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Chapter 6

Out of the Casket into Shame

I walked out of the room where I had taken my last vows, into an adjoining room. There I received the shock of my life.

Up to that moment, everything was beautiful as far as purity was concerned. Then a priest walked over to my side, locked his arm through mine, and told me that we were going to the Bridal Chamber. In horror I broke the hold and unhesitatingly told him, “Never!” Then with tears I proceeded to tell him how I was reared and taught by my mother before entering the convent. Mother said, “Charlotte, I’d rather dig your grave and bury you with my own hands, than to know you ever lost your virtue.” She explained what virtue was and for what purpose God made my body.

At that moment the Mother Superior came in and reminded me of my obligation as the Bride of Christ. I was told that the Priest represented Christ and that his body was sanctified and holy, therefore, whatever he did was not sin.

I continued to cry until the Mother Superior stopped me and said, “We all felt as you do when we entered the convent, but you will feel differently after living here a while.”

It was then I wanted to run — go back home — but I found the doors were locked. I also found the high cement walls surrounding the convent had a decoration of broken chipped glass and spikes on the top so no one would attempt to climb over. The twenty foot gate of the wall was also locked.

Ask any priest why so many cloistered convents have either the high stone wall with broken glass and spikes cemented at the top and a huge gate that’s always locked, or a high fence with barbed wire slanting in at the top like prisons. He will no doubt answer, “To keep the world out.” But I’ll give you another answer. “It’s not to keep the world out, but to keep the Nuns in.”