“Life is the sum of you choices” – Albert Camus
“My story is about family that may have been separated but couldn’t be broken.” – Patrica Walsh Chadwick
Peace Love and Freedom…The Hippie Era
Commune vs cult. It was the 1960’s and the hippie era. Peace, love and freedom were the buzz words and the moto behind the culture. Many hippies lived in communes where they shared beliefs and the goal of enlightenment and harmony, working and living together. But when does a commune become a cult?
It can happen without anyone noticing. A deceptive, controlling and charismatic leader to being let in is all it needs. The Manson Family and the People’s Temple were two of the most notorious cults. They both had controlling, deceptive and sinister leaders; Charles Manson and Jim Jones, resulting in endings that were horrific. And the People’s Temple is infamous for the 1978 Jonestown massacre that left 909 people dead.
Did you guess the word?
Try guessing the word. Imagine being a 6 year old girl and you and your siblings are no longer allowed to live with your parents. Now imagine not being able to call them Mom and Dad being the result of this move. Can you imagine not being allowed to speak to them even if they walked by you? Okay, imagine being cruelly punished because you spoke to a boy. Go on, keep imagining – you are now 17 and “kicked out” of the only place you have lived. The result, you’re thrown into a world you know nothing about. You’re told it’s a world of sin and danger. You do not even know how to use a telephone.
Keep imagining. You are writing your story. Now imagine your daughter has to give the word to describe the place you lived for those 17 years. A word that you never thought of.
Did you guess it? The word is CULT. You won’t find that word in Patricia’s memoir.
Which of course brings me to the latest episode of:
Episode 37: Patricia Walsh Chadwick
Author of ‘Little Sister, a Memoir’
They Promised Her Heaven, But There Was No Savior
Listen as Patricia tells her story that at times can be impossible to fathom. This is a story of intelligent men and women and their children, Little Sisters and Little Brothers, and the cult-like community that was led by an excommunicated Catholic priest, Leonard Feeney and a very sadistic nun, Sister Catherine.
‘Until the age of eighteen, I had never read a newspaper nor perused the pages of a magazine. Never eaten in a restaurant nor shopped in a grocery store. I had never heard of Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, or Elizabeth Taylor. And I had never watched television, nor made a phone call.’
Here’s a glimpse of our conversation and life in a cult:
- The six characteristics of a cult
- Patricia’s parents and how they got involved
- How the community evolved into a cult
- Funding of the cult
- Why the children were separated from their parents
- Sister Catherine had the punishments that parents knew nothing about
- How her father was able to communicate his love
- Patricia had no contact with the outside world, yet she knew that there was something wrong
- PTSD and its affects
- The response from her parents and others who had lived in the now dissolved community
Patricia Walsh Chadwick
Patricia Walsh Chadwick did learn how to make a phone call. By working as a teacher and taking out loans, Patricia graduated summa cum laude from Boston University and started her career in finance. Ms. Chadwick is the founder and president of Ravengate Partners LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to providing businesses and non-profit institutions with education and advice about the financial markets and the global economy. As a board member, she brings three decades of managerial and investment experience to the boardroom, where her strength lies in helping to drive decision-making at the corporate level. An expert witness, she specializes in matters of investment process, due diligence, portfolio construction and management, and stock research.
Patricia lives in Greenwich, CT with her husband of more than 35 years and their two children.
You can find us on your favorite podcast platform. And of course, on our website. Thank you for listening. I want to hear from you – let me know what you think of this episode by leaving a rating and review here.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay smart and always….stay tuned.