Speaking of nuns in crisis!

 

Only a few days ago, I had posted a message about a Catholic nun who was thrown into a tizzy by the changes of Vatican II. See here. I see that an independent film is being released today (on a limited basis) that shares a similar theme with, no doubt, a different outcome. “Novitiate” tells the tale of Cathleen (Margaret Qualley), a young Catholic woman who enters the nunnery in 1964. This is during the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), when the Catholic church was making drastic changes to its procedural window dressings. The Mother Superior (Melissa Leo) runs the nunnery like a Marine boot camp and tolerates nothing less than absolute submission and obedience. “Faith” for these young nuns is a grueling ladder, with each step hoped to be leading ever higher to “holiness” and merited salvation. Self-mortification is not only encouraged but demanded. As Vatican II eases some of the rigors of religious life, the Mother Superior and other nuns experience a jolting crisis of faith. Their self-identity is totally bound up in their order’s extreme asceticism. The council’s abrupt changes pull the chair completely out from underneath them.

As an ex-Catholic who grew up in the 1960s and attended parochial grammar school, I can attest to the significant changes wrought by Vatican II. The nuns’ garb changed from starched medieval habits to matronly jumper dresses. We had previously been taught that all Protestants were going to hell, which was changed to the teaching that those outside the church would be judged according to “the light they had been given.” Huh? The mass was said in English rather than Latin and guitars and religious folk songs replaced organs and hymns. These changes caused great consternation among the laity, but even more so among the religious. But despite all of these alterations in form, the major Catholic doctrines remained unchanged. Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit remained.

I understand that this film addresses lesbianism in Catholic convents to some degree (which would explain the R-rating). There are those who will find that off-putting, but the reality was that “celibate” convent life did foster sexual deviancy. The many autobiographies of ex-nuns published by Protestant publishing houses in the 19th and early-20th centuries lightly touched upon the sexual deviancy that was rampant in convents, but Catholic spokespersons at the time dismissed all the accounts as pure fiction. After decades of scandalous headlines, few would defend the notion that “chastity” was adhered to in convents, seminaries, and rectories. Those places were clearly hothouses for deviant immorality. I can remember back in 7th and 8th grade how one of our nuns, Sister Maryann, subtly introduced approbation of same-sex relationships into her English literature classes. One not-so-subtle example was the fiction novel she assigned over the summer following 7th grade that dealt with homosexuality. The nun was noticeably on the masculine side and appeared to us students to have an unusually close relationship with one of the other nuns. I was only a kid at the time, but I was no dummy.

“Novitiate” is being released today on a limited basis. It’s scheduled to open at Rochester’s home of artsy films, The Little Theater, on November 24th.

This post is not an endorsement of the film, because I obviously have not seen it yet. But I’m posting this as a heads-up for those who are curious about the doggedly militant brand of Catholicism that I grew up in the first ten years of my life. The attached trailer is not sensationalistic. This was the Catholicism I knew as a young boy.

In the film’s trailer, the distraught Mother Superior asks a poignant question:

“The church gave me my work, my community, even my identity, and now the church is trying to invalidate all that, saying none of it matters. So my question is, what is it that really does still matter?”

Ah, great question, Mother Superior! Excellent question! And sometimes in real life the Lord does have to pull the carpet out from under us in order to get our attention. Friends, religious legalism and ceremonial ritualism don’t matter, not even one small bit. None of us are good. None of us can merit Heaven. But Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Do you qualify? Repent of your sins and reach out to Him in prayer. Accept Him as your Savior by faith alone then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

I am a Catholic. Why should I consider becoming a Christian?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-Christian.html

Film Review: ‘Novitiate’
Film Review: ‘Novitiate’

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From a nun to a child of God!

Sister of Mercy: From Serving God to Knowing Him
By Wilma Sullivan
Emerald House Group, 1997, 80 pages

In this short book, former nun, Wilma Sullivan, testifies of her journey from being a Roman Catholic nun to salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Sullivan was born into a Catholic family and educated by the Sisters of Mercy at St. Agnes Catholic Grammar School in Towanda, Pennsylvania up until the sixth grade. The dedication of the nuns made a huge impression on her. Being an athletic girl, she chose to attend public schools from seventh through twelfth grades because of their superior sports programs and facilities, but continued with her CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) religious classes for Catholic children attending public schools. Sullivan desired to become a nun following high school, but fulfilled her father’s wish that she first go to college.

After graduating from a two-year college, Sullivan entered a Sisters of Mercy convent in 1967. Shortly afterwards, she was assigned to teach a second-grade class at a Catholic grammar school. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) brought many changes into the church including changes in religious orders. Nuns were given greater independence. Sullivan was disillusioned with what she saw as the disintegration of community life in her religious order and left the convent in 1971. But she remained faithful to the Catholic religion and volunteered for various assignments at two Catholic parishes.

During a hospital stay, Sullivan struck up a friendship with another patient, a born-again Christian. The two discussed spiritual matters often. Sullivan bought a Bible (her first) and attended weekly services at both the Catholic and the Baptist church of her friend. She eventually understood that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and accepted Christ as her Savior. After several months, Sullivan found that she could no longer continue to attend the Catholic church services because so many of the beliefs and practices were contrary to God’s Word, including the false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

For many years, Sullivan traveled across the country speaking to women’s groups about her journey from legalistic, institutional religion to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I enjoyed this short book quite a bit and read through it in only a couple of sittings. I was also taught by the Sisters of Mercy in Catholic grammar school. I praise the Lord that Sullivan accepted Christ as Savior and came out of Catholic legalism. Faithful Catholics and ecumenical evangelical Judases don’t know what to do with a testimony like Wilma Sullivan’s. If she is right, they are wrong and that just won’t do according to their way of thinking.

Order the Kindle edition of “Sister of Mercy” here.

Read a shorter version of Sullivan’s testimony here.

The death of one nun was just the tip of the iceberg

 

A new Netflix docu-series, “The Keepers,” premiers tomorrow, Friday, May 19th and it looks like something Christians may want to watch. I certainly will be.

The seven-part series focuses on the unsolved murder of a Catholic nun, Sister Catherine Cesnik, inKeep Baltimore, Maryland in 1969. One of the suspects was a priest, Father Joseph Maskell, a known sexual predator, who was shuffled from parish to parish by the church hierarchy. The documentary alleges that Maskell was abusing girls at the high school where Cesnik taught and she was attempting to expose him prior to her death.

It’s one thing to hear general information about the scandal of pedophilic and abusive priests and the subsequent cover-up by the church hierarchy. That’s bad enough. But it’s another thing to examine the personal aftermath of the abuse and cover-up in the lives of actual human beings with names and faces and in the lives of their families.

Catholicism has much to answer for, in regards to this scandal as well as for misleading its members with its false gospel. Not only were children, nuns, and young seminarians victimized by “celibate” sexual predators, but Catholics in general were and are being misled into believing they must merit their way into Heaven.

One-hundred-years ago, church spokespersons offhandedly dismissed accusations of abuse in Catholic schools, seminaries, convents, and rectories as “Protestant porn.” Now they’re keeping their mouths shut and wishing it would all just go away.


In Netflix’s “The Keepers,” a nun’s unsolved murder, a sexual abuse coverup and crumbling Vatican II hope
http://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2017/05/17/netflixs-keepers-nuns-unsolved-murder-sexual-abuse-coverup-and-crumbling

A nun in crisis!

Amen: The Autobiography of a Nunam
By Sister Jesme
Penguin Books, 2009, 178 pages

When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior back in 1983, my Catholic family thought I had joined a cult, but is there anything more cultish then a Catholic convent full of virginal “brides of Christ” replete with wedding rings?

In this book, Sister Jesme (her real name is Meamy Raphael), formerly of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel, tells of her journey into a convent in India in 1974 at the age of 17 and her departure in 2008. We learn of the rigorous disciplines of religious orders, lesbianism within the convent, sexual abuse by predatory female superiors and priests, and mostly, the difficulty of navigating the internecine political squabbles and factional warfare within the convent and religious order.

This was a difficult book to read for a couple of reasons. The translation is challenging at best. Also, Jesme’s accounts of her journey through Indian academia often focus on technicalities that will thoroughly bore the average reader. Negatives aside, those not acquainted with the routine and difficulties of convent life will find this book quite enlightening.

Jesme entered the convent with high hopes that her personal sacrifices would lead to a closer relationship with God. Instead, her rebelliousness and improprieties led to her being dismissed from her position as principal of a Catholic college and being pressured to receive treatment for mental illness. Jesme finally quit the order but remains a devoted Catholic.

Roman Catholics are taught by their church that salvation is through sacramental grace and merit. Catholics like Jesme struggle and struggle to please God and merit salvation through denial and trying to obey the Ten Commandments. There is absolutely no joy in Jesme’s story. It’s a heartbreaker. But God’s Word tells us of the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Get off the religious treadmill. Accept Christ as your Savior.

Postscript: Protestant literature of the 19th and early 20th century included many accounts of former nuns who had left or escaped the convent. Some of the details in those books of life in the nunneries could be described as mildly lurid. Catholic spokespersons dismissed the accounts as “Puritan pornography” but there’s no doubt that unnatural inclinations and behaviors festered in an environment of forced celibacy. These days, with reports of pedophile priests constantly in the news, Catholics are not so apt to casually dismiss reports of scandal and mistreatment within religious communities. See my review of “The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio” here. Many nuns endured an unhappy, and for some, a nightmarish existence, but remained in the convent because they felt they had no other options.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, convents were a normal part of the Catholic landscape. That’s no longer the case. The overall decline in the commitment of American Catholics to their church included a major drop in religious vocations for women. In 1965 there were 180,000 nuns but that number dropped to 50,000 in 2014 – a 72% decline over those 50 years. And most of the remaining nuns are quite elderly. According to church statistics, there are currently more nuns over age 90 than under age 60. Convents are now few and far between here in Rochester and everywhere else.

Behind convent doors

My Life in the ConventMYL
By Margaret Lisle Shepherd
Book and Bible House, 1946, 258 pages

Protestant books examining alleged abuse in Roman Catholic convents proliferated in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these books were written by ex-nuns. Catholic spokespersons naturally categorized these books as “Puritan pornography” and accused the authors of fraud.

An example of the genre is “My Life in the Convent” written by Margaret Lisle Shepherd (aka Sister Magdalene Adelaide), first published in 1892. As an English girl living in India, Shepherd learns from her dying mother that her deceased father was a Catholic priest. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree so years later, after she has returned to England, Shepherd herself succumbs to the advances of a determined priest. Father Egan abandons his vocation and the two enter into a common-law marriage, which produces a baby girl. Egan eventually regrets his decision and abandons his family to resume his religious calling. With no means of support, Shepherd turns to thievery. She is apprehended but it’s too late for the baby who dies from the effects of malnutrition. After a few detours, Shepherd ends up at the penitential Convent of St. Arno’s Court in Bristol, England. It’s already a difficult existence for the contrite nuns but Shepherd describes how priests ministering at the convent occasionally take advantage of their charges. After two years at the convent, Shepherd discovers a Protestant Bible and is shocked to discover the many differences between Scripture and Catholicism and decides to leave. She is given sanctuary by Salvation Army ministers and accepts Jesus Christ as her Savior. She journeys to Canada and the United States, giving her testimony on the Protestant lecture circuit and assisting Christian charitable organizations.

The book’s epilogue circumspectly alludes to the Loyal Women of American Liberty, which Shepherd founded in Boston in 1888. The LWAL was a semi-secret patriotic society which promoted nativism and Protestantism. An internet search of Shepherd and the LWAL revealed Chicago newspaper reports of the period alleging Shepherd’s “deceit and immorality” regarding her account of her previous years, leading to her resignation from the organization in 1891. She wrote this book as an answer to her growing number of Catholic critics. Shepherd continued on the lecture circuit but faced mounting opposition from Catholic groups. She was arrested in Columbus, Ohio in 1902 on charges of selling “lewd and obscene” books, disorderly conduct, and inciting to riot. All charges were dropped when she agreed to leave the city. Shepherd subsequently traveled to Australia where she continued her lectures on Romanism but soon found herself sick with cancer. Returning to the U.S., she died alone and penniless in a Detroit hospital in 1903 at the age of 43. I only hope she had genuinely accepted Christ as her Savior.

Reprints of “My Life in the Convent” were made available for many years. My 1946 edition was published by Book and Bible House owned by L. J. King, a passionate Protestant nativist. This book may have been slightly scandalous, “adults only,” reading in 1892 but it’s certainly quite tame by 2016 standards.

With the number of Catholic nuns rapidly declining since the 1960s, convents are becoming increasingly few and far between. But were some nuns scandalously abused and mistreated over the centuries as this book and many others claimed? There’s no doubt. The church’s mandatory celibacy discipline for its priests and nuns couldn’t erase their sexuality. Refer to the excellent “The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal” by prize-winning, German historian, Hubert Wolf. Wolf used documentation from the vaults of the Vatican’s very own Office of the Holy Inquisition (the name was changed to the much more PR-friendly “Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office”) for his research. See here for my review. For other verifiable examples of clerical turpitude one need only recall the headlines over the last thirty years dealing with predatory pedophile priests and the subsequent cover-up by the church hierarchy.

At my Catholic grammar school, I was taught by members of the Sisters of Mercy who lived in a convent adjacent to the school. I was very curious about those women who wore stiff, uncomfortable medieval habits and lived together in a strict community with hardly any connection to family. They wore wedding rings as a sign that they were virginal brides of Christ. People point to peculiarities of extreme religious sects, but is there anything more cultish than a convent full of nuns? These women were attempting to merit their salvation through great personal sacrifice and pious religious devotion. But in nine years of schooling, the sisters never once mentioned to us the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone as taught in God’s Word. Instead, they taught us the Catholic formula of salvation through the sacraments administered by the priests followed by obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. It was all about ritual, formalism, and religious legalism.

The nuns were not happy women. We students saw a side of them that our parents and adult parishioners were not privy to. There is no peace in religious striving. No one can possibly obey the Ten Commandments. The Law only condemns us as the sinners we are. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. He paid the penalty for your sins and He’s waiting for you to receive Him as Savior.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

20 Former Nuns Who Left Catholicism and Accepted Jesus Christ

The Truth Set Us Free: Twenty Former Nuns Tell Their Stories of God’s Amazing Gracedownload

By Richard Bennett

Solid Ground Christian Books, 2010, 237 pages

Richard Bennett, ex-Catholic priest and director of the Berean Beacon ministry, presents the testimonies of twenty former nuns who left behind the legalism and ritualism of Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith. The personal accounts average only about eleven pages each so there’s not a lot of detail about Catholic theology but each testimony is a blessing.

When Christians refer to “cults” they usually have Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind but can there be a practice more “cultish” than a convent full of virgin women who believe they are married to Jesus Christ, replete with wedding rings? The inspiration for the Catholic convent was the convent of the vestal virgins of pagan Rome.

All of the twenty nuns joined their religious “orders” with high expectations, believing they were pleasing God by earning their salvation through self-denial and ritualism but they found no joy or contentment in the convent. All were introduced to the Word of God and were saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. These women gave up the only life they knew to follow Christ but what Christian can look back with regret at the corrupt things of this world when the glory of our Savior is before us?

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9

I attended a Catholic grammar school back in the 1960s and was taught by nuns belonging to the Sisters of Mercy order. Our parents assumed the nuns were shining examples of love and contentment but we students witnessed those women as they really were; troubled souls who sometimes vented their frustration, anger, and cruelty on their charges. Sisters Imelda, Annunciata, Tarcisius, Gemma, Maryanne, and Virgina, whatever became of you? Were you somehow able to cut through through the legalism and ritualism you taught to us and find the Savior?

Convents are few and far between these days. The great majority of Catholics can’t even bother to attend mass on Sunday let alone take up a religious vocation. In 1965 there were 180,000 nuns in the United States but by 2006 there were only 67,000. By 2014 the number had dropped to 50,000.

Yup, convents were cultish but where’s Jesus in all this?

Forgotten Women in Conventsfwc

By Helen Conroy

Christ’s Mission, 1960

Protestant books examining alleged abuse in Roman Catholic convents proliferated throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. “Forgotten Women in Convents” by ex-nun, Helen Conroy aka Sister Mary Ethel, was originally published in 1946 and was one of the last books of this once-popular genre. The 1960 edition I purchased several months ago was published by Christ’s Mission, a Protestant evangelization ministry to Roman Catholics, as part of a tidal wave of anti-Catholic literature that swept the nation leading up to the Kennedy-Nixon presidential election.

On the plus side, Conroy offers many valuable insights into how the Catholic church lured girls and young women into its nunneries and how it discouraged them from ever leaving. Evangelicals’ antennae go up if you mention the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses but is there anything more cultish than a Catholic convent? As Conroy points out, Catholicism adopted the idea of virgin women completely dedicated to God from pagan religions for its own purposes. Of course, extremely few Catholic women are joining convents these days and many of those who do will enjoy freedoms unimaginable to the nuns of Conroy’s era.

On the minus side – and this is a HUGE minus – Conroy never once alludes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does she just assume her Protestant readers have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior? In her exodus from Rome did Conroy ever accept Christ? There’s no testimony of that being the case in this book. There’s quite a bit of criticism of Catholicism’s treatment of its nuns as being antithetical to American freedoms but there is no mention of how Catholic works-righteousness ritualism is opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In its surprisingly Christ-less approach “Forgotten Women in Convents” reminds me quite a bit of a very popular anti-Catholic bestseller from the same period, “American Freedom and Catholic Power” (1949) by atheist Paul Blanshard.

See my earlier blog for a list of “convent escape narratives.”

Catholicism: Crisis of Faith

Catholicism: Crisis of Faith

Directed by James G. McCarthy

Lumen Productions, 1991, 54 minutes

Catholicism: Crisis of Faith (1991) presents the contrasts between Catholic doctrines and the Bible from an Evangelical perspective. The film is directed by ex-Catholic, James G. McCarthy, who also wrote the excellent, “The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God” (Harvest House, 1995), which examines the same material in much greater detail.

This documentary is perfect for Catholics, most of whom have only an extremely shallow understanding of their church’s teachings and the Bible, or for Christians who want to understand the basic beliefs of Catholicism. The film’s production techniques (as well as the outfits and hairstyles of the participants) are a bit dated but the message is timeless.

One of the interviewees is Bart Brewer, ex-priest and former director of Mission to Catholics, who went home to be with the Lord in 2003.

Roman Catholics are taught their church is the “one true church” but they would be surprised to learn that many Catholic doctrines either disagree with or can’t be found in God’s Word. The most important spiritual matter in which the Catholic Church and the Bible disagree is salvation. The Catholic Church teaches salvation comes through receiving the “sacraments” administered by its clergy and by obeying the Ten Commandments and a myriad of church rules and regulations documented in the official Catholic “catechism.” In contrast, the New Testament teaches no one can possibly earn their way to Heaven but salvation comes freely by God’s grace to those who, by faith, accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Enjoy and be blessed by this film.

Nuns Gone Wild!

The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandalnun

by Hubert Wolf

Knopf, 2015, 496 pages.

Protestant literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries abounded with “convent escape narratives,” first-hand accounts of abuse and debauchery in Roman Catholic convents as reported by ex-nuns. Naturally, the veracity of these reports was attacked by Catholic apologists who dismissed the books as “Puritan pornography.” Now we have “The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal” by award-winning German historian, Hubert Wolf. From the archives of the Office of the Holy Inquisition, opened for the first time to scholars only as recently as 1998, Wolf gives us this tale of fraudulent mysticism, struggle for power, lesbianism, fornication, and murder all within the walls of this single Rome convent in the 1850s.

It’s ironic that the sheer vileness of what transpired in this convent from the pages of official Catholic sources far eclipses those Victorian-age, blushingly restrained and inexplicit Protestant accounts. Perhaps even more interesting than the nuns’ tawdry behavior is how the scandal was used as a pawn by competing factions within the Catholic church at the time; Dominicans vs. Jesuits, Modernists vs. New Scholastics. A few reviewers gave this book low grades complaining it was too dry. Perhaps from the title they were hoping for something a bit more bawdy? Quite the contrary, I found “The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio” to be an extremely well-written, well-researched history. Very rare is a history book that presents such a complex subject in such a readable, illuminating fashion.

Traditionalist Catholics may be offended by the revelations of what transpired behind the convent walls of Sant’Ambrogio and by the subsequent political machinations both inside and outside of the Vatican. There’s no doubt that similar diabolical debaucheries took place in countless other Catholic convents and rectories (and bishops’ palaces and at the Vatican) throughout the ages fueled by the church’s unnatural rule of celibacy for its clergy. Reports of pedophile priests abusing children have been in the headlines for the last twenty years.

After Christianity was adopted as the state religion by the Roman Empire the church quickly became institutionalized and “faith” for most of its members meant adherence to religious ritual and legalism. In general, Catholics are taught salvation is through the administration of the seven sacraments, all tightly controlled by the clergy, and by obeying the Ten Commandments and church rules. Asceticism became the rule for many of the religious orders leading to expressions of fanatical mysticism of the type exhibited by the nuns of Sant’Ambrogio. In contrast, God’s Word tells us salvation is only by the grace of God through simple faith in Jesus Christ.

Below are some of the previously mentioned Protestant accounts of convent abuse. Most are available through Amazon.com as reprints.

* Six Months in a Convent, or the Narrative of Rebecca Theresa Reed, Who Was Under the Influence of the Roman Catholics About Two Years, and an Inmate … Nearly Six Months, in the Years 1831-2 (1835) by Rebecca Theresa Reed

* The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, as Exhibited in a Narrative of Her Sufferings During a Residence of Five Years as a 51yypECGPVLNovice and Two Years as a Black Nun, in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery in Montreal (1836) by Maria Monk

* The testimony of an escaped novice from the Sisterhood of St. Joseph, Emmettsburg, Maryland: the mother-house of the Sisters of charity in the United States (1855) by Josephine M. Bunkley

* Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal: An authentic narrative of the horrors, mysteries, and cruelties of convent life by Sarah J. Richardson, an escaped nun (1857) by Sarah J. Richardson

* Personal Experience of Roman Catholicism with Incidents of Convent Life (1864) by Eliza Smith Richardson

* The Mysteries of the Neapolitan Convents: With a Brief Sketch of the Early Life of the Authoress (1867) by Enrichetta Caracciolo

* Almost a Nun (1868) by Julia McNair Wright

* The Convent Horror: Twenty-one Years in the Dungeon, Eight Feet Long, Six Feet Wide from Official Records (1869) by Barbara Ubryk

* The Veil Lifted or The Romance and Reality of Convent Life (1869) by Eliza Smith Richardson

* The Way Out; or, Rescued from a Convent (1877) by Justin D. Fulton

* My life in the convent: Or, the marvelous personal experiences of Margaret L. Shepherd, consecrated penitent of the Arno’s Court Convent, Bristol, England (1892) by Margaret Lisle Shepherd

* Convent Cruelties: Or How Girls Become the Brides of Christ (1912) by Henry A. Sullivan

* Behind Convent Bars (1912) by William Lloyd Clark

* Convent Life Unveiled: The Trials and Persecutions of Edith O’Gorman (otherwise known as Sister Theresa de Chantal) (1913) by Edith O’Gorman

* The Escaped Nun: The Story of Her Life (1913) by Margaret Mary Moult

* The Martryr in Black – The Saddest Bride on Earth: Twenty Years of Convent Life of “Sister Justina, O.S.B.” (1913) by Anna M. Lowry

* Rome’s Awful Persecutions of Anna M. Lowry (1914) by Anna M. Lowry

* Convent cruelties, or, My life in a convent: A providential delivery from Rome’s convent slave pens; a sensational experience (1919) by Helen Barnouski Jackson

* My Convent Life (1928) by Flora Tillman

* Convent Secrets or An Autobiography of a Former Nun (1932) by Gertrude Frances Healy

* Forgotten Women in Convents (1946) by Helen Conroy (Sister Mary Ethel)

More recent books which detail convent abuse:

* The Light in the Window (2005) by June Goulding

* Rock Me Gently: A True Story of a Convent Childhood (2006) by Judith Kelly

* Childhood Interrupted: Growing Up Under the Cruel Regime of the Sisters of Mercy (2006) by Kathleen O’Malley

* Suffer the Little Children: The Harrowing True Story of a Girl’s Brutal Convent Upbringing (2010) by Frances Reilly

* Children of the Poor Clares: The Collusion between Church and State that Betrayed Thousands of Children in Ireland’s Industrial Schools (2012) by Heather Laskey and Mavis Arnold