Cover image for The cannibal's wife : a memoir
The cannibal's wife : a memoir
Maes, Y. M. (Yvonne M.)
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Publication Information:
New York : Herodias, 1999.
Physical Description:
265 pages ; 22 cm
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Material Type
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Item Holds
BX4668.3.M34 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Yvonne Maes takes you inside the world of a nun struggling with an overwhelming predicament, to explore the emotional and spiritual geography of an embattled religious life, to gain an understanding of "celibate" sexuality and its predators, to uncover her vulnerability to sexual abuse, and to share her emergence into a powerful new consciousness in both theological and personal terms.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Maes, a former Roman Catholic nun, provides a gripping personal account of sexual and psychological abuse. Molested by her father at a young age, the author sought solace and escape in her faith. Joining the Holy Names Order in 1959, she weathered all the tumultuous changes wrought in the church by Vatican II. After years of arduous, rewarding missionary work in South Africa, she experienced a perplexing sense of spiritual malaise, prompting her to enroll in a highly recommended guided retreat. While on retreat, she was sexually assaulted by her counselor, a respected Roman Catholic priest. Ashamed and confused, Sister Yvonne spent the next eight years attempting to extricate herself from a vicious cycle of guilt and abuse. When she finally found the courage to report her tormentor, she was met by a firm wall of resistance from a patriarchal church bureaucracy determined to protect one of its own. A harrowing, yet ultimately uplifting memoir of a courageous woman's quest for justice and self-affirmation. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Written with the assistance of Slunder, a novelist and screenwriter, this is an account of alleged sexual abuse of a nun by a priest, as well as an expos‚ of what the authors portray as sexism within the Roman Catholic Church. When she was 11, Maes, who was born in Manitoba, Canada, was warned by her mother to avoid her father because he had sexually abused her older sister. Traumatized by this revelation, she dodged her father's groping and sexual advances and entered a convent when she was 20. Maes details her many years of service to the Church as a teacher, including an engrossing description of a stint in Lesotho. During a retreat in 1985, she had sexual intercourse for the first time, with Father Frank Goodall, who was serving as her personal retreat director. From this point on, Maes's disturbing account grows murky, for although she calls the encounter with Goodall abuse, she also recalls that she felt great pleasure. Maes's memoir depicts Goodall as a manipulating womanizer, but Maes was in love with him and maintained contact despite her concerns about pregnancy and venereal disease. It was only after she received a hostile letter breaking off the relationship that she initiated a sexual abuse complaint against him within the Church. According to Maes, the ensuing investigation was tainted by sexism and a desire on the part of the investigators to protect the priest at all costs. Although much of Maes's criticism concerning sexist attitudes and the powerless position of women within the Church is persuasive, her tone is occasionally so angry and intemperate that it is difficult to judge the merits of her particular case from this subjective account. Clearly unsatisfied with the results of the hearing, Maes left her convent and the Church and now advocates for survivors of sexual abuse. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved