Before we swept the floors, we sprayed them with wet
tealeaves, which collected the dry dust. It really worked.
When we were little, we would slide around
with dusters under our hands and knees, to shine up the varnished floor boards. Which were so shinny, that you could see your face in it.
"Woe Betide," any children who didn't do as
they were told, or do the work which was expected of her. to do. Regardless of age. From early morning until late evening.
SHOES. BLISTERS and CORNS.
After trying on a pair of shoes for the fourth time and then told Sister Blandina that they were too small, she slapped
me across my face, then told me to put them on. My feet
were arched over and I could not walk properly in them. It was
a wonder we weren't all crippled for life, with some of the shoes, we wore. When I got to wear shoes, my feet had to be squeezed
into second hand ones, much too small. Which gave me agonizing blisters and corns. We also put paper inside our shoes, because of the holes in the souls of them.
We had new shoes on Fest of Christ the King. And what a long day that was. We started after from Nazareth House,
to walk to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
Stand four abreast, until every one was there
or at a certain time and then we walked around and around and around and around.
My feet were so sore. My corns and blisters were bleeding from the tight shoes and when I took my shoes off, my socks
were stuck with blood to my heels and toes. I hate wearing shoes. And every change I get, even going to town and to the shops,
I try to get out of wearing shoes.
of being so cold as a child, I suffered very bad chilblains. My fingers and toes would swell up with big red lumps. They were very itchy, split open and bleed a lot.
I find this very hard to write about, because of the pain upon pain that was inflicted on me at the same time my fingers
were already sore, painful and cut open with chilblains.
This did not stop Sister Blandina from hitting
me across my knuckles, with the side of the ruler. Each time that
I pulled my hand away, she would add more slaps on. She then would hold on to my fingers and hit them, I pulled away and screamed. I begged her not to hurt my chilblains. More slaps were added on.
Sister Blandina would then take my hand to
the front of her, while I was standing behind her, facing her back. She started to hit me on my sore fingers with the side
of the ruler again. I tried to pull away from her. I
hated this. My fingers would be bleeding.
Sister Blandina always put my hands on the
table to hit my fingers with the side of the ruler because I tried to pull away from her. She would get so mad at me and pull
my hair and hit me, I did not know what she wanted me to do or say. I was so muddle as to know what was wanted of me. I just
could not figure it out. She then would put my hand on the
table and keep on hitting my fingers, which were now cut open and bleeding, worst than the chilblains. I could not tell which
were the cuts from the ruler or chilblains. You can not image the pain I went though because of this.
This would happen every day at school, all
day long by Sister Blandina. I had to sit on a stool in front
of the class, in the corner of the classroom. With a big black pointed hat on my head, which had "Dunce" writing on it. The
girls were then told to laugh at me, call me names and criticize me about the way I talked. This is way I don't like meeting
or talking to people.
I would cut myself with a knife and a razor
blade, so I wouldn't have to go to school. I did this, because
I knew what was going to happen to me each day.
My education was not about learning, to gain
knowledge. My education was about fear. Most of us stayed in STD 6 for four years, as I did. I was hit with the side of the ruler on my knuckles, because I could not spell very good and I always
got my spelling wrong.
fingers were red and blue with big lumps on them. I could not hold my little bottle of milk, Because my fingers would be so
sore and cut open.
Blandina broke my nose in the play ground when she pushed my face against the wash house brick wall, my nose bleed so much
that day and I never went to see the Doctor.
There was ash felt on the driveway around the
back of Nazareth House with little grovel stones all over it, I had to get down on my knees and walk on my knees up and down
the driveway until Sister Blandina told me to stop. This was very painful and I had little gravel stone deed in the cuts which
I could not get out until they came off with the scab which was full of pus.
We were allowed to play against the wash house
walls as the windows had wire netting across them, so I never knew why Sister Blandina smashed my head against the brick wall.
She would come over and grab the back of my hair and start slamming my head against the wall. I don't know to this day why.
This happened when I played against the wash house brick wall.
Saturday morning at ten was our bath day. While
one girl was in the bath, two other girls would sit on the edge of the bath washing their feet.
Twenty or more girls would use the same water.
If you were at the end of the line the water
was cold and black. You could not have any more hot water or could you change the dirty black cold water.
older girls who helped to bath me, would put my head under the dirty water and hold me there. I would come up splattering
and out of breath.
Saturday was also the day we had to kneel down
on seats facing the wall. Sister Blandina would then come along and if we had holes in our socks, she would hit us were the
holes were and would then hit us with the side of the ruler on our knuckles. My fingers would be black and blue
Because I could darn. I was made to darn
the socks and was not allowed to cobble them, which I would do sometimes and I would be punished for it. Saturday night we changed our clothes and under pants each week. I would wash my pants and then lay on them that
night. they would be dry in the morning.
The girls who had parents went out for
the day each Sunday, then come back at . I
would wait for them to come back, one of them has some lolly. I asked her for one, she
says no and then she gives it to me. I can't take it now, for she has given me something
that she wants more for herself. I gave the lolly back to her and told her that, if she did not give me a lolly with a smile.
I did not want it.
This taught me not to ask for anything
from anyone again. It also made me feel good, Because I had learnt that it was better to give and make the girls happy. Than to ask for anything for myself.
Some of the girls were very upset when they
came back. I could not understand, why they were crying, after they had spent all day with their mother, and I had none. I
went up to them, put my arm around them and they told me that they had also seen their father, brothers and other sisters
I felt so upset for them and thought that I
was better off than them, because I had no one to upset me and tear me apart each Sunday, like they were every week.
I would think, why don't the parents
think of their children. If they could only see how they are hurting them, by leaving them here, in this Orphanage. I was always promising Mary and Jesus something, this was one of many.
If I ever got married and had children,
I would never leave them alone with anyone,or send them to a Catholic school. I would
tell Mary that my children's safety comes before any religion.
No one will ever take my children away from
me, and that I will never trust anyone to look after them. They will have all of my love, for as long as I live.
The missionaries came to see us three times a year and showed us photos of sick people, it was so terrible
how these monks dressed in a White long dress like clothing, with the little white buttons, down the front.
on about these horrible sores on these people with parts of their faces, hands and legs gone. The photos they showed us were
people in the last stages of Leprosy and we were told that if we did not give money to them , they would die.
ever they said to us only had one meaning and that it was us little children's fault if they died. The nuns knew how to make
you feel guilty and I did not have any money to give them.
We were given money to give to the Missionaries inAfrica. When I put the money
into the Black boy's hand and then pushed a lever at the back, his mouth would open up wide, and I watch the Black boy eat
my money. The little Black babies are flying around and crying in Limbo, because we don't give the Missionaries enough money
to get them Baptized. I would think, Well then, I will go over to Africa myself and Baptize them, then they
can fly with the Angels and Saints in Heaven. The little Black babies will be saved/
Whenever we got chewing gum we would share it. We would all have a turn of chewing the same piece of gum for hours
on end. We would put the chewing gum on our bedpost at night and the next day when I took
it off, The paint would come off with the chewing gum. I would take the paint off it and
then start to chew the gum again and then we would start to share it again.
Every so often I would go to the senior girls room for one purpose only and that was for some sugar.
I would take two teaspoons of sugar and let it melt on my tongue. When it had all melted.
I would, as slow as I could swallow all the warm sugary liquid. I did this because it
made me feel warm all over for a couple of minutes. I would forget that I was cold for
a while. I would hate to think what would have happened to me if I got caught taking that
the dining room there were long tables girls sat at each one. The
table I sat at, some of the older girls fight with knives and eat my food.
I am glad that they did not like milk,
for if they did, I would not have anything to eat. We had bread and dripping everyday, the fat was cold and hard. It stayed in my mouth for ages afterwards.
Ifwe didn't eat this, we wouldn't have anything
else to eat.
I could knit from the age of seven years, it was hard at first with my two rusty nails. When I was older I knitted
up a jumper in rib, with every colour of the rainbow and more. The nuns took it off me and gave it to one of the other girls.
I see it on her and don't have any hard words with her.
It is her's now and she looks good in it.
"What can I do so it won't be taken off me?" So I took up embroidery. I was good
at it and I liked it.
The nuns took it away when I had finished
it, but I did not mind. Because I knew that nothing that I did for myself was mine to keep. It was lent to me, even if I paid for it.
We were lucky if we ever saw an apple. If we
did I would eat mine very fast so no one would take it off me. Or I would eat it as slow as I could so it would last a long
time. I did not like to eat the core so the girls would sit around me, waiting for me to finish it, as they would eat the
whole apple, core and all. Who ever I gave my core to, would follow me around everywhere.
I never once saw or ate an orange or banana,
at St. Joseph's or Nazareth house.
was when I worked ID the kitchen when I was 12 to 15 school hours and then 15 to 19years old full time. Sister Simeon hit me until I left when I was 19years old.
I preserved fruit in the summer time from early
morning to late at night with no time off, this was very hard hot work, a lady would come to Nazareth House to help me. Apples,
Peaches, Pears, Apricots, Quinces, Nectarines, and Plums, I also made the jams and the one I made up was banana and rhubarb,
I never ate the fruit I preserved it was for the nuns, old ladies, men and the babies. The jams the nuns ate.
I also preserved eggs in the big kerosene tins
and if one egg went off it set the whole lot of them off and I was the one who got the blame for this and I would be beaten
again by Sister Simeon. With the preserved eggs I made up a liquid with boiling water then when it was cold I would put the
eggs into the kerosene tins with a spoon, the eggs had to be perfect without a spot or crake on them. These eggs were the
When I was 12yeas old I had to kill the hens
and then pluck and clean them, my fingers and hands had cuts all over them and they would fester and get swollen and still
I did not go to see the doctor, I had to keep working and cooking with my sore hands. I could not stop or I would be beaten
over my sore fingers again.
one ever said sorry to me or say, here is plaster for your hands.
The work was all the same from one day to the
next, but on Sundays and fest days I worked longer hours on that day as well as the day before preparing all the food so as
I had the jellies, custard and all the cold meals ready for the next day, I cooked the hams which I based with mustard and
pineapples the day before.
Sister Simeon had a flower garden beside the
vegetable shed and opposite the old men's dinning room. I ask to do her garden because I though that if I did something that
she like she would leave me alone and not thrash me any more. But for me it did not work, I tried so hard to make the nuns
like me, but they didn't.
While I was busy pulling the weeds out and
making sure that no flower plant was pulled out with the weeds and then whack across the back of my head would come a stick,
again and again and again, with no stopping or brakes in-between. All I would do was put my hands up to take the blows. God
I was 19years old and I could not defend myself. Why did they treat me like this. I am dead scared of the nuns/priest.
Sister Simeon had no heart or feelings at all,
it was as if some evil force took over her as she lash out at me getting more strength as she kept on thrashing me, with me
wondering when she would stop.
RUN -A- WAY.
November 1997, in Christchurch, Patsy Olley told me that I ran away
when I was young to Wellington and was a hero.
I do not remember about this. How did I get a train to Lyttelton and then a boat to Wellington
by myself. I had no money. She told me that I was away for a week. How and where I don't
know? I do know that Frances, Pam and me ran away to see Mother Francis at MountMadgala. I was put over the bed that night and thrashed by the nuns.
A nurse came once a year to examine us.
We are all lined up with just our under pants and singlets. It is very cold. When it is
my turn to see the nurse, she looks down my pants and then she lefts my singlets up to look at my chest. I guess it was to see if we had developed our breast and if any pubic hair had grown.
girls who got put over the bed the night before, as well as any girls who had being beaten or thrashed were not allowed to
see the nurse, by the nuns.
I remember when I first got my period.
I was on the toilet and saw all of the blood. What is this? I have cut myself. I am going to die and I started to cry. I went to one of the nuns and told her about the blood. She gave me some rags. They were four thickness
and sown up. We made our own pads after that. We had to leave them in a bucket of water
in a little room by the toilets. We took turns each week to wash them.
I can not explain how disgusting and
revolting this was. I would open the door to this room and the smell was repulsive. We never had pads like they have today. We were not allowed to use Tampax, because the nuns said that
virgin girls do not use that sort of thing.
DO UNTO OTHERS.
words to my children were. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "If you can not say anything nice to people,
don't say anything."
"If telling the truth to your friends will
hurt them and you know that it will make them very upset and resentful towards you. Don't tell them."
"Is it not better to see a smile from a friend,
than a knife in your back from a lost one."
PLAY - ROOM.
The older girls at Nazareth House would form
a circle around me, then one of them would start to swing me around by my hair. She would throw me against the walls. They
would take turns in swinging me around. They would do this again and again. There was always a nun by the door watching them
do this to me, as well as to some of the other girls. The nuns did not stop it, they did not help me.