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.
"Patricia Chadwick presents a riveting story of love and perseverance surviving religious beliefs and spirituality gone astray. A fascinating story presented by the person who was the child and daughter that lived through this harrowing experience. A must read for all!"
– Ken Langone
"Patricia Chadwick's LITTLE SISTER sheds light on a part of the history of American Catholicism that has been kept in the shadows. This fascinating, often horrifying story lets us in on the secrets of a cult that separated parents from children, fostered psychological abuse, and isolated its members from the modern world... all in the name of the One True Church."
– Mary Gordon
"Patricia's story is riveting. Her perseverance, wit and courage shine through. Despite her crazy childhood, she is a huge success in life."