Lies, secrets and silences: 'that was a disappointment'

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


    The absence of the detailed documentation of Catholic mothers and daughters’ daily lives, past and present, along with a vested interest in the nature of power and representation of women and the construction of feminine silences in the Catholic church enticed me the auto/biographer to write this book. In the interview process as a researcher, I found myself hearing stories about the ‘lies, secrets and silences’ (Rich, 1979) that shroud the Catholic church as an institution. Women used the interview space to discuss and express their viewpoints on the politics of community and religion. One topic which emerged in their conversations was that of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The older generations, in particular, expressed dismay and anger at the sexual abuse of children by clergy in parish communities including their own local parishes. A hidden, deceitful and tainted history had played out close to their families, homes and schools. The impact that this stained history and its disclosure had on the women’s attitudes towards the Catholic church as an institution and their personal religious belief systems became apparent in the interviews.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEducation, work and Catholic life
    Subtitle of host publicationStories of three generations of Australian mothers and daughters
    EditorsAnne Keary
    Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811389894
    ISBN (Print)9789811389887
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • qualitative longitudinal research
    • Australian Mother-daughter Relationship
    • Faith
    • Spirituality
    • Resilience
    • Inter-generational Relationships
    • Generation and change
    • Girl's Education in Australia
    • Australian Female Youth Transitions
    • Australian Women's Studies
    • Catholic Schooling in Australia
    • Multi-methodological Approach to Research
    • continuity and change

    Cite this