She strode into the classroom, her long robes making a snapping sound. Her face was white and pinched. Everyone fell silent. It was going to be a hard day with Sister Mary. As the day went on, tension choked all sound. She asked one of the orphanage girls a question, a question she knew the girl couldn't answer. We all knew she couldn't answer it.
Suddenly, she swooped down on her prey with an audible sigh of relief. She caught her by her cropped hair and pulled her up to the blackboard. She began to bang her head against the blackboard, over and over and over again. The only sound in the room was that of skull on wood.
All at once I found myself standing, roaring STOP!
The other pupils stared at me in horror.
Sister Mary released the girl who slumped to the floor.
HOW DARE YOU MARTINE BRENNAN!
HOW DARE YOU!
GO STAND IN THE CORNER!
Another pupil was dispatched to the Principal's office. The Principal arrived and there was a furious, hissed conversation in the corridor. The Principal told me to return to stand at my desk. I stood at my desk shaking with fear. She insisted I apologise to Sister Mary for breaching discipline.
'I apologise' I said in fear and obedience ...and in a whisper, 'but I am not sorry.'
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Both the nuns described above have since died. But their bullying has not...
All the nuns in our school took Mary as their first name.
If my small granny could see me now
An afternoon among the women poem
Growing up in a white world
When people say genealogy is boring
Anger and Truth
Where do you come from?
The House on an Irish Hillside book review
Mammies for Mariage Equality
Aw go on, say YES
Homeless in Ireland
When wide sky opens poem
I love my work
Celtic New Year
This small house
Rhythm & Rest poem
The Hidden Self
The Lonely Road
Kerry Pride 2013
Letting the Light in after Loss
Letting go is hard
Pick up the phone
Her name was not Magdalene
Do what you love doing!
My small granny
Praise the child and boil the dishcloths
My invisible brother Michael
I don't want to be Irish anymore
Alone on Valentine's Day
I love my country but I am not blind
Truth no. 2
How we tell the Truth
From Clare to here
Mother's Day is bittersweet
I will not be part of that
No Blacks No Dogs No Irish
Thank you for the days
Baby Marion Howe
My Irish Identity
When my Mam was dying
Violence against women
Take back your power
Draw the line
My small granny and other stories