I loved going to school,
the kind nun is my teacher. she is so sweet.
She is short and fat and looks
really great. Mother Francis of Rome.
She never had a bad word to say
to us. this is what all of the nuns should be like. They have sent her away.
Why do they do this to me? when
I need her so much.
I will never see her kind face
again. Good - bye kind lady.
It is late at night, we are all in bed.
There is a little red light on
in the room where there is a commode for us to go to the toilet. There is a little light coming towards me.
I would hide under the blanket so Mother Euphrasia would go past me. I thought that if she did
not see my face, she would not hurt me.
Oh no.! not for me again.!
I am pulled out of bed by my hair
and then my ears.
I am dragged down the stairs
to a big room were there are high windows. It is dark and so cold. I am only
in a nightdress. .
I never had a dressing gown or
slippers like some of the other girls,
I put it down to that I had no
parents to buy me any.
This room has no lights on.
"Why am I here at night by myself?"
There is someone out there. I can hear her. What is she going to do to me this time?
Each time the nuns did these horrid
things to me, I would asked Mary and Jesus to take me away.
"I have not being bad, Jesus!
Can you see me? If so take me before she hurts me again. If you leave me here, I know that I have not suffered enough for
"Please help me to bear the pain
There is something at the high windows. It is a man's face.
"What is he going to do to me?"
"I am scared Jesus, hide my face
with your hands so I can't see him."
He is still there. His face is
white. It looks as though his whole face wrinkles up like a rag. Now it is big again. I start to cry and then scream.
"I am sorry Jesus for letting
There is someone out there, the face has gone away. The door opens. "Who is there?"
I can't see for the light comes
into the room, from outside.
It is my kind nun, she has come
back for me.
She told me that Mother Euphrasia
did this to me so as I would not be like my mother. Mother Francis of Rome took
me to her bedroom for the rest of the night.
"You did hear me Jesus. You sent
my kind friend to help me."
She left the next day. There
was another convent up the road, which had the bad girls. [Mount
That was were she was, so I knew
from then on that she was not far away.
We are all taken down to the swimming
pool each day, not to swim but for punishment, because we wet our beds.
A big girl gets in the deep end
of the pool and then one at a time we are thrown into the water were the girl is waiting for us.
Each time that I come up, she
would push me down again.
We weren't allowed to help each
other or we would be punished again.
I did not know that this punishment
was because I wet my bed.
I always thought it was because
I could not swim.
I had to stand in front of the
dining room at breakfast time and wear my wet sheet on my head, while the other children ate their meal.
Which ever nun was with us at
she would help the big girls by
pushing us into the swimming pool. The nuns were the ones organizing the punishments.
WE were teased about the "Bogey Man" in the dark and this made me very frightened of getting out
of bed at night.
We had a mackintosh on our beds
with one sheet over it, then a sheet over us with one blanket. I remember being very cold all of the time, both day and night.
This went on every day until the age often years, when I left St. Joseph's.
PLAY - GROUND.
We were out on the swings one-day and a dog came, it was jumping up at me, so I climbed
up the chains of the swings. I was going higher and higher.
So when I saw the man talking
to the dog I came down. The man was the pig man. He started to chase me.
I ran into the convent were I
knew I was not allowed to be.
It was the only way I could get
away from this man.
There was no one to help me.
I saw a room with a piano in the corner, were a nun was sitting at it playing. I ran to her, she hid me behind
I knew then, that she was the
one nun I could go to. I gave her a hug.
She smiled at me. I felt a warm
glow go though me.
What was this feeling?
It made me feel so good. I loved
Mother Francis of
In the play ground there are tall trees all along the driveway, as well as climbing
roses, which grow over the archways.
I loved to climb to the tops of
the trees and look down on everyone.
I can hide up here too. If! stay
up here they can not get me.
The pig man has come. Did he see
me climb up here?
The birds flyaway whenever I move.
He can see me now, I have climbed
down to go to the toilet.
I start to ran, there is a big
ditch across the driveway which I have to jump over. I miss and fall down it, the pig man goes away.
Will he get help for me?
It is getting dark, I can hear
someone coming, they get me out.
My head is cut open again, I went to the hospital and stay there for a while. Why is it that the Doctor who has
seen me not help me, or do anything for me. Mother Francis would come to see me, just like the first time.
I still get bad headaches from
the fall and the cupboard which full on me.
The pain gets so
bad sometimes that I think my head and ears would burst open.
I have phoned the hospital in
Christchurch who have tried to get records a bout these two falls but they could
not fmd anything about me at all.
So if! didn't go to the hospital
when I fractured my skull, where was I sent to? The scar and the dent are still in the top of my head.
I was taken up to the grotto were
the nuns had wild rams, I was put in the paddock
with them. The rams chased me,
while Mother Euphrasia watched. I would run away and fall over and had to stay in the paddock. I was so scared.
Whenever I went to the fence and
start to climbed half way over,
Mother Euphrasia would push me
on to the bar-wire and start to slap me across my face. My hands would be covered in blood.
I had done no wrong. She kept
saying as always. It is because of what my mother had done, she had to do this to me. This would happen every Sunday afternoon,
when it was fine. We went for walks, over to the other convent, to pray at the grotto. [Mount Magdala.]
When we were locked in the broom
cupboard, the nuns told us that we had to stay there until the "Bogey Man" came for us.
I don't like the dark or my bedroom
door shut at night. When I go out by myself, I look behind me more than in front of me.
I could darn socks from the age
of five years.
If I left little holes in the
weaving of the darned socks, I was slapped across my face by Mother Euphrasia.
Between the age of five and ten
years, if ever a nun died.
We had to walk over to Mount Magdala
to keep vigil over the dead body, during the night. This was so scary.
There was a cloth under the coffm,
which went right down to the floor. The older girls would get under the coffin and make these terrible sounds.
We had to kiss the dead nun on her face and make a gard ofhonor down a long drive way with tall trees on each
We weren't allowed to move, talk
or make any noise. We just had to stand there. God help you if you fell over or went to sleep, you wouldn't see the light
of day. In other words you were beaten when you went back to St. Joseph's.