I wore sacks for dresses, as did some
of the other girls.
The nuns had cut holes in the side for
my arms and one at the bottom, for our heads to go through .
I knew by wearing the sack that I had
I felt so unwanted, so unloved and like
The logo on the sack, which I wore, was.
Our clothes were changed once a month,
at St. Joseph's Orphanage.
My under pants, [Bloomers or Knickers
as the nuns called them,]
were very hard and stiff in the crotch.
I was sore and had a rash
which bleed a lot. I could not walk sometimes
with them, because they would cut into the tops of my thighs as well as my crotch.
If you have every heard about clothing
being so dirty, that it will stand up by itself, my under pants were. I could not wash them during the day time, only at
night. When I washed them, I would put
them on the pipes under the hand basins and they were gone the next morning, with dirty ones there instead.
I would have to wear them or none at
all. This is way I started to lay on them at night. Different sized clothing were handed out year after year, until they were
in a fit state to be mended.
POTATOES and ONIONS.
Between the age of 5 and 10 years at
St. Joseph's Orphanage and then again
at Nazareth House, late at night I would
pick potatoes and onions when they were ready. I would have to do this work if I was sick or not.
I am sure that this is the cause of all
my back trouble, I am having now.
work that I did was a mans job and I could not lift the big bags of potatoes, onions and the pots which I used for cooking.
But I still had to do the work.
would drag the sacks of potatoes along the ground and I got slapped across my face by Mother Euphrasia, or who ever was in
charge of us at that time.
Because I could not lift them.
We would get up at in
the morning to pick rotten apples and potatoes off the ground for A. J. White's pigs.
I had no shoes to wear while doing this work and I was very cold.
When Mother Euphrasia hit me, she would call me "Stubborn Shirley,
you're like your mother." There it goes again Mum!
Why do they always bring your name into it, when they are cruel to
I hate the name Shirley, they say it in such a hurtful way.
Mv name iS4 Ann!
Mother Euphrasia would clinch my fist then she would hold on to my
wrist. Then she would start to hit me across my face and my ears.
I could not stop her from doing this to me, even when I tried she
would hit me across my face, head and ears with her closed fist.
She broke my nose five times and burst my eardrums.
Mother Euphrasia also would pull me around by my ears.
She would slap me across my face, head and ears.
Mother Euphrasia would walk up behind me and slap me across my ears
-she then would get hold of my ears and pull me around
This was very painful. I couldn't get away from her. Even though she
was a big woman, I could never hear her coming up behind me.
Mother Euphrasia and Mother Agnes would come up behind me and pinch
on my arms.
The pinches were with the tips of their fmgernails and they would take pieces of my skin, off with their nails. It
was very painful and it bleed afterwards. We called these fly pinches.
I hated this. When they got a good hold of my skin, they would
walk around, while I was screaming and begging them to let me go.
I would grab hold of my arm and try to pull away nom them.
The worst thing about all of this was that I never knew when or were
she was going to sneak up behind me. I was always looking back, to see if she was there. Mother Euphrasia would come out nom
fear of the unknown was, when was she going to do it again and where was she waiting for me.
TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.
The nuns would tell me to turn the other cheek. And I would think
to myself, by the time the nuns had finished with me. I'd have no more cheeks left for me, to turn for them to slap again.
I worked in
the wash house at St. Joseph's Orphanage nom the age of five years. I couldn't
even reach up to open the door to the washing machine or dryers.
I burnt my
hands on the mangles all the time and my hands would get caught in the rollers, when I pulled the clothes though the mangles.
Whenever I was hurt or sad, I would sit on the lawn and make daisy
chains, then go to see Mary and Jesus. I would put one on Mary's head, she look so beautiful, then around her feet. Jesus
had his on his head and his hands,
as his hands were held out for me.
Mary and Jesus eyes would look at me as if they were showing me how
much they loved me. I always knew Mary and Jesus looked after me.
I must pick some daises for Mary and her baby Jesus. I go to church
and sit down at the foot of the statue of Mary and baby Jesus.
Little Jesus had his arms out for me.
1 look up at her and asked her to be my Mother too,
that 1 will look after baby Jesus, for 1 will be his sister and love
him. 1 asked her to look after me and to help me when 1 need her.
take me. 1 hurt so much. 1 need you to love me."
"What is wrong with me that 1 should be hated like this?"
"Jesus ! You hold out your hands for me."
" 1 am here for you. I will come every day."
"I feel safe here. No one can harm me."
1 have to go now, I hope none of the nuns are around when 1 leave.
Good-bye Mary and Jesus.
"Do 1 see a tear- on your cheek for me?"
Please do not cry for me. 1 don't want to see you sad.
1 will try to bear the pain for you, so as the nails in your hands
and feet, don't hurt you so much.
nuns told me that if I am bad, the nails go deeper into your hands and feet. I could not bear to see that happen to you.
1 will be good and do what ever the nuns tell me to do.
had to sleep on our backs, with our arms across our chest, in form of a cross, to
keep the devil away. I still do this, but on my side. A holy picture
of a guardian angel above our beds. Everyone has a guardian angel of their own. She sits on my right shoulder. She is there
all of the time, whether I am good or bad.
My guardian angel is in change of me.
guardian angel is right there with me, so is the devil. Sitting on my left shoulder, fighting with my good angel. My thoughts
have to be good all of the time,
so as my guardian angel wins. Then she puts a tick on her slat, she
has in her hand, for God. The more ticks she has, the closer I am to God.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION.
made my First Holy Communion one Sunday.
I had waited for this day for such a long time. I am at last going
to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. He will be within me.
I am going to feel safe at long last. But it didn't work that way.
The nuns still hit me.
Things never worked that way for me; I could not talk to anyone. I
just sat in a corner by myself. I felt I was nothing. I still am. I had no-one. I was alone. I was bad. I still am.
I was told that I have the devil in me. I still have. I will go to
hell when I die.
would go up to the altar rails, kneel down, then with my little hands clasped in front of me, and both my eyes closed as tight
as I could. So as I was not blinded by Jesus bright light, ifI should see him, while taking his holy body.
Then while walking back, the holy host got stuck up the roof of my
I could not touch him with my fingers. So when I was back in my seat.
Down would go my head into my hands and I would gentle move my tough
around the host, without bending it. Then I would swallow it.
As the mass
was about Jesus giving his life, for me, I would start to cry.
I was so upset, that someone whom I had never seen, had died for me,
so as I could live. It still gets to me and affects me the same way as it did, when I was a child.
me the mass and Easter, was the saddest part of my Catholic teaching. As soon as the priest holds up the host, then says,
"This is my body."
I can not hold back my tears. It makes me feel so sad.