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Little Sister: A Memoir PDF, ePub eBook

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Little Sister: A Memoir

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Little Sister: A Memoir PDF, ePub eBook 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 p 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.

30 review for Little Sister: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Watson

    I have known Patricia Chadwick for over twenty years, but her intimate story of triumph was unknown to me until recently. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of LITTLE SISTER and clearly saw the friend I know but also saw an individual who chose to be happy even in difficult and oppressive circumstances. She found solace in small things during those times which enabled her to not lose sight of herself. Her book is of hope and thanksgiving, not fear and loathing. Patricia crafted a pat I have known Patricia Chadwick for over twenty years, but her intimate story of triumph was unknown to me until recently. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of LITTLE SISTER and clearly saw the friend I know but also saw an individual who chose to be happy even in difficult and oppressive circumstances. She found solace in small things during those times which enabled her to not lose sight of herself. Her book is of hope and thanksgiving, not fear and loathing. Patricia crafted a path that led to salvation and refused to use malice as a tool. This book uplifted, inspired, and astounded me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Royce

    Little Sister is an utterly fascinating memoir of a woman who was raised in Catholic cult, completely sequestered from the exterior world of 20th century American life. Dressed in plain clothes, with no exposure to television, magazines, movies and fast food, Patricia Chadwick grew up as though in an earlier era. That might seem to be a positive, but there was a far more sinister aspect to the goings-on of the adults in this sect—both in their dealings with the world outside their gates, and in Little Sister is an utterly fascinating memoir of a woman who was raised in Catholic cult, completely sequestered from the exterior world of 20th century American life. Dressed in plain clothes, with no exposure to television, magazines, movies and fast food, Patricia Chadwick grew up as though in an earlier era. That might seem to be a positive, but there was a far more sinister aspect to the goings-on of the adults in this sect—both in their dealings with the world outside their gates, and in their treatment of the children inside of them. That Patricia Chadwick escaped to be the well adjusted, bright and involved adult she turned out to be is nothing short of a miracle. I highly recommend this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenn dePaula

    I couldn't put this book down - absolutely fascinating. When I first heard about Patricia and her life, my jaw hit the floor - I couldn't believe it! Even though Patricia's story is hard and at times heartbreaking, she has lived an incredible life. Her strength and determination are inspiring. I was completely captivated by this book and cannot recommend it enough.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hilary A.

    This memoir is entirely riveting, where you find yourself drawn into the rarefied world of a devout and uncommon Catholic community, where real family bonds are tested and where your life is not your own. This book comes at an important time, when extremism and religious zeal is rampant and so very hard to comprehend. This book is about finding what is truly sacred. Patricia Walsh Chadwick's story guides the reader through her remarkable life experience from childhood to young adulthood, with jo This memoir is entirely riveting, where you find yourself drawn into the rarefied world of a devout and uncommon Catholic community, where real family bonds are tested and where your life is not your own. This book comes at an important time, when extremism and religious zeal is rampant and so very hard to comprehend. This book is about finding what is truly sacred. Patricia Walsh Chadwick's story guides the reader through her remarkable life experience from childhood to young adulthood, with joy, gravity and honesty. Her experience of faith, family and community will leave you in utter shock. I could not stop wanting to know..."How will this end?!" A not to be missed memoir!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jolyne FitzGerald

    I was fortunate to read an advance copy of Patricia Chadwick’s book and could not put it down. Little Sister is a thoroughly engrossing account of a childhood that was deprived of the traditional joys of carefree experiences, family bonds and freedom. Chadwick’s memoir is a fascinating look into how Father Leonard Feeney was able to maintain a religious cult for over two decades, attracting highly intelligent individuals and their families to live in an isolated community outside Boston, totally I was fortunate to read an advance copy of Patricia Chadwick’s book and could not put it down. Little Sister is a thoroughly engrossing account of a childhood that was deprived of the traditional joys of carefree experiences, family bonds and freedom. Chadwick’s memoir is a fascinating look into how Father Leonard Feeney was able to maintain a religious cult for over two decades, attracting highly intelligent individuals and their families to live in an isolated community outside Boston, totally cut off from the world. Even more remarkable is Chadwick’s bravery and ability to get herself out and ultimately live a happy and successful life. The book will inspire its readers with a sometimes painful and other times hopeful story of a young woman’s faith and determination to break free and to ultimately live a life devoid of anger or bitterness about her past.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scotty

    This remarkable autobiography by Patricia Walsh recounts how about 15 years of her childhood, across the 1950s and ‘60s, were spent in communal living inside a Catholic cult led by a charismatic Jesuit priest, Fr Leonard Feeney, and his henchwoman, the dreaded "Mother Catherine" who ran the cult with an iron fist (which Patricia and many other children often felt during cruel beatings). From public beginnings at the St Benedict Center in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. in the 1940s, to the move i This remarkable autobiography by Patricia Walsh recounts how about 15 years of her childhood, across the 1950s and ‘60s, were spent in communal living inside a Catholic cult led by a charismatic Jesuit priest, Fr Leonard Feeney, and his henchwoman, the dreaded "Mother Catherine" who ran the cult with an iron fist (which Patricia and many other children often felt during cruel beatings). From public beginnings at the St Benedict Center in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. in the 1940s, to the move in the early '50s to communal living in a compound of buildings a few blocks away, and then finally in 1958 to a country farm in upstate Massachusetts, the cult became more and more austere, more and more monastic, and more and more unnatural for a young girl separated from her parents by rigid rules, while the parents themselves were separated by artificial vows of celibacy. This enthralling mystery story sees Patricia finally free herself at age 18 to begin a more normal, successful and accomplished life. Why such a cult,and why such a hold on its educated members in the middle of the 20th century? These were not the kool-aid-swilling lemmings of the Jonestown cult in Guyana in 1978, nor the hippie, pot-head dropouts and commune dwellers of 1960s America. These were academics and intellectuals and students from Boston College, Harvard and Radcliffe who made a spiritual and intellectual commitment to a fanatical priest who was excommunicated by the Vatican and Boston's Cardinal Cushing in 1949 for preaching a doctrine of "No Salvation Outside the Church”, which was anathema to a church that, in the lead up to Vatican II, was trying to be more ecumenical. Feeney was also virulently anti-semitic, both in private and public speeches, blaming the Jews for killing Jesus, and lambasting other religions for being "pious frauds". And yet he was still able, by strength of personality and mesmerising oratory, to keep his very intelligent devotees in line to the point of enforcing an unnatural lifestyle that was bad for marriages and bad for families, but allegedly more "holy" and true to the faith.. Little Sisters is really one woman's perspective on a multi-faceted sociological phenomenon involving many different families, children and other adults, and I finished this book thinking about Rashomon, and how there must be many other different perspectives waiting to be disclosed by other surviving residents of the cult which might differ in focus and emphases from Patricia Walsh's. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating and important record of a young girl's fight to retain some sense of identity and self-worth inside a 20th century cult that was hell-bent on destroying personal identities for the sake of a kind of religious idealism that wanted to sacrifice individual personality to groupthink and a perverted notion of Catholic faith. This is a beautifully written memoir that reads like a screenplay, with short, 2-3 page chapters detailing critical or dramatic events, and I would not be surprised if it were picked up for a movie. It is also a chilling reminder of the power of group conformity and self-delusion; Patricia Walsh has done us all a favor by reminding us in 2019 of the threat posed by ideological sub-groups in society with their own private agendas which are inimical both to social justice and the welfare of children. My final takeaway from this fascinating story is that, when it comes to raising children, there's no place like home!

  7. 5 out of 5

    J. L.

    We are greatly looking forward to the publication of Little Sister, a compelling memoir by Patricia Walsh Chadwick, coming from Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon and Schuster in April (and already available for pre-order on Amazon), that we had the privilege of reading in manuscript. Patricia was born into a Catholic cult in Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded by Father Leonard Feeney, a kind of twentieth-century Savonarola, a Catholic priest who We are greatly looking forward to the publication of Little Sister, a compelling memoir by Patricia Walsh Chadwick, coming from Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon and Schuster in April (and already available for pre-order on Amazon), that we had the privilege of reading in manuscript. Patricia was born into a Catholic cult in Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded by Father Leonard Feeney, a kind of twentieth-century Savonarola, a Catholic priest who had a fanatic’s vision of an evil world in which the only path to true salvation was through a complete rejection of all worldly goods and temptations. The members, including Patricia’s parents, were mostly highly-educated graduates of Harvard and Radcliffe who after the Second World War came under the spell of Feeney and were persuaded to give up all they owned to join his hermetic sect that, run by Feeney and the authoritarian Sister Catherine, became progressively draconian. Until she was 17, Patricia had never read a magazine that was not a religious tract, had never seen a movie, read a newspaper, watched television, or even talked on the telephone. She grew up behind walls totally cut off from the material world. When she was six, she and her siblings were cruelly separated from their parents and forbidden to have any communication with them. Then, when she was seventeen, Patricia was expelled from the community. (No spoilers. You will have to read the book to find out why!) Her story, in vividly remembered detail, is told without bitterness or self-pity. Indeed, what comes through on every page is her great compassion and humanity, her understanding and love for those around her. It should be no surprise that she created a happy ending. Devastated but undaunted when she was expelled from the community, Patricia found a job and put herself through night school at Boston University. While still a student, she was hired as a receptionist by a Wall Street firm and started her amazing climb to the highest ranks of the world of finance and investing, a thirty-year career crowned by her becoming a Global Partner at Invesco. You have perhaps seen her on CNBC where she she frequently appeared dispensing wise advice on their signature morning show, Squawk Box. Patricia is also highly successful at creating happy endings for others. In addition to sitting on a number of corporate boards and writing an interesting blog on social, political, and economic issues, she mentors middle school girls at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in Harlem, and in 2016, she founded and is CEO of Anchor Health Initiative, a health care company that serves the needs of the LGBTQ community in Connecticut. She is also an avid supporter of the arts and a devoted opera goer. Little Sister provides intimate and revealing insights into the life of a brilliant and generous person who every day makes the world a better, more interesting place.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ro Laberee

    This is one of those devour-in-a-day books. Written by Patricia Walsh Chadwick, this is her shocking story of a life spent in a renegade group, a cult, adhering strictly to the firm belief that there is "no salvation outside the Catholic Church". Father Leonard Feeney was the leader. Sister Catherine was his enforcer and usurper. Ms. Chadwick was separated from her parents when she was just 5 and was placed into the care of the zealots, who believed in Feeney and his mission. Along with 39 other This is one of those devour-in-a-day books. Written by Patricia Walsh Chadwick, this is her shocking story of a life spent in a renegade group, a cult, adhering strictly to the firm belief that there is "no salvation outside the Catholic Church". Father Leonard Feeney was the leader. Sister Catherine was his enforcer and usurper. Ms. Chadwick was separated from her parents when she was just 5 and was placed into the care of the zealots, who believed in Feeney and his mission. Along with 39 other little kids, she was isolated, denied gentle love and care, and forbidden to speak with her own parents (they, too, were inmates). She was subjected regularly to emotional and physical abuse. She and her parents and siblings were trapped in a life inside of a cult - the Feeneyites. Chadwick expertly captures the ambiguity of her captivity - yes, it is terrible but it is her life and she loves the other children and internees. When she was asked to leave because she had not embraced the life of a postulant, she found the prospect of freedom terrifying. An amazing account of survival in hostile, sequestered surroundings. Patricia Walsh Chadwick survives. I am so glad she told her story...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    A frightening memoir of one young girls story of torture, brinwashing, barbaric and un-natural treatment all in the name of religion. Using fear and threats to control and shape the deeds and thoughts of others was truly horific for the 39 children especially. The author does state that this is HER story and not thaat of any others but the reader is left with questions about outhers: Did her parents eventally see the light? Did they die as anti-semetic? Did they not see their culpability in the A frightening memoir of one young girls story of torture, brinwashing, barbaric and un-natural treatment all in the name of religion. Using fear and threats to control and shape the deeds and thoughts of others was truly horific for the 39 children especially. The author does state that this is HER story and not thaat of any others but the reader is left with questions about outhers: Did her parents eventally see the light? Did they die as anti-semetic? Did they not see their culpability in the whole "Center" fiasco? The author seems forever "damaged" by her 17 years in the center. Repulsed by the dinner time blesssings but anxious to have her wedding blessed by the Cathlic Church. And am I the only one to see that her first serious relationship is with a man 20 years her senior? Unresolved "daddy" issues perhaps? She survives and florishes in spite of her time before she was 17. She gives credit to those times as helping her to become who she became. If I was to guess, she would be pretty unique among the 39. A facinating story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert Ainsley

    This brave, surprising, and ultimately uplifting memoire is difficult to put down. Without disparaging or judging the impulses and intentions of her guardians, Ms. Chadwick gives the reader an enthralling, vivid, and moving first-person journey through her singular upbringing. What would be an otherwise foreign and unrecognizable world is made immediate and personal, and we are left with a story of resilience, tolerance, and courage. The book speaks to all who have felt ambition as a result of r This brave, surprising, and ultimately uplifting memoire is difficult to put down. Without disparaging or judging the impulses and intentions of her guardians, Ms. Chadwick gives the reader an enthralling, vivid, and moving first-person journey through her singular upbringing. What would be an otherwise foreign and unrecognizable world is made immediate and personal, and we are left with a story of resilience, tolerance, and courage. The book speaks to all who have felt ambition as a result of repression or hardship, and depicts childhood innocence and its loss with disarming honesty.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    A Catholic “Educated.” In both there is forgiveness and anger. Although I agree Catherine Clark is the main culprit, I was surprised at the pass she gives Father Feeney. No surprise that the Church did. Her ability to forgive her parents speaks toward her philosophy of grace. However, the book doesn’t convey how well educated, sophisticated people such as her parents and the other members could abandon their children and NO ONE knew what these 39 children were subjected to? A difficult but inform A Catholic “Educated.” In both there is forgiveness and anger. Although I agree Catherine Clark is the main culprit, I was surprised at the pass she gives Father Feeney. No surprise that the Church did. Her ability to forgive her parents speaks toward her philosophy of grace. However, the book doesn’t convey how well educated, sophisticated people such as her parents and the other members could abandon their children and NO ONE knew what these 39 children were subjected to? A difficult but informative read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Having only a glimmer of knowledge regarding the Catholic Churches and cults in general I was mesmerized by the experience that Patricia had. It was almost impossible put the book down even though I was deeply disturbed by what I read. Her life is a testament to a little girl who had a strong sense of self at a very early age, and who was not only able to endure, but ultimately triumph with her family.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bob Davis

    This is an almost unbelievable account of highly educated people in the US in the mid twentieth century being drawn in and controlled by a religious cult that separates parents from children. Patricia Chadwick's memoir is true. It is a compelling, tightly written story, of the triumph of love over fear and repression. A great read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Lauren

    It was hard to put down this book. The subject was so bizarre, and Ms. Chadwick maintained my interest throughout. The many vintage photos were instrumental in bringing me into her life. I felt her emotions and physical pain. I already knew she overcame her unusual childhood, but the last section of the book was unexpected. I highly recommend this memoir.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Really enjoyed this book. A personal look into the life through a child raised in what was a Catholic cult in the suburbs of Boston and how she got through an abused, lonely life, well-educated through their trainings, always hoping there was more, and eventually able to leave it behind.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lucygammie

    Love memoirs especially when I know the area was the reason I decided to read this book. It was so interesting and thought provoking. Totally engaging!

  17. 4 out of 5

    LK Hagy

    An incredible story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Francesca

    It was excellent! A real eye- opener!!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Beazer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan Kelly

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debra Canales

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Pack

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jane Sims

  26. 4 out of 5

    C. Meyrick Payne

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Shiely

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bksreadsbooks

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kit

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