Anne Squared

Life filtered through the lens of an INTJ, Mom, and healthcare professional.

Open a Window, My Brain Needs to Vent (or A House of Cards)

I try not to listen to the “popular” news but with a retiring pope, the election of a new one, a scandal or two related to the process, and now Easter week, people keep telling me about these things as though I might have an opinion or be interested in this information. I don’t. What it has done has turned up the heat in the attic, opened doors that released thoughts that have been swirling around my brain, and they will not go back where they belong. So, I will crack a window and let the heat carry my thoughts away. Many of the thoughts are not good ones, so be forewarned.

Catholic school, grades 1-8: Nuns in long black habits when I started. I loved my first grade teacher, Sister Richard Marie. I was smart, good, did not talk in class. I was trusted to deliver notes to the other classrooms – I did not betray the trust, I never read them. One day I delivered a note to the Pastor’s residence. Father insisted on showing me the residence. I didn’t like that idea – I had to get back to class. I knew better than to dilly-dally.

But he played 2 cards my 5-year-old self could not say “no” to: 1. “Don’t you trust me?” (Answer: “No I don’t.” But I was a good girl and that would not be right so I kept my mouth shut and nodded.) 2. “Do you want to see where Jesus lives?” Yes, that I did. He was talking about the tabernacle. He had one in his house. I was always bored during mass, but that Jesus lived in the tabernacle fascinated me. (Put in perspective, “I Dream of Jeannie” was on TV – and that is what my mind related this to.)

I hesitantly followed him up the stairs. The tabernacle was in his bedroom. He walked up to open it and it was locked. He told me I would need a key to open it. The key? Yep – in his underwear, underneath his priestly garb. As he was forcing my hand in to get the key, a classmate yelled my name – I was missing for so long someone was sent to find me. Terri was not a bashful child and she found her way to the doorway to witness the “event.”

We both turned and fled. She ran faster than I did, and by the time I returned to the school grounds, I was led to the front office and kept there for a long period. Finally I was met by four nuns and told that NOTHING had happened. Nothing. They heard the story from Terri and she was a known liar. They knew I was fine and the priest would never lie and I was not to repeat a word of what NEVER HAPPENED or I would BURN IN HELL. I was not to tell my parents anything about this incident. If I did, I would BURN IN HELL.

I may have been smart, I knew fact from fiction, but I was five years old.

When I asked a question at home, I was told “You are smart, you will figure it out.” My parents are avid/rabid Catholics. The only person I had any feeling of trust with was my first grade teacher and I learned I could not trust her anymore. I overheard her being told to do whatever it took to keep me calm and in line – my father was one of the major donors that kept the school doors open.

That was first grade. Layer one of the House of Cards.

As an adult I reported this to the diocese and insisted on an official investigation. My concern was not only for myself,but for the other girls that attended during the time I was there. (Small town, small school.) I wanted an investigation to prove that this happened, was covered by the school, and to provide assistance for those in need. An investigation proved the claim was valid, the priest dead of a fall from a ladder while drunk, and help extended to the women in need – 3 prostitutes, 2 with chronic mental illnesses, 3 high school drop-outs and almost all of us with subsequent traumatic abuse/rape issues. 3 of us graduated from college, 2 of us are related – my twisted Irish twin and me. None of us were unscathed. This man was there until we were in sixth grade. My sister has just started talking about it.

The new pastor? He got one of the nuns pregnant, so they eloped and got married.

And they want ME to go to confession. Seriously!?

Reality is stranger than fiction.

Categories: Lions, Tigers and Catholics, Oh my.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Thanks for stopping by to read and leave your thoughts. Religion and politics can be very sensitive subjects. I am disinterested in politics. Religion I have a few opinions on… Personally, I find any faith polarizing when it believes it is the only path to “heaven” “salvation” “eternity” or wherever the ultimate landing sight is. Catholicism, however, is polarizing to those who have been Catholic. For those not raised Catholic, there may be misconceptions about the faith, but it does not polarize you. (unless you meet my mother. then run. fast. really fast.)

    However, I respect that everyone has the right for everyone, even mom, to worship as they please. Just leave me in peace to practice my worship as I chose to do. (And family members may not attempt to coerce my offspring into any given faith. They may invite them to any service of any faith, but conversion is not acceptable.

  2. At my Unitarian church, we have people from so many backgrounds, including many Catholics. It seems like Catholicism is more ploarizing than many other denominations.

  3. I look forward to it in this case!

  4. Ouch. You are fearless, but it took you awhile to get here. I don’t know, between your family and your priest it’s a wonder you made it, but you did! Phew, it can only get better from here, I think.

  5. Thank you both reading. It means a great deal to me. I can easily advocate for others, and represent the truth on behalf of anyone – but when it comes to me … one person, alone … I have not been able to represent, advocate, or defend this her. I am learning to do that now. It is a difficult road and a difficult process, but if I am to show my daughter how to stand up for herself, I have to demonstrate those skills for her. There are millions of women worldwide I can advocate for, but if I can not advocate for myself, the full story will never be told.
    I recognize that the abuse women face, the terror, the rape, is worldwide.Developed and developing countries. If the young women can find the courage to speak out, then I must also.
    Enough for now, except a sincere thank you for your acknowledgement.

  6. You are a brave woman, for not only facing your past and bringing other allegations into light but for writing bout it as well. Inspiration for anyone else who has faced what you have. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Thanks! I think writing about it is the hardest part (or talking to others about it.) But getting it out is taking it out of my head is a good thing. I have felt so much shame because of it, and I have no reason to feel that way.

  7. Thank you for your courage and commitment to truth-telling.

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