January 16, 2005

Betrayal of faith

Sunday News

By Cris Foehlinger
Sunday News

Published: Jan 14, 2005 12:13 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Patricia Cahill is overcoming a life of abuse and secrecy at the hands of the Catholic church.

Her childhood was destroyed by the sexual abuse of a priest and later when she was a teenager by the very nun in whom she confided the abuse.

Through alcohol, drugs and a position of authority, Sister Eileen Shaw determined, in large part, the woman Cahill is today. One with no sexuality and no understanding of normalcy, yet one with a strong drive to right the wrongs of a church that molded her into a quagmire of guilt.

Although the nun's ministry has since been restricted, Cahill, now 52 and living in Lancaster, is angry at the church for stealing her childhood, her family and her dreams.

She has found support through the nationwide Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. And, in turn, she is trying to focus on the future. Later this week she will launch a support group in Lebanon to help local survivors. (See related story.)

Posted by kshaw at January 16, 2005 01:39 PM