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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:220
  • eBook ISBN:9780473222857

Say Sorry

A Harrowing Childhood In Catholic Orphanages

by Ann Thompson

Book Image Not Available
Overview

Conceived out of wedlock, Ann was just two months old when placed in the care of a Catholic orphanage. From the beginning, she was taught her mother was sinful and that she would be too unless the devil was beaten from her soul. She was sexually abused from an early age and forced to work long hours on the orphanage farm. At night, three or four nuns stripped Ann naked, tied her to the four posts of a bed and savagely attacked her with belts, hoops and sticks.

Description

Conceived out of wedlock, Ann was just two months old when placed in the care of a Catholic orphanage. From the beginning, she was taught her mother was sinful and that she would be too unless the devil was beaten from her soul. She was sexually abused from an early age and forced to work long hours on the orphanage farm. At night, three or four nuns performed the grisly ritual of stripping Ann naked, tying her to the four posts of a bed and savagely attacking her with belts, hoops and sticks. It would take more than sadistic nuns to quell Ann’s irrepressible spirit, however, and in the course of her virtual enslavement, she acquired the qualities of generosity, kindness and resilience. 'Say Sorry' documents the 19 years of abuse inflicted on Ann and the ongoing consequences. It is also the story of her battle to get authorities within the Catholic Church to accept responsibility for the past institutionalised abuse of young people in its care, and to admit - unconditionally - that there was wrong doing. The draw-dropping account ends with an expose on sexual abuse by Father Tom Doyle, JDC, DADC, a former Canon lawyer for the Vatican Embassy in Washington. Of Ann’s harrowing experience at the hands of Catholic clergy, he says it’s possibly the most brutal he’s ever encountered.

About the author

Ann was two and a half months old when placed in the care of Catholic Orphanage in 1941. Conceived out of wedlock, she was handed over to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and told her mother was dead. The sexual abuse she suffered from the age of two became more insidious, over the years, at the hands of further perpetrators, including a priest who spanked her over his knee having calculatedly raped her. As a child Ann was spirited, musically gifted, adventurous and mischievous. From the age of five, however, she was put to work on the orphanage farm, ever fearful of being whacked from behind by Mother Euphrasia. When Ann was relocated to Nazaraeth House as a ten-year-old, her schooling fell away because she was frequently taken out of class to help in the kitchen. As her spelling and reading lagged, the nuns accused her of being a simpleton. For years Ann understood herself to be stupid. The classroom it seemed was for clever girls who were worthy of an education. Those on the receiving end of the nun’s abuse were forbidden from talking to each other and forming friendships. In addition to feeling isolated, overworked and underfed Ann was ritualistically beaten. Night after night two or three nuns would strip her naked, tie her to the four posts of her bed and savagely attack her with belts, hoops and sticks. No amount of counselling has erased the psychological scars. The aftermath of the assaults continues to thwart Ann to the extent she still finds it hard to trust adults, especially women and priests. Ann believes the Catholic Church has a lot to answer for and it still troubles her that those in authority do not acknowledge the reign of terror some individuals habitually exercised over their child victims. It upsets her even more that the perpetrators got away with it. ‘How could they live with their consciences after what they did to us?’ she says. Years of seeking acknowledgement and a heartfelt apology for unmitigated abuse while in the ‘care’ of Catholic authorities has honed Ann’s insight and resilience. Her crusade to get authorities within the Catholic Church to accept responsibility for the past institutionalised abuse of children and young people in its care is entering its fourteenth year. She is committed to communicating truthfully about the abuse inflicted on her – and the ongoing consequences – until the powers that be within the Church acknowledge their culpability and admit, unconditionally, that there was wrongdoing.

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