholic Church has practised deceit and abuse on a large scale for a long time. Its plausibility in the past enabled the abuse at St Benedict’s to continue; while other victims were silenced by brainwashing or Catholic guilt.

      Victims of my Catholic boarding school in Dartford – some in their sixties and seventies – have posted their memories of the evil nuns who were deceitful and cruel. Yet the order’s website pretends that all is well, and it was ever thus! So Catholic deceit is STILL being practised.

    • tea Says:

      I lived at St. Mary’s Home for Children in Ambler PA. Sister Chrisanne was so abusive, even as an 8 yr old chiild I knew she could easily kill. When a glass stained with milk was left in the sink, Sister Chrisanne lined us all up demanding to know who had left it, I stepped forward and said I did because the 5 yr old boy who did would have been hurt too much. That woman took me into the laundry room and with one punch I went airborne, hit the wall and was knocked unconscious. Thank God I was unconscious because when I woke up several hours later, it was so hard to move. Every muscle in my body hurt. I can only imagine what that skinny little boy would have suffered.

      I’m not a “loser.” I’m a survivor. My survival is not due to the nuns, but to God. Institutions of all sorts: public schools, churches, synagogoes, boy scouts, prisons. factorys, defend themselves, not individual people. It is time that we are more like Jesus and stand up to the pharisees and saducees of our day.

    • Linda Says:

      I wouldn’t normally post on this blog as it is not intended for me, but Rocco’s comments really should be challenged by someone who experienced a catholic education that was not abusive, as well as by those who suffered abuse.

      I went to catholic schools in Manchester, England from 1958 – 64 (primary school) and 1964 – 1971 (an elite grammar school). Teachers at the former were all lay people. Those at the latter were about 50% priests and 50% lay people. The priests were, almost without exception good teachers. I neither experienced nor witnessed any form of abuse at any time (except, of course, that we were all indoctrinated an nauseam).

      I am now an atheist, but this is for the entirely non-emotional reason that the claims of catholicism (and of all religions) seem to me to be entirely unsupported by evidence.

      I had always assumed that, although some serious abuse undoubtedly happened in catholic institutions (and that included the sort of abuse by nuns that is the subject of this blog), many of the claims of past abuse were by people making mountains out of molehills. I also assumed that many of the people who claimed to have been damaged by that abuse were probably emotionally fragile and would have been damaged by life’s normal events whatever school they had gone to.

      I no longer hold those views.

      The reason I don’t hold them is this blog. The stories recounted here have too much in common. They ring true. The people writing them are remarkably sane and human. (They are more than just sane, they are mind-blowingly amazing.)

      Firetender doesn’t want this blog to be about action, and I must respect that. But someone, somewhere really must make these things more widely known. The catholic church has always abused vulnerable minorities. It will continue to do so unless its past activities are brought more fully into the light of day.

      • firetender Says:

        To the contrary, this blog is ALL about action. Unfortunately, at this point, the action most needed is to have a place where those who have been so abused can come to see that they are not alone. I’m depending on everyone here to help each other through the aftermath of what could easily be called a Spiritual Holocaust. Yes, as has been stated often, we ARE survivors gathering up our wounded. How pitiful, really, that for so many of us, like myself, it’s more than 50 years after the battles!

        The very things that convinced you that these entries are not from the fringe, the things that make you say these stories “ring true”, are the things that hopefully, eventually will come to a greater public awareness and provoke a different kind of action.

        I will leave it to those of you who still have the strength to fight to mobilize Allies to figuratively go after War Criminals who are being protected by the Nation that evolved out of the carnage. Sure, I don’t see these patterns of abuse (with Nuns in particular) going on as severely these days, but that doesn’t mean past abuse of children should go unnoticed or uncompensated.

        Compensated, yes. For me, that would take the form of a child-molesting culture being hobbled and humbled. Especially since the Church, while professing token regrets, continues to do all in its power to sidestep responsibility for its agents’ actions. How ironic that so much of the wealth hoarded by the Church is being spent on its defense! Maybe that’s the angle; a forced bankruptcy!

        Personally, I would love to see one or many of you take action, by forming another website or aligning with one of the other organizations noted here, to bring this aspect of the Church to its knees. All I ask is that the focus be on the psychological, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, gender and sexual abuses heaped upon innocents by Catholic Nuns.

        Meanwhile, I’ll just be here in the Casualty Tent, helping where I can and being thankful that so many others are coming here to share in the work!

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        LINDA: —- Well written! —- There are many “walking wounded” on this board! —– BUT, we are “functioning,” making the most of our life, and moving forward on a daily basis! —— Best regards! —– Dwayne

      • B. Robertson Says:

        Linda,
        Very interesting note. Hmmmm, let’s see now, you indicate that we are just a bunch of highly emotionally charged people and would have suffered at any school we attended eh? You are either 1) wealthy and they treated you and your wealthy friends with respect….2) you were so full of fear and compliant that you were blind to what was really going on. As for your comment on being an atheist….who the hell cares? I don’t comment here much, but I study each and every statement made. Maybe it’s not the people on this blog that need mental help.

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        B.Robertson:
        I think you might have misunderstood “Linda’s Posting!”

        Today, (Saturday), I attended Catholic Mass with my wife. (She is a “practicing Catholic!” I got good at it, so I no longer practice.) We attend a small Chapel in a local Hospital. We go there because the service is only 1/2 hour in length. I can barely tolerate 1/2 hour of the Catholic propaganda! The priests open the service requesting that everyone think about the sins that we might have committed in the past. (What sins are they talking about? If the priests are looking for sins, just maybe they should be looking in their own ranks and the altar boy issue!) I am tired of the Catholic Clergy telling us how bad we are! Maybe if the Catholic Clergy did an honest days work in the real world, like many part -time Christian Ministers, they would see life from a very different point of view! —– I actually left the service tonight in a very negative frame of reference. —– The Catholic Clergy are NEVER
        “up-beat!” —– They never talk about the “possibilities in life!” —- They never talk about achieving success in life! —– The live is a “negative world” of their own making! The only reason why I attend a weekly service is because it makes my wife happy. —– All the best to the survivors of Catholic Education! —- Hang in there! —- We did not drink the Cool Aide! —- We are the free thinkers! —– A nun told me in Catholic High School that if I attended a State College I would lose my faith! —- I told her that before I can lose something I have to have it! —–She was shocked! —- I received a GREAT education at a State College and I earn my second MA degree from a private Non-Catholic University. —- I enjoyed my College Education because it was “Catholic Free!” —- No Nuns! — No Priests! —- No religion classes! —- Just down to earth academic work! ——————- Dwayne!

      • michael donohue Says:

        So what?

        I am not getting your point.

        These people (nuns, etc…) abused children…… emotionally and physically…… PERIOD!!!!!!!!

        And they hide behind their cult religion to do it and make it “OK” with the community…… including parents.

        They are no different than the nazies……….. in fact, they helped the nazies after ww II,,,,,,,,,,,,, that’s got to tell you something right there……….. they are evil………. they need to burn in hell…………

        I want to go after their asses and take everything from them……….

        On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 7:50 PM, a firetenders Blog wrote:

        > ** > Dawyne James Mitchell commented: “B.Robertson: I think you might have > misunderstood “Linda’s Posting!” Today, (Saturday), I attended Catholic > Mass with my wife. (She is a “practicing Catholic!” I got good at it, so I > no longer practice.) We attend a small Chapel in a lo” >

      • George Says:

        Thank you Michael for keeping this blog on track.

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        George:
        Great comment! —- Well said! —– Dwayne

    • Linda Says:

      Please read what I write before you comment.

      Putting it briefly, I stated that I had neither experienced nor seen any abuse at the schools I attended – and I know better than you what those schools were like. Naturally, that made me a bit sceptical about some (not all) of the claims of abuse that were reported in the press. I then explained that reading this blog had made it perfectly clear to me that abuse was far more widespread than I had imagined, and that the majority of reported claims of abuse probably are true.

      If you have a problem with that, could you please spell it out to me.

      It’s none of your business really but, just for the record, I was neither wealthy nor fearful.

      • michael donohue Says:

        I am 58 years old and suffered through 12 years of “catholic school”. It was a great education and I have done well, however, it was the absolute sickest, stressful, most abusive experience you can imagine. These people are NUTS. They abuse everyone and anyone they can (not just children) and they deserve to be in prison before they go to hell.

        On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM, a firetenders Blog wrote:

        > ** > Linda commented: “Please read what I write before you comment. Putting > it briefly, I stated that I had neither experienced nor seen any abuse at > the schools I attended – and I know better than you what those schools were > like. Naturally, that made me a bit sceptical ab” >

      • Linda Says:

        Michael, I am really sorry to hear about your experiences. I am 59, so pretty much contemporarywith you, but I was fortunate that my experiences at school were different. It is true that many of “these people are nuts” but it isn’t true that all of them are. Really, it isn’t.

        Don’t think I’m a fan of the catholic church. I’m not. Emphatically not. This is not the place to go into my reasons, as they concern matters that would be out of place in this blog. I will just say that I too have a great deal of experience of being on the receiving end of a whole lot of shit (some of it from the catholic church). But catholic schools had nothing to do with it. It does mean that I can understand the feelings of people who did suffer abuse a bit better than you might imagine. And I understand very well the conflict between hating people for what they have done and trying to let go of it all. (Some of the people who have contributed to this blog seem to be able to manage that particular conflict far better then I can.)

  286. Maureen McGill Says:

    I am 66 years old and still feel the pain and anxiety from never knowing when and to whom these sick women would release their anger. Thank you for this blog. It is an instrument of healing.

    • Mary Says:

      Yes, it is Maureen :) Everyone on here has been through hell and back and it will live with us for the rest of our lives and I am sure has even caused suffering beyond us by us not being able to trust the people in the church any more.

  287. Dennis Says:

    Here’s my story. I and my twin brother went to St. Boniface Catholic school in Cincinnati Ohio. My brother and I both liked school and were doing well grade wise up till the 6th grade. We were not A students but usually got B’s and C’s with a few A’s thrown in from time to time. Most of our teachers were Sister Of Charity nuns with some lay teachers also. Our parents sent us to Catholic School because they knew there would be more Discipline. Back in the sixties Corporal punishment was much more accepted than it is today. Both my Brother and I had had a few swats from a paddle or ruler over the years. Nothing to often. I think we were pretty well behaved students. Up until the sixth grade I had seen a few kids who were constantly in trouble. The nuns would take those kids to a Janitors closet to punish them with swats and rulers. They would also lock them in the dark coat closet. sometimes for hours. There were two sets of twins in our grade. The other set were our friends but they were the straight A students. I had found thru the years that the Sisters would always fawn over the smart kids. If you were smart you could make them look good. On the other hand if you were not really smart many of the nuns could care less about you. I remember that the nun that abused me the most would bring her second grade students into our sixth grade class and tell us how great they were. The funny thing is years later I married one of those kids. I tease my wife every now and then about how she was a teachers pet and if Sister Rose Theresa knew she had married me she would be very disappointed. In Sixth grade things changed for the worse. Sister Rose Theresa would take every chance to make fun of my brother and me. One day we had a math homework assignment. I was not doing well in math. I had repeatedly asked this nun for help with different problems. She would always tell me to figure it out. No help what so ever. Finally I just gave up and really hated math. The math homework had three possible answers a),b), or c) no possible answer. Since I did not understand the math I put c) no possible answer on every problem. When going over the problems the next day in class on the very first problem who do you think she called on first? She asked me what the answer was and I proudly stated NO POSSIBLE ANSWER. I guess that pissed her off. She called me to the front of class by the blackboard. On each of the next problems she wrote it on the board and asked me the answer. On each problem I said no possible answer. Each time she would slam my head into the board and say there is an answer and figure it out. Of course most of the kids in the class thought this was hilarious at my expense. That was the worst thing that happened to me. I know others have had much worse times than my brother and I . From 6th grade on neither one of us gave a shit about school. We did only what we had to do to pass and could not wait to get out of school. I know many on here have had a hard time moving on and still suffer to this day. I don’t think about it much and I don’t let it bother me. I think those who did these things to children are in for a big surprise come judgement day. My heart goes out to those who still suffer.
    A couple of years ago an old 8th grade classmate contacted me and my brother to let us know ther was going to be an 8th grade reunion. she went on to tell us some of our old teachers who were going to be there. Most I had fond memories of until she said Sister Rose Theresa and Sister Alicia. Sister Alicia was the principal who always sided with Sister Rose Theresa. It was at that time my brother told this woman that if he saw Sister Rose Theresa walking down the street he would punch her right in the face. This from a person who was always taught that you never hit a woman. For some reason I still consider myself a Catholic. Even thou I never go to catholic church except for weddings and funerals. To be honest I’m not real sure about the whole God thing.

  288. Frank Says:

    “Time heals all wounds” is certainly not true in my case, nor in the case of the vast majority who live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) whether it be caused by the horrors of war, a traumatic accident, rape, or abuse in childhood at the hands of nuns… the list is endless. Like tea, my loved ones know that they cannot approach me silently from behind, or give me a ‘surprise’ hug without evoking instantaneous fear and feeling my life is being seriously threatened. Even though I know and understand that this is not the case within a split second, the damage is done… the negative consequences on the body can last for hours.

    PTSD reflects a ‘wound’ that in general neither time, nor trying to forget, nor inaction, nor avoidance will heal. If this blog is not testament enough to shattered lives and continuing dysfunction in relationships, jobs, addictions, etc, find a blog where Vietnam Vets tell their stories… no, not about the war, but about their lives now. In fact, history is repeating itself with large numbers of those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It’s good and healthy that someone like Rocco paid the blog a visit, just so that we know that there are people out there in droves who think like Rocco about us… and let me quote from his post “I have to say this……What A Bunch Of Losers”. (wasn’t it refreshing and heartening when, in his next post, Rocco said “I have or had no intention to ridicule you or anyone on this blog”). Go and re-read his initial post in its entirety if you ever forget how insidious and powerful a hold this organisation has on so many of its members… how they choose to interpret things.

    As for PTSD, if you still live with it, find yourself a good trauma therapist, because if time hasn’t done the trick for you by now, chances are it won’t.

    • Mary Says:

      So true, PTSD which I have – there is no cure, you only try to cope and you are so right do not sneak up behind me. Clearly announce you are coming. The nuns have caused so much hell for so many.

      • thecentralscrutiniser Says:

        Mary; sadly I can only agree. I have endured 45 years of PTSD becuase of evil nuns; PTSD hadn’t even been heard of then let alone councelling etc. You’re right, there is no cure. But at least we can find some solace in knowing, at least in this portal, that we are not alone. Thank you everyone who has shared and empathised on here.

  289. pattyann Says:

    I somehow cannot deal with people who are, or think they are superior to others for whatever reason. I was attending a church support group that I really enjoyed up to four months ago when this retired military officer started coming and quickly became condescending to others opinions. I found myself to be afraid of him, and watchful of what I shared so I would not be mocked.
    It took me back to the old days when I tried my best to do and say the right things so I would not be ridiculed in the classroom.
    I stopped going because of the extreme fear and panic that would build up in me before this meeting. I am not over this, nor do I think I will ever be.
    I always have this fear of appearing stupid in front of other people.

    • Mary Says:

      No one is able to overcome years of systematic abuse. We will never fully recover from the living hell we suffered at the hands of the nuns. There will always be situations, and people that trigger our PTSD.

  290. Sam Says:

    When I went to Catholic grade school, I well remember the state of fear that the nuns maintained in our classroom. The slightest glance at anything other than her meant that you would be dragged by the ear out of your seat and humiliated in front of your classmates. Many times it was common to see others standing in the hall all day for some minor infraction. Striking us on the hands or across the face with her blackboard stick was another favorite pastime. The clergy acted like they held god as a hostage and you needed them to get to him. Sadly, if I told my parents about the abuse, they would not believe that persons of the cloth could do anything unpleasant. After I graduated I never attended church again. The hypocrisy of it all was just to much to take.

    • thecentralscrutiniser Says:

      You are not alone, Sam. I experienced the same at a Catholic School run by nuns in Liverpool and also when I was briefly in a Catholic Children’s Home (Olive Mount). Although I subsequently turned my back on the Catholic church and later on all religions, the pain and betrayal remains.
      And please, don’t let anyone say “I’ll pray for all of you”; that is just abother kick in the teeth.

  291. thecentralscrutiniser Says:

    I just want to thank you for publishing this article, for it also confirms that I was not alone in being abused by nuns as a very young child. Between the ages of 4 – 5 I was systematically abused by predominantly one nun; on a daily basis Sister Marie subjected me to the most painful and degrading sexual, physical and emotional/mental abuse. It was reported to the authorities at the time (1967) but they did nothing, saying such a young child could not give credible evidence against such a respected pillar of society. So now, aged almost 50, I still suffer those memories and the physical manifestations, post trauma stress disorder and depression. I have been unable to work in years and my whole life continues to implode because of those acts comitted almost half a century ago.
    I would not sue them; no amount of money could repair or put right what was done to me. Even now, I break down and cry and tremble whenever I am asked about it. If I see a nun in real life or on television, I become a quivering wreck. It has affected not only me but my wife, my child and those who have been unable to get ‘close’ to me because of the evil nuns.
    I just want them to apologise; not just for the abuse (the work chiefly of a sadistic individual) but, for the ‘institutional denial’ which has meant that so many others have continued to suffer in silence.

  292. Frank Says:

    What is really important about this blog is that it can validate our intensely personal experiences in a way that not even the most compassionate partner, family member or close friend ever can.

    Notice how the blog can be quiet for a while and all it takes is for someone to post their experience, often leading to a burst of activity as others relate to what has been written that affirms and validates their own experience. It is really true… we are NOT alone!

    Through this blog, each of our own private, lonely experiences of hell, locked up for so long inside, have transcended both time and place to give us voice, to be heard, to be understood… to be part of a community. I had never dreamed that something like this could be possible… and for me it is very powerful. Thank you all!

    • Mary Says:

      You are so very, very right Frank, We are NOT ALONE, we all have been through hell and we are a family that continues to grow every day when someone adds their story to our list. God bless all of us!!

  293. Mario Says:

    Hi Sam

    I know what you are talking about. As for me I haven’t gone to church since 1956. I was glad when I finished Catholic grammer school, because I didn’t have to go to church anymore. They herded us to church like a bunch of sheep. I didn’t see anything redeeming by going to church.

    The very same people that abused us, are the same ones that are going to tell us about God…..Yeah right
    In HS it wasn’t any better we had parish priest that taught us. Four of those priest that taught us in High School were child molesters and womanizers. Isn’t that great? To have shit like that teaching us in school.
    It came out in the grand jury report about these priest. Non of these people are above reproach as far as I’m concerned and that includes the Pope. They are the lowest forms of humanity. They would need a ladder to climb up to a snake.

    I’m glad I don’t believe in that stuff anymore

  294. Frank Says:

    Progress is being made in the struggle to bring the Catholic Church to account. Momentum is growing by the day. It is still a long way off before there is outrage reaching as far as nuns or those who were not sexually abused (but horribly abused otherwise) as currently the focus is on priests and their sexual abuse of children… as it rightly should be.

    It is through progress and success in pursuing paedophile priests that the doors hopefully one day open to the broader exploration of the effects of all forms of abuse by all forms of Catholic clergy perpetrated over an historically long period of time.

    A good example of progress is the imminent jailing of a priest from Philadelphia, not for paedophilia, but for aiding, abetting, covering up and protecting known paedophiles from the law.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/us/philadelphia-church-official-to-be-sentenced-in-abuse-case.html
    This is an important precedent as it sets the stage for similar investigations globally to go after the church hierarchy who are undoubtedly complicit in directly authorising and implementing a systematic cover-up of the disgusting criminal behaviour of certain priests.

    The church has fairly successfully run a PR campaign distancing itself from paedophile priests with lines like:
    “it’s a very small minority”
    “it’s a few homosexuals” etc.
    However it will be much more difficult for them to escape judgement as an organisation and an institution, if and when the extent of their global culture of secrecy, cover-up, protection of criminals, and lack of care or concern for victims becomes public through the process of law.

    Not until the day that victims like ourselves who were abused by nuns rather than priests, who may have been abused nonsexually, can tell our stories in a sanctioned public forum and be broadly legitimised for the enduring pain and suffering caused, can there be an openness and acceptance in society that this is indeed, a crime against humanity. Not until we can tell our stories in front of the perpetrators, and have them in kind tell the whole truth about what they did, about what they knew… can there be broad-based reconciliation or forgiveness. Perhaps we can learn something from the experience of post-apartheid South Africa about this process:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_%28South_Africa%29

  295. gratefulandthankful Says:

    Firetender (and all others who have posted about their experience with abuse at the hands of Catholic nuns), I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having a forum, a tiny place in this world to just share these experiences, especially those of severe psychological or physical clergy abuse from the past. These usually cannot be reported or prosecuted, because they don’t rise to the same level as sexual abuse. There really isn’t a place for us, nor any accountability. Even though I’ve survived and have made a good life, my nun abuser is still alive, a prominent elderly member of the community, with accolades & achievements galore. Even if there were no statute of limitations it would be like going up against Goliath. If the laws change some day to lend credence to what we went through, I believe a groundswell of people would step forward. I just don’t know how you start that groundswell.

    • patrickpaulmclynn Says:

      You can all read about the various forms of a abuse I endured in Catholic grammar school in Chicago in the 1950′s. I even managed to walk in on two nuns making out. Their revenge was non stop! Reading the endless accounts about similiar situations is marvelous and rather edifying; specifically realizing it wasn’t because I was a “bad Catholic” and not taking it all so personally, which is difficult at best…even 50 years later!

  296. Patrick Paul McLynn Says:

    Yes, I too am a victim of the abuse I have read about on this blog and have just completed a book on the subject. I even managed to walk in on two nuns making out in a storage room and you can’t even manage what kind of hell that rained down on my eight and a half year old life! My book will be released soon were you can read all of the details. It’s about time people heard about the atrocities leveled at small children. It didn’t all come from priests. I don’t hate “Catholicism” per say, just the monsters that used it like a weapon!

    • Mary Says:

      I so agree with you Patrick, I am still “Catholic” and go to Mass now and then, because it is not the religion that went sour, it was the monsters and demons that were allowed to put us through hell. My PTSD, will be with me always and seeing a Nun in person and on televison still makes me ill.

      • Patrick McLynn Says:

        Hang in there! Those nuns are all BEHIND you now. I don’t know what you went through, but I’m sure it was scary somehow. I remember getting slapped across the mouth because I told a nun that I loved her ‘costume’ because she reminded me of the the Wicked Witch of the West (who was my favorite villain). God Bless You!

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        YES, it is the religion! —- Do not give the Catholic Church a pass on the abuse of children. —– The Nuns, Priests and Brothers represented the Catholic Church, in the Catholic Schools of the 40′s, 50′s, 60′s, 70′s & 80′s. —– QUESTION: —- Who taught them to deal with children in this fashion? — Was it part of their “basic training?” —– When a civilian joins the military, they go through “basic training” to become a soldier. After 8 to 10 weeks, they become a “military person,” and they deal with life through the eyes of a military person. —- The Nuns, Priests and Brothers were taught to deal with children in an aggressive fashion! —- I think they should be brought up on “criminal charges” along with the Catholic Church! —- YES, I blame the Church! —– Just my opinion. —- Best regards to all survivors! —– Dwayne

      • michael Says:

        Yes……….

        It is a case of child abuse….. pure and simple.

        The experiences of myself and all these victims makes the Penn State scandal pale in comparison.

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        No one cared years ago when the nuns were abusing children everyday! —- And no one, (out side of the people in this group), cares now! —- Children in Catholic Schools were consider expendable! —– Children are human beings with feelings. The nuns never considered children to be human beings! The children were herded around like Cattle. —- I have no respect for nuns or priests. They are fakes, frauds and phonies! They “demand respect” rather than “earning respect!” —- No wonder the Catholic Churches are empty on Sunday! —– All the best to everyone! —- Be strong! — Do not drink the Catholic Cool Aide. —- Be a “Christian,” not a Catholic! —– THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE! —— Dwayne

      • Mary Says:

        Children mattered if their parents had lots of money!!! LOL I don’t think any of us will ever break free from the hellish memories of Catholic school days. I will take meds for the rest of my life just to cope from the memories of the torture we went through.

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Mary:
        Catholic School education was NEVER about “academic education,” rather, is was all about “Catholic Indoctrination,” and the destroying of the young person’s self-esteem in order to produce loyal / non-thinking members of the Catholic Church, who could be counted on to support the institution with their dollars for their entire life!

        The Catholic Church is all about money! They NEVER have enough money! They need money so that their clergy can live well on the backs of the people. QUESTION: —- How can the Catholic Church guarantee anyone heaven? They sell the people this “bill of goods” everyday. They tell their followers that “if” we obey their rules we will go to heaven! —- The Catholic Church is one “Big Business” with offices all over the world taking in as much money as they can from the individual. They are NOT interested in your welfare, rather, they are interested in their welfare!

        The Catholic Church Clergy like our politicians in Washington D.C. “think” that they are somehow better than the people! They forget that they “work for us!”

        The members of the Catholic Church are not “psychologically healthy individuals.” —— They are always worried about “fulfilling requirements” like attending Mass every Sunday, attending Church on Holiday Days of Obligation or making their “Easter Duty!” The pressure is always on the individual to perform in some way. On the other hand, Christians from “non-Catholic Churches” live their religion. They attend their church because they want to be there, not because they are forced to be there under pain of “Mortal Sin!” QUESTION: —– If not attending Mass on Sunday is a “Mortal Sin” what kind of sin is it when a Priest abuses a “Altar Boy?” —— For years I attended a Dutch Reformed Church on a Sunday. — During that time I looked forward to going to church. The sermons were motivating, and the pastor was very professional and interested in his congregation. Before and after the service there was “Christian Fellowship!” People actually talked to one another. It was a Christian family, and people were actually concerned about the welfare of one another. This does not exist in the Catholic Church, because the religion was never taught on that level. The Catholic Religion is just a series of “rules and regulations.” It is not a living segment of the Christian Religion. It is designed to keep the Catholic Clergy in power! —- There are many “walking wounded” living their lives as a result of a VERY negative educational experience in Catholic Schools. In addition to the abuse suffered at the hands of the clergy, young people in many cases DID NOT receive a “competitive academic education” in the regular Catholic Schools. (Maybe in the Academies it might have been different, but the regular Catholic Schools that I attended in the 50′s were not great in terms of the “academics,” but in reality, they were not in existence for that purpose.) —- YES, the Catholic Church did destroy the lives of many young people. To this day, the Catholic Church is still controlling the lives of many individuals. —– I have no respect for Catholic Priests of Nuns! —- I find them to be “one dimensional / sick individuals” who have “hidden agendas” when they speak to you! SUGGESTION: — If anyone wants to really enjoy the Christian Religion, try attending a non-Catholic Christian Church. —- Experience the difference first hand! —– It could change your life for the better! —— Best regards to everyone on the site. —- Hang in there, and make things happen in your life by design. —- Read motivational books! —- Attend motivational seminars. —- Listen to motivational tapes! —- We are the survivors, and we did not drink the “Catholic Cool Aide!” —– Dwayne

      • Mary W Says:

        All I can say Dwayne is you are so right :)

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Mary:
        If we are “so right” in our assessment of the Catholic Church, and the damage that they did to children in Catholic Schools, how come there are not more of us on this site????? I will bet that there are more people reading these postings, — but they do not want to commit themselves to speaking out against the church! —– The Catholic Church gets it’s power over people by playing on “guilt!” When the nun told me that; “if I attended a State College I would lose my faith,” —- and I responded, “before I can lose something I have to have it.” she became speechless! —- (Once I was not part of her “little Club,” there was not longer any control over me!) —- Here is another question that needs to be answered. My Catholic High did NOTHING to help the young people to get into college! (Unless you were a Football Player or a Basket Ball Player). If the nuns wanted us to attend a Catholic College and / or University why didn’t they help the young people to get into these institutions? (They did absolutely NOTHING! In fact, I would bet that they worked against those students who applied to State and / or Private Schools, but I have no way of proving this feeling!) —- The Catholic Church can only control the individual if the person drinks their “Cool Aide!” —— By rejecting the Catholic Church, you are not necessarily rejecting the Christian Religion. Rather, you are probably becoming a better Christian. I am a Christian, and I enjoy attending Christian Churches where people are real and sincere! ——– Never join any organization that demands “blind obedience!” Just think about ww2 and the SS in Germany! —– We are the survivors! —- We are the ones who are getting the word out to the public! —- You can be assured that there are people reading this board who are working for the Catholic Church in the United States, and I will bet that they will start a site of their own “Praising Catholic Education and the Nuns and Priests! —- I would love to see a “class action legal action” on behalf of anyone who feels that they were mistreated by the nuns and / or priests in Catholic School. —–Have faith in yourself, — and in your talents, skills and abilities to succeed in life! — You and everyone on this board can build your own successful life. —— You do not need the Catholic Church to survive! —— Rather, the Catholic Church needs all of us to survive! —- All the best. — Dwayne

      • firetender Says:

        Okay my Brother and Sisters, here’s the place where we significantly reduce the trashing of the Catholic Church so that we can make more room for expressions of a more personal nature that seek and provide support and healing.

        I hope you understand, and I will be monitoring and reducing posts that are off point.

        Thanks!

      • Tammy Rudolf-Greene Says:

        I so agree to end the bashing…. I have known truly dedicated loving Catholic people who have committed their lives to service and are as pained as any other about the abuses laid upon many over the decades. But the primary here is to heal…. We have all be affected greatly by the experiences put upon us, but one or two or five people do not make a whole…. the whole is the whole…. I am no longer Catholic – after searching many sects of Christianity & other faiths, in truth I chose Judaism…..I chose to follow Jesus and he was a Jew …. but the one thing I learned in my journey is that religion is religion…. there are those who practice it and then there are those that pretend it…. the point I wish to make is that as I cannot blame ALL men or ALL woman for the individual acts of a few. Yes, we have ALL been hurt… but understand the forgiveness is about YOU not them…. to heal one must learn to let go of the anger… to recognize that when some being acts unjustly towards us it is because somewhere within them is a pain so great that it explodes in anger and often hurts those around them …. I am not justifying it, I am explaining it. When we forgive we do so for ourselves… it matters not whether the perpetrator(s) acknowledge the wrong …. it is a process wherein the victim no longer remains a victim…. “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do…” I am not saying that what has been done is acceptable, I am simply saying that it is through the recognition of the human soul within that being that we come to a place of peace….. my Catholic raised parents were most abusive toward me,… but I happen to know that they have deep wounds of their own…. not that it justifies their actions, but because they were/are unable to acknowledge those deep wounds, they continue to thrash about and that itself is a sad sad statement of their lives. To live a life filled with anger and pain is a waste of a beautiful life. You are ALL beautiful souls and I only wish LOVE & LIGHT upon you. Let go, and KNOW that you are not alone ever…. you do have angels and you do have guides who can help you grieve and they know the deep secrets of your lives…. they people who hurt you are people…. yes they were/are governed by an organization of power… but it is only that … an organization made up of people -souls – who also fight to survive…. life is meant to be lived with joy and happiness, but that joy is not found outside of us, it is found within us…. come to PEACE and you will find peace…. I am so sorry for the pain that pervades this space, I do not sit in judgment of any of you. I know what it is like to be beaten and raped over and over again… I know what it is like to have your spirit nearly broken….but the fact that you are here … expressing yourselves says that there is too is a part of you that has not given up…. hold on … and reach for the LIGHT that surrounds you… KNOW that you are worthy and Divine and that you were created for Greatness because you are and my heart breaks for you. My dear friends, May the Peace of Love that transcends all be upon you always and may your journey find you in a place of everlasting light. Love & Light to you ALL.

    • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

      Patrick:

      I would like to read your book! —- When will it be in the book stores? —– What is the name of the book? —–What happened to you when you caught the nuns “making out”? ——- I will bet that the “S$#T hit the fan,” and you were on the “receiving end” of the spray! ——- Dwayne

  297. Mario Says:

    A couple of you guys wrote about how you go to church once in a while. I’m glad you are, I wouldn’t want you to break my record of not going since 1956. Did you put any money in the collection basket? I wouldn’t want you to put more than a dime in their or less is OK. I wouldn’t want the church to get rich, so they can use it to pay off lawsuits for pedophile priests. I didn’t get married in the church and I married a gal of the Jewish persuasion. Am I doing good so far? I didn’t receive the sacrament of matrimonii. I didn’t send my kids to Catholic school, why would I want to send them to the same well I was poisoned at. If you remember back in grade school or high school the nuns and priest would say how you are hell bound for every little thing.

    Evidently nuns and priest didn’t seem concerned that they are going to hell for abusing us, when we went to school and pedophile priest don’t seem concerned as well, about going to hell. If these people aren’t afraid about going to hell, they must not believe in God. How can these men and women of the cloth do the things they do and tell us we are going to hell for not going to church on Sundays and eating meat on Friday. I had a big juicy cheesburger on Good Friday and you know, it tastes so much better. If these people of the cloth are corrupt then thir teachings are corrupt because corruption comes from the top down, not from the bottom up. This is why I read books on the origins of these religiDons. So I guess according to the church, I’m going to hell. I’m not going to worry about it, because down there you’ll be busy shaking hands with so many people, I won’t have time to worry about it. Oh yes, don’t send me any priest they act like they are your best friends and I don’t even know them.

    • Mary Says:

      I don’t think the nuns and priests gave much thought to what would happen to them. They are sociopaths and sociopaths don’t care about anyone except themselves and live in a world all their own. So anything they do is okay with them. There is no way to understand that kind of mind.

  298. Mario Says:

    Mary

    I’m not a psychatrist and you can very well be right they probably are sociopaths. My question is, why would the church hold on to these people? Since they hold on to them, they can’t be any better than they are. If you or I acted like that in a place of employment, we would be fired faster than you can bat an eyelash.

    • Mary Says:

      Well, Mario that will be a mystery we will never understand, I think because the church was so full of these kind of people, they could not see the forest for the trees so to speak. Back then it was more acceptable to abuse children and the further you go back in time the more acceptable it was. Take a look at history how many children were worked for hours on end and beaten. So it was okay to torture children in the name of teaching them right from wrong. That is their thinking not mine. But the children that are older than me had it worse than I did and etc…. This was not a job it was a vocation to the Lord, how do they fire someone from that? Now I am not defending them by any means, but I am giving you my insight to their thinking at the time throughout history. Their abuse of children was acceptable in most circles. Where now we see it for the horror it was. I will never get over the abuse from them, but I do understand their sick thinking.

  299. richie Says:

    I was happy to find your blog today. I always thought I was crazy when I would hear other peoples stories of grammar school and what a good time they had. Mine wasnt like that. I am now an adult man and have a pure hatred for a nun that was my teacher int he early 80′s. I always remember the day my brother came in to the class to give my teacher a message. She just started slapping him acroos the face. I can still hear her slapping him to this day. Her hands hitting his face. She was so evil to me that year, more verbal. It wouldnt be till later in the year that I would realize what was going on. She always made me stand up in her class and would humiliate me in front of others. She told me I hung around with girls too much. I only had two girlfriends in grammar school. People were just crazy about me. The majority of the school was female. She always told me I would drop out of highschool and make nothing of myself. Well I did drop out and I always heard her reminding me of what I would become. I could write an entire blog on this eight grade bully. She would ask me to come to the podium and rub my back and tell me how good I looked and I was trimming down. All in front of the class. One day she came to my desk and told me how pretty I was I had such a nice face and started rubbing it like a mother does. I had had it and smacked her. Her reply was are you gonna run home and tell mommy? I sure did. My mother went up there and rammed it to her. She tried to convince my mother I was a hurt young man. My mother wasnt having any of it we could hear my mother screaming. The whole class applauded. I remember her telling us the meaning behind humpty dumpty….he was a mental case. And little miss bonnet who sat on a toffet?? She was a whore and alot of other things. I sort of have an emotional hangover right now so I have to go. She was from the Presentation sisters of staten island.

    • patrickpaulmclynn Says:

      I think the most spirit crushing part of all the complaints I’m hearing about Catholic nuns is how they would LIE to cover up their “crimes”. I remember wholeheartedly believing in God, thinking the nuns where supposed to be ‘special’ in some way and how crushing it was to find out quite the opposite. I can’t say that every single nun in my particular experience was ‘evil’; it seems the younger ones were a little less caustic.
      Probably years of the isolation from normal society plus hormonal changes that occur physiologically in the human body as we age contributed to the crazed behavior of the older gals. And believe me, when I say ‘crazed’ I don’t mean it lightly! They all seemed to have what I would call hair-trigger tempers. I suppose little or no sex would make ANYONE bonkers!
      Hang in there, pal!

  300. Mary Ellen Says:

    I too am a product of a Catholic school upbringing and to this day I haven’t even begun to heal the wounds of what and how they treated myself and my siblings. It has truly scarred us and changed what our lives could have been. I remember from my very first experience with nuns, the first grade, Sister Karla, began by instilling fear into 5 year olds! I was reprimanded immediately when I knew how to write cursive before the sister was ready to teach us. They operated from the very beginning to instill fear and intimidation with punishment a given.
    You, in general, were labeled early on, even as a family, dumb, smart, poor, dirty, favorites, it was despicable! The whole experience drove me away from the Catholic religion and I vowed to never put my children through that abuse.
    It’s sad but just yesterday I was saying to a couple of co-workers that I have lived my life by not dwelling on any current situation at the time because I wouldn’t be able to function in a day to day reality.
    And that is just the nuns, what the priests of our school got away with was criminal, the boys, they were sexually abused and never supported or believed by their own parents, because the “good father” would never do such a thing! And these men now, if they were the strong ones that didn’t commit suicide received no retribution because of the time limitation! How absurd! I could go on and on…

  301. john sheehan Says:

    the stories about st vincent ferrer grammar school on e37th st in flatbush brooklyn are all true. there were 68 kids to a clasasroom. the nuns there were physically and psychologically violent towards the grammar school kids entrusted to there care. i attended that school from 1960 thru 1967, i saw the nun violence first hand, there was a priest from that parrish father a we shal call him that was transferred for being a pedophile with the students there. maybe this is the third secret of fatima , still unsealed and unreavealed. i was a victim of bullying at that school, and i was involved in incidents where i was covered in blood,at the glenwood ave bus going home . i would eventually go on to become a supervisor of a law enf agency, a captain in the nyc dept of corrections. where was nypd and oversight agencies when all this violence against st vincent ferrer school children was happening between 1960 and 1968. yes , nyc priests and nuns committed many crimes , the dominican nuns were in charge at st vincent ferrer grammar school. i have nothing but bad memories against that school. john sheehan age 59. shame on them , its no wonder some former catholic grammar school students had become radicalized in society , due to there early years schooling, 68 kids in a classroom is criminal, life in america is inherently unfair , i am naturally an ex catholic and proud of that. i see the main focus of the catholic church today 2012 to extract money and lots of it from the faithful, thats probabally the third secret of fatima , nostradamus nailed it talking about the death and destruction of the catholic church in our present timeframe. i can see what nostradamus meant i lived thru the horrors of catholicism and a horrific catholic grammar school …

    • firetender Says:

      John, what a horror to hear from you!

      No kidding, I have to give credit to those Dominican Nuns for accelerating my maturity. Back when I was a St. Vinnie’s as a 10 year old (we overlapped — I left in 1964, so I don’t recall you) one of the places I retreated to was reading. I can recall saying to myself, “Jesus Christ, I thought abuse like that stopped with Charles Dickens novels!” Even then I was amazed that such torture was condoned by the CHURCH! It had to have been, otherwise how else could it have happened to me, happened to you, and now you’re telling me that AFTER I left, not only did it continue, but it worsened, from what I gather became public and then…

      went NOWHERE?????

      What a surprise! I really never looked into what was happening at that Church after I left. Maybe there are others of you out there who experienced the Beatitudes at St. Vincent Ferrer like me and John did, and are willing to chime in. To be honest with you, now I’m REALLY curious!

      Thanks, John, and welcome home! You’ll find a lot of walking wounded here who have overcome their injuries. You yourself are one who probably has much to teach about a lifetime of making compensation for a fractured childhood, and then finding oneself whole.

      I’ve given much thought to this. Some might say too much, but what is the truth?

      Considering where I’ve come from — the negative energy that literally re-wired my natural circuits and jolted me into a life of distrust, self-protection, to a certain self-dishonesty, a baseline of fear (until about 25 y.o.) and solitude with challenges relating to the other sex thrown in for fun! — I am amazed at how well I’ve done!

      Most important in my life have been freedom from violence, being surrounded with people who share mutual trust, respect and love, creating without denigration, intellectual exploration without judgment, and safety in my overall surroundings. People are not my enemy because I can smell the Sickies a mile away. I live in a home I need not lock, on an island in the most remote location on the planet Earth, which means I live in the midst of one of the most beautiful paintings imaginable. I am over 8,000 miles away and almost 50 years from that past and it shows in every aspect of my life.

      I am still capable of deep love. They LOST!

      I suppose, had I grown up to be more functional and less defensive and completely dedicated to figuring out my own way (something about trust, I think!) I’d own the house I live in, be driving a car less than 20 years old, have a family, a “career”, money in the bank and a retirement plan. The truth is, I’ll probably be buried in a Pauper’s field with no one of my sperm to mourn me!

      But along the way, from there to here, I’ve never become like them…not even remotely. I’ve had to live through the experiences, no matter how painful, of finding out that I am different and still under the influence of a loving god (whose face keeps changing for me but never leaves!). In fact, I’d have to say, compared to them I’m a goddamn Saint!

      When I look out from my porch over the surrounding countryside, I can see the stuff I’m really made of and it’s so different from them that I can’t help but feel compassion for the nuns who tortured me.

      How fucking sick could I be to say that? How fucking sick WERE they???!!! This is human tragedy beyond belief because I’d gather, given the support of the Church, few if any realized or felt remorse about their actions. They, too, had to have been stripped of their humanity as they did to us. Such things are cause/effect and do not live in a vacuum.

      In one respect, were I to look at it through the eyes of the Christ they told me about (not modeled!) as mediated by Buddah, I’d have to come to the conclusion that we were ALL (nuns, you and me) part of a terrible tragedy; Man’s inhumanity to man and how we, as a species, often eat our young.

      And, once again, never suspecting how this simple blog would evolve, I stand in awe that somehow, some way, almost 50 years later, the things I write based on my horrid experience can provide comfort for people like you and a place for others, abused like myself, to come,visit, and let their voices be heard.

      Yes, I am truly thankful for EVERYTHING that and EVERYONE who has brought me to this moment! It’s the only real one and through it I’m urging you to turn your shit into diamonds as well by reachig out to those who can benefit from the time you took to live your lives — no matter where they took you!

      Blessings to you, John, and everyone!

      P.S. Do you see how we’re getting another flurry of participants? Such things build Avalanches!

      • john sheehan Says:

        john here , are you a retired fireman firetender ,im a retired nyc correction dept captain,i know what i speak of, . my education the quality of it severely suffered because of the 68 kids in the classroom at st vincent ferrer grammar schoo on e37th st in brooklyn nyc l, you should touch on that aspect. after grammar school i attended midwood high school where i immediately needed remedial help to assist me with my education since it had suffered at st vincent ferrer school. then after midwood hs i attended brooklyn college and graduated in 1975. where were the oversight agencies back then, why wasnt nypd investigating were they bought off back in the 1960s? the pedophile priest in st vincent ferror school that lurked inthe basement bathroom ,not good. its a very sad chapter in the history of nyc education , nostradamus foresaw the death and destruction of the roman catholic church some 500 years ago we saw it up front and experienced it personally there is a difference . . todays focus for the catholic church is just aggressively collecting money psychological warfare pw against the so called obedient faithful catholics abused as kids now re abused again as adults history repeats itself in the catholic church , sad but true , that sucks , and its an american tragedy , and a world wide catholic church tragedy . i am a retired supv of a nyc agency, a published author, and have had real estate licenses in several states ,i know what i speak of …

    • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

      I attended Catholic School in both New York City, and New Jersey for 12 years. The quality of education on a scale from “one to ten” was about “five!” —– It destroyed my creativity and my belief in myself. It wasn’t until I had a military experience in the 60′s that I felt good about myself. The Catholic Church used Catholic Schools to produce “loyal members for the future” in order to finance the church. They were never interested in offering a “quality education” on which to build a future. —– When I was a junior in high school, a nun asked me “what was I going to do after high school?” —- I responded; —”I want to attend college.” —- She said; —-”What Catholic College or University would every accept you?” —- I responded; — “I do not want to go to a Catholic College or University.” —- She said; —-”Where do you want to go?” —- I responded; —-”I want to go to a State School! —- She said; —-”If your go to a State School you will loose your faith!” —- (At that point in time, I knew that I had her, and I went in for the “kill!”) —- I responded: —- “Before you can lose something, you have to have it!” —- The conversation ended! —- The Catholic Church has done a lot of damage to young people over the years. —— It is VERY NEGATIVE, and it does not foster Positive self-esteem in young people. —– It is a VERY negative form of the Christian Religion. — I make it a point to listen to Joel Osteen on TV every Sunday Morning. This is what the Catholic Church should be. —– The nuns destroyed my faith in the Catholic Church. I do not practice the Catholic Religion. I am a Christian. There is a BIG difference! —- My wife also attended Catholic School, and her life has also been destroyed. (Both of us are VERY well educated in both State and Private Colleges and Universities.) —– I would never send children to a Catholic School, and I would never have them attend the Catholic Church. I would select a “Bible Based Church” for their religious education. —- The Catholic Church has been a VERY negative experience in my life! —— Best regards to all! —– Dwayne

  302. Mcccmar Says:

    I have posted twice and neither comment has been posted – I do realize they need to be reviewed but my question is – not to negate the pain reflected here – I am so sorry for what you experienced – but do any of you see ANY good in the education you received in catholic school ? TO me – and maybe Im in the minority – it taught me good study habits and self discipline – and a strong reliance on my faith- please understand I am not looking to deny what you are posting – only to ascertain whether or not anyone besides myself sees any good in the system

    • Gratefulandthankful Says:

      Mcccmar, the fact that some children had a good experience in Catholic school doesn’t make up for the abuse that was handed down to so many of us. If your experience led you to cling to your faith, know that the different experience we had helped to push us in the opposite direction. I’ve often wondered why the kindly nuns (that you had) didn’t save us from the monsters (that I did).

      • mcccmar Says:

        a very good point grateful – and well taken – blessings to you

      • Gratefulandthankful Says:

        Blessings and peace to you, Mcccmar! Thank you – and Firetender in his post yesterday – for the gentle reminder that there were (and are) kindly nuns out there. Too often I tend to lump them all together and they all come up as “abusive”, but it’s not so. I appreciate greatly that you came to visit this blog.

      • mcccmar Says:

        Im glad I found it too Grateful — I must say Im learning something due to this blog – and while I cannot relate to some of it – the pain is clearly here – and there are valid points being made.

    • Ruth Says:

      I did not receive a good education with the catholic school. It was very hard to learn when you have not self esteem. Something the nuns took away from you if you were not the favorite. Once I went to public school after the 8th grade, most of the teachers had some confidence in you. After 20 years I went to college, because we were always told that we were not good enough for college, and I started to work in the learning center as a work study. I always felt that you treat people the way you want to be treated. It gave me such confidence that I could work with these students which also helped retension. I have also taught some classes in remedial math and I really enjoyed it. I will never treat students the way the nuns did. How can you learn, when you are always afraid that if you said the wrong thing, you would be punished.

      • patrickpaulmclynn Says:

        Hi Ruth; Well, see?  The more complaints I read about Catholic School the more I’m beginning to realize what a favor it did all of us…albeit a bit over the top in the scary department.  What I think the ‘benefit’ of being exposed to such a horror show was the that now we all know WHAT NOT TO DO! 

        Blessings

        ________________________________

    • firetender Says:

      Mcccmar, I searched through the posts to see if yours had slipped through the cracks and couldn’t find any. I only edit or delete or do not accept posts that are personally inflammatory to our participants, pushing a point of view or appear to be Spam, so with that said…

      You’re asking a good question. I’ve always (and on this blog) credited my early education with providing an excellent foundation for reading and writing, THE two things that have carried through most of my adult working life. I would say the parochial school system emphasized that much more than the public system in my area. It had a very good rap.

      Something to note, however, is that my abusive mother also managed to instill in me a very deep love of reading; it became my escape from the world. St. Vinnie’s supercharged that, but…

      As far as preparing me for the world through other subjects, I have to say St. Vincent Ferrer nuns instilled in me a hatred for anything to do with school. Passing was 75 there, I graduated with a 73 average, which was pretty much reflected through High School and college (both maintaining a marginal 73 or so; I did what I had to do to get by; I really didn’t want to be in anyone’s educational institution!

      Everything changed once I started in Emergency Medical Services. Because I was split 50/50 between classroom and on-the-job learning, I embraced it and pretty much aced all my EMS courses.

      I’ll have to add that I had to spend a good 10 years un-learning most everything I was taught by the nuns about life,about humans, about women, about everything. It was the typical Heroe’s Journey of someone getting out of a haunted forest!

      It was not until my late-thirties that I really re-established a relationship with a Higher Power. In that respect, they failed miserably because they almost killed the God that lived in me!

      All in all, my educational experience at the hands (literally!) of Dominican nuns in Brooklyn put me on the Road Less Travelled!

      I’m extremely grateful in a fuck you sort of way!

    • Frank Says:

      Mcccmar, your question is poorly thought through and somewhat offensive at best. It is the equivalent of asking tourists who experienced the tragedy of the Asian tsunami “that’s horrible, but how was the holiday apart from that?” Or walking into a vets hospital and asking a ward full of soldiers with broken minds and bodies “not to diminish your injuries, but wasn’t there anything good about your time in Afghanistan?”

      Your question demonstrates that you don’t get it, or that you are a closet apologist for the church. Perhaps I would trust your sincerity/motives if you had gone to some length to first acknowledge and demonstrate empathy, shock, disgust, revulsion with the realities being discussed on this blog. And you shared something of your own school experience as well.

      So just in case you genuinely don’t get it, here is a response to your question:
      School was a traumatic and traumatising experience… constantly. The learning environment was as if in a war zone – there was an enemy, survival was the paramount daily concern, constant vigilance and mistrust of those in power and their motives was your ally. The tools of the educational trade were guilt, fear, repression, scorn, physical punishment, emotional/psychological/spiritual abuse, control of mind and body, removal of dignity. It would have been bad enough had we been adults, but we weren’t… we were young children. Dwell on that for a bit… let it sink in, imagine it happening to you if you can. Go back and read some of the verbatim accounts of abuse on this blog.

      Missing from this so-called “learning environment” were support, nurture, choice, encouragement, facilitation, forgiveness, love – either conditional or unconditional, fun, joy/love of learning, role models, safety, care or attention.

      Bottom line, the answer to your question is an unequivocal no, there was no good in the education and no good in the system. The end product in my case, and in many cases, was a clinically traumatised, highly dysfunctional teenager with permanent scars – both physical and mental to carry for life. I would have been far better off never attending school. My life would have been far more fulfilling if I remained uneducated… and undamaged. And I am one of the lucky ones. You will not get a response to your question from those who are too broken, too damaged to use a computer, who are barely coping, let alone understand your question. You will not get a response to your question either from those who took their own lives as a way out of their enduring torment.

      Feel free to let me know if I have not made myself clear.

      • George Says:

        Frank, your insightful response to Mcccmar brought out all the truths about being abused by the minions of the catholic church. I hope this person understands how he made people feel by making it seem that catholic school was good in any way. All the nuns and the priests who abused us were never sorry for what they did to us. They didn’t educate us, they ruined our lives.

      • Mary Says:

        So very true. the hell inflicted upon my brother and I will live with us forever. The nuns and priests destroyed any chance we ever had of a normal life. Just to look at a nun brings out true terror and hatred. My poor little brother had the nuns and the priest’s abuse being a little altar boy. Satan was at his best inside the evil nuns and priests.

      • gratefulandthankful Says:

        Frank, you said it all. Your post brought tears to my eyes because it’s the honest-to-God truth, every word of it. I sure wish that the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) who just finished meeting in St. Louis could’ve read that.

      • Mary Says:

        Frank you are brilliant :)

      • firetender Says:

        Funny, isn’t it? I actually live in the paradox of being appreciative of my tormentors for having provided me the tools to save my ass! Can’t you live in that contradiction? After all, we can’t completely negate or denigrate where we’ve come from, because that’s who we are!

      • Mary Says:

        So true Frank, so very true!! Thank you again for the wonderful reply you gave that idiot.

      • mcccmar Says:

        READ MY POST I certainly DID express empathy for what is being expressed here and I clearly stated I dont deny that it happened or negate its effects , Frank – and thank you Firefighter for an honest reponse to my post. I appreciate it.

      • firetender Says:

        My name is Russ, I am a firetender.

        Working through this stuff is not easy and each of us, sometimes, gets caught in not quite hearing what the other says because of a perceived threat. The mission of this place remains the same; a safe space for people to tell their truths and find support. I’m asking everyone to read over posts that initially inflame you a couple times before responding, and listen for the ring of truth that allows you to step in in a supportive manner. I’m the guy who gets to decide who’s disruptive and guide the interactions accordingly.

        Everyone who shows up here, no matter the degree of their abuse (large, or to some of us “nothing”; it’s all comparative) is welcomed as long as they are in support of our mission. Would it not be reasonable that devout Catholics chime in as well and lend their support to those of us who have been abused by the Church, even if they hadn’t been exposed to the torture? That would be the Christian thing to do.

        One of the things I’d hope we’d all remember is that most of our peers did not have the same experience as we did. To them, I’d hazard to say, we were the Unmanageable disciplined by the Just! The haze of self-righteous religion covers the eyes of the innocent like cataracts. This was illustrated by your question of “Well, after all, didn’t you get well-educated?” We did, in the cruelty of life and my personal experience was I came out of that educational institution with all the tools I needed to survive, and coming from an abusive childhood, that was enough.

        The reality is, for most of us, this abuse stopped a real long time ago, yet, too many of us are still allowing those judgmental voices of the nuns to live inside of us. This site is offered as a place where people can come, read of the experiences of others, and then sort out what was then and what is now. Just on your point alone, I had to pause and acknowledge that the person I am this minute has gotten here by certain gifts from certain nuns. I can no more negate their light than I can forgive their counterparts’ darkness. After all, the part of me that loves has not been damaged. And that very much means my love and respect for myself in this moment because EVERY second and experience of my life got me here.

        It’s all dilemmas, paradoxes, hypocrisies (in myself!), and illusions. That’s what we were dealt. But please, all of you, remember, we’re here to help each other sort through this stuff, which, after all, though shameful that we had to live through what we experienced, these are the basic ingredients of life. We’ve come here to work it out together, and that is a gift that we shouldn’t lose sight of!

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s been an excruciatingly long time coming but we’re here now and we have a duty to share the strength of our journeys with those of us who have landed here after us. Keep that focus, folks, and every word here will be useful for those needing our helping hands!

        Hopefully, this will be a permanent archive that will be useful as long as any of us who have been abused by the nuns of the Catholic Church continue to breathe, and then, after we’re all dead it will be an example of people spontaneously coming together to heal for the purpose of building useful lives.

  303. Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

    I attended a Catholic School in New York City on Christopher Street run by the Sisters of Charity! — I went to this school from the 1st to the 7th grade. — This school was part of the Saint Joseph’s Parish. The church is on 6th avenue in Greenwich Village. There were two (2) schools associated with this church. (Saint Joseph’s School and Saint Joseph’s Academy). Saint Joseph’s School had 30 students to a class, and Saint Joseph’s Academy had 10 students to a class. (I attended Saint Joseph’s School with 30 students to a class even though my parents could have afforded to send me to the academy. My parents had no idea about what constituted a “quality education!”) There was a lot of violence in my school both from the nuns, and from the other students. (I was always looking over my back!) — On a scale from one to ten in terms of quality education, this school rated at best a five! —– When it came time for “Confirmation,” we were not allowed to have our own individual sponsors. They used “generic people” for the boys & girls, but the Academy children had their own individual sponsors. —– We had to supply “Altar Boys” for the church at all services, but the Academy did not have this responsibility. We had to attend 9:00am Mass on Sunday with the school, but the Academy students did not have to attend Mass with the school, because they came from all over New York City. We had to attend Monday Afternoon Novena after school every Monday throughout the school year. At certain times of the year, there was a special Novena on Wednesday, and we had to attend that Novena. This translated into getting out of school at 4:00pm two days a week! We also had to attend 7:00am mass with the school everyday! —- From the church, we would walk to the school, as a class, for a one hour religion period followed by the academic subjects. —— NO WONDER I HATE GOING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TODAY! —– When I was making plans for our wedding, (in a Catholic Church), the music director refused to play the “traditional wedding march!” One year later, in the same church, with the same pastor, with the same music director, the ” traditional wedding march” was played because the “Groom” was part of the “good old boy network”! —- I have learned that if you have “money” you can have anything that you want from the Catholic Church. If your parents can afford to put you into an academy the nuns will “kiss your ass!” But if you a just part of the large group, you will be “shit on” at every opportunity! —- All the Catholic Schools should go out of business! They have no business being in the business of education. They destroy children! —- Best regards. —– Dwayne.

    • Mary Says:

      Dawyne is absolutely correct!!!!!!! If your parents had money, you were treated better than the rest. Your family was privledged in the eyes of the nuns and the priests. It was the same in every single parish on earth. Money matters!!! We don’t !!!

    • mcccmar Says:

      I lived on Waverly Place for some years Dwayne and I know the school you are referring to although I never attended it . I never knew there were TWO schools affiliated with St. Joseph’s

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Mcccmar:
        About a year ago I was in New York City with my wife, and I showed her the building that was once Saint Joseph’s Grammar School on Christopher Street. —- It is now some type of an “office building.” —- I tried to get the security guard to let us walk through the building, but he would not let us! —– If I had the opportunity, it would have been like a “slide show,” because most every rooms have a “Negative Memory” for me! —- There was a nun, (Sister Carona) who was a “Bitch!” She was the principal of the school. On Monday Morning, if you did not attend Mass with the school at 9:00am on Sunday, you had to report to her with a note from your parents. My parents had a small cabin in New York State, and we would go there for the weekend. So every Morning, my ass was in the principal’s office with a note. QUESTION: Why didn’t my parents tell the principal that I was not going to be part of the 9:00am Sunday Mass because we were not in town on the weekends? —- (One note for the entire school year!) ANSWER: — My parents were afraid of the nuns and priests. There was no PTA or PTO organization in this school. —- In the 6th grade, I had a nun Sister Christopher. (Another Bitch on Wheels!) —- We had an assignment to re- cover all of our “hand-me-down-textbooks” from the Academy. —- One of the books, our geography, book was never used, so as such, the cover on that book was in perfect condition. My father would not allow me to put a new cover on that book, even though I had an extra new cover. This meant that all my other books had new covers except that one book! —– (I knew that I was going to be in “big trouble with the nun” the next day, but my father would not let me use the new cover!) —– The next day, we had to put all our books on our desk for inspection. The nun look at my books and asked why the geography book was not re-covered. I responded that my father told me that the cover was clean and in good condition and there was no reason to re-cover the book. She hit me across the face, and said: “that maybe your father
        would like to come into school and teach the class!” —- I responded; —- “He would do a better job than you!” —- Yes, my father did have to go to school and an understanding was reached, but I took the “HIT!” —- I would never put a child in
        that position. — Both the nun and my father were wrong!

        Best regards to all! —– Have a GREAT day! —- Just think, we do not have to deal with nuns anymore! —- We are free!
        —– Dwayne!

      • mcccmar Says:

        you know Dwayne as much as Id like to say youre wrong I know that you are right – things like that DID happen – while my experience was one of generalized fear – I never was struck although I did see other kids hit – during those years in the 1950s I think the church was in its heyday and ALL of our parents wouldnt cross a nun or priest – those times have certainly changed –as I alluded to in a previous post – I look back on those days as a mixed bag – I certainly wouldnt want my daughters taught so rigidly – one aside – my youngest just graduated from 8th grade in our local catholic elementary school – when I tell you times have CHANGED – lol – have a great day

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Good Morning Mcccmar:
        Thank you for taking the time to write back! —- The problem with Catholic Education, is that the nuns and priests were allowed to get away with murder, and no one in the “civilian adult world” had the “guts” to take them on. —- I know of a instance where a student in a Catholic High School was given an assignment to write a term paper in a history class. —– As her topic she chose the “Role of the Catholic Church in WW2″ —- (If you are a student of history, you know that the Catholic Church had some “questionable dealings” with the “Hitler Regime,” and after the war they were also involved in the production of documents to get the WW2 Nazi’s out of Germany.) —– The student did the research, and documented all he findings with foot notes and a bibliography. She received a “A” on the term paper from the “Non-Religious History Teacher.” ——- Because it was such an outstanding piece of writing, it found it’s way to the desk of the “Assistant Principal” who was a Priest. —- He did not like the contents of the paper, and the message of the paper, and expelled the student in her Senior year. —— (He thought that the paper painted the church in a bad light!) ——- (NOTE: ——- The Church was not worrying about their image when they were doing the deeds after the war, but he is concerned about the church’s image now! —– WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS LOGIC?) —– Because she came from a single parent home with only her mother to guide her, there was no one to help her. The teacher admitted that he approved the topic, but the student paid the price. (This occurred in my high school, a few years after I graduated.) —— If this was my daughter, I would have showed up at the high school with an attorney ready to take legal action against the priest and the school! —— Just think of the damage that was done to that young person by this priest. —– Here are some the all important questions that you as a parent need to ask yourself now that your child has graduated from Catholic School. —– Did the Catholic School provide my child with a “high quality academic education” on which to build a successful future in the real world, — and will that education allow them to “be all that they can be,” to discover the greatness within them on a daily basis, and do they have the ability to “think clearly” and “problem solve,” or are they simply partially educated robots in the Catholic Church? ——— Did the Catholic School build up my child’s self esteem, helped them to believe in themselves and in their ability to succeed or did they destroy self esteem through the fostering of blind belief! ——- I find Catholics in my age group to be the type of people who settle for just being average. — (My mother was one of those people. She was a very kind / giving person, but she did not instill a desire for “dreaming big” in me as I was growing up in NYC and NJ.) —- In life, to be successful, you must have self-designed goals, — you must have big dreams, — you must have a strong belief in yourself and in your ability to succeed, — you must be an independent thinker, — you must have a “plan of action” to achieve those goals / dreams, — you must put the “plan of action” into “action” on a daily basis, — you must have study / school success skills, and you must used 100% of your talents, skills and abilities in a focused / organized manner on a daily basis. —- It has been my experience that Catholic Education does not foster these most basic requirements. —- The Church DOES NOT want the young people to be independent thinkers. (If you question something, and they do not know the answer, they simply say; —- “is is a matter of faith!) The Catholic Church is like the Titanic. It is still floating, but it is on it’s way down because they refuse to come into the real world and deal with issues in an open / professional manner. They are still trying to demand respect, instead of earning respect. ——– (I have a very successful private academic coaching business where I deal with these issues everyday. My job is to help the young person and their parents to believe in themselves, to see the possibilities, to set goals and to take organized action in the direction of those goals. I have seen students turn their academic life around by taking charge of their academic life. —– YES, it is a wonderful feeling for my wife and I knowing that we have saved another student from mediocrity) —- NOTE: —- I offered my services to a local Catholic School for “free,” and they refused. —— Do you think it is my educational philosophy that killed the offer? —– Best regards to all! —– Have a great day! —– Get involved in your child’s education. —–Do not allow the Catholic Church to destroy your child and their future! —- I started to reject the Catholic Church when I was in the 4th grade, but I did not have the skills to deal with the issues, and my parents were afraid to take on the nuns & priests. —– (I wanted to join the Boy Scouts when I lived in NYC. The only scout troop that was available was sponsored by a local protestant church. I could not join that scout troop because they held their meetings in a protestant church. GET REAL! —-) The nuns did a very good job with me, they created a non-Catholic Christian who is a thorn in their side. —— I believe in the GREATNESS of young people! —- I do not believe in the Catholic Church and it’s form of education / indoctrination. —– Dwayne

      • Mario Says:

        http://www.liberalslikechrist.org/Catholic/1933Concordat.html

        If you want to know about the dealings with the Vatican & the Fascist states read the “1933″ Concordat. The Catholic Church put out some of the most wonderful Catholics. LOL Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Joseph Stalin. To name just a few. Copy and paste the link Above. After reading it, it should make us sit up and bolt upright. Did you know that George Carlin was a product of Caholic School? I agree with what he says about religion. There are other ones like Madonna, Lady Ga Ga, and several others are products of Catholic Schools. Madonna was one of the abused. We have so many things to be proud of……….Yeah Right. LOL

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        We have been discussing abuse in Catholic Schools. —- Today, I decided to do a “Google Search” on child abuse of Catholic Orphans. ——– If you want to read something very interesting, google; —-”Orphans of the 1950′s Telling of Abuse, Sue Quebec” —- The Catholic Church is one “sick” institution! —- They are equivalent to the Nazi’s in WW2. —- I would not leave any child under the care of a priest or a nun! —– All the best to the survivors! —- Dwayne

  304. Mario Says:

    Dawyne When it’s the question of money everybody is of the same religion.

    • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

      The “Catholic Church” is a VERY SICK organization that hides behind the “Christian Religion!” —- The “Clergy” think that they are better than the people that they serve, —- and they think that they are “ABOVE THE LAW! —— I get more out of listening to “Joel Osteen” on Sunday Morning TV, than I ever got out of a Catholic Church Service. —– I have no respect for Priests or Nuns! I would not trust them with my life, —- let alone my soul!

  305. Mario Says:

    Dwayne & Mary

    You are both right, the nuns treated the ones that were poor badly. They would do things like, not let you go to the bathroom, while kids whose parents had money were allowed to go. The rest of us can sit their and bust.

  306. Mario Says:

    Hi ya All

    Remember back in the school days, I can remember there were always a few girls hanging around the nuns, as they walked to school from the convent. These girls would direct the nuns attention to someone that is doing something wrong in the school yard and the nun would go over and clobber them………Browny points.
    Best analogy I can give here is about sharks and pilot fish. Pilot fish help the sharks, since sharks have poor eyesight, the pilot fish would lead the shark to other fish and the shark will move in for the kill. Sort of a symbiotic relationship. Then the scraps that are floating around are eaten by the pilot fish. That is how I picture nuns as sharks and the brown nosers of the class room (Pilot fish) get there points for the day…..Nuns pets.

    Do nuns go to the bathroom? You might think not, when nuns wouldn’t let kids go to the bathroom. Is this how they get their kicks by not sending kids to the bathroom? Only a chosen few she would let go to the bathroom. The rest of us can sit there and bust. As I wrote when I first came on this blogg, how my grandmother threaten the nun to wipe my soiled underware in her face, if I come home like that again. I still think about that day and wished she would have done it right then. How would a nun look like with shit smeared on her face, including that big white bib they wear. It probably would have made the Six O’ Clock news.

    I wondered why I never got excommunicated from the church? This way I can hang my excommunication papers up on the wall for all to see. I guess they don’t bother, unless your a big shot in the church. They probably wouldn’t even bury me in consecrated ground. Not that I give a shit, I’m just making a point on how corrupt that church is. Don’t people ever question why Alphonse Capone and his notorious mobsters are buried in consecrated grounds? Namely, “Mt. Carmel Cemetery,” just outside of Chicago. The church wouldn’t bury people of that stature in consecrated grounds. Or at least we were told that in grade school. But when it comes to money, they are very flexible. Even though it was blood money, the church had their hands out. It didn’t seem to matter then.
    The criminals are also buried in St. Johns, Cemetery in NY. I’m sure other cemeteries across the US.

    • Gratefulandthankful Says:

      Mario, you are so right about the bathroom thing! I thought maybe it was just peculiar to ‘Michigan’ Catholic grade schools, that particular form of torture. Not to put too fine a point on it, but one day in 3rd grade, after sitting in agonizing discomfort at having to go “#2″ (and not being allowed to, of course), I was suddenly no match for the forces of nature, and a tiny piece of you-know-what rolled down from under my uniform skirt and onto the floor. At the time I was mortified beyond belief, and hung my head in shame, so embarrassed that I couldn’t ‘hold it’. The one redeeming part to me, though, was this: guess who walked by my desk just as that happened and stepped on it? Yep, “Sister of No Mercy” herself :)

      Hang in there, Mario. We may be bruised and banged up, but we’re still here. They didn’t manage to take us all down. Sending a big hug your way from the Great Lakes State.

    • firetender Says:

      Here’s where I have to say you all have taught this old dog some new tricks!

      Until I started reading this blog I never knew that richer kids were treated differently than the poorer. I’d imagine there were parish-to-parish dysfunctional cultural differences, so I’m not surprised.

      My neighborhood (Flatbush) was fairly homogenous in that most of the kids going to my school were of the same, middle-class, almost exclusively Irish and Italian (one Polish kid of 60 students) and lived within about 30 blocks of each other.

      That was never an issue that I could see, though other kids there may have seen the discrepancy. We definitely had our snitches, too. In fact, I ratted out a couple of my classmates for selling firecrackers in the cloakroom!

      Sad to say it was self-righteous, moral outrage rather than motivated to curry favor. Hmmm….wonder where I got that from?

      • Gratefulandthankful Says:

        Firetender, in my school, girls from the wealthier families often had the nuns swooping down upon them in the hope that they’d join the convent after eighth grade. When you signed on the dotted line, you also signed away (to the order) any future inheritance you might get. Crafty, those nuns….

  307. Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

    Hi All: ————— Some people in the Catholic Church fear being “excommunicated” from the church! —- That is an “BIG empty threat” that was sold to the young people in Catholic School. —- First, to be excommunicated, the Catholic Church must know that you exist. —- The only way they know that you exist is through your weekly donation on Sunday. If you do not use envelopes for your donation, they do not know that you exist! There is no such thing as “Card Carrying Catholics!” —– I have not made my “Easter Duty” in at least 30 years, and I have no problem going to other Christian Churches and receiving Communion. —- In fact, I enjoy going to other Christian Churches. Consider this, —- before the Catholic Church can excommunicate us for not participating in a “yearly mandatory practice,” — they would have to excommunicate all the priests that had sexual relationships with Altar Boys, and this includes the Bishops who covered up these issues over the years. ——- The Catholic Church does not represent the Christian Religion. The goal of the Catholic Church is to dominate the people, and in the process, to get as much money as possible, so that the “clergy” can live better than the people simply because they “THINK” that they are better than us! —- I DO NOT, and I WILL NOT contribute to the Catholic Church. The money that I would give on Sunday I use to make people smile during the week. I will bring cake in to work for our coffee break so that we all can share some “Christian Fellowship” for a few minutes. When I do this, I can see the joy on the people’s faces. I know how my money is being spent. My money is not being used as “hush money” or to “pay legal judgments” because some SICK PRIESTS could not keep their hands off children! —– When I was attending a Catholic High School, (from 1956 to 1960), the nuns would tell my parents on “parents night” that “I was not working up to my ability!” —- I had a “learning disability” and no one on the faculty gave a “shit!” I needed some help, but the nuns did not care! —– After returning from activity duty in the Army, I corrected my own learning problems, educated myself, and I earn a BA degree and two MA degrees. No thanks to my Catholic Education! — When I graduated from my Catholic High I had the equivalent of a 10th grade education in the academics, but a 12th grade education in religion. (Religion does not pay the bills and it does not build careers!) The Catholic Clergy are fakes, frauds and phonies! —– Just my opinion. —- Best regards to all! ——- Dwayne

    • Gratefulandthankful Says:

      Dwayne, you’re awesome!! Look how you rose above some incredible odds and got the education you wanted to, in spite of what you went through. You’re an inspiration. In my case, a nun who I fought off for two years put something on my permanent record about my horrible ‘character’, and how I’d never amount to anything. I knew someone would see that on my transcripts. I was so embarrassed by that that I didn’t go to college for 25 years! Finally, I thought “to hell with this”, and went to nursing school. I graduated at the top of my class. Those old nuns can never take that away from me.

      Bravo to you, Dwayne!!

      • Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

        Hi All:

        After I became a teacher, I contacted my former Catholic High School, and I requested a meeting with the new principal to see my complete four year file. —- A funny thing happened. All the “negative comments” made by the nuns had been “purged” from the file! They “new” what I was looking for, and they were afraid that I would take legal action against them. They “cleaned out my file!” —– They folded like a “cheap camera!” —- Best regards to all! —— Dwayne

    • mcccmar Says:

      Hi again Dwayne -

      I just wanted to say that while I cannot relate to SOME of what you are saying I can sure relate to the issue of kids with learning disabilities in catholic schools – even the catholic schools of today – my daughter is a wonderful girl who does have a learning disability due to premature birth (she is adopted from Guatemala). This left her with processing issues – when she was starting school I enrolled her in our local catholic school and it became clearly very quickly that they didnt have the wherewithall to work with her nor did they WANT the where with all to work with her. I think thats very unfortunate and probably somewhat hypocritical of the Church. What ever happened to ministering to t hose who need the help ?

  308. Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

    Grateful and Thankful:

    You are awesome! —- You went to nursing school! That is “outstanding!” —– Any student who stood up to the nuns became the “enemy of the nuns!” —- The nuns thought that they were teachers. They could not teach if their life depended on it! —- I make it a point to “go out of my way” to help students to succeed, because I know what I went through in Catholic School! —- Young people want to learn, — but they want to know that they have the freedom to ask questions. —- Nuns did not want to deal with questions. —– Best regards. —– Dwayne

    • Gratefulandthankful Says:

      Dwayne, your students are privileged to have such a caring, compassionate teacher. You know, if I could turn back the hands of time and erase the cruel, sadistic things done by the nuns, I certainly would, but the experience gave me new eyes. It carved out in me an empathy for other people that is stronger than if I hadn’t lived through that. I’m so blessed to be a nurse, and until I take my last breath, I’m going to be of service to those who are vulnerable and who are in need of care and kindness. I suspect you will be, too. Kind regards to you!

  309. Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

    GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL: —– Here again, the Catholic Church is always out for the “Money!” —- My high school did not have Guidance Counselors. There were no classes devoted to future careers. If you wanted to go to college, you had to apply on your own. Boys were encouraged to become priests! —- What you wanted in your life did not matter! — I had a very dear friend in high school that was never able to put his life together after graduating from my Catholic High School. —- He became and alcoholic and died at the age of 51. —- His high school education failed him “big time!” —– Best regards. —- Dwayne

    • Gratefulandthankful Says:

      Dwayne, I’m very sorry about your high school friend. How representative he is of the suffering that went on! Makes one feel very fortunate to have found a way out of it. Graduation day from my Catholic all-girls high school felt like getting out of jail. I send a prayer out tonight for all of those who weren’t able to live to see a better day.

  310. Dawyne James Mitchell Says:

    GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL:

    Keep up the GREAT work! —- Make things happen in your life by design! —– Enjoy everyday! —- Find a Christian Church that fills your needs. —- I enjoy listening to Joel Osteen on TV. —- I think he is very professional. —– My wife is still a “practicing Catholic.” —- I got good at it years ago, and I no longer “practice!” ——– NOTE: —- She attended the same Catholic High School. When I was a Senior, she was a Freshman! — She has her own stories about screaming nuns in the classroom! —— Best regards. — Dwayne

    • rjgodley Says:

      Hi, I entered sa comment, but when I tried to send it, I got a reply that my user name/ password wee invalis. I can not remember my password but rjgodley is name. I hope my comments did not get lost. Bob Godley

  311. Mario Says:

    In response to Gratefulandthankful:

    Thank you for your reply, I did live in Chelsea, Michigan for ten years at a senior center. Some of those people told me about the Dominican nuns at St. Mary’s Catholic School, in Chelsea. They thought of them as a holy terror. Some of the stories I heard from the residence their was horrendous. I don’t think one order of nuns are any different from any other