I found my family in March 1993 and started to write
to my brother John. Then eight months later I lost my first born and only son. My son ROBBIE. My world fell apart. I could
not write to my brothers and sisters anymore, as it was a punishment from GOD for finding them.
That is why he took my son Robbie away from me. I found out that I have four sisters and two brothers. I am frightened
that if I start to get to know my family, they also will be taken away from me.
I can not go through the pain of losing my family.Just like when
I lost my son, Robbie. As well as a child, what ever I had was ripped from my hands. My
cowboy doll was the only thing that I ever had.
I feel as though I don't belong to anyone and
that I am nothing. Robbie was killed coming home after work, at
6/30 in the morning, after working 75 hours of work at the weekend. He fall asleep at the wheel of his car.
My son was just 27years old.
PAIN. FEAR and FEELINGS.
It is as if! go numb when they are hurting
and hitting me now. The nuns hurt me outwardly but my heart won't give in. "What do they want from me?"
I have nothing to give, but my thoughts.
" Jesus can you hear my thoughts?" " I know you are everywhere."
" Am I really bad like they say I am?" " If so please
help me to be good."
I ever be happy?"
I am sure that any person, who as a child knows what fear for
another person is like. To me, fear is not being able to do anything to protect yourself from being abused. Mentally, Physical,
Molested, Verbal abuse, Emotionally and Rape.
I could not do anything to help myself from
I felt so helpless. I did not know what to
How do I get help when I was a child and no
one took any notice of me?
How could I get help from the same people who
were doing these horrible things to me? I was a child in their care.
It made me feel like giving up, but what can I give up.
When I have nothing to give, but by life. I could not go anywhere for help. I went to
the police, but they would take me back toNazareth House. The police did not help me. I had no one.
No kind word did I hear.
No thank you for the work I had done.
No Birthday or Christmas present did I get.
If I did get some thing it was ripped from my hands. I
felt as though, I was not allowed to have anything for myself. It was as if I was dirt and to be cast aside so no one could
see me. Because of this, I thought that I was an ugly child. I have seen photos of me as a little girl
in 1997 and I looked pretty and so tiny,
I did not know how to protect myself even when I was
in my 20s, but don't forget that I had no mind of my own and that the nuns/priest had me doing what ever they told me to do
and I never question them, I was so fearful of them all the time, that is why, even today I am ftighten to face the Nazareth
House nuns/priest, I will put all of my strength into facing them when I have to and hope to god I do not let myself down.
Because I want so much to confront the Nazareth House nuns, they were the ones who did the worse of the abuse because they
kept the abuse going on though out my teenage years and into my 20s up to 25years old and if you ask me each time I see them,
they belittle me. I just stand there and take it, as though I am a child.
I thought that I was put on this earth to be a Martyr
I tried not to cry and to think of the nails going
in to Jesus hands and feet.
The nuns told me that I had the devil in me
That I well go to hell when I die. That I would burn
in hell. I did no wrong. When I got the chickenpox, the nuns said that it was the devil coming out of me. I always thought
that it was wrong to like someone. I felt like this because of the cruelty shown to me,
when I was a child. I have no faith in myself. I can't get close to anyone. As soon as I get to know someone I take off.
I can get lost in a crowed, but one on one, I can
I find it very hard to talk to people. I feel useless.
WHAT I FEEL TODAY.
You had taken my life from me, my innocence of my childhood
had gone. You have taken my motherhood from me, you have taken my children away from me, you have taken my grandchildren.
You have striped me of my love I should have for my family. I have no love in my life because of your hatred towards me for
the first 24 years of my life, I do not know how to love. You taught me that god was all hate and to be feared. No love was
shown to me just hate, abuse and cruel hard words.
My life was stolen from me at Nazareth House My mind
was taken from me as well as my soul. It was as if I was not there most of the time I was put down so much, called a simpleton,
I would stand in one stop and could not talk to a soul, while the nuns hit me to try to get me to talk,
made me open for more and more abuse by the nuns, because it was the only way I knew how to take all of the pain which I would
I can not explain to you how fearful I was of the
nuns and priest, that when I heard the nuns rosary beads before even seeing the nuns, I would wet my pants and cry. No one
will ever know how frighten I was, I would go numb within and not think of any thing, my mind was blank and I would hide from
the nuns for I though if they could not see me they would not hit me The only way I could hide was by hiding behind the other
girls, I knew that I was going to be striped and dragged across the bed and thrashed to get the devil and my mothers sins
out of me.
never forget what the nuns did to me, my life was hell and I have nothing to show for it. I am what the nuns have always told
me, I was as a child, dumb, stupid, sinful, simpleton with the devil in me, so believing all that the nuns had told me, is
how I have lived my life, not knowing any better. I hate myself for not helping my children,
I have let them down so much
I try as hard as I can to think of myself as an equal to another
person but I still feel that I am beneath everyone. I still let everyone walk all over
me, or I walk away and say nothing. I have not yet gone forward. I am not strong enough to go it alone or to stand up for myself. Deep down
it feels so wrong. I'm trying to be someone I'm not.
I always thought that I had no rights as a person, when
I was a child and also a teenager and an adult in the two orphanage. I was told day after
day that I was stupid, dumb, good for nothing and bad The nuns also called me simpleton and that I was dumb, stupid and I
was bad like my mother and that I had bad blood in me and I had the devil in me. I believed it. I never knew anything else.
The nuns were in charge of me and to me, what they
said or did was right. They were doing God's work. I always feared anyone in authority. I would stand there and not say a word.
Still I feel that I was in the wrong and when the nuns punished me
I was bad and had done something that I should not have done and therefore had to be punished.
Being in the wrong was the first thing I would think of, whenever
I was called out to see someone. I then had this fear for the other person and could not talk to them. My mind would go blank
and it still does today when I have to stand up for myself.
The nuns had taken so much away from me, beside my freedom. They took
my Innocence, Laughter and Love. The nuns had got every part of my life and my being. I will never be free of what happened
to me. They destroyed my childhood and my teenage years, right up to the age of twenty-four years My family links were non
I am a long way from that frightened little girl, but it is still
hurting me again and again. I have gone over it, how it had happened
and if I could have stopped it. I now know, that I could never had stopped, the Hurt, the Hate, the Harsh Cruel Words, the
Beatings, the Pain, the Humiliation, the Fear and all of the abuse.
The nuns had control over me and treated me worse than you would treat
an animal The long term effects my childhood had on my life as a child and how it effects me now. The 1 st is fear of people.
I can not go out to see my friends. The loneliness of being at home all the time is killing me.
Not being able to talk to my children and to tell them how much I
love them. I feel awkward when I hug or kiss them. To me, it is wrong even to touch them. I hate myself because of this. I
have no self esteem, no faith in myself and I do not trust people.
I feel rejected and I am to blame for the brake up of my brothers
and sisters, because of me being born. I can not go to church, because when I see the priest I think of what the priest did
to me. I cry and walk out of the church. I did not bring my children up as Catholics or send them to a catholic school, because
of how I was treated as a child.
I have missed out watching my children making their First Holy Communion.
I have lived with this all of my live, not knowing who or how to tell
someone I could trust and who would listen to me. What the nuns said to me that night while they thrashed me will never leave
me. I don't know why they hit me all the time, they always said it was because I had my mothers sins in me and that they had
to get them out of me. I love my children and grandchildren dearly and it hurts me so much that when they become adults, I
seem to push them away from me, I can't help it.
Because of the lack of education it meant that I could not get any
jobs that would have given me a worthwhile or meaningful career. Because of this I could not help my children with their homework.
This made me feel useless and helpless, as it still does. I feel so bad about not helping my children. I can not get over
the fact that I did not dissevered the thrashings or punishments by the nuns and older girls.
Stuart Henderson, my Lawyer, was the first person I trusted to tell
about the sexual abuse of the priest and I told him all of it, in 2001. I don't know how he thinks of me, because of the dirt
I have told him about me. I know that he believed me and that alone has helped me.
When I told the priest about it, the priest who I spoke to, was the
Bishop's offsider at the mediations. It made me feel worst about myself because I could not tell the priest who sexual abuse
me to stop. It is so dirty and I feel so disgusting unclean,
I feel like a reject. No one wants me.
If only my life had being different, without the pain and torment
I am in now. No one will ever know the extent of my thoughts or my pain, how I feel, what I have being through because of
(Being born of a women out of wedlock)
You don't know how miserable I am.
I was told by one of the woman that she knew two of the five girls,
who molested me, when I was a little girl, at St. Joseph's.
She also knew about the three older ladies who sexual abused me in the nursery. I was shocked and said.
"So you all knew about it." I then walked away from everyone. I felt so degraded.
I was hurt and I was lost. It made me feel weak and sick.
How can I face people when I feel so bad inside? It still hurts me so very much.
I feel the pain, the hate, the fear and I hear the words.
WHY! WHY! MY GOD WHY! The words were so Cruel, Cold, and Harsh.
After the 60minutes program in 1997, we were given a 0800 number to ring and talk
to Sister Teresa. I rang her and talked to her for a while, then she phoned me up times after that. She then invited me to stay with her and the rest of the Sister in Auckland,
for the weekend.
My next door neighbour took me down on a Friday afternoon. Sister Teresa then took
me for a drive over looking ManakauCity.
We sat in her car talking about St. Joseph's and Nazareth House. How my childhood
had affected me then and how it was affecting me now. I was very upset and cried a lot. I told her that I do not blame the
Sisters of today. It was not Sister Teresa who did the terrible things to me. In the same weekend Sister Teresa read my poems,
book and the letters, that I had written to the nuns who had abused me. And also to my kind friend Mother Francis, which I
took with me. The sisters were very sympathetic towards me.
Sister Teresa read the book out loud and then she told me,
"Yes, the cruelty did happen to us."
I felt relief, as soon as she said that. It was as if a big burden that I had carried
around with me all these years, had lifted off me. That, at long last someone in the Roman Catholic Church said.
"Yes it did happen to me."
She also told me that she was about the same age as me and then she said that two
little girls growing up at the same time and living such different lives. I knew straight away what she was going to say next.
Her in a loving family home and me at St. Joseph's Orphanage and Nazareth House,
being cruelly treated the way I was. I told Sister Teresa that I can not go to church any more and that I will not have anything
to do with the Roman Catholic Church, because of the fear I have for it, or any other religion. I also told her that if I
do go to church I start to cry and that it all comes back to me. I am that little girl again and it won't go away.
At the time I told one of the nuns at St. Joseph's,
Sister Peter, in 1964 about what happened to me. She did nothing about it. She brushed it off and didn't want to know. All
she did was tell my husband that I was a "Deep" person and had to be treated carefully. This made me feel worse and confmned
fears that I was a bad person.
I was talking to my neighbour Ron Hackett,
who was in the police force, and I told him what happened to me.
He made all out effort to fmd my immediate family, which he did.
After I told Ron about some of the abuse in the orphanage, he was great.
He told me I was just a child and I wasn't in the wrong.
I thought the nuns would not have hit me if I wasn't bad. I certainly didn't realise
that there was any fault with the nuns and the church.
I still believed they had done nothing wrong at that stage.
Also after I told Ron what happened, I felt at that time I was like that little
child again, going through the punishment and abuse again and again. I told Ron and eventually Sue about what happened to
me because I was trying to get help for myself. My life was a mess. Nothing was ever right. At the time it looked as if I
might lose my family home to a mortgagee sale. I seemed to be doomed.
I went to the Miriam Centre (Sue Howden) to see if she could help me cope with
the stress and help me to save our home from the mortgagee sale. Sue was the ftrst person to try to convince me I was not
in the wrong. She spent much of my time with her telling me I was not in the wrong, it was not my fault, I was not bad. My
son was killed in a car crash in late 1993 and I still have not recovered from that.
I saw Colleen at the Miriam Centre in 1997. Colleen too, I found, tried to tell
me I was not to blame. She told me that I was a child and that I had done no wrong. I still find it hard to this day and asked
On 29 November 1997, there
was a St. Joseph's Orphanage reunion. I saw a girl Janice Spark who was at the
orphanage with me. We went to St. Joseph's Orphanage on a Sunday afternoon in
Christchurch. Originally we had planned to meet there and see if the place was
still the same. While we were there she told me we should sue for the treatment we were given by the nuns and she asked me
if I would join her.
I then got talking and the other woman told me that they knew of the abuse to me,
that had accrued. I was so disgusted, I just walked away at first. I waited until I returned to Whangarei and I went to see
my lawyer, Stuart Henderson. I wanted to see if what Janice had said was correct. I didn't know what to do about a legal claim
until I had come to see Stuart.
It was my conversation with Janice Sparks in 1997
at the reunion that made me realize I had being abused
by the nuns and that I could do something about it. I then realized that my current
problems with self esteem and my ability to interact with my children, were a direct link to how the nuns had treated me.
I left school at the age of 12 years old to work in the kitchen. It was not until
I was much older, did I start to get paid 2/6 a month. I did not have much schooling and I could not read or write very well.
I never knew what a family life was like until I was 24 years old after I married
my husband Brian and had our first child, Robert - [Robbie] 16 May 1966.
I was physically, mentally, verbally abused and molested. I lived my childhood life in fear all of the time. This abuse went
on until I was 24 years old. In October of 1966. I left Christchurch and came
up to Whangarei to live. We have lived in the same house since then, which is the only home I have ever lived in. - 39years.
1966 to 2003.
I had three miscarriages, between Robert and Joanne, I lost the babies at three months. Two years
after I left Christchurch our second child was born. Joanne, 15 - 9 - 1968. She was everything to me, my little delicate
dainty girl. With my two children and my husband Brian, I had everything that I ever wanted. And my life trom then on, would
be tree trom the pain of my early years.
No matter what I did, to try to forget about it all, it kept coming back. Like the time it took all
of my courage, to go to the tennis courts, which were at the bottom of Anzac Road,
where the Maori Marae is today. I went there three times, I was all right while I was playing tennis. Then after the game,
I would take off straight away. Once it came to talking to the other ladies, I couldn't go there any more. I could not talk
to them face to face. I use my husband and my children, to talk though to other people so as I don't have to talk to them
directly. It's so very hard even today. It takes everything out of me, after I have said that first hello.
If I had only known, that I could have got help for myself years ago, about what happened to me as
a child. I would have.
To go though what I went though, and then not to be able to do things, or to talk
to people, even to this day, because of my childhood hurts me something terrible. I have never been able to go anywhere or
do things by myself since then.
When I saw the 60 Minutes TV programme in 1997 it made no difference to my belief I had no rights.
It wasn't until I heard many of the other women at the reunion for the first time talk about the same things happening to
them as what happened to me. That I began to realise that this wasn't an isolated event.
suffering another four miscarriages all at three months. Seven in all. My little girl Rachel was born four and a half years
later. = 11 - 1 - 1973. She was my little tomboy and the youngest baby ever to wear nail polish. No one could keep Rachel
away trom horses, her love for animals is amazing. I guess she was like me in that way, she brought home all the strays she
could find, as well as picking up the dead birds, off the road. Rachel is an angel of mercy to all animals.
Then along came Bridget. 5 - 10 - 1980. She was cute and could rap us around her
little fingers. She also was a tomboy. She had the knack from a very early age, of naming every car she saw. Not only by sight,
but sound as well.
My four children are my life, they are the best thing to have ever happen to me,
as well as my husband Brian, who has stood by me though the years and the main thing was, he believed in what I told him,
about my childhood. He could not comprehend fully how adults could treat little babies and children this way. He said that
it was so unbelievable, that something like this could every happen.