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No mercy

by
August 2005, no. 273

God’s Willing Workers: Women and religion in Australia by Anne O'Brien

UNSW Press, $49.95 pb, 314 pp

No mercy

by
August 2005, no. 273

For Germaine Greer, the nuns at the Star of the Sea Convent in Melbourne provided ‘a terrific education’. ‘They really loved us,’ said Greer. Not so Amanda Lohrey. Her experience of a working-class convent school in Tasmania so scarred her that still today, visiting a church in Europe, she feels a ‘physical revulsion’ for ‘the naked martyrs, staked out, flayed alive, crumpled, bleeding’. For former Catholic schoolgirls, a reunion is a chance to laugh together over some of the more outrageous things taught to them by nuns. But Lohrey can look back only with bitterness, in particular on the nuns’ ‘intense but evasive’ preoccupation with sex. ‘Boys are after only one thing, girls. They’ll suck you dry like an orange,’ she was told. She cannot laugh.

Pamela Bone reviews ‘God’s Willing Workers: Women and religion in Australia’ by Anne O’Brien

God’s Willing Workers: Women and religion in Australia

by Anne O'Brien

UNSW Press, $49.95 pb, 314 pp

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