Little Sister: A Memoir

Little Sister: A Memoir

by Patricia Walsh Chadwick


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As seen in the New York Post!

They promised her heaven, but there was no savior.

Imagine an eighteen-year-old American girl who has never read a newspaper, watched television, or made a phone call. An eighteen-year-old-girl who has never danced—and this in the 1960s.

It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Catholic priest, has founded a religious community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Center's members—many of them educated at Harvard and Radcliffe—surrender all earthly possessions and aspects of their life, including their children, to him. Patricia Chadwick was one of those children, and Little Sister is her account of growing up in the Feeney sect.

Separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them, Patricia bristles against the community’s draconian rules, yearning for another life. When, at seventeen, she is banished from the Center, her home, she faces the world alone, without skills, family, or money but empowered with faith and a fierce determination to succeed on her own, which she does, rising eventually to the upper echelons of the world of finance and investing.

A tale of resilience and grace, Little Sister chronicles, in riveting prose, a surreal childhood and does so without rancor or self-pity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682617823
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 552,687
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Patricia Walsh Chadwick was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1948. She received her BA in Economics from Boston University and had a thirty-year career in the investment business, culminating as a Global Partner at Invesco. Today she sits on a number of corporate boards, and she blogs on issues social, economic and political. She also mentors middle school girls at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in Harlem. In 2016, she founded and is the CEO of Anchor Health Initiative, a health care company that serves the needs of the LGBTQ community in Connecticut. She is married and lives in Connecticut with her husband. They have a daughter and a son.

Table of Contents

Prologue xiii

Part 1 Where Is God?

Grace: A Brief Meditation 3

Chapter 1 Sentencing 5

Chapter 2 A Moment of Grace 12

Chapter 3 Quest for Knowledge 14

Chapter 4 In the Beginning, It Was Good 19

Chapter 5 Then Came the Decline, and a Fall 23

Part 2 Leaving the World Behind

Chapter 6 A Family of the Heart 35

Chapter 7 The Noose Tightens 46

Chapter 8 Identity Crisis 52

Chapter 9 Separation 57

Chapter 10 From Carefree to Caged 61

Chapter 11 Troubles 68

Chapter 12 Sister Catherine 74

Chapter 13 A New Home 80

Chapter 14 Countdown 86

Chapter 15 Still River 89

Part 3 Preparing for the Cloister

Chapter 16 New Life, New Rules 95

Chapter 17 Sister Maria Crucis 101

Chapter 18 Leonard 103

Chapter 19 New Neighbors 107

Chapter 20 Relapse 109

Chapter 21 Father 112

Chapter 22 Bookselling 115

Chapter 23 Treading Carefully 118

Chapter 24 Surprises, Good and Bad 122

Chapter 25 First Christmas in Still River 125

Chapter 26 Our Lady's Army 130

Chapter 27 "Birthday" Present 134

Chapter 28 And Then It Happened to Me 136

Chapter 29 Getting Wise 141

Chapter 30 Turning Twelve 145

Chapter 31 Visit from a "Stranger" 150

Chapter 32 Life on the Farm 152

Chapter 33 A New Glimpse at the Forbidden World 157

Chapter 34 The Unthinkable 159

Chapter 35 Challenging Authority 161

Chapter 36 The Attack 164

Chapter 37 Preparing for Battle 169

Chapter 38 A New Crisis 174

Chapter 39 A New Crush 177

Chapter 40 Hurtling Toward the Inevitable 181

Chapter 41 Veni, Sponsa Christi (Come, Spouse of Christ) 185

Chapter 42 A New Life 188

Chapter 43 A Challenge 191

Chapter 44 The Spanish Invasion 194

Chapter 45 Sentencing 199

Chapter 46 An Application for the Cause 202

Chapter 47 Interview 205

Chapter 48 Confrontation 208

Chapter 49 Vassar, No Thank You 210

Chapter 50 Family Reunion 212

Chapter 51 The Final Countdown 218

Chapter 52 Graduation 224

Chapter 53 What I Carried 229

Part 4 Uncloistered

Chapter 54 The Summer of '66 232

Chapter 55 The Gift of Christmas 238

Chapter 56 Roots and Wings 245

Chapter 57 Half Nun, Half Mother 251

Chapter 58 Cataclysm 262

Chapter 59 Together but Separate 265

Chapter 60 Daring Myself 273

Chapter 61 Martha's Vineyard 279

Chapter 62 Back to Normal 283

Chapter 63 Woman Strong 296

Epilogue 312

Afterword 320

Acknowledgments 322

About the Author 325

Readers' Guide 327

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