From Convent to Pentecost

Chapter 19

Nuns and Priests Who Attempt to Escape

It is said that a Nun can leave any convent any time she so desires. I refute that statement. Five minutes after I took my last vow when I was made to understand by Mother Superior that I had married Jesus Christ, and since the priests represented Christ, I was to be the priest’s wife. I would have laid aside my holy habit and would have returned home. It was then that I was told that all doors were locked. There is no way of escape.

I was allowed to cry for a few minutes and then hushed. The Mother Superior informed me they all had felt once like I did when they entered, but that I, too, would change my mind. I never did. The only reason I spent twenty-two years in a Cloistered Convent was due to the fact that I could find no way of escape. While in the dungeon below the Convent, I tried to dig a hole thinking I could dig through to the outside, but that was impossible. I also tried to take my life by severing a vein in my arm, but they reached me in time to close the wound. They didn’t want us to die. They would rather that we lived and suffered by degrees.

When any Nun tried to escape, a loud buzzer would ring. Fear gripped the heart of every Nun. We all hurried to our cells and fell down on our prayer boards before our patron saint and prayed. Priests came running from every direction to halt the escaping Nun. Of course I had no way of knowing whether she made her escape or not. So many Nuns came up missing. We dared not ask any questions.

Perhaps some escaped, but more likely the missing Nun was taken to the dungeon or chained to the pit for a slow, agonizing death.

A monk once escaped and came to the Royal Oak Michigan Church and spoke. Each morning after the ex-monk left his room, Sister Kirby went to make up his bed and tidy up his room. But each morning she found that the bed hadn’t been used. Her curiosity mingled with worry and concern made her ask, “Why aren’t you sleeping in my bed? Is something wrong with it?”

He replied, “Oh no, Mrs. Kirby. Everything is lovely. The bed is just too pretty to be soiled.”

He then explained, “While in the monastery, we suffered many things. We walked on sharp rocks, whipped our bodies until the blood flowed, etc. While sleeping in the cold, my feet became frostbitten and then they cracked and bled. Even today blood oozes from them, therefore I took a newspaper and lay on the floor.”

Mrs. Kirby said, “Brother, even if you mess the bed and we have to burn the mattress when you leave, you must not sleep on the floor in my house. You must sleep on the bed.”

Before he left their home, he asked for prayer and said, “I shall return if I remain free, but if you should never see me again, then you will know they have recaptured me.”

Sister Kirby said they never saw him again.

While we were in Nova Scotia, Canada, a lady attended our Revival. She was acquainted with the patients of a mental Hospital. She spoke of a little Nun in the mental ward who was not insane but normal in every sense. She told me how happy this Nun would be if I paid her a visit.

Along with three others, I made the short trip to the mental institution. I noticed the strange look given me by the girl at the desk when I asked for this Nun by name. We were soon ushered into the Doctor’s office when we were told we couldn’t see her.

He explained, “Her parents have signed her into this institution. We are not allowed to permit anyone to see her except her family, the priests and the sisters of charity.”

One of her nurses also attended our meetings. She made this remark, “I have talked to her doctor. We both know this Nun is not mentally ill. She begs for release but her family signed her in and pays for her hospitalization and we cannot release her.”

This Nun, after having been an Open Order Sister for several years, returned to her home and told them she was through with convent life, and was taking off her holy habit. Through the influence of their local priest, they had her put into this mental institution rather than see her leave the sisterhood.

The nurse continued by saying, “The lady across the hall from this Nun has a radio. She invited the Nun to listen to religious programs with her. The sister was enjoying the radio ministry immensely until one day the sisters of charity came in and told her it was a terrible sin for her to listen to those heretics and forbade her to ever listen again. In fact they placed such mortal fear in her soul that she felt compelled to close her door the next time the old lady had her radio playing.”

This poor sister may have spent her remaining days in an insane institution simply because she dared to run from an open order convent.

Doctor Yoman was quite a pal to Father Carter. The Doctor, having no claims to any religion, became very friendly with the priest and they often played golf together. The doctor had a great desire to see the inside of a cloistered convent.

He kept pondering and scheming until he thought upon a great plan. He invited the priest over for an evening. He had plenty of tempting liquor on hand and poured a drink for his guest and for himself. He continued to fill the priest’s glass while he slowly sipped from his glass making it last much longer. Then he saw the priest’s eyes become glassy and his tongue quite thick. He immediately went to work on his great plan.

Now,” he said. “We have plenty of good liquor. Where can we find some women?”

The priest replied, “That’s easy. I know where there are plenty of women.”

He took the Doctor into his bedroom and dressed him in one of his Holy Habits. They drove out to a convent. Most convents are outside the City limits.

Of course they didn’t enter through the front door of the convent, but through a tunnel arriving at the rear entrance. Since they were holy fathers, the Mother Superior gave them full liberty with the Nuns.

Doctor Yoman made it his business to explain to five Nuns who appeared to be half-starved and cowered like wounded animals, “I’m your friend. I did not come here to harm you, but to help you.”

He then told them, “if you’ll follow me, I’ll take you out of here.”

They followed him to the exit. One became terrified and ran back. But the other four Nuns followed him to freedom. All four Nuns were taken to a rest home to regain strength and health. Two of them were pregnant. Each of them weighed less than a hundred pounds.

I later heard that the two gave birth to their offspring but didn’t have the privilege of loving and caring for them because both babies died.

While we were in Bay City, Texas, a note was handed to me during service. It had been placed in the offering plate. It stated, “There is another ex-Nun in the City. She lives at 233 Oak Street. Why don’t you call on her?”

I was only too glad and eager to do so, and in a matter of hours I was knocking at this door. A middle-aged lady answered. I told her who I was and my purpose for coming. She looked me over to see whether or not she could trust me. And then she invited me in.

This Baptist landlady said, “Yes, Mary McLane lives with me but she isn’t home today.” Then she told me Mary McLane’s story:

A Mother Superior went to Ireland recruiting young girls for American Convents. She promised them a good education, a good profession such as nursing and the privilege of living in beautiful America. Mary accepted the call along with several others. After she was in the Open Order Convent for only two years she decided she would rather live a different life and asked to leave.

She was referred to the Bishop. However, she waited fourteen years before she was released. Then, at the age of thirty-two, she found herself on the outside in a strange country. No relatives, no friends and no money. Since she was a sister in the nursing profession, and inasmuch as hospitals were in dire need of nurses, she readily secured a job at the City Hospital.

Mrs. Snow, the landlady, wondered why she seemed to be so mysterious and never became acquainted with her. One day she decided to sit by her bedroom door and wait until Mary came out so she could invite her to eat with her.

At the table, Mary broke down in tears and said, “This is the first time I’ve sat at a family table for sixteen years.”

She explained that she had been a sister in the convent. When she received her first paycheck she burst into tears of joy and exclaimed, “This is the first money I’ve made in my life!”

If it took sixteen years of legal transactions for an Open Order Sister to leave a Convent, how and when would a Cloistered Nun ever get permission to leave? The answer is: They don’t.

Did Sister Mary have full liberty of conscience and soul? Could she come and go at will without being molested?

I only know,” Mrs. Snow said, “the priest has hounded her every footstep. They come here to the house and talk to her and then they wait for her at the Hospital. I told one priest to never set foot on my property again. Mary McLane is afraid of every stranger. She’s even afraid to walk alone, especially after dark.”

I know of another Nun, who would have taken her last vow in four more months, that escaped. They were sending her to a foreign country since she hadn’t yet taken her perpetual vows — vows that seal a Nun behind cloistered walls for the balance of her life. She was given the privilege of going to the convent in her home town with the accompaniment of Mother Superior. There she could speak to her family through the black grail.

However, the Mother Superior called the Mother’s House and asked if she could go to the House of Retreat of Albany and allow Sister Theresa to go to Springfield alone. She assured them Sister Theresa had been faithful and loyal and could be trusted. Of course two other Nuns were to meet her at Springfield depot and escort her to the Convent.

She arrived in Springfield with a real snow storm in progress. When she alighted from the train there was no one waiting for her. Instead of going inside the depot to see if two old Nuns were there, she hurried down the street to her mother’s home. She took off the holy habit and decided to stay home until the priests and sisters called on her.

She was fully persuaded to return when she suddenly broke her leg. The doctor could not release her for several weeks. And in the meantime she heard the Gospel and was converted.

She testified to the thousands of people in our churches throughout America about the brutal treatment she received in the convent although she was just a postulant. She spoke of being strung up by her thumbs with only her toes touching the floor for nine days and nights, lapping her food and water from a shelf directly in front of her face. She later became a victim of tuberculosis as a result of this penance. She told how that hands were placed in a vice and broken. She endured many forms of penance and punishments that drew her no closer to God than where she was.

She traveled with a Japanese girl from Hawaii who was converted to Christ from Buddhism and Shintoism. They served as missionaries in Hawaii for a short term. The little Japanese girl died in the fall of 1953. Sister Theresa grieved over the death of her companion until she herself became deathly ill. Her physician sent her to a Hospital.

When the Superior learned Sister Theresa had been a Nun of the Cloister, she isolated her from all friends, allowing only one to visit her. The patient in the next bed said Mother Superior drew a screen around Sister Theresa each night and talked to her in low tones. Theresa must have experienced a complete brainwashing, since she knelt and kissed the priest’s ring and asked for holy communion before leaving the Hospital.

When we visited Sister Theresa, our hearts cried out in despair. Something terrible had happened. Her eyelids were drooped. She talked double-talk. She berated those who had befriended her. She cried and then she laughed. She was mixed up. She cried when she should have laughed, and laughed when she should have cried. We couldn’t figure out the score. Had she had been doped, brainwashed or broken until her mental capacity could not function properly?

At any rate she was taken into a convent. One of her last letters to us said, “I’m so unhappy since my companion died that I’ve decided to go to a place where I’ll have to rise early and work so hard that I won’t have time to think or grieve. But don’t worry, I’ll take Christ with me.”

That last statement made me to know she was deluded. How could Christ go with her, when she would have to break the second commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that which is in the earth beneath,” the very first day in the convent?

My prayer for Sister Theresa is that she hasn’t violated God’s law that would place her in the category of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Father McIntyre had a large Hospital in New York. When he left the priesthood, he dismissed all Church authority from the board, all the way down to the nursing sisters. He turned the entire Hospital into a General Clinic. Then he published a book entitled “The Padre.” It is the story of a Priest’s life.

You ask if he has been persecuted? Large lights burned around his house continually so that no one could lurk around in the dark. On his desk laid a pistol. There was also a big club hanging on the wall of his office. Priests have tried to keep their patients from his hospital. They’ve also tried to keep his book from being published and then boycotted every bookstore that sold his book.

I rejoice to hear of a Nun who escaped this year of this writing. However, my heart soon filled with sadness and pain and horror as she related the awful price another Nun paid for trying to run away.

While in the convent,” said Sister Helen, “Sister Margaret ran away. Because of fear she returned, giving herself up. She felt surely they would forgive her because of her act of sorrow and contrition in returning. But instead, Mother Superior had two Nuns take Sister Margaret, and set her on a hot, cook stove. Needless to say, her little body was not merely scorched or singed, but literally cooked. She died from the burns.

I was fortunate to have the privilege of escaping,” said Sister Helen, “But God pity me if I ever had to return. I shall never forget the price Sister Margaret had to pay. Oh, the agony and the pain! The awful screams that echoed as her flesh stuck to the stove and seared like a piece of meat. I know because I was one of the Nuns who was compelled to hold her onto the stove.”

One of the most thrilling and dramatic escapes was told by Sister Martina. Having escaped when jobs were not too plentiful, she joined a circus. In one of her idle hours, she was took stroll and passed by a tent where she heard singing. She became accustomed to tents where loud, gruff voices invited curiosity-seekers to come in and gaze upon the fattest woman in the world, or to come and see the trapeze artists and clowns who made a large crowd laugh, or clap their hands in ecstasy. But here was a different tent. People were singing and clapping their hands while an unseen light illuminated their faces. Everyone seemed so happy. She slipped into an empty chair and there she watched and listened attentively.

Soon the old-fashioned gospel preacher took his Bible and preached Christ. An altar call was given and she watched men, women and children file from their seats to a long bench in the front. It seemed like everyone began to talk at the same time, and yet their eyes were closed and they looked as though they were praying. Sister Martina thought it was all very strange. But she felt within herself that these people had peace, joy — oh, such joy! — and love as they sang.

She was glad the circus was going to be in town several days. It would give her a chance to go back to that meeting. Sister Martina went to the Revival several nights. Then the glorious miracle took place! God spoke to her heart and convicted her of sin. God laid the very message on the preacher’s heart to enlighten her on Bible truths that were so hidden in the convent. Without hesitation she found herself among the seekers at the altar bench.

Someone came to her and explained how Christ had died on Calvary to save her soul from sin and hell. She could look to Christ and ask him to forgive her of all her sins, according to I John 1:9. He would wash her and make her white as snow, Isaiah 1:18.

She was more than willing to confess her sins to God and having done so, peace like a mighty flood engulfed her soul. She raised her hands toward heaven and prayed, worshipped and adored Him when the second tidal wave gushed over her soul. She was filled with the mighty Baptism of the Holy Ghost! As on the day of Pentecost, spoken of in the Book of Acts, the Second Chapter, God took her lips of clay and spoke through her in other tongues.

She of course could no longer continue at the circus. Her whole life was changed. Sin no longer held dominion over her body and soul. A lady minister asked Sister Martina to accompany her on an evangelistic tour. One day while Evangelist Irene Rader was away, Sister Martina walked to the church alone. Immediately her enemies picked her up and took her back to the Convent. While they were burning her body, trying to force her to say she was sorry that she ran away, the Holy Ghost moved on Sister Martina and she began to speak in tongues.

This unusual phenomenon terrified her oppressors. The priests had them to sew her burning garments together as well as possible. Then he told her to take that demon out of here before she saturates the entire place with evil. They bound her hands and feet, gagged her mouth and quietly brought her back on the porch of the same home.

During Sister Martina’s absence, Evangelist Irene and the saints prayed fervently for God to deliver her from her enemies and to bring her back to them, because they had a pretty good idea what had happened.

On this night they heard a groan, or perhaps it was more like a whine. When Mr. Loren, who was the father in the home where Sister Martina and Sister Irene were staying during the Revival, opened the door, there lay Sister Martina bound and gagged. Oh, how they all thanked God for her return! Surely God had answered their prayer.

I’ve heard of hotels, restaurants and circus’s enticing some pretty, young girls to work, promising them salary above the average. However, once hired and inside they found that they were connected to a vice ring such as white slavery or maybe compelled to be a prostitute in a house of ill fame. One young lady in Illinois told the horrid story, of obtaining a job in a hotel in St. Louis. She was whisked away in Oklahoma and finally across the Mexican border she became a victim of white slavery. She finally escaped but was fearful for her life.

It is horrible to think that men living in beautiful America have turned inns, playhouses and even homes into houses of white slavery — places of rendezvous, camouflaged by palms, foliage, flowers and soft music and dim-coloured lights.

What is more cruel or disappointing to a girl than to have been enticed by a black-robed priest to give her life to God by entering a convent and having found her bedroom cell frequented by many men — priests? Then, if she ever dreamed of escaping, she, too, was covered with a heavy veil and transported to a convent in any State or Country her superiors desired. If she complained that her forms of penance were too painful, Mother Superior added to her suffering. If she ever escaped, she, too, had to live in fear of being picked up on the street and returned to the convent, fed poisoned food, or being jabbed with a poisoned needle, etc. Holy Scripture warns every child of God:

Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28).