We are nunneries

Dierk Schaefer's blog

It is seldom that violent criminals from the children's homes speak freely about their educational methods. Alexander Markus Homes interviewed a nun who was ready to speak. The following text is his book "Home upbringing - help in life or custody? - Violence and lust in the name of God " taken. Thank you for the permission to print!


"The denominational homes are the worst homes for children!"


In an interview that I conducted with a nun from the "Order of the Poor Maidservants of Jesus Christ" (the nuns of this order also worked in the St. Vincenzstift home, Rüdesheim-Aulhausen, where I was mistreated for ten years) the pious woman quite openly and honestly how "in the name of Jesus Christ" children were physically and mentally tortured, humiliated and punished in a Catholic home in which she worked. With the punishment and oppression instrument "God", so the nun, obedience, willingness, adaptation and submission were required of the children. She herself admits to having mistreated children in the worst possible way.


Nun B .: I grew up as an only child in a strict religious family. I hardly came into contact with people of the same age because my parents didn't want me to hang out with other children. It was a sheltered life. When I grew up, my parents wanted me to be a nun; so I entered an order. At the time I thought that as a nun I could help young people.


Homes: You worked in a children's home for many years. How was that time


Nun B .: As a young nun I saw homes in which small children were housed, expelled them and left them alone. I was shocked then, and I swore to God that I wanted to help these children. They should feel comfortable in the home, the home should be a home for them. I wanted to help them, in the name of God, in the name of Christian charity.

During my visits to Catholic homes, I have seen nuns and secular educators who exuded a great deal of coldness. Almost all of them made a brutal impression on me that could frighten one. I talked to them back then before I went to work in the home myself. They all talked about charity, but I got the impression that they were just talking about it and practicing just the opposite of it: they beat young children for trivial reasons or imposed punishments. They were just very authoritarian, and what particularly struck me: almost all of them were unable to really love children!

When I was working in the home myself, I didn't want to make the same mistakes. I also wanted to be authoritarian, but I never wanted to use violence against the children. But soon I had given up my resolution. I treated the children in the same way as the other nuns. I too began to beat children, to punish them, to impose sanctions on them. And I knew - like all nuns and educators - that the children could not defend themselves. They were helplessly at the mercy of us, our whims, our power! We all spread a great fear among the children. Fear dominated her soul and her small body and her young life. I thought I could use these resources because I couldn't cope with the whole situation. We couldn't help it; we simply had no other means of helping them; we also had no educational training. We thought that if we subjected the children to a strict religious upbringing, it would actually be the best help they could be given. But I have to say: like all the other nuns and educators, I had fallen into a great misbelief, even madness. We all believed that this was the best education. We thought nothing of being tough on the children, sometimes hitting them, forcing them to do something. We kept telling the children that we wanted to raise and help them in the name of Jesus Christ. But in reality we have - even if this realization is painful! - violate these Christian principles! We didn't approach the children like humans, but we somehow rejected them internally. That became very clear from the way we acted.


Homes: What did this religious pedagogy look like in detail?


Nun B .: The home I worked in was a Catholic home. God was the foundation of education! The conversations with the children, our actions and demeanor were always determined by the Christian faith. By threatening God, we had the children under control, including their thoughts and feelings. Isn't that the goal of every denominational upbringing, every denominational home?


Homes: You report that you beat and punished the children. Could you please give some examples.


Nun B .: I still dream of these home children today. But it's not nice dreams, no nice experiences that wake up. Only recently did I have one of these dreams again: I saw myself again catching a boy about seven years old masturbating. I was beside myself and confronted him. But the child did not understand anything. My anger grew and I pulled his hair into the shower room. There I ran cold water into a tub and forcibly dragged the boy into it and submerged him many times. I saw - as then in reality - how he tried to defend himself; I heard him scream again. It took a great deal of strength to submerge this small, graceful body over and over again. I felt the boy's strength weaken. His face turned blue, and yet I carried on. The boy was barely breathing when I finally let go of him.

I remember another dream that also brought a real experience to life for me in the form of terrible images. A child screamed after being hit by another child. I couldn't take those screams anymore, yelled at it. But the child kept screaming. I grabbed his head and hit him several times on the wall. Suddenly there was blood on my hands and I was startled. I looked at the child. The child trembled all over and ran away.

The scenes are terrible, I know! But what good does that still help those affected today - nothing!


Homes: You say that there was no other way you could help. I do not understand that completely.


Nun B .: None of us, the nuns and the educators, were educated. It didn't exist back then. We went to the homes without really knowing what to expect. We did not know that we would do better if we largely avoided authoritarian behavior in our upbringing. We never really thought about how the children would react to it. I did not understand, or at the time did not want to understand, that the child may have screamed and suffered inside. Of course, this reflection no longer helps those affected, it has happened. We made a lot of mistakes. It was sometimes a terrible, gruesome time for the children; it was a great crime against them and against God.

A child once said to me, “God will punish you for everything you have done to us.” At that time, I clenched my hand into a fist and slapped the child in the face. Today I know what the child wanted to tell me.


Homes: You say that at the time you did not understand what it was like for a child to have to constantly grow up under fear. Do you really know today what it means for a child not to be loved but to be hated?


Nun B: I'm not sure if I really know what it means for a child to have to live in a home at all and then under such dire conditions. I can only guess at it, if at all. It is not entirely true that we never loved the children but hated them. I tried to act in Christian charity. I can't blame myself for anything other than working in a home at all. Maybe it wasn't love, just hate. And when I meet children from back then in my dreams today, I know: They must have suffered a lot from our violence!


Homes: Do you know what happened to these kids?


Nun B: I only know of a few today where they live. I think four are in jail, three are in a mental hospital, three are monks today, and I know of four that they work.

Today I am sure: the denominational homes are the worst homes for children!



The interview was published in my book: “Home education - Lebenshilfe or Beugehaft? - Violence and lust in the name of God ”(Books on Demand publisher). Further dissemination of the interview is only permitted with the express consent of the author. And after approval has been granted, only with reference to the source (author, title, publisher).

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Homes, Alexander Markus



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