Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Boy beaten for refusing to be confirmed into the Catholic Church.

Boy beaten for refusing to be confirmed into the Catholic Church.

Yes, it did happen. It was a nun who did the beating. It was around 1960.

She unbuckled her belt. I felt her iron grip on my upper arm. Then I felt the first stinging blow. My blood thawed, then boiled. I welded my teeth together and commanded my vocal chords to be still. I ordered the little voice in my head to repeat over and over, “You can’t hurt me, you stupid evil bitch . Enjoy this, because you will never beat me again.” She beat me more savagely than I had ever been beaten before. She commenced the beating in her office, but I tried to run and she followed me and beat me in the hallway . I ran to the asphalt quadrangle between the kitchen and the playground. She followed me there and made a ceremony of beating me in front of fifty-eight pairs of watching eyes, stopping all pretence of play. She beat me with the buckle end of her belt, and it cut my skin. She beat me until I fell to the ground, then she paused and ordered me to rise and beat me until I fell again. When, finally, I could not rise again, she thrashed and flogged, and when I curled up in a little ball to try to protect my tenderest parts from the blows, she kicked me again and again with that heavy black boot. All the while she shouted at me that I would take the Catholic faith, if she had to beat me to within an inch of my life to make me.

When she was done with me, a herculean six-foot-one-inch one-hundred-and-seventy-seven-pounds of black-robed, leather-booted crone collapsed against the kitchen door huffing and snorting, her face ashen, her wimple sweat-soaked, and her lips and chin sagging. The strap fell from her grip. While I lay consumed with an agony more terrible than I could ever have imagined suffering, and with a murderous rage more intense than I could ever have conceived it possible to feel, the Mother raised her hands to clutch her chest and closed her eyes.

The next day , I was called to the Mother Superior’s office to be advised I would be sent to an Anglican Boys’ Home in a small town about an hour away.

And that was very good. It meant that Paul did not go to St. Vincent’s , a boys' home in Westmead, run by priests.  Even then, the boys knew that the priests liked to rape those they were supposed to be looking after.

It is strange. I always  viewed the 1950s and 1960s as civilised times in Australia. It was an era of prosperity. Certainly there were poor - there are always poor for whatever reason. But most people of that time were enjoying a standard of living far better than their parents, and improving all the time. They were good times.  So to hear about a child being taken from his parents to an institution, and then treated very badly indeed - it is a shock. An eye-opener, and something that makes me furious even now.  For most of the culprits are still alive, and have never been punished.  They are even revered - nuns. Supposed to be so sweetly serenely devout.  The wicked women in this true book gives the lie to that fabrication.  

This book is truth - though names are changed to protect the guilty and occasionally the innocent who don't like their circumstances being made public. So truth, but somewhat fictionalised.  

A hit on the head with a pencil case began Paul Wilson's lifelong battle against the system and the pencil-pushers who tormented him... but nothing could break his indomitable spirit. Paul was a fifth generation, native-born white Australian, and a stolen child. Bureaucrats stole him twice. So-called ‘women of God’ and a misguided carer stole his identity, his heritage and his self-respect. Journey into the home and lives of a battling Aussie bush family and weep over cruel injustice that breaks a mother’s heart and kills a father’s soul. Witness child abuse and deprivation in an almost Dickensian world. Meet foster parents whose dedication and caring gives orphans and waifs hope for a future. Follow Paul’s struggle through adult life, sharing his and his family’s pains and joys. Celebrate his triumphs. Mourn his foolishness. Admire his strength and courage as he fights continuing injustice, haunted by demons from his past and nursing an insatiable thirst for revenge. A story that illustrates the beauty and strength of the human spirit and the power of family love.

A recent review.

Format: Kindle Edition

"The Pencil Case" a definite must read, is a spell-bounding, page turner based on a partially fiction, but well-told story about a young boy and his sister's unfortunate fate of life. This pair were removed from their parents who loved them more than life, and thrown to people who cared less, but why?

If parents are financially impoverished does it mean that they don't love their children and can't provide properly for them? How healthy could it have been to be placed into an orphan life full of cruel evil nuns who beat and tormented sweet little children, and emotionally scarred and ripped them of any chances of a wholesome and balanced life?

Follow author Lorraine Cobcroft, who is a skillful writer that told of a story that she has heard from her husband, and carried into her own adult married life in a very unique way. It takes an adept and proficient writer to weave a story on paper from another's perspective while allowing the reader to paint a strong vivid picture of past tragic accounts.

Because part of her husband's life spilled over into Lorraine's life, she had to feel the pain as she scripted her manuscript. I can only imagine her trickled emotions as she managed to write, revise and edit her book chapter after chapter.

As an African-American, I am happy that I had a chance to read this heartrending story. It definitely sanctioned me to gain a different cultural perspective as I embellished my understanding of how other races of people experienced prejudice and unfairness within our diverse society.

"The Pencil Case" should make its way as a very prominent and popular stage play one day. I hope to have the opportunity to be in the audience for its opening debut.

I cannot see this as a stage-play, but maybe a film. It is an important book, and should be a required read for any Australian.  These are things that should be known.  With the ongoing  Royal Commision into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, much of it by the Catholic Church, more people are talking of it, and more people are talking about the evil done by that once respected organisation known as the Catholic Church. There were priests whose crimes of child sex abuse lasted 40 and 50 years!  And all the time, the priest was not only protected, but allowed to continue abusing children - maybe transferred if the complaints became too loud.  

I hope that one day the wicked people who so abused a boy - many boys, many girls - will be made to pay. At the very least, they should face what they did. I do not believe in any sort of a heaven. If there was, these 'brides of Christ' would not make it. Did they believe?  Who knows?

The Pencil Case is  by Lorraine Cobcroft;

The book is available from most online sellers, including Amazon. 



'Lionel's Wedding' is not yet available. Publication date, 17th October, 2014.


  1. From birth in 1951 to moving to your neighbourhood in 1965 were years of poverty for me Marj. Might tell you about it some time if you are interested

  2. You told me a little... Of course, I am interested.