My parents were both from Scotland, but had been resident in Lower Canada some time before their marriage, which took place in Montreal; and in that city I spent most of my life.— Maria Monk
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The Bishop, as I have remarked, was not very dignified on all occasions, and sometimes acted in such a manner as would not have appeared well in public.
Great dislike to the Bible was shown by those who conversed with me about it, and several have remarked to me, at different times, that if it were not for that book, Catholics would never be led to renounce their own faith.
A number of girls of my acquaintance went to school to the nuns of the Congregational Nunnery, or Sisters of Charity, as they are sometimes called.
The manufacture of wax candles was another important branch of business in the nunnery.
I must be informed, that one of my great duties was, to obey the priests in all things; and this I soon learnt, to my utter astonishment and horror, was to live in the practice of criminal intercourse with them.
I have, I think, afforded every opportunity that could be reasonably expected, to judge of my credibility.
I often remembered also that I had been told, that we shall have as many devils biting us, if we go to hell, as we have unconfessed sins on our consciences.
I really believed that the priests were acquainted with my thoughts;
and often stood in great awe of them. They often told me they had power to strike me dead at any moment.
Standing near the door, we dipped our fingers in the holy water, crossed and blessed ourselves, and proceeded up to the sleeping-room, in the usual order, two by two.
So far as I know, there were no pains taken to preserve secrecy on this subject;
that is, I saw no attempt made to keep any of the inmates of the Convent in ignorance of the murder of children.
All around me insisted that my doubts proved only my own ignorance and sinfulness; that they knew by experience they would soon give place to true knowledge, and an advance in religion; and I felt something like indecision.
Priests, she insisted, could not sin.
It was a thing impossible. Everything that they did, and wished, was of course right. She hoped I would see the reasonableness and duty of the oaths I was to take, and be faithful to them.
I have hardly detained the reader long enough on the subject, to give him a just impression of the stress laid on confession. It is one of the great points to which our attention was constantly directed.
Others too would occasionally entertain and privately express such doubts;
though we all had been most solemnly warned by the cruel murder of Saint Francis.
We were constantly hearing it repeated, that we must never again look upon ourselves as our own; but must remember, that we were solemnly and irrevocably devoted to God.
Some of the priests from the Seminary were in the nunnery every day and night, and often several at a time.
Unfortunately, I was not wise enough to listen to her advice, and hastily married. In a few weeks, I had occasion to repent of the step I had taken, as the report proved true - a report which I thought justified, and indeed required, our separation.
On the day, therefore, when I went to the church to be confirmed, with a number of others, I suffered extremely from the reproaches of my conscience.