OUTSIDE THE CONVENT

Oh, let me tell you, that's almost more than you'd ever... Why, I never dreamed I'd get out of the Convent! I never thought of ever getting out. I wanted out. But you say.. Oh, yes, I, when I collect myself, I reached over and turned the knob. And, do you know, it was open. I walked out of that Convent, and I slammed it to. I was sure the lock was on it. And I got out to the big iron gate. But, oh, he had me trapped!

That iron gate was just as locked as it was ever locked. You don't know what it done to me to stand there looking at the iron gate. And locked out of the Convent! I have no right out there! You can't imagine!

I don't know if I groaned right there. I don't know. I know I suffered enough, because I'm scared half to death. And what do I do if I go back and pound on that door? What will they do with me?

And, oh, the fear that grips your heart. And you say, "What did you do?"

I didn't have any shoes and stockings on. I'd worn those out years ago.

When I think of the Roman Catholic Church being the richest church in the world, and they let those little Nuns go winter and summer without any shoes and they're without any hose - living in crucial poverty - I wonder how they can do it. As hungry as we are. Your priests are all nice and fat. But little Nuns are so hungry. I wonder how they do it sometimes.

You say, "What did you do, Charlotte?" Well, I tell you I just took a hold of that big old iron gate and I tried to climb it. That's all there was for me to do. And up, about a foot and a half from the top, is a ledge about six inches wide. I thought if I could get high enough to get my knee on the ledge, I'm safe. And I did. I got one knee on the ledge, but by this time I don't have any strength left either. And, you know, I thought, "What'll I do? I'll put one foot over. Then I'll get the other over." Then I realized, you know, I had three skirts on. My skirts are gathered on a belt and they're clear down to my ankles. My veil, of course, is down to my knees in front and that long in the back. How will I ever get over those sharp points?

And I thought, "I can't go down. I don't have strength enough." So, I'll have to jump. And if I jump, I'll break every bone because I was broken in body, of course. And you know I thought of what I'll do. Well, I pulled all my clothing up around my body. And held them with one hand. And then I thought, "Ill have to jump."

And, you know, they have a buzzer in the convent. And when a little Nun tries to escape, and they catch her, they put a buzzer on. And, oh, the priests tell you they don't come to the convent. I would you could see the priests then. You'll find a good many of them there. And they are immediately after that Nun. They don't want her out. If she comes out of that convent, she's going to give a testimony someday. And it'll pull the cloak off of convents. And I'll assure you they don't intend for us to get out.

And so as I let loose of that, the top of that gate and I made that jump, I just didn't make it. My clothing caught on top of those points and I hung there. But I'd let loose. And I often say, you know, I don't know what I looked like. I didn't know I had grey hair. But I've often said, "Maybe my hair turned grey there." Maybe... you'll never know what I'd suffered hanging there on top of that gate, knowing that buzzer can go on any minute. And then what would they do to me?

I was scared. So I thought I'll try to wiggle my body and swing it. If I could get back far enough to grab the gate with one hand, maybe I can help myself. And I did. And then with the other hand I tried to pry the snappers loose on my skirt. And that let me fall between them.

Do you know what happened to? I hit the ground. I'm out. I was unconscious for a while. I don't know how long. We have no way to tell. But when I came to, I had a shoulder broken, and my arm was broken right in here. The flesh - the bone is snapped right through my flesh because I didn't have any meat on me. I thought, "What'll I do." And I realized I'm on the outside. Where am I going? Where do you think you'd go?

I'm not in the United States. I'm in another country. And I don't know a thing about that country. When they took me over there, I was so heavily veiled. And they took me from that particular part or train to the convent. I was so heavily veiled I couldn't see anything. And I don't know where I am. I don't know where to go. I don't know if I have any people. I don't know if I have anybody in the world. And I'm a pauper. I don't have any money. And I'm hungry. And my body's broken. And I'm hurt now.

Where do you think you'd go? I tell you it's something to think about. I just started away to get away from the convent. And I did. And I started moving away. And all the leaves were falling, and they made so much noise. And I was scared. And I kept on moving. And finally dark overtook me - or rather - there's no twilight in that part of the country - it just drops off into darkness.

And, you know, I saw this little building beside the road. I thought I'll crawl in it. It was a doghouse or maybe a chicken-coop or something. But it's dirty. And I crawled in there because I was shaking and scared. And I laid in there for a little while to get a hold of myself. And then I thought, "I'll have to travel. It's dark. And it's safer for me."

So I got out and traveled that night. And the next day I hid behind pieces of board and tin that was piled up against an old building. And all day long, imagine, hiding in that hot place. And hungry as I was with broken bones. Do you realize what it's all about? No. You'll never know. But I do.

And then, you know, when night came again I have to go, because I'm going to get away from the convent. I'm afraid to rap on somebody's door. Remember, I'm scared. I don't know, I might rap on a Roman Catholic's door. They will immediately notify the priests and I'll be taken back to the Convent. And I'd rather they killed me than take me back. And so I didn't.

[1]  [2]  [3]  [4]  [5]  [6]  [7]  [8]  [9]  [10]  [11]  [12]  [13]  [14]  [15]  [16]  [17]  [18]  [19]

[20]  [22]  [23]  [24]  [25]  [26]  [27]  [28]  [29]  [30]  [31]  [32]  [33]  [34] [35]  [36]