Clutching her eight-week-old sister in her arms, Frances Reilly was abandoned by her mother outside the gates of The Poor Sisters of Nazareth Convent. It was Christmas morning 1956 and Frances was 2 years old. For the next 13 years Frances experienced institutionalized cruelty under the care of her new guardians: she was beaten, raped, and molested on numerous occasions. The nuns stripped her of everything—her best friend, her innocence, even her name— but they could not suppress her spirit and her never-ending hope of a better life. Written with great honesty and integrity, this moving account of childhood suffering is a tragic yet inspiring story. Through it all Frances refused to be broken. This is her account of her resolution to survive and defy the evil that stole her childhood.
I got a copy of this book at a book club meet up where everyone brought a book with them and swapped it for a book they hadn’t read. I actually had my eye on To Kill A Mocking Bird but it had gone before I could get to it. Out of all the books left this one actually appealed to me more.
I have read a lot of books on abuse but this one was quite different to the usual books I have read, the abuse is at the hands usually by a family member but the majority of mental and physical abuse in Suffer the Little Children is astonishingly by the hands of nuns!
Suffer the Little Children is a non fiction book written by Frances Reilly who with her sisters were sent to the convent when their mother decided she was not capable of looking after them.
Not only does Frances have to put up with the cruelty that is so often to common from other children she has to face daily beatings and telling offs by the nuns themselves. Even when things seem to be looking up for Frances, evil and horrible people never seem to be far away.
It is really hard to rate a book like this especially when the author themselves has been through such atrocities. It probably isn’t the best written book but the content and the empathy you feel for Frances herself and some of the other girls there is quite heart wrenching. Even after Frances left the convent, the after effects from the cruelty she suffered went on to affect her and all her sisters lives.
Suffer the Little Children will certainly have you going through a whole load of emotions, mainly shock, horror and sadness. It is a story that is worth reading though as sadly Frances’ story is just one of many that unfortunately took place in those days and one that should definitely be heard.
Suffer the Little Children is available to purchase from Amazon