Patricia Walsh Chadwick, author of the new book LITTLE SISTER: A Memoir is available for interview. Patricia will share her story about her brutal childhood inside a Catholic cult and how she eventually found the strength to reclaim her life and become a successful businesswoman.
Here is a recent feature in the NY Post: https://nypost.com/2019/03/30/my-brutal-childhood-inside-a-catholic-cult/
Patricia grew up in the cult of Saint Benedict Center, a stone’s throw from Harvard Square. Founded in 1940, Saint Benedict Center began as a Catholic meeting place. Over the next two decades, the Center evolved from a community of devout Catholics into a rigid, sequestered religious sect, headed by Leonard Feeney, an excommunicated priest, and his cohort, Catherine Clarke, a staunchly Catholic married woman with a strident puritanical streak.
Among its nearly one hundred members, the Center was home to thirty-nine children. LITTLE SISTER: A Memoir is the story of one of those children—a story of indoctrination, fear, suffering, resilience, love, and grace.
Born in 1948 and christened Mary Patricia, the author grew up from infancy within the orbit of the Center, as the subject of a social experiment. Shortly before her fifth birthday, she was given a new name—Anastasia, in honor of a virgin and martyr in the 4th century—and ordered to address her Mamma, Daddy, and all her “aunts” and “uncles” (the nearly 60 adults who were part of the community) by their new names as members of a religious order, Big Sisters and Big Brothers of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At age six, she was separated from her parents and youngest siblings to be raised in a girls’ dormitory.
At the Center, Patricia’s life was defined by strict rules, regimens, and retributions. Even worse than the threat of the beatings meted out by Sister Catherine was Patricia’s terror of “the world.” At the tender age of seventeen, amidst the turbulence of the 1960s, she was exiled from the only home she had ever known and thrust into an alien, evil place. Brokenhearted and feeling deserted, she tapped into her inner strength—and her faith in God. Patricia found her way and thrived. Her strength inspired her family to leave the Center and reclaim their lives.
Opening a fascinating window into the inner-workings and power of cults, LITTLE SISTER is a testament to the unbreakable bonds of family and the power of forgiveness. “If I let myself dwell on the emotional pain I experienced, I would unfairly ignore all the good that God’s grace has showered on me,” the author, a self-described optimist and a Catholic, reflects.
Patricia Walsh Chadwick rose above the shame and demons of her past, built a prosperous career in finance and investment, married, and raised two wonderful, now adult children. A memoir that took the author more than ten years, and remarkable courage, to write, LITTLE SISTER is truly a work of revelation.
We look forward to exploring opportunities to share Patricia’s story. For more information, please visit: www.patriciachadwick.com