After the ordination

My dress forever reminds me of the ordination. After that ordination, there were temptation, death of vocation and criminal activities.

My dress forever reminds me of the ordination. After that ordination, there were temptation, death of vocation and criminal activities.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – What I was wearing.

While de-cluttering my wardrobe, I came across a Vinnie’s dress I worn long ago. It was given to me early on in our relationship, when Sister Night was grooming me to become her ‘daughter’.

It was a long, white, knitted Spring dress with a drawstring waist. Vertical pink lines ran down the left top portion, and a pink branch of flowers on the right one. The dress brought back the memories of that long trip during a late 80s Summer.

Brother Shorty and Sister Night took turn to drive one car while Sister Cheese drove by herself in another; four Vietnamese refugee girls in my house, another Vietnamese refugee girl that Father Fatty sent and I all headed to Brisbane from Melbourne for the ordination of Brother Hippie. But wait there’s more!

After the ordination poem

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(Quatern-style poem)

<<Story related to the poem>>

When sin visits the man of God,
Layman disguise would get a nod,
Whether it’s during day or night,
Whether it’s in or out of sight,

In places that ain’t thought as odd,
When sin visits the man of God,
He blithely leads a double life,
In it, criminal acts are rife. But wait there’s more!

The serious hands of a clergy

His eyes beamed over me like spotlights, he cracked a lascivious grin and his hand grabbed my breast.

His eyes beamed over me like spotlights, he cracked a lascivious grin and his hand grabbed my breast.

Comments about this post on ABC 500 words – A test of courage.

I met Sister Night, and soon after became her favourite girl. After Father Fatty gave me a private catechism lesson, he chose Sister Night to be my godmother and I was baptised.

As study became harder as the course went on, I couldn’t find time to go out or talk with Sister anymore. I wasn’t concerned then as I thought Sister needed time for the new refugee girls; I wasn’t very sensitive to Sister Night’s maternal need of feeling needed and loved, so Sister began verbally and psychologically bullying me. When I stood up for myself, she told me to move out. I begged a priest who frequented the house to find me accommodation and thus I left the communal house to live at the residence of a Catholic order. But wait there’s more!

The naked letters

 The innocent letters were stuck onto the Church door, naked, at mass.


The innocent letters were stuck onto the Church door, naked, at mass.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – A test of courage.

“Sister, your letters were pinned on the Church door!”, Sally told me after coming home from mass. I was numb with shock and embarrassment to hear it. I felt like my soul was stripped naked and humiliatingly paraded for the Vietnamese Catholic congregation to see.

Why did they do that? What were wrong with my letters? There were only the two of us in the living room and I wanted to ask Sally to tell me more details. It was getting dark, and yet I wanted to take a train 25km from home to South-East Melbourne to see for myself if what Sally had told me was true. I wanted to ask Father Fatty who had delivered mass that day, if he knew who put my letters on the Church door and what he thought of it. But wait there’s more!

A private catechism lesson

During a trip in his car, as a token of my gratitude for his help, I made a naïve decision which drove me to an unfamiliar place.

During a trip in his car, as a token of my gratitude for his help, I made a naïve decision which drove me to an unfamiliar place.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – Car stories.

I needed to finalise some legal papers and asked Father Fatty where I could get them done. I was told to wait for him on a busy street. I didn’t recognise his car which more closely resembled a racing car with big painted stripes running head to tail on the top than a car for a priest.

Leaving the solicitor’s office, he asked me,”Do you want to convert to Catholicism?” I felt a pressure coming from him for me to say yes. I was indebted to Father Fatty for his help in organising another house for me to live with other Vietnamese refugee girls. He had also given help to me on another two previous occasions. I thought that he wanted me to be like all the other girls in the house, so I agreed to convert. But wait there’s more!

The convent

Things may have turned out differently had I was given my own safe space when I arrived in Australia as a refugee.

Things may have turned out differently had I was given my own safe space when I arrived in Australia as a refugee.

Comments about this post on ABC Open DRUM – Living alone.

April 1984, I arrived in Australia and stayed at Enterprise Hostel, Springvale in Melbourne. A week later, a religious Sister took me home to a six-bedroom Burwood parish house that accommodated thirteen Catholic Vietnamese refugees and me – a Buddhist. But wait there’s more!