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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
agree and disagree23 Mar 2009
M. J. Jewett
- Published on Amazon.com
yup, the previous commenter hit it on the head; Maria Monk was a liar and person of ill repute however step back and look at this book in a historical context. this is an important piece of anti-catholic propaganda literature from the 19th century. it shows what people were feeling back then; this book was written as a response to a revival of anti-catholic sentiment brought on by the Protestant faith. don't take it seriously (seriously i googled Maria Monk) apparently Ms. Monk wasn't right in the head and her editors took advantage of her inability to tell reality from fiction and had her write all of this in hopes of profiting off the anti-catholic feeling that was going around. Like Dracula, A study in scarlet, jane eyre and the pit and the pendulum, these novels were written as Gothic Literature and should be viewed as important to historical movements but not to be taken real seriously. it was a different world back then, the prejudice, sexism, racism and bigotry shown in these books was just how it was and how it is not now. take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the stupidity of it.
DID 19TH CENTURY PRIESTS AND NUNS SMOTHER THEIR ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN?7 Nov 2013
Steven H Propp
- Published on Amazon.com
Maria Monk (1816-1849) was a Canadian woman who claimed to have been a nun who had been sexually exploited in her convent. This 1836 book exists in numerous editions; I am reviewing the 173-page 1997 Random House paperback edition (which includes "The Cardiere Case"). (For more information about Monk, see the Introduction to Veil of Fear: Nineteenth-Century Convent Tales.)
She begins Chapter VIII with the statement, "I will now give from memory a general description of the interior of the Convent of Black Nuns... I may be inaccurate in some things... but I am willing to risk my credit for truth and sincerity on the general correspondence between my description and the way things are... The priests who read this book will acknowledge to themselves the truth of my description; he will, of course, deny it to the world, and probably exert themselves to destroy my credit."
She wrote of "priests of the Seminary adjoining ... were often admitted into the nunnery, and allowed to indulge in the greatest crimes, which they and others call virtues." (Pg. 26, Ch. VI) She mentions "a small sitting-room, where a priest waits to baptize the infants previous to their murder." (Pg. 40, Ch. VIII) She states, "the Superior would tell us that priests acted under the direct sanction of God, and COULD NOT sin. Of course, then, it could not be wrong to comply with any of their requests, because they could not demand anything but what was right." (Pg. 44, Ch. VIII)
She describes a lime pit, "that was the place where the infants were buried, after being murdered... I passed the spot.. with dreadful thoughts... about the little corpses which might be in that secret burying place... but with recollections also of the declarations which I had heard, about the favour done their souls in sending them direct to heaven, and the necessary virtue accompanying all the actions of the priests." (Pg. 48-49, Ch. IX) When one nun complained, "she would rather die than cause the murder of harmless babies," she was murdered: "when it was presumed that the sufferer had been smothered and crushed to death, Father Bonin and the nuns ceased to trample upon her, and stepped from the bed." (Pg. 63, Ch. 11)
She describes the procedure after baptism of the illegitimate infants: "one of the old nuns... pressed her hand upon the mouth and nose... so tight that it could not breathe, and in a few minutes... it was dead... The little bodies were then taken into the cellar, thrown into the pit I have mentioned, and covered with a quantity of lime." (Pg. 99-100; Ch. XVI)
Of penances, she wrote, "It was no uncommon thing for us to be required to drink the water in which the Superior had washed her feet. Sometimes we were required to brand ourselves with a hot iron, so as to leave scars; at other times, to whip our naked flesh with several small rods... until we drew blood... Sometimes we were obliged to sleep on the floor in the winter, with nothing over us but a single sheet; and sometimes to chew a piece of window glass to a fine powder, in the presence of the Superior. We had sometimes to wear a leathern belt stuck full of sharp metallic points, round our waists... bound so tight that they penetrated the flesh, and drew blood." (Pg. 114, Ch. XVII)
Well, you get the idea; this exercise in "religious pornography" has no reeeming features.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Save your money on this one.21 Sep 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Maria Monk turned out to be a homeless prostitute and con artist who was taken in by the nuns at this convent and provided with food, clothing and shelter. When it was discovered that she was stealing from the sisters during the day and still peddling her goods at night, she was kicked out of the convent. Monk rewarded the sister's generosity by trashing these nuns in her then famous novel. If you enjoy religious fiction, you can probably find this one at your local library. Save your money.