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Little Sister: A Memoir

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As seen in the New York Post! They promised her heaven, but there was no savior. Imagine an eighteen-year-old American girl who has never read a newspaper, watched television, or made a phone call. An eighteen-year-old-girl who has never danced—and this in the 1960s. It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Cathol As seen in the New York Post! They promised her heaven, but there was no savior. Imagine an eighteen-year-old American girl who has never read a newspaper, watched television, or made a phone call. An eighteen-year-old-girl who has never danced—and this in the 1960s. It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Catholic priest, has founded a religious community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Center's members—many of them educated at Harvard and Radcliffe—surrender all earthly possessions and aspects of their life, including their children, to him. Patricia Chadwick was one of those children, and Little Sister is her account of growing up in the Feeney sect. Separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them, Patricia bristles against the community’s draconian rules, yearning for another life. When, at seventeen, she is banished from the Center, her home, she faces the world alone, without skills, family, or money but empowered with faith and a fierce determination to succeed on her own, which she does, rising eventually to the upper echelons of the world of finance and investing.  A tale of resilience and grace, Little Sister chronicles, in riveting prose, a surreal childhood and does so without rancor or self-pity.


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As seen in the New York Post! They promised her heaven, but there was no savior. Imagine an eighteen-year-old American girl who has never read a newspaper, watched television, or made a phone call. An eighteen-year-old-girl who has never danced—and this in the 1960s. It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Cathol As seen in the New York Post! They promised her heaven, but there was no savior. Imagine an eighteen-year-old American girl who has never read a newspaper, watched television, or made a phone call. An eighteen-year-old-girl who has never danced—and this in the 1960s. It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Catholic priest, has founded a religious community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Center's members—many of them educated at Harvard and Radcliffe—surrender all earthly possessions and aspects of their life, including their children, to him. Patricia Chadwick was one of those children, and Little Sister is her account of growing up in the Feeney sect. Separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them, Patricia bristles against the community’s draconian rules, yearning for another life. When, at seventeen, she is banished from the Center, her home, she faces the world alone, without skills, family, or money but empowered with faith and a fierce determination to succeed on her own, which she does, rising eventually to the upper echelons of the world of finance and investing.  A tale of resilience and grace, Little Sister chronicles, in riveting prose, a surreal childhood and does so without rancor or self-pity.

30 review for Little Sister: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    A poignant, thoughtful, eye-opening, powerful memoir. More thoughts to come. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Watson

    I have known Patricia Chadwick for over twenty years, but her intimate story of triumph was unknown to me until recently. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of LITTLE SISTER and clearly saw the friend I know but also saw an individual who chose to be happy even in difficult and oppressive circumstances. She found solace in small things during those times which enabled her to not lose sight of herself. Her book is of hope and thanksgiving, not fear and loathing. Patricia crafted a pat I have known Patricia Chadwick for over twenty years, but her intimate story of triumph was unknown to me until recently. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of LITTLE SISTER and clearly saw the friend I know but also saw an individual who chose to be happy even in difficult and oppressive circumstances. She found solace in small things during those times which enabled her to not lose sight of herself. Her book is of hope and thanksgiving, not fear and loathing. Patricia crafted a path that led to salvation and refused to use malice as a tool. This book uplifted, inspired, and astounded me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Espinosa

    Wow. What can I say? What a page turner! Very heartfelt and compelling. Patricia distills a decades long set of events centered around a very complex belief system into a fascinating personal memoir. The book is comprised of many short chapters which lead her readers through the book without overwhelming or confusing them. This seemingly 'simple' solution is quite effective allowing the reader to finish the book rather than getting bogged down in too many details. My family was associated with th Wow. What can I say? What a page turner! Very heartfelt and compelling. Patricia distills a decades long set of events centered around a very complex belief system into a fascinating personal memoir. The book is comprised of many short chapters which lead her readers through the book without overwhelming or confusing them. This seemingly 'simple' solution is quite effective allowing the reader to finish the book rather than getting bogged down in too many details. My family was associated with this group. I actually went to school there in the mid to late 60s. We were some of the first non-Center children allowed 'in.' Patricia's memoir sheds more light on my family's religious and political belief systems, something I've struggled to understand and reconcile over the years. I've studied quite a bit about cults. Though Patricia deliberately shies away from labelling this group as a cult, I certainly would do so. However, where is the fine line between a cult and extreme fanaticism? After my family left association with the Center due to a move across country, they continued practising extreme radical Catholicism. Patricia seeks grace, love and forgiveness as well as an intellectual understanding of the complexities of humanity in the group. She highlights Sr. Catherine Clarke's controlling actions. However, I hold the other adults accountable as well. And... I loved being at the Center. However, a child's eyes can be quite different from an adult's. As there were quite a few adult and children members, of course, there are quite a few personal versions of this story. Thank you Patricia for opening up this vulnerable part of your life. I'm sure it was quite difficult to write on many levels.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Royce

    Little Sister is an utterly fascinating memoir of a woman who was raised in Catholic cult, completely sequestered from the exterior world of 20th century American life. Dressed in plain clothes, with no exposure to television, magazines, movies and fast food, Patricia Chadwick grew up as though in an earlier era. That might seem to be a positive, but there was a far more sinister aspect to the goings-on of the adults in this sect—both in their dealings with the world outside their gates, and in Little Sister is an utterly fascinating memoir of a woman who was raised in Catholic cult, completely sequestered from the exterior world of 20th century American life. Dressed in plain clothes, with no exposure to television, magazines, movies and fast food, Patricia Chadwick grew up as though in an earlier era. That might seem to be a positive, but there was a far more sinister aspect to the goings-on of the adults in this sect—both in their dealings with the world outside their gates, and in their treatment of the children inside of them. That Patricia Chadwick escaped to be the well adjusted, bright and involved adult she turned out to be is nothing short of a miracle. I highly recommend this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Reading Mama

    Thank you to GetRed PR, Post Hill Press, and Patricia Walsh Chadwick for sending me a free finished copy of Little Sister, which is out now. This book was very interesting. There are definitely many layers to this story, and it was kind of like an onion. I feel like I can't talk about this book without also discussing a little bit of my religious background. I grew up as a Christian, but the only time I really remember going to church was on Easter. When I was 10, I started going to a non-denomi Thank you to GetRed PR, Post Hill Press, and Patricia Walsh Chadwick for sending me a free finished copy of Little Sister, which is out now. This book was very interesting. There are definitely many layers to this story, and it was kind of like an onion. I feel like I can't talk about this book without also discussing a little bit of my religious background. I grew up as a Christian, but the only time I really remember going to church was on Easter. When I was 10, I started going to a non-denominational Christian church, which I attended for a few years by myself (none of my other family members went with me). I stopped going to church around the time I was 15, and that lasted until I was about 22. Eventually, I met my now husband, who happens to be Catholic. He was "born and raised" Catholic, attending parochial schools from kindergarten through senior year of high school. He also comes from a big family (nine children to be exact). When I first met him and we were getting to know each other, I, like many others, had my preconceived notions of what it meant to be Catholic. My two main thoughts about Catholics were they had a lot of kids and a lot of rules. Although our religious backgrounds differed, I still found myself falling in love with this guy, and I assumed we would figure "the religion thing" out. As we started sharing our lives with each other and spending time with each other and each others' families, I began to fill like something was missing from my life. That missing link, for me, was religion. At the age of 24, I converted to Catholicism. For me, it has been a saving grace in my life, and I am very thankful to have found it. My husband and I were married in a Catholic ceremony, and we are now raising our children in the Catholic faith. Patricia's parents start out with a desire to raise their children in the Catholic faith, and that is how they become a part of this religious group that eventually turns into a cult. Part of this story shows what happens when people use religion as a means to increase their power. It also shows the affects of what happens when people blindly follow a zealous religious leader. It seems as if the parents often felt backed into a corner, and of course, the kids didn't really know any different. I thought it was fascinating to read about the different aspects of Patricia's life behind the red fence. It was also interesting to see the progression of the religious group into a very secluded world and the tactics that were used to keep them from going out into the real world. Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking aspects was the abuse that the children suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to be protecting them and watching out for them. I also thought it was sad that the children were forced to move away from their parents, and that the parents relinquished that role in the lives of their children. The way that the Feeneyites lived seemed similar to the way the Amish live- it is very minimalist and void of anything worldly. It was also interesting to see the way that Patricia experienced the real world for the first time as a teenager, and then how her parents and family eventually came back together. I think it would be hard not to bear any resentment towards the parents, but it seemed like she and her family were able to overcome that experience. If you are looking for a good memoir, I would definitely recommend picking this one up!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sucithra

    Little Sister is one of the fastest non-fiction I’ve read in a while. This poignant memoir of Patricia is a story am sure most of can never relate to and yet stories as this very much exist even today. She narrates her experience growling up in a “cult” like community led by Leonard Feeney, an excommunicated Catholic priest and Sister Catherine who form St.Benedict Center during the mid 20th century. Patricia’s parents and her siblings become a part of this community which initially is like one Little Sister is one of the fastest non-fiction I’ve read in a while. This poignant memoir of Patricia is a story am sure most of can never relate to and yet stories as this very much exist even today. She narrates her experience growling up in a “cult” like community led by Leonard Feeney, an excommunicated Catholic priest and Sister Catherine who form St.Benedict Center during the mid 20th century. Patricia’s parents and her siblings become a part of this community which initially is like one big happy blended family that prays together, has their meals together and look out for each other but this soon turns into a nightmare of sorts by the people in power. Families are torn apart forcing the parents to stay away from their own children, couples asked to disown their marriage vows and lead a celibate life and so on. Few incidents were so heart wrenching it almost made me mad at her parents for the difficulties ensued from their one stupid decision to follow faith blindly without weighing in the interest of their children.The story before and after her stint in the center is what shapes the overall personality of the author and it was powerful and inspiring. But one thing that was a huge takeaway for me was the author’s forgiving nature in the face of everything she had to endure at such young age and yet to gracefully emerge out without harboring anger or resentment. A must read. This quote from the book seemed perfect to describe this memoir - 𝘏𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘦 , 𝘫𝘰𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦. 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Val

    Little Sister: A Memoir is the story of a childhood I found to be dreadfully, emotionally destructive. When Patricia's parents join a cult called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she is soon separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them. It was excruciating reading of the abuse innocent children had to endure in the name of religion and I started doing some skimming. Patricia (renamed Anastasia) bristled against the community’s many rules, although she obeyed them for the Little Sister: A Memoir is the story of a childhood I found to be dreadfully, emotionally destructive. When Patricia's parents join a cult called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she is soon separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them. It was excruciating reading of the abuse innocent children had to endure in the name of religion and I started doing some skimming. Patricia (renamed Anastasia) bristled against the community’s many rules, although she obeyed them for the most part. When, at seventeen, she was banished from the Center, she faced the world alone, without skills, family, or money but empowered with a fierce determination to succeed on her own. Patricia later writes: “Happiness is finding peace, joy, and inspiration in the array of things one does in life. It is also moving on from what cannot be undone.” She has amazingly managed to look back on her childhood fondly. I find myself completely unable to forgive the leaders of the Center and I hope I will someday forget the details. Honestly, I have no idea how to rate this book. Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it to my friends? No. (My friends are as overly-sensitive as I am!) Was it informative? Yes. Did I like the last part of the book? Yes. I guess I will rate it 5 stars because of its success in making me so upset!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashley *Booksbrewsandbarks*

    This book was such a strong nonfiction read! Following the author from her childhood through early adulthood in a very strict sect of Catholicism (see: cult), this book is written in a way that helped to showcase the bonds that occurred in the sect alongside the horrors the author had to face, both internally and externally. While some may read this and still wonder how an entire family could possibly find themselves in the situation, those people need to keep an open mind to not only the time p This book was such a strong nonfiction read! Following the author from her childhood through early adulthood in a very strict sect of Catholicism (see: cult), this book is written in a way that helped to showcase the bonds that occurred in the sect alongside the horrors the author had to face, both internally and externally. While some may read this and still wonder how an entire family could possibly find themselves in the situation, those people need to keep an open mind to not only the time period this all occurs in but also realize that everyday people can be led to any situation if their beliefs and emotions are preyed upon as they were here. I enjoyed that this book made sure to get the point across that this family loved each other. The parents never wanted to put any of their children in harm's way and when they finally came to the realization they were doing so, they did their best to remove themselves from the situation. The book is great at painting a picture of the surroundings the sect lived in and their day to day life without making it dry for the reader. Being a Massachusetts native myself, I had no idea that this ever occurred even though I devour information about cults. I am now motivated to educate myself about the Feeneyites and hopefully visit the locations featured within the book in real life at some point. I highly recommend this book to people that would like to add to their nonfiction reads but have trouble finding the right books. It is a quick and extremely interesting read and, again, the writing is exquisite. It is not overly heavy on the religion aspect by any means, instead choosing to put family and the author finding her own way in life at the forefront.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Walcek

    A fascinating true story of love that endures.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    When I received this copy of Little Sister: A Memoir I was immediately intrigued. I very much enjoy biographies and memoirs, especially those of people I have no prior knowledge of. You can learn so much from them and this was certainly the case with Little Sister. You are taken back in time as Patricia Walsh Chadwick feeds you her life story, quite different than most that begin near Harvard. What that starts out seeming like any other family of the time, who's days revolve around work, church When I received this copy of Little Sister: A Memoir I was immediately intrigued. I very much enjoy biographies and memoirs, especially those of people I have no prior knowledge of. You can learn so much from them and this was certainly the case with Little Sister. You are taken back in time as Patricia Walsh Chadwick feeds you her life story, quite different than most that begin near Harvard. What that starts out seeming like any other family of the time, who's days revolve around work, church and children, steadily takes steps to what many might call "a cult" but those on the inside, as is often the case, saw it very differently. Chadwick leads you down her path, her memories, her experiences at the hands of an excommunicated Catholic priest and a violent, power hungry nun. The family she thought she knew was removed to some extent and replaced with a larger extended family with strict rules, secluded away from the prying eyes of society. Can you even imagine not knowing The Beatles? Or worse, claim to not care for them? Secrets were made, people disappeared and yet Chadwick found the strength to not only start a life away from all she knew, but to thrive in a "man's world." The secrets of her past only start her journey of making her life her own, not only in the business world, but as a mother, spouse and friend. I was fascinated by this account and finished the memoir feeling very inspired and in awe of her drive and ability to forgive. I believe fans of Frank McCourt and Helen Forrester would devour this story of religion, family, survival and love.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Scotty

    This remarkable autobiography by Patricia Walsh recounts how about 15 years of her childhood, across the 1950s and ‘60s, were spent in communal living inside a Catholic cult led by a charismatic Jesuit priest, Fr Leonard Feeney, and his henchwoman, the dreaded "Mother Catherine" who ran the cult with an iron fist (which Patricia and many other children often felt during cruel beatings). From public beginnings at the St Benedict Center in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. in the 1940s, to the move i This remarkable autobiography by Patricia Walsh recounts how about 15 years of her childhood, across the 1950s and ‘60s, were spent in communal living inside a Catholic cult led by a charismatic Jesuit priest, Fr Leonard Feeney, and his henchwoman, the dreaded "Mother Catherine" who ran the cult with an iron fist (which Patricia and many other children often felt during cruel beatings). From public beginnings at the St Benedict Center in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. in the 1940s, to the move in the early '50s to communal living in a compound of buildings a few blocks away, and then finally in 1958 to a country farm in upstate Massachusetts, the cult became more and more austere, more and more monastic, and more and more unnatural for a young girl separated from her parents by rigid rules, while the parents themselves were separated by artificial vows of celibacy. This enthralling mystery story sees Patricia finally free herself at age 18 to begin a more normal, successful and accomplished life. Why such a cult,and why such a hold on its educated members in the middle of the 20th century? These were not the kool-aid-swilling lemmings of the Jonestown cult in Guyana in 1978, nor the hippie, pot-head dropouts and commune dwellers of 1960s America. These were academics and intellectuals and students from Boston College, Harvard and Radcliffe who made a spiritual and intellectual commitment to a fanatical priest who was excommunicated by the Vatican and Boston's Cardinal Cushing in 1949 for preaching a doctrine of "No Salvation Outside the Church”, which was anathema to a church that, in the lead up to Vatican II, was trying to be more ecumenical. Feeney was also virulently anti-semitic, both in private and public speeches, blaming the Jews for killing Jesus, and lambasting other religions for being "pious frauds". And yet he was still able, by strength of personality and mesmerising oratory, to keep his very intelligent devotees in line to the point of enforcing an unnatural lifestyle that was bad for marriages and bad for families, but allegedly more "holy" and true to the faith.. Little Sisters is really one woman's perspective on a multi-faceted sociological phenomenon involving many different families, children and other adults, and I finished this book thinking about Rashomon, and how there must be many other different perspectives waiting to be disclosed by other surviving residents of the cult which might differ in focus and emphases from Patricia Walsh's. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating and important record of a young girl's fight to retain some sense of identity and self-worth inside a 20th century cult that was hell-bent on destroying personal identities for the sake of a kind of religious idealism that wanted to sacrifice individual personality to groupthink and a perverted notion of Catholic faith. This is a beautifully written memoir that reads like a screenplay, with short, 2-3 page chapters detailing critical or dramatic events, and I would not be surprised if it were picked up for a movie. It is also a chilling reminder of the power of group conformity and self-delusion; Patricia Walsh has done us all a favor by reminding us in 2019 of the threat posed by ideological sub-groups in society with their own private agendas which are inimical both to social justice and the welfare of children. My final takeaway from this fascinating story is that, when it comes to raising children, there's no place like home!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joann

    Wow, this was an eye-opener for me. I had no idea that a cult such as this was blooming near Boston and how these people allowed their Catholic leader to do such ridiculous things, such as give up parental rights when the child reaches the age of 3! This is just one of the edicts that they followed and others that they agreed to do was just preposterous. Yet, among this Catholic cult is a bright and inquisitive girl, Patricia. Reading about her life was a page turner and you can read and feel th Wow, this was an eye-opener for me. I had no idea that a cult such as this was blooming near Boston and how these people allowed their Catholic leader to do such ridiculous things, such as give up parental rights when the child reaches the age of 3! This is just one of the edicts that they followed and others that they agreed to do was just preposterous. Yet, among this Catholic cult is a bright and inquisitive girl, Patricia. Reading about her life was a page turner and you can read and feel through the pages that at the same time, she loved parts of this life. It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Catholic priest, has founded a religious community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is her story and it will shock you. When, at seventeen, she is banished from the Center, she faces the world alone, without skills, family, or money but with her faith and determination to succeed on her own. She's a smart girl and does make a name for herself in the upper echelons of the world of finance and investing. I applaud her for her spirit and that she never seemed to hold any ill feelings for the Catholic faith.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Serendipity

    This is not the most well written book, nor is it evenly interesting. But the middle section, the bulk of the book, gives a fascinating peek into the author’s life when her family joined a cult. It’s a lifestyle I struggle to fathom - physical and emotional abuse, systematic severing of family ties, the removal of individual agency, the imposition of a culture of surveillance, and a cult leader who clearly did not live by the rules imposed on the majority. All this left me shaking my head. I was This is not the most well written book, nor is it evenly interesting. But the middle section, the bulk of the book, gives a fascinating peek into the author’s life when her family joined a cult. It’s a lifestyle I struggle to fathom - physical and emotional abuse, systematic severing of family ties, the removal of individual agency, the imposition of a culture of surveillance, and a cult leader who clearly did not live by the rules imposed on the majority. All this left me shaking my head. I was also left wanting more - especially about her parents decision to join and then remain with the cult, and about the author’s adjustment to life in the outside world when she was evicted while the rest of her family remained within .

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jane Kelly

    As a lapsed Catholic with many, many years of Catholic school in my past, I was excited to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It is a true, fascinating autobiography of a woman who spent her first 18 years in a fundamentalist, "Roman Catholic" (I put this in quotes because the founder was excommunicated) "cult." It is written in a very readable format- short chapters make it a quick but absorbing read. It's a valuable illustration of what can happen when religious zealotry goes wrong. It was As a lapsed Catholic with many, many years of Catholic school in my past, I was excited to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It is a true, fascinating autobiography of a woman who spent her first 18 years in a fundamentalist, "Roman Catholic" (I put this in quotes because the founder was excommunicated) "cult." It is written in a very readable format- short chapters make it a quick but absorbing read. It's a valuable illustration of what can happen when religious zealotry goes wrong. It was particularly interesting to learn that the founding members of this group were brilliant students from Harvard and Radcliffe, and to see how how even such intelligent individuals can end up sacrificing their own values (and children) for the sake of charismatic leaders.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    A Catholic “Educated.” In both there is forgiveness and anger. Although I agree Catherine Clark is the main culprit, I was surprised at the pass she gives Father Feeney. No surprise that the Church did. Her ability to forgive her parents speaks toward her philosophy of grace. However, the book doesn’t convey how well educated, sophisticated people such as her parents and the other members could abandon their children and NO ONE knew what these 39 children were subjected to? A difficult but inform A Catholic “Educated.” In both there is forgiveness and anger. Although I agree Catherine Clark is the main culprit, I was surprised at the pass she gives Father Feeney. No surprise that the Church did. Her ability to forgive her parents speaks toward her philosophy of grace. However, the book doesn’t convey how well educated, sophisticated people such as her parents and the other members could abandon their children and NO ONE knew what these 39 children were subjected to? A difficult but informative read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob Davis

    This is an almost unbelievable account of highly educated people in the US in the mid twentieth century being drawn in and controlled by a religious cult that separates parents from children. Patricia Chadwick's memoir is true. It is a compelling, tightly written story, of the triumph of love over fear and repression. A great read! This is an almost unbelievable account of highly educated people in the US in the mid twentieth century being drawn in and controlled by a religious cult that separates parents from children. Patricia Chadwick's memoir is true. It is a compelling, tightly written story, of the triumph of love over fear and repression. A great read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    Patricia's journey was truly engaging to me because cult like culture has also always been something that really piques my interest. Reading Little Sister truly brought so many thoughts and emotions as we get a glimpse into her childhood  growing up in the devout catholic community outside of Boston. Patricia's honesty in her experience of this time with her faith,  family and community is shocking and eye opening. I enjoyed the beautifully written story about overcoming everything you never thou Patricia's journey was truly engaging to me because cult like culture has also always been something that really piques my interest. Reading Little Sister truly brought so many thoughts and emotions as we get a glimpse into her childhood  growing up in the devout catholic community outside of Boston. Patricia's honesty in her experience of this time with her faith,  family and community is shocking and eye opening. I enjoyed the beautifully written story about overcoming everything you never thought you would. Written as a narrative timeline with short chapters and pictures throughout really added a personal intimate aspect. Patricia really endured some hardships that no child should have to experience and the story is such an inspiring one that she is so courageous to share.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A fascinating story of what happened when a few very religious Catholics, based originally at Harvard University, endeavored to be the best possible Catholics they could imagine. Sadly, they evolved and became a cult. Children were separated from parents, spouses were separated from each other and the whole group was separated from the church and society. As other reviews stated, this memoir is told in a very balanced way. It is a powerful journey taken by seemingly intelligent and capable peopl A fascinating story of what happened when a few very religious Catholics, based originally at Harvard University, endeavored to be the best possible Catholics they could imagine. Sadly, they evolved and became a cult. Children were separated from parents, spouses were separated from each other and the whole group was separated from the church and society. As other reviews stated, this memoir is told in a very balanced way. It is a powerful journey taken by seemingly intelligent and capable people who took an idea to an unhealthy extreme. Without a solid succession plan, when the leaders passed on, the idea and the group fell apart. This is a story told from first hand experience and a worthy read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenn dePaula

    I couldn't put this book down - absolutely fascinating. When I first heard about Patricia and her life, my jaw hit the floor - I couldn't believe it! Even though Patricia's story is hard and at times heartbreaking, she has lived an incredible life. Her strength and determination are inspiring. I was completely captivated by this book and cannot recommend it enough. I couldn't put this book down - absolutely fascinating. When I first heard about Patricia and her life, my jaw hit the floor - I couldn't believe it! Even though Patricia's story is hard and at times heartbreaking, she has lived an incredible life. Her strength and determination are inspiring. I was completely captivated by this book and cannot recommend it enough.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hilary A.

    This memoir is entirely riveting, where you find yourself drawn into the rarefied world of a devout and uncommon Catholic community, where real family bonds are tested and where your life is not your own. This book comes at an important time, when extremism and religious zeal is rampant and so very hard to comprehend. This book is about finding what is truly sacred. Patricia Walsh Chadwick's story guides the reader through her remarkable life experience from childhood to young adulthood, with jo This memoir is entirely riveting, where you find yourself drawn into the rarefied world of a devout and uncommon Catholic community, where real family bonds are tested and where your life is not your own. This book comes at an important time, when extremism and religious zeal is rampant and so very hard to comprehend. This book is about finding what is truly sacred. Patricia Walsh Chadwick's story guides the reader through her remarkable life experience from childhood to young adulthood, with joy, gravity and honesty. Her experience of faith, family and community will leave you in utter shock. I could not stop wanting to know..."How will this end?!" A not to be missed memoir!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    My fascination with extremist religious sects only grew deeper after reading this book. Mary Pats journey through life is one that is told beautifully in her memoir. I read this book in 48 hours because I really had a hard time putting it down. The astonishing treatment of children, abuse of marriage, and plain atrocities against human rights that happened at the hand of Feeney and his hen geo men are absolutely disgusting. The fact that Mary and her family made it out one by one and remained an My fascination with extremist religious sects only grew deeper after reading this book. Mary Pats journey through life is one that is told beautifully in her memoir. I read this book in 48 hours because I really had a hard time putting it down. The astonishing treatment of children, abuse of marriage, and plain atrocities against human rights that happened at the hand of Feeney and his hen geo men are absolutely disgusting. The fact that Mary and her family made it out one by one and remained an intact unit was the one thing that gave me limitless hope while reading. It’s a painful story of childhood and lost adolescence; but a beautiful story about overcoming everything you never thought you could.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine Whitmarsh

    Fantastic read! This is one of those "I really need to go to sleep but just ONE more chapter!" (lol) books. Well structured, beautifully written and I learned so much because I had never heard of the "Feeneyites" or any of these stories - super fascinating and hats off to Patricia for sharing with us so honestly & openly! Fantastic read! This is one of those "I really need to go to sleep but just ONE more chapter!" (lol) books. Well structured, beautifully written and I learned so much because I had never heard of the "Feeneyites" or any of these stories - super fascinating and hats off to Patricia for sharing with us so honestly & openly!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    A cult, a rebel, a success story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jolyne FitzGerald

    I was fortunate to read an advance copy of Patricia Chadwick’s book and could not put it down. Little Sister is a thoroughly engrossing account of a childhood that was deprived of the traditional joys of carefree experiences, family bonds and freedom. Chadwick’s memoir is a fascinating look into how Father Leonard Feeney was able to maintain a religious cult for over two decades, attracting highly intelligent individuals and their families to live in an isolated community outside Boston, totally I was fortunate to read an advance copy of Patricia Chadwick’s book and could not put it down. Little Sister is a thoroughly engrossing account of a childhood that was deprived of the traditional joys of carefree experiences, family bonds and freedom. Chadwick’s memoir is a fascinating look into how Father Leonard Feeney was able to maintain a religious cult for over two decades, attracting highly intelligent individuals and their families to live in an isolated community outside Boston, totally cut off from the world. Even more remarkable is Chadwick’s bravery and ability to get herself out and ultimately live a happy and successful life. The book will inspire its readers with a sometimes painful and other times hopeful story of a young woman’s faith and determination to break free and to ultimately live a life devoid of anger or bitterness about her past.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rosalie

    What an incredible story!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Little Sister is a gripping story of a childhood spent removed from the care of parents, but not their love. It is a simultaneously haunting and affirming story of how the unconditional love a parent feels for a child transcends space and time. Patricia Chadwick’s triumph from her unorthodox childhood illustrates her profound resiliency and spirit of the heart.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I for one felt very moved by this Little Sister A Memoir. Chadwick is so insightful when it comes to telling her life story. Everything that happens to her is very eye opening from being separated from her parents at such a young age to being forced out of the community she grew up in and was most accustom to. Then to finding her bearings once she was forced out. Chadwick is truly remarkable. The group of people she was surrounded by were really intelligent but pretty easily manipulated by their I for one felt very moved by this Little Sister A Memoir. Chadwick is so insightful when it comes to telling her life story. Everything that happens to her is very eye opening from being separated from her parents at such a young age to being forced out of the community she grew up in and was most accustom to. Then to finding her bearings once she was forced out. Chadwick is truly remarkable. The group of people she was surrounded by were really intelligent but pretty easily manipulated by their religion and people who thought differently about their religion. All the healing that had to be done in that community and families reconnecting. The photographs set a tone for the entire book. I very much enjoyed this memoir, I highly recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sister M.

    a great book! God bless you for doing this!

  29. 4 out of 5

    J. L.

    We are greatly looking forward to the publication of Little Sister, a compelling memoir by Patricia Walsh Chadwick, coming from Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon and Schuster in April (and already available for pre-order on Amazon), that we had the privilege of reading in manuscript. Patricia was born into a Catholic cult in Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded by Father Leonard Feeney, a kind of twentieth-century Savonarola, a Catholic priest who We are greatly looking forward to the publication of Little Sister, a compelling memoir by Patricia Walsh Chadwick, coming from Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon and Schuster in April (and already available for pre-order on Amazon), that we had the privilege of reading in manuscript. Patricia was born into a Catholic cult in Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded by Father Leonard Feeney, a kind of twentieth-century Savonarola, a Catholic priest who had a fanatic’s vision of an evil world in which the only path to true salvation was through a complete rejection of all worldly goods and temptations. The members, including Patricia’s parents, were mostly highly-educated graduates of Harvard and Radcliffe who after the Second World War came under the spell of Feeney and were persuaded to give up all they owned to join his hermetic sect that, run by Feeney and the authoritarian Sister Catherine, became progressively draconian. Until she was 17, Patricia had never read a magazine that was not a religious tract, had never seen a movie, read a newspaper, watched television, or even talked on the telephone. She grew up behind walls totally cut off from the material world. When she was six, she and her siblings were cruelly separated from their parents and forbidden to have any communication with them. Then, when she was seventeen, Patricia was expelled from the community. (No spoilers. You will have to read the book to find out why!) Her story, in vividly remembered detail, is told without bitterness or self-pity. Indeed, what comes through on every page is her great compassion and humanity, her understanding and love for those around her. It should be no surprise that she created a happy ending. Devastated but undaunted when she was expelled from the community, Patricia found a job and put herself through night school at Boston University. While still a student, she was hired as a receptionist by a Wall Street firm and started her amazing climb to the highest ranks of the world of finance and investing, a thirty-year career crowned by her becoming a Global Partner at Invesco. You have perhaps seen her on CNBC where she she frequently appeared dispensing wise advice on their signature morning show, Squawk Box. Patricia is also highly successful at creating happy endings for others. In addition to sitting on a number of corporate boards and writing an interesting blog on social, political, and economic issues, she mentors middle school girls at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in Harlem, and in 2016, she founded and is CEO of Anchor Health Initiative, a health care company that serves the needs of the LGBTQ community in Connecticut. She is also an avid supporter of the arts and a devoted opera goer. Little Sister provides intimate and revealing insights into the life of a brilliant and generous person who every day makes the world a better, more interesting place.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lucygammie

    Love memoirs especially when I know the area was the reason I decided to read this book. It was so interesting and thought provoking. Totally engaging!

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