I’ve Only Just Begun

•March 22, 2021 • 2 Comments

Last October I drove to Massachusetts to meet with my attorney, Ben Andreozzi (whose office is located in Harrisburg, PA) and a mediator, Attny Paul Finn, and Sister Patricia Vetrano, president of the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community, and their attorney. The Brooklyn Diocese did not bother to send any representative, and obviously did not care at all about me personally and what happened to me at their high school so long ago. But then, they are male priests, and they are seasoned at continued mistreatment of victims of sexual abuse by clergy and religious.

My attention then, as it has been for 50 years and will remain until the Lord calls me home, was on the Sisters of Mercy. Why? Well, clearly because my abuser was a vowed Sister of Mercy, Sister Juanita Barto. The other reason is I have loved the Sisters of Mercy since early childhood, been inspired by 3 pilgrimages to their foundress Mother McAuley’s grave, and, as a result, have a vow of Mercy for the past 23 years in my Church. Sr Juanita had admitted many years ago to the abuse, but she and the sisters were protected from being held legally responsible by the NY State Statute of Limitations. My old mother, pissed off over hearing about the abuse, urged me years ago to contact the then superior, well-known and loved, Sister Mary Camille d’Arienzo. My mother said, “your old friend is now boss, she can help you!”
So, I contacted the sisters through my attorney, Steve Rubino, whom I knew through my work with other victims of clergy abuse. Steve’s hands were tied by the statute of limitations, and Sr Camille totally ignored me personally, breaking my heart and temporarily destroying my hope for restorative justice. She did remove Juanita from active ministry–as the law demanded, so that was a positive step. Camille went on to be head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). She had a moral authority like few religious women, and used her moral authority to speak out on many important moral issues, such as forgiveness and she walked with prisoners. She is a good woman. She just did not care about my wounds. My mom was wrong… and grew older and angrier along with me.

Ten years passed. My mother died. I grieved deeply. Grief is cumulative, and so all sorrow was magnified. One night I heard my mother in my head saying “END THIS THING!” I immediately sat and sent an e-mail to Sister Camille, thinking she was still the superior of the community. In that e-mail I poured out my soul and broken heart, broken because the Sisters of Mercy, whom I had loved since first grade and whom I, as a novice, had once called my own sisters, could not care less about the sexual abuse I had endured in high school, while trying to understand what a call, a religious vocation meant. The wounds and scars created by Sister Juanita were carried in my heart and soul–my psyche for 36 yrs or so by then. I was so disappointed in Camille’s lack of any personal response to me. Back in 1963, as a 12 year old child I had opened my heart to her to say that I wanted to be a Sister of Mercy–that sacred secret young girls confided after prayer and experiencing an early awakening to Grace and God’s Love. She was my heroine. But, then life happened. Juanita stepped in during high school and my life was changed forever by her sin against me.
I shared much of what Juanita did to me in that e-mail to Camille around midnight that sorry night, as I wept in grief.

Three hours later, Camille sent an e-mail back to me, and was clearly upset by what I had shared. After waiting 10 years, I had a response in 3 hours! What I learned then was that blunt, candid, and gruesome honesty is what demands attention. She told me she was no longer superior general, or whatever they were calling it then, and that she was obliged to tell the current superior, Sister Mary Waters, these facts I had shared. I knew Sister Mary Waters from my early days of being an aspirant and the times I spent at St. Gabriel’s convent in Brooklyn. She was a young sister then. I was glad Camille was going to tell her, because I would have, and because I intended to go entirely public and tell the world, and write to Rome. I was done with silence! I was patient with the unjust civil law that protects rapists and child molesters, but my patience had finally given out regarding the community. Sister Mary Waters called me the very next day! NO 10 YEARS WAIT! She did what was required by Charity, regardless of the continued protection by the laws, and perhaps a tad inspired by my clear statement that I was going public. She said she wanted to meet with me as soon as possible. I agreed. We decided to meet only after the new year, because my daughter was coming home from college for Christmas and I didn’t want this topic to ruin our family Christmas together. It had already negatively affected enough of our family life.

I had two requests for our meeting together. I wanted a mediator present and had one ready to fly here to PA to my home, and I wanted Sr Camille to be present because I wanted to hear from her mouth her reason for ignoring me for 10 years. They agreed to both, but then said no to the mediator, cancelling her flight here because their attorney advised them to do so. Hmm. Close to our meeting date they wanted to switch the meeting location from my home to a “neutral” location (forgive my laughter here), a local convent billed as a spiritual center! Ha! No! “That’s a convent! Do you know what goes on in convents?” I responded. We will meet here in my home, in my comfort zone and safe space. We did. Sister Mary Waters, Sister Camille d’Arienzo and Sister Sean Foley (their social worker) came to my home and met with me, accompanied by my spiritual director, Mother Laura Howell (an Episcopal priest), Mother Dolores (a priest pastoral counselor), and my husband who was bishop in our Church. We sat for several hours over several comfortable cups of tea and I told them the facts of life regarding Sister Juanita Barto and sexual abuse in Mater Christi Diocesan High School, and in my home and vacation home, across state lines, as well as in convents, a retreats center, and Barto’s family home, and elsewhere. It was not a pleasant visit, but was honest. It took every bit of strength in me to go through that meeting. Sr Camille told us the community’s attorney told her not to worry about my prior accusation (that resulted in Juanita being removed from ministry), and that he would handle it all, and she said she never knew the details from him until I sent her the email 10 yrs later. My husband never believed her. He had been secretary to the provincial of his religious order in NYC, and said it was unthinkable the superior was not told the details. (He may have been wrong–about nuns, as I discovered the same situation with Sister Patricia Vetrano last year.)

The next day I got a call saying the Sisters of Mercy would pay for therapy for me, and I should pick a therapist. I did so with the help of Mother Laura. I picked a former Roman Catholic who was married to a Roman Catholic priest who converted to the Episcopal Church. She got me! There was no need for translations from Catholic-speak to everyday American lingo. She helped me find the courage to keep at the work of healing–for the rest of my life. Still, restorative justice was not what the sisters were interested in (the mediator they rejected was trained in restorative justice), and the NY State law still protected Juanita and the community from any liability or neglect of me as a student in their care while their sister molested and raped me.

So, I focused my attention on inner healing, being public about the reality of sexual abuse by nuns, and the change of laws, which the Roman Catholic bishop fought in NY and other states. Millions poured into lobbyists by the Church, to fight in Albany against any change in the Statute of Limitations or allowing windows for victims to come forward for justice. Victims and survivors of sexual abuse as youth don’t normally have the psychological and spiritual strength to come forward until middle age. That’s just the fact. So they nearly all suffer in silence for life. The Churches don’t much care, as it works in their favor financially.

UNTIL NOW.

I had been in touch with Attny Jeff Anderson who was kind and his associates kept up with me when the diocese were offering help to victims, but it was only to help victims of priests, not religious. So Anderson could not help me until the civil laws changed. I wrote to Attorney Ben Andreozzi just curious as to how he would respond to me, given the law was not on my side, yet. He responded immediately, and personally to me, calling me from his cell. We talked a while, and he said he felt my story was worth following up and see what could be done. I was certain nothing could be done, so I was impressed that he was willing given that the current law was against me. I decided then and there he was the right attorney for me–I trusted him immediately. A few months later I received a call from him telling me NY State had opened a window for victims of abuse to come forward. We were ready to rock and roll. I never ever thought I would live long enough to see the law adjust in any way. I thought I would carry this to my grave.

We filed a lawsuit in NY State against the Diocese of Brooklyn as owners of Mater Christi Diocesan High School, whose principal was a diocesan priest, Father Campbell, and against the Sisters of Mercy. That brings us back to last October and mediation in Massachusetts (held there because that is where the excellent mediator is located). The day arrived and although I was told the community would have a representative there, she was not there, and I was told by the attorney that speaking with him was speaking with the community. My response? BULLSHIT! He was not the right sex, and not a vowed Sister of Mercy. He was hired help. I said if I did not speak directly with the superior, oh–the president, I would see her in court, and we could forget mediation. He really pissed me off, but then he was doing his job–which has NOTHING TO DO WITH RESTORATIVE JUSTICE or the Charity by which the Church is obliged to function and serve. He was representing the CORPORATION, not the sisters walking in the steps of Mother Catherine McAuley following Jesus Christ. I had had it!

He left the room and returned with Sister Patricia Vetrano on a video call. It was in the midst of COVID, so, it was not what I originally demanded as in-person, but it was extraordinary times of pandemic, so OK. My first question to Sister Patricia was did she know why we were here, did she have my whole story straight? Her answer floored me! She admitted, apologetically, that NO, she didn’t have it in her head… JESUS CHRIST! I’d been at them for 27 years–in contact over sexual abuse, and we had filed a suit in the courts, and she did not have my story present to mind. What that told me was NOTHING CHANGED SINCE CAMILLE FUCKED UP by trusting their attorney 27 years earlier! NOTHING CHANGED. They learned nothing from all the screw-ups of bishops and patriarchal abuse of victims. Sisters criticized bishops’ and their lack of transparency, and even began testifying about priests raping nuns…but they did not learn anything, or examine their own response to those raped by vowed sisters! They repeated the patriarchal abuse of power because it protected their corporate institutions.

“OK… Then let me tell you my story, Sister,” says I to Sister Patricia. And she listened, intently. It was just she and I, as if nobody else was in the room, as far as I felt. She listened, and I knew she was listening and disturbed by the ugly facts I relayed to her. She was upset. And that’s a good thing! Being upset by hearing a Religious Sister of Mercy sexually molested a student almost daily and raped her in various sacred locations should be the natural response of any human, and especially any Catholic, and of course of any Sister of Mercy on planet Earth. It just took 50 years for that response.

I liked Sister Patricia. I saw her picture on the website for the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community and I immediately thought she had the heart required for this ugly part of her job. She certainly seemed to, as we spoke that day at mediation. I still think so, and pray to God Almighty I am not wrong. She agreed that we could meet after the legalities were all resolved, to discuss this further. I hope she meant that and is a woman of her word. She has the power–the POWER–to affect change in the Church by modeling how religious orders and communities of women should and can act as Jesus Christ and not as civil attorneys protecting the corporate bottom line. Time will tell, and so will I, so check back…

I would have gladly gone to trial rather than settle as I did, but for my age and health. I did not want my daughter to inherit my case should I die before it was over. We resolved my case with the sisters and the diocese. I have nothing positive to say about the diocese’s method of interacting, of ignoring me, and proving a total lack of care. They reflect the god they serve and that has become common knowledge. The sisters, I still hope, at least have some conscience, and it is that which I cling to, that and the fact that the Holy Spirit can and does inspire reform.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, on the other hand, have once again proven they do not care about victims enough to assert their considerable MORAL AUTHORITY by addressing the issue of sexual abuse by religious women within the ranks of the leaders of the many congregations of women they represent. It is an easy task for those who care. The subject is painful–for all, abusers, the victims, and those religious leaders ignoring them. But pain is part of the cross we have agreed to carry for the love of God and neighbor, so the sisters need to carry that cross. When the LCWR opts to exert its moral authority about this issue as readily as it does about civil issues in the nation, or other Church issues, then they may have a credible leg to stand on. The fact that the recent article in the Global Sisters Report rattled LCWR’s cage is telling. I applaud Global Sisters Report for having the hutzpah to publish it in February Kudos to National Catholic Reporter as well!

Meanwhile, victims/survivors are still coming forward. I am OK, but others ARE NOT. Sisters, do you care? They suffer for A LIFETIME while you protect the molesters and rapists in your midst because civil laws say you can! Victims and survivors carry wounds into marriages, family life, careers, and medical problems, some to suicide. Most lose their Faith because of one of your members! “Better a millstone,” said Jesus. That was about your abusive members! Do you care at all about them?

Do you care about those in your ranks who are predators hiding behind words like “spiritual friendship,” and “God is Love,” or “SISTER?” Those predators are humans, albeit sick humans, but God’s beloved as well, and you owe it to them and the Church to purge this because as long as humans enter convents or monasteries or seminaries, they bring human problems.

Do you care about the Church, really? Religious life is to serve the Church, the People of God, not for corporate protection of sexually abusive women hiding from the law, and in my case from parents who, had they known, would have killed her. Do something about this! It is not going away and is still going on as the psychosexual dynamics and spirituality of some members are so screwed up even in this day and age. Remember, it takes until middle age for their victims to come forward (those who survive until then), so this is not nearly over in the Church or for you.

I am not OK, I am strong, and I’ve only just begun to speak out about this horror in the universal Church that I love.

I will support victims in their healing journey and urge survivors to speak out for themselves and others. My agenda is broad and fueled by the fire of intense love. There is a place for clergy and religious in the Churches, but only when purged of this disease and transformed. Only then should we sit for that comfortable cup of tea.

MEDIATION? RESTORATIVE JUSTICE?

•September 19, 2020 • 1 Comment

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Well, here we are in September in the horrendous year 2020. What a year! Last Spring, I honestly did not think I would be here long, I was so very ill. It was a life-changing illness for me, particularly at its worst and in its turning as I began to heal. That said, I am here and renewed my commitment to speak out about the horror of sexual abuse and what it does to victims for a lifetime.

I decided to file a lawsuit in NY State court when NY finally opened a year’s window for sexual abuse cases that were previously blocked by the statute of limitations. The Catholic Church fought the change of the law, but despite what they want, the hierarchy do not rule the world any more. So I filed a suit against the Sisters of Mercy and the Diocese of Brooklyn who owned Mater Christi Diocesan High School, to which my parents paid tuition to have me safely taught by the Sisters of Mercy. They paid for a safe environment from 8:30 to well past 5 each day with after school clubs. It proved not very safe for me…

The Sisters of Mercy have indicated they are interested in going through mediation process. I prayed long and hard about that. (I’ve been praying to Catherine McAuley for 38 years, at her grave and on her prie-dieu, for guidance and healing about all of this.) Finally, I agreed and so we will be meeting with a mediator in October.

Mediation is a funny thing. I think it means different things to different people. For me it is all about RESTORATIVE JUSTICE–and I come to that concept from my study of Irish Brehon Law, which was not about punishment but the survival of the clan. The clan can only survive when there is healing, restitution, and harmony. Some of that resembles what our American courts do with law suits, but the spirit of it is far different than the cold legalism we so often read about. Irish law recognized the worth and value of material items, and the value of the individual harmed, and how that harm affected the individual until restitution was made–restitution for all that was lost due to the crime or injury s/he suffered. From Brehon Law the Church, the early Irish monks, developed the famous IRISH PENITENTIALS which they used to help sinners transform their lives with the disciplines that were most helpful. They were not about punishment but, like the old Brehon Law, they were about re-establishing harmony between the sinner and God, the sinner and the individual s/he harmed, and so, harmony within the Christian community (the clan). Those Penitentials were brilliant until they became legal bullwhips in the hands of Roman priests to punish sinners, with little regard for personal transformation based on love, rather than fear–much as the Roman Caesars understood law and discipline based upon fear of punishment. The Church took over where Caesar left off and ruled by fear.

So, mediation, in my universe, is about restoration. The Sacrament of Penance also expects restitution and not merely mea culpa from the penitent. Restitution is a mighty word, because only the victim truly knows the harm done to his or her life. So we will see where mediation goes, and if Christ is present or not, or if we will find him in a courtroom down the road.

Anyway, given my unexpected lease on life this year, I have recommitted to all that is important to me, to my daughter, to my Church, and to other victims of sexual abuse by nuns, who feel as though they are alone in this world of horrendous abuse by clergy and religious sisters and brothers–that crew vowed to Chastity and Chaste Celibacy! THEY ARE NO LONGER ALONE!

Our support group members are faithful friends who are present to one another, and each week Mary Dispenza of SNAP hears from more victim/survivors who thought they were alone. So, we are there for one another, sharing our collective experience of survival, and the continuous experience of sisters and nuns simply not caring enough to deal with this issue with transparency, Charity and justice. So now we will take a more public path introducing others to the reality of sexual abuse by nuns/sisters, and the harm done to the holy innocents, the People of God.

The sisters can step up to the plate and do the right thing in the restorative process, or be humiliated as the People of God see them hide in their glass houses casting aspersions on the clergy abuse crisis mishandled so long by bishops. Either way, we are now speaking out in personal interviews.

If you’d like to hear those interviews, you can click here to go to the video page of AbuseByNuns.org/videos and as each interview is completed it will be uploaded and circulated to the media. Why? Well, because:

“…Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild…”
(Yeats)

Name the names! Protect the children, youth, and vulnerable adults from predatory sisters and nuns.

What About Victims Who Are Nuns and Clergy?

•March 28, 2021 • Leave a Comment

I read an old aritice today that struck me as very, very sad. It was on Bishops Accountability about a priest victim who committed suicide years ago. It caused me to remember those adults who committed suicide because of mistreatment by priests, stories I’ve heard for years from priests and women in GOOD TIDINGS MINISTRY. Heart-broken, guilt-ridden priests who committed suicide because of feeling trapped by conscience–not by God but by guilt laid upon them by bishops or their own mothers, or sisters, biddies who lived vicarious “pure” lives through their “celibate” priest sons or brothers.

The article, “Behind A Priest’s Suicide” can be read on Bishop’s Accountability (which site is worth a thorough reading as a wake-up call to Catholics and all citizens who want to know how their money is spent by the Church in addition to the good works of helping the needy). The article left me sad and thinking NOT merely of this poor victimized priest and other priests who had actually fallen in love and wanted to gain the courage to leave canonical ministry to marry, or care for their infant children, but were imprisoned by abuse of “spiritual power” and family who controlled with guilt. Some grew old, lonely and miserable, resented by their own grown children whom they ignored for a lifetime, or hated by those who knew their double lives but who did not comprehend the guilt, shame, and pressure they lived with for a lifetime. NOT ALL were evil men; some were truly men of weak will who could not muster up the words “SCREW YOU” to those controlling them.

But today, I thought of the religious who are trapped now, by age, guilt, confusion, or fear of decisions that might help them grow stronger. It is not easy ever, and especially after a lifetime of living in a convent or monastic environment to step out of silence, to own one’s life, and speak one’s truth. One’s truth when one has been a victim of sexual abuse is a heavy cross at any age, and often heavier as one ages, alone in one’s own mind, heart, and soul. Have mercy on the sisters, especially the elderly sisters who carry these crosses, and are totally dependent upon their religous communities today as they live this stage of life.

Those of us who are “free” to address this topic publicly, who really don’t give a shite what the Church or religious orders think of our determination to be public, need to remember this: Victims of clergy and religious sexual abuse are among the laity AND the clergy/religious. Both suffer. Some have family support. Those within religious life or priesthood who have grown old, now with little family left, experience no choice of where to go, where to live, or whom they can trust! Having tried to live a life faithful to their vows, they grow old alone in a Church and a religious community they have loved and served in humility with all the wounds and scars sexual abuse causes all victims.

Most victim/survivors do not repeat the cycle of abuse regardless of their life or career choices. Many are pressured by family, Church, society, or even well-meaning friends into a lifetime of silence. “Get over it,” they are told by those who can’t or won’t deal with the uncomfortable reality, or those who themselves may be victims, OR perhaps secret abusers in one’s family or circle. Having lived in religious life among good sisters, having known good priests (and married the best), I have a soft heart for the forgotten victims among the clergy and religious. The superiors and hierarchy forget or ignore the fact that protecting the corporate structure of the Church or religious orders is not the prime directive.

It is up to the entire Church, the PEOPLE OF GOD, to demand purging. The perceived power is so out of the hands of the laity, it can only be forced by laws and courts, which is why bishops pour millions into lobbyists to preserve their power. That leaves the laity generally only with civil options to lobby civil representatives and to donate to private charities for the poor rather than collection plates. The choice to allow abuse of power really does come down to saying “no more” and putting $ where our mouths are.

It sometimes is the only way to love the Church–by being the Church and not letting the hierarchy or the religious think they own it. It is a choice the laity have and can make if they care to do so, if they care about their children, or perhaps their own quietly suffering parents, siblings, or friends. It is up to us to care about and love all victims, those in religious life, as well as those who are not.

Happy Birthday, Catherine McAuley

•September 29, 2020 • Leave a Comment

These posts were on Facebook today, the day I was told the Sisters of Mercy would not attend the MEDIATION that they suggested we have to address the sexual abuse and rape by one one of their members, Sister Juanita Barto. I prayed to Mother McAuley as I have all these years about this.

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Happy Birthday, Catherine McAuley! On this day in 1778, Mother Catherine McAuley was born in Dublin, Ireland.Her rich legacy of Mercy now spans the globe and lives on 242 years after her birth.#MakeMercyReal

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

SteemScappodtmloedmbeShSsr 20n at nstclhSg7:so15regdl PdMt  · “All Sisters of Mercy trace their roots to one woman – their founder, Catherine McAuley. Catherine, an Irish Catholic woman in the 19th century, was determined that she and women like her could make a difference in others’ lives. And what a difference she made!”—Join us this Mercy Week (September 20th—September 27th) as we showcase and celebrate the many ways Catherine McAuley’s life and spirit continue to inspire #ActsofService and #WorksofMercy all across the globe.

It all gave me a very sick feeling as it twisted my gut. If only they cared how sexual abuse by their own affects victims for their entire lives. If only they got it, rather than live in denial of the grievous harm done. That word GRIEVOUS is accurate when remembering Roman Catholic teaching on sin… This is all so terribly disgusting for the victims, the community and the Church.

Today’s scripture reading after getting a phone call from my attorney telling me the sisters would have no representative at mediation other than their attorney–that they would not face me in human form:

Galatians 2:15-21

Jews and Gentiles Are Saved by Faith

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is justified[a] not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.[b] And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ,[c] and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. 17 But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,[d] who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification[e] comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Happy Birthday, Catherine McAuley. May your sisters remember Mercy shown through RESTORATIVE JUSTICE when it hits home.


AbusedByNuns.org

Listen to the Silence

•November 29, 2019 • Leave a Comment

If the average person, or in particular the average Catholic, thinks things have changed regarding sexual abuse and the treatment of victims, especially by female religious, that person is in for the rude awakening of reality.

This article fron the National Catholic Reporter: addresses the topic and some changes in the clerical culture but does not address the continued silence and apathy among nuns regarding what they have done and what they KNOW has gone om in their ranks over the years they have had more control of children than any priests ever had! This kettle is boiling and the lid is rattling but the nuns are ignoring it and trusting the lid will stay on, maintaining the veneer of sanctity and the image that they are indeed the bastions of purity they present themselves to be.

Here is the NCR article:

Thomas Doyle traces the disintegration of clerical/hierarchical culture

And Tom’s own entire talk can be downloaded from her to read: Tom Doyle’s Talk

Mary Dispenza, of SNAP, addresses this silence here:

The Hidden World of Abusive Catholic Nuns

Just keep in mind, the nuns are keeping a low profile with this topic for a very deliberate reason. Don’t be fooled. Anyone who has raised children or dogs knows that silence is a curious sign that something’s up and needs to be examined. I’ve raised many children and many dogs, and I know the signs. I also know exactly what nuns are hiding.

Protect your children!

More Ecclesiastical Bull

•October 9, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Recent article in The Tablet

___________

The above BS applies to abuse by both priests and religious sisters and brothers. Until the abusers are purged the exodus from the Roman Catholic Church will continue and we will NOT shut up.

Today as I sat with my attorney, still nauseated by the material I handed to him, which was given to me as a youth, a student in Mater Christi High School by Sister Mary Juanita Barto, I felt myself disgusted at what I suffered at her manipulative, controlling, aggressive, unbridled lust, and enraged that SHE complained to me,a student, how her love was rejected by Sister Mary Rita and she’d been called a lesbian and not allowed to remain in any convent as long as the other sisters. She cried her superiors kept transferring her! “Poor Sister,” thought 15 year old me. “MANIPULATIVE RAPIST,” thought 68 year old me as I read that old journal entry and handed it to my attorney. “THEY KNEW SHE WAS EMOTIONALLY AND SEXUALLY AGGRESSIVE AND IMMATURE, THE SAME 16 YEAR OLD THEY LET ENTER THE CONVENT WHO NEVER MATURED.”

Whose fault is it when the Church unleashes ephebophiles on youth and moves them around convent to convent, school to school, parish to parish? Whose fault is it when parents pay tuition for private Catholic school where they expect Catholic morality from sisters, brothers, priests? Whose fault is it when old women and men still sit nauseated, gut-twisted, haunted by memories of a youth raped away and emotionally and spiritually assaulted by a nun? Who had charge of this rapist my parents paid to care for my moral well-being and safety? Was it those “celibates” who were presented to us as sexually safe? Yeah…those frauds. So I again left my attorney’s office, feeling nauseated by the reality of my life and angry enough to commit again to NEVER SHUT UP.

And still, I call upon Catherine McAuley and those dead good sisters I knew to pray that the Sisters of Mercy might become the benchmark for other religious communities and for the clergy–the example for cleaning house once and for all. Get rid of your sexually immature members and rapists. Criminals are not more entitled to safe harbor than the innocent you serve! Vows are not excuses to keep them hidden, and unaccountable, and selfishly irresponsible until death takes them. THAT is neither Charity nor Mercy.

SHE LAUGHED AND BLAMED ME

•September 20, 2019 • 2 Comments

This story twists my gut into a rage…AGAIN:

VICTIMS AREN’T TO BLAME FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

I say again because when I turned to Attorney Steve Rubino in the early 90’s to represent me regarding the years of sexual abuse by Sister Juanita Barto he did so and presented my case to the Sisters of Mercy of Brooklyn. The community’s attorney told my attorney that when he told Juanita of my accusation she laughed..SHE LAUGHED, admitted it, and blamed me. She didn’t deny it but laughed and blamed me! The community’s attorney himself was appalled as he told my attorney.

Talking with Attny Rubino recently helped me, even as it hurt, just knowing I have been actively trying to process and heal since my teenage years. Looking through her letters made me retch and puke again after all these years, my gut still so twisted.

That ended it back then though, legally. New York State statute of limitations protected her ass even as once again she traumatized me in a way that has haunted me the next 26 years. I wished then, for the first time, that I had been strong enough as a girl to tell my father and mother, knowing they would have “taken care of her” back then. How I still wish that today. If it were my daughter I would have gone to jail, although now, at this age, I wonder if my Da would have killed her as he said he would do to anyone who’d ever hurt me, or not. I think I would if it were my daughter, if God didn’t restrain me.

I just wish I had told my parents. They would have believed me. My elderly mother did when I finally told her and it was she who suggested I reach out to Sister Mary Camille d’Arienzo for help after Mom read she was then superior general. “Go to her! She’s your friend! She can help you!” I listened to my mother but Mom was wrong. Although she had to have the community attorney confront Juanita, Sr Camille ignored me for 10 years until I rattled her cage again in the middle of the night, drunk in grief, sitting in my dead mother’s chair at my computer. My detailed desperate email got a personal response in just a few hours. There’s a reason victims drink…

Today I read this:

“I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”
– Maya Angelou, American poet (1928-2014)

I wish I had learned it a long time ago. Yet, even when I had the “drunken courage” to advocate for myself it didn’t really matter because civil law still protected a rapist nun and her community, and her community still protected her rather than me. SHE was the priority until the day she died. That is what “mercy” meant to the Sisters of Mercy.”

Well, I am not fucking drunk now. I am older and wiser and on fire. I am directing my rage.

Protect your kids. Please. I still am haunted that my daughter could be hurt by others. Protect your kids. Save them from this path.

VICTIMS AREN’T TO BLAME FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

SPIRITUAL ABUSE

•September 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This article is for members of ALL Faiths. It calls a spade a spade. Choose to call out abuse or become abusers by ignoring it, individually OR as a community.

This cuts so deeply into my broken heart that it takes my breath away.

Whom have I loved and trusted most in my life? It is only those whom I love and trust who have the power to hurt me, to crush my spirit, try to murder my soul, and break my heart.

Let me list, in chronological order from my earlist days, my greatest loves, all of whom were given to me by God:

1. My beautiful parents. They were truly holy in that earthy Irish Catholic way, real Christians to their core… no lace curtain BS, pushing their kids into priesthood OR religious life. No. “Holiness,” my father would remind me, when I finally entered the Sisters of Mercy, “was found in the family. Don’t go looking for it in the convent–bring it with you from home!”

My mother was a quiet mama bear until forced to roar as when Sister Mary Barbara in front of an entire quiet schoolyard of pupils, smacked me hard in the face and accused me of lying. Mom roared then and threatened Sister Mary Barbara with the same thing she gave out if she ever put a hand on me again. (I later took care of Sister Mary Barbara in her last days in a physical rehab on L.I. and we became good friends.)

Boy, do I miss my parents! They loved me unconditionally. Looking back, how I wish I’d told them about Sister Mary Juanita Barto! But I thought then that Dad (and Mom) would have killed her themselves, or made it happen. What Faith and strength I have I got from them and the Grace of God they shared by their love.

2. My grandparents. That will take a book… my Celtic Christian soul was nurtured by them and my parents. Celtic Christian before it was cool.

3. My brothers! My protectors! My dear friends. I cling to the memory of them.

4. The Sisters of Mercy! I had no greater desire than to serve God and the Church as a good sister… I still look to the foundress Mother Catherine McAuley as my heroine. Sister Mary Juanita knew all that because I confided it to her as one would to the big sister always wanted.

5. My blessed husband and best friend, Joe Grenier. No words can capture what we had those 40 years. Dad was right about holiness in the family.

6. Our beautiful daughter, our Roisín. I never knew such love until I felt her do a jig in my womb and then finally held her in my arms and watched her grow into a fine woman with a beautiful soul and a natural inclination towards the Divine she sees in creation since her earliest days wandering the woods. I made a promise the day she was born I would do everything I could to protect her from harm. Nobody would hurt her as I was hurt. It became a worry that haunts me still. I have to remind myself she has God and I am not God.

But…I would kill anyone who did to her what Sister Mary Juanita did to me. I loved and trusted the Sisters of Mercy and I was wrong to do so. Sister Mary Juanita Barto molested and raped and was left for years unsupervised and obsessed with me until I was strong enough to stop her, to make her leave me alone, despite her rage and spite.

Here, in this artcle on SPIRITUAL ABUSE, is what happens to victims as well as to communities when such profound trust is betrayed and here is why I will NEVER shut up about this. My old age will be dedicated to my daughter, to my Church community, and to support others who have also been raped by nuns and were left to live with shattered hearts and psyches while the sisters ignored the reality and protected abusers and rapists in their midst–for life.

PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. Don’t grow into old age only to hear from your adult child s/he was raped by a trusted teacher in a school where you paid $tuition$ for moral and religious education and good example..safe from the world!

“Be sober and watchful for your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour.” (1Peter 5:8)

“What Is Spiritual Abuse?

The Fiduciary Trust

•August 29, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This PA story about the abuse of boyscouts is horrendous.

No, it’s not about nuns but it is the SAME DYNAMIC regardless of gender.

What jumped out at me from this sad story was this truth:

“If anything encapsulates the situation, he said, it’s the following quote from Albert Einstein: ‘The world is a dangerous place to live — not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.'”

That last line is, in my experience (that of being sexually abused daily for years under the watchful eye of Catholic school teachers, sisters, and diocesan priests who ran the school and who ignored the fiduciary trust agreement between themselves and the paying trusting parents) is the crux of the issue of clerical sexual abuse. Whose job was it to protect the youth under their protection? Who agreed to be responsible for kids in school?

Aside from the obvious immorality of nuns who break their vows, not once in passing in a moment of weakness but in a continuous well-planned manipulation and grooming of youth that demands time and energy that cannot be missed by their superiors, there is a real question of who was paid to do what by my parents and other parents? My Mom did not work full time to afford Catholic school for my brothers and me expecting that those entrusted AND PAID to care for me from 8:30 AM to 3 or 4 or 5 PM daily with after school activities, for me to be raped by a nun under the immediate authority of her religious “superiors” AND the diocesan school principal who had the fiduciary trust into which my parents and the diocese and teachers/nuns entered AND for which my parents paid–to care for students in the Catholic tradition which publicly claimed vows of Chastity and obligations of celibacy implied those so obliged were “sexually safe” (as Richard Sipe, the former Benedictine/married priest psychologist expert witness for these situations put it). Oh Richard Sipe how I miss you and your support!

Yes moral issues are real albeit ignored by abusers and those who protect and thus enable them and other future abusers who know damn well they are part of the incestuous system of “sisters” who will keep the family secret and shame well-hidden in a motherhouse right up to an old-age home for nuns! Morals! I do not expect them from those in convents, and have not since I saw clearly the courtships and lowlife pschosexual immature dynamics while I was in novitiate. Little notes and candies left on pillows of aspirants like some perverted hotel hospitality, overt courtship of novices by professed sisters… the not-at-all-subtle sexual overtones in community room banter…

When I physically ran from the convent, on that Graced day I left, I had no clear understanding of all that was seared into my head by the experience both in school, then in the convent. It takes years to process the perverted abusive culture that presents itself mingled with those religious who are truly holy.

Grace builds on nature! So does EVIL! The broken nature of too many allowed to remain in religious life invited evil in, and the foolishness, stupidity, and sometimes the cycle of evil perversion allowed all this to blossom and ultimately destroy innocent youth entrusted to their care. That’s the immorality of it all.

I am here concerned with the fiduciary trust and the illegality of it all as citizens and their children are molested and raped without accountability from those entrusted with the care of not only souls but young bodies daily.

Does anyone else actually care, with Richard Sipe gone now?

BTW, a shout out to all those interested in my current discussions with my attorney who are following my blog and public statements about my life…and that of so many others who have been sexually abused by nuns and then hushed or ignored who are contacting me or SNAP reps about all this shite. A big wave to ye!

We’ve only just begun.

NEW YORK STATE CHILD VICTIMS ACT

•August 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Today New York State opens a one year legal window for victims of sexual abuse to present their truth.

If you have carried the cross of having been molested and/or raped in your childhood and youth, you have the opportunity to have your case addressed legally.

My strong suggestion is to get legal advice immediately!

There are victim advocates and attorneys listed as options on the website: www.abusedbynuns.org

Many have carried the secret cross of sexual abuse for a lifetime due to shame and fear. Most victims cannot face the horror of their reality until middle age, after trying to integrate the profound wounds into life simply to survive. Waiting has protected the abusers and the religious orders and bishops legally–AND THEY KNEW IT.

If you were sexually abused by a nun in NEW YORK STATE you now have an opportunity to deal with it as never before

If you have made it to this day, consider this without further delay:

TODAY IS YOUR DAY.

  • THERE ARE OTHER SURVIVORS WHO KNOW ABUSE BY NUNS IS REAL
  • YOU NEED NO LONGER BE ALONE.
  • CONTACT US CONFIDENTIALLY.

AbusedByNuns@gmail.com

This is time for spiritual healing and civil justice.

I pray for us all as I weep today.

 
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