33 Comments
Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Thank you for your courage in sharing. Unfortunately, I feel like many in the church, religious and not, still have and use victim language about the abusers, as if they are just subjects of a sinful world. I used to be good friends, too a priest, who was also in religious life; he was like another dad to me. A couple years ago a lawsuit was brought up in which it alleged sexual assault and misconduct. The priest in question do not reject the accusations, but said that the relationship between him and the woman whom he was spiritual advisor for, a married woman, nonetheless, had a consensual relationship. I had a very hard time processing the news, especially because I had been called by someone in the order and questioned whether I had witnessed anything that it happened without any context to why I was being asked these questions. I had stopped going to church for a while, however, would still find myself adoration, because that is where I find the most peace. when I had mentioned to my priest, who is connected to this particular order in terms of ministry and friendship, and I mentioned how I was having such a hard time understanding and processing what was going on the priest side, and put his head down, and shook it, and talked about the sinfulness of humanity and of our own sinfulness as humans. I looked at him and told him that that was not good enough and that I am raising a daughter in which I should never have to worry about such experiences ever happening to her. this is not the first or last time that I’ve heard of this type of response regarding accusations or allegations about someone that is either priest or in religious life. There are wonderful, priests and wonderful people and religious life that are not predators. However, our church needs to do better, thank you again for sharing your stories, and I am elated to see where your ministry will carry your order. You are in our prayers. Girl power!

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Jan 15·edited Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

I am so sorry for your experiences. Sins crying to heaven for vengeance.

Your story makes me think of the story of Blessed Marie Anne Blondin.

(She is my distant great aunt.) I pray for her intercession for you and all victims of abuse. https://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/documents/ns_lit_doc_20010429_blondin_en.html

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Thank you for sharing these thoughtful words. It’s obvious to me that your sharing of this experience is not in pursuit of acclaim or sympathy but in pursuit of truth and grace. ❤️

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

My heart is so broken reading your accounts. I had no idea how personal this ministry is. No words can echo my sadness. My most heartfelt prayers are with you.

St. Therese pray for us.

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

This took so much courage! And patience, perseverance, faith, and trust. Thank you for your honest accounts and hopeful witness. God's Power is being manifested here!!

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Jan 16Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

I am again reminded of the words of Lord Acton in a letter to a bishop in the Anglican Church in the early 1800s. They were discussing the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope, I believe, which Lord Acton, a Catholic, opposed and the bishop, whose name I cannot recall, agreed with.

The immortal words found in that letter are, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I have set those words in the foundation of my worldview, critically informed by Christ and His Church. (though I am not Catholic, myself) A little later in the letter, further clarity can be found with this quirk of human nature: “There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

This story fortifies the choice of foundational ideas for me. The only solution resides in strong accountability for all of us. In circumstances where there is none, seek it out for yourself!

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Jan 16Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

I wanted to add –in support of your courageous outreach and new apostolate–While I can't know the alleged abuser's mental or spiritual state in this case; however, I think the Church needs to study and have criteria to screen and address sociopathic behavior for those in authority when incidents happen. When a credible report is made, the possibility of a charismatic sociopath needs to be considered, especially, like in this case, when a pattern of behavior is there.

We see this in the secular fields, medicine, politics, and corporate settings, we find notorious cases where a leader is highly respected and charismatic and advances to positions of increasing authority.

They operated boldly, and unchecked for years. For example, Dr Larry Nasaar, a physician to the Olympic gymnastics team abused many women and girls for a long time. His exams were a pretext for sexual abuse. A highly esteemed doctor in Boston is accused of grooming and abusing over 150 patients for over a decade under the guise of medical exams. Look at the shocking case of sociopath Marcial Maciel. I would add Fr Rupnik to the list, who allegedly recruited a vulnerable woman to become a sister so he could groom and seduce, along with other sisters whom he allegedly victimized.

These men duped not only victims for a time but also many holy and highly intelligent colleagues. Even a saint can be duped by a psychopath.

There was an article in the New York Times about this subject, and a book by Harvard’s Martha Stout, called THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us and her thesis on why people are duped. The author lists 13 Rules to protect oneself. I think this could be adapted to a Catholic understanding of the human person. (One part of her thesis is something like– a healthy person will trust people who appear trustworthy. But her rules involve “the bitter pill of accepting that some people”, despite appearing normal or being respected by others, “have no conscience.” I think the human psyche and human formation are important for the Church to understand. People can deny their gut instincts which protect themselves from sociopaths out of fear, respect, youth/innocence, and self-doubt (even humility or a desire to be charitable). If not this source, there can be other scientific studies and evaluations of patterns of sociopaths in religion and elsewhere.

Yes, we are dealing with fallen nature and sin, but we need to be able to identify abuse patterns to protect people from such destructive sociopaths. And there is the possibility of a spiritual cause as well that should be discerned. These things are real possibilities that need to be studied to protect the faithful from grievous harm. This is an important issue to address. I am hopeful your mission will contribute to healing this harmful evil that is so destructive in the Church. Thank you.

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Dear Sisters,

I want to express my gratitude for your bravery in coming forward and sharing your experiences. As I read your stories, I was deeply moved and saddened, especially since I know many of the people personally, having worked with you, After thinking about the lame response from the Dicastery to the credible reports, I am distressed and honestly outraged.

I want you to know that you are valued and cherished, as daughters of our Eternal Father. and as sisters in Christ, as friends. I implore the new leaders of OMV to take action. (Just as with Fr Rupnik's case, at least his religious order, the Jesuits, removed the abuser; though the Vatican did not laicize him yet as they should have.) The sworn testimonies of credible and reliable witnesses should be enough to prompt change. These women are beyond reproach in their honesty and deserve to be heard and believed.

The investigation must not have been very extensive, and if others were spiritually or sexually abused, I pray they will also have the courage to come forward. It should be emphasized that the sexualization and untoward comments by a confessor or spiritual director, is in of itself spiritual abuse. This is often how it begins. As you called it, grooming. (There are patterns to how these abusive men operate. It sounds very similar to Rupknik and Marcial.) If penitents experienced this they ought to speak up and report it.)

I urge the men of OMV to be truly men of God and demand accountability from the perpetrator, His actions are unacceptable and gravely sinful. I pray you believe these credible testimonies and demand accountability from Fr Dave Nicorgski, the perpetrator. Keep in mind that sociopaths are charming and have duped a lot of people. His actions are gravely sinful, and he must be removed from ministry. This is for those he harmed, those he may harm, and for his own soul’s sake as well.

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Thank you for coming forward. Your stories help others who are plagued with self doubt when faced with situations where grooming is taking place. I live in an area where we have many abusers. Unknown to me I have had abusers to my home, traveled with them, one baptized my son and was the priest in my daughters wedding - this former priest was put in prison due my daughter’s best friend. I will never let these actions separate me from Christ but many of my children have lost trust in the church. This is very painful as a mom. Your healing ministry is so needed.

I would like to to make a recommendation. Someone in my area began a website that makes public what is happening at a monastic community which has many of the cases in which I know the offender. It is called “Behind the Pine Curtain”. If your order could support a similar type of website it would help make it harder for the offender to hide and keep violating others. The priest who did the most damage to my family was reported to our bishop many times beginning shortly after his ordination. After over 20 years the cycle of abuse stopped when my daughter’s friend went to the police when he was arrested. The bishop knew all of this yet still made him the priest in charge of our cathedral.

Healing begins when Light is brought to the darkness. I think your efforts are so much what Christ desires for the Church today.

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Thank you for bravely speaking out. God bless you.

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Jan 15Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

I’m so sorry that all this happened. I’m keeping you all in my prayers.

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Mar 22Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

It was a pleasure meeting you both in the Denver Airport on Monday as we waited to catch our flight back to Florida. I applaud your honesty and straight forward approach to the failings of the church on addressing these issues. I was pleasantly surprised when you brought up the subject and the fallout from the abuse becoming your mission. We were raised Catholic and because of the abuse and lack of transparency me, my brother and sister have left the church and are no longer practicing Catholics, however the good news is we all found church’s that still allow us to practice our faith and following Gods word is the ultimate gift to living this life.

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Jan 19Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Praying for you, Sisters! Thank you for sharing your stories.

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Jan 16Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

So often, the church operates with confidentiality, which is often used as a shield to protect perpetrators of abuse and silence those who have been harmed. Secrecy and safety are incompatible. I am sorry for what you have endured and yet I so appreciate your courage and your willingness to bring the truth into the light. That is the only way to bring about healing, and to help make the church a safe place for all. Peace and prayers your way.

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Jan 16Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Sr. Danielle and Sr. Theresa. What is the phone number of your community? I would rather share what I want to say in private.

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Jan 16Liked by Sisters of the Little Way

Thank you for your courage. I know so many nuns, priests, and other consecrated people who have been abused in this way, but are too afraid to come forward. Bravo. You are protecting others and changing the culture of cover up and victim blaming.

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