When Satan Wore A Cross [NOOK Book]


In 1980 in Toledo, Ohio—on one of the holiest days of the church calendar—the body of a nun was discovered in the sacristy of a hospital chapel. Seventy-one-year-old Sister Margaret Ann had been strangled and stabbed, her corpse arranged in a shameful and stomach-churning pose. But the police's most likely suspect was inexplicably released and the investigation was quietly buried. Despite damning evidence, Father Gerald Robinson went free.

Twenty-three years later the priest's ...

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When Satan Wore A Cross

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In 1980 in Toledo, Ohio—on one of the holiest days of the church calendar—the body of a nun was discovered in the sacristy of a hospital chapel. Seventy-one-year-old Sister Margaret Ann had been strangled and stabbed, her corpse arranged in a shameful and stomach-churning pose. But the police's most likely suspect was inexplicably released and the investigation was quietly buried. Despite damning evidence, Father Gerald Robinson went free.

Twenty-three years later the priest's name resurfaced in connection with a bizarre case of satanic ritual and abuse. It prompted investigators to exhume the remains of the slain nun in search of the proof left behind that would indelibly mark Father Robinson as Sister Margaret Ann's killer: the sign of the Devil.

When Satan Wore a Cross is a shocking true story of official cover-ups, madness, murder and lies—and of an unholy human monster who disguised himself in holy garb.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061755941
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 781,259
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Fred Rosen's book The Historical Atlas of American Crime, published by Facts On File, won the 2005 Library Journal Best Reference Source Award. Mr. Rosen is the author of many true crime books, including Lobster Boy, Did They Really Do It?, There But For the Grace of God, and When Satan Wore A Cross.

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Read an Excerpt

When Satan Wore A Cross

By Fred Rosen

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Fred Rosen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061239861

Chapter One

Somebody's Daughter


Long before the medical examiner's knife enters her thorax, a female murder victim starts out as somebody's daughter.

President Taft had just installed his jumbo girth in the White House. Back in his home state of Ohio, the rural hamlet of Edgerton had not yet been completely wired for electricity. It was in Edgerton that Margaret Ann Pahl came into the world on April 6, 1909. Margaret Ann was the fourth of nine children born to farmers Frank and Catherine Pahl.

Devout Catholics, the Pahls followed all the precepts of the Catholic Church and believed faithfully in the seven sacraments within which Christ dwells: baptism, confession, the Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, holy orders (ordination to the ministry), and extreme unction (anointing the sick, dying, and dead). The Pahls believed in passing on these beliefs and values to their children.

As Margaret Ann grew older, she attended Catholic school, where she learned that of the seven sacraments, the most important was the Eucharist. At first glance, the Eucharist is simply a wafer and some wine. But during the third part of the Catholic Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, transubstantiation takes place. When the priestsays the Eucharistic Prayer over the wafer and wine, they transubstantiate, or change literally into the body and blood of Christ, which are then ingested by the parishioners who come forward to take Communion.

During her growing-up years, Margaret Ann took Communion many times. She discovered that after Mass, the consecrated hosts were placed for 363 days in the tabernacle. The tabernacle is a fixed lock box usually placed on the main altar of the church. It was there almost all year for parishioners to venerate. Only on Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, and on Holy Saturday, the day before his Resurrection, was the Eucharist stored in the sacristy, the dressing room adjacent to the church chapel. Such detail fascinated Margaret Ann and made her feel part of something greater than herself.

Margaret Ann finished high school shortly after her eighteenth birthday in 1927. While America blithely danced the Charleston away into the Great Depression, and Calvin Coolidge made less money than Babe Ruth precisely because of that, Margaret Ann had decided to serve her Lord. It is hard to say exactly when, but by the time she finished high school, it was clear to family and friends alike that she had been touched by God's vision for her life.

Margaret Ann would serve him by becoming a novitiate in the Sisters of Mercy, the order founded by Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland, a century earlier. Margaret Ann had been divinely inspired by no less a person than the nineteenth century's Mother Teresa.

Such is Catherine McAuley's continued popularity that her image graces the most recent Irish five-pound note. The painting on the bill shows a woman with piercing black eyes, a long aquiline nose, thin lips, and a strong, resolute chin. Catherine is wearing the traditional Sisters of Mercy black and white headdress that would become their trademark.

There was gentleness to Catherine, but behind that piercing gaze was a clear, steely resolve she inherited from her father. Catherine was born September 29, 1787, at Stormanstown House, a private estate in Dublin, Ireland. The first of three children born to James McAuley, Catherine realized early that her father came from an old and distinguished Irish Catholic family that had managed to survive when Catholicism had been all but crushed in Ireland. James McAuley spent more than he could afford to help the poor and infirm. The example was not lost on the young Catherine.

After McAuley died in 1794, his widow couldn't get her financial affairs in order. Forced to sell Stormanstown House, she moved with her brood to Dublin. There, the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "the family came so completely under the influence of Protestant fashionable society that all, with the exception of Catherine, became Protestants. She revered the memory of her father too greatly to embrace a religion he abhorred."

Tragedy struck the McAuley family yet again when the Widow McAuley suddenly died. The three orphaned McAuley children were passed along to a distant family member who squandered their inheritance. As they were passed along again and again like so much human detritus, each "guardian" did the best he could to drum the Protestant Reformation into their heads.

At first, Catherine flat-out refused—a perilous position for a female orphan without tuppence to her name. A single woman without money or prospects in early nineteenth-century Dublin had no rights. Some of Catherine's good friends emphatically tried to convince her to support an arranged marriage. Catherine, of course, declined. She was dogged in refusing to be told how to think, let alone what to do.

Finally, in the interests of family peace, she agreed to experience Protestantism before totally condemning it. Her researches only served to reinforce her Catholic beliefs. She didn't like the Protestant "dissensions and contradictions, the coldness and the barrenness of its spiritual life." It is at this point that Catherine McAuley should have disappeared into the pages of history. But she didn't.

A wealthy relative of Catherine's mother, Simon T. Callahan, suddenly returned from India in 1803. He bought Coolock House a few kilometers outside Dublin, and adopted Catherine. She came to live with her second father on his estate. Soon Catherine showed that she had not forgotten the lessons of James McAuley's charity.

For the next two decades, Catherine spent some of Callahan's fortune in the service of the Catholic sick and poor. The compromise was that Callahan, a Protestant, would not allow any Church icons into his home. It was a fair bargain, but Catherine worked on him. On his deathbed in 1822, Callahan's hard Protestant heart finally melted. Baptized a Catholic, Callahan took his first Communion and then died, leaving his entire fortune to Catherine.

The sudden turn in her circumstances was not lost on Catherine.


Excerpted from When Satan Wore A Cross by Fred Rosen Copyright © 2007 by Fred Rosen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting story...

    This was a truly interesting story, but I felt that it missed the mark on the writing. It might be personal preference, but I don't like notes to be added to the narrative. For example, there were points where it said to remember something for later, or that something was in italics for author's emphasis, or other things like that. I find that just gets in the way, and it is sort of an assumption that the reader can't figure out that italics that aren't there for grammatical purposes might be there for emphasis.

    Beyond that, there seemed to be a lot of filler that wasn't particularly necessary to the story. There was a digression about murder and satanism and prists in movies, which could have been omitted. There were also some back stories on other people and topics in the book that really weren't necessary to the story at hand.

    Overall, it was interesting, and I'd suggest it to someone who likes to read true crime books. It sounds like a movie, and it's difficult to believe it's something that occurred, and sort of disappointing that the Catholic Church is so intent on staying away from a negative image that it'll hide its own.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    Not very good

    This book was somewhat interesting and provided a lot of information about the case, but the author's writing style wasn't very good. The book was very flat and dull, considering the heinous crimes that it was detailing, and it deviates into some weird directions at times, rather than focusing on relevent matters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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