Convent girl’s revenge
PUBLISHED: 09:42 06 December 2012
Author Rosalinda Hutton tells Josh Fowler about her traumatic time spent in a convent
As an 11-year-old, Dartford resident Rosalinda Hutton’s time spent living at a convent during the 1960s left her traumatised and scarred.
Her formative years at St Anne’s in Orpington were ones she vowed never to forget and through her book, Cry And You Cry Alone, she has found a form of “revenge”.
She said: “It was a really freaky place and felt as though you were going from colour to black and white as soon as you walked through the doors.
“There was abuse there all the time. I remember a two-year-old girl that was hit so hard by a nun that she flew off her chair and into the corner of the room. I stood in front of that nun to stop her doing it and was hit. I don’t mean slapping, I’m talking about real punches and kicking.”
The extract referring to the incident reads: “She smashed the fist into the left-hand side of my face, and I heard it crunch and could feel my cheek swelling as I reeled from the blow.”
Sleeping in dormitories under the gaze of Sister Consolata and Uncle Peter, Rosalinda would struggle to make sense of some experiences until years later.
“Mortification of the body is good for the soul” was a phrase often used at St Anne’s, though she says she never understood how pain could be “joyous”.
Rosalinda moved to Darenth with her father, a psychiatric nurse at Darenth Park, after her time at the convent.
Despite moving around London in later years, she returned to Dartford once again be close with her father.
The mother-of-two said: “I have lived here for years now and have do my sons. We originally came here with my dad because he worked at the nearby hospital. I’m back to be closer to him now.”
First published last year, the 55-year-old’s memoirs are soon to hit stores across Amercia and Canada following a stint on WH Smith’s bestseller list.
The book culminates with Rosalinda trying to win a lawsuit against the Catholic Church for treatment that she says led to her suffering years of manic depression.
An epiphany dragged Rosalinda, of Littlebrook Manorway, out of a dark period in 1999, when, aged 39, she went back to college and pursue a career as a writer.
A flair for writing came naturally to the author who has since been nominated for two Sony Radio Awards.
She said: “I had always wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. I wanted revenge and I said I would remember everything that happened to me at St Anne’s.
“Students at my old college are actually studying my book now and I’m due to visit them in the next few weeks.”