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If you went to Catholic school and all you got were emotional scars, then the nuns didn’t do it right. | Fetch My Flying Monkeys
Everyone needs a fleet of flying monkeys to rip the stuffing out of the annoying people in their lives
— Laura

I went to a Catholic school from first to eighth grade and almost all of the teachers were nuns and all of those nuns were sadists. To say they might have believed in corporal punishment is like saying Tom Cruise  might believe in an alien god. For the first half of those years, the nun’s habits went to their ankles, and their wimples covered all of their hair.  You never saw them in civilian clothes and you never saw them outside of the church or convent unless they were in a pack.  Also, you never saw them smile.

Our school was connected to the convent of an order of teaching nuns. The order was probably called Our Lady of the Ruler Smack because one of their favorite forms of punishment was smacking the hell out of your hand, or ass, or arm with a wooden ruler. It was their favorite, but not their only method of corporal punishment. They had full reign to punish you as they saw fit and there weren’t any lawsuits or parent-teacher conferences when you got, say, busted for talking in class and ended up cold-cocked by an eraser thrown at 2000 mph from the blackboard, your ears ringing for hours after. On any given day there were at least a half-dozen or more kids with big ole’ chalk explosion stains on the sides of their heads.

I was in the fourth grade when the school announced they were admitting *gasp* non-Catholics. Apparently they were hurting for tuition. The non-Catholic kids still had to wear uniforms, still had to take religion class, and still had to go as a class to church, they just wouldn’t participate in confession and communion. The first non-Catholic kid in my class was Matt Mudderman. He was a cute boy and to all us Catholic girls, he was ”exotic” because he was the first non-Catholic boy most of us had ever been around. He was also meaner than dirt.

When we were being lead down the hall by one of our teachers we were always expected to go single-file and keep our mouths shut. One day, I noticed Matt, who was a few kids in front of me, turning and chatting to the kid behind him. I looked up near the front of the line and saw Sister Agnes turn and spy Matt and start to make a bee-line straight for him. I tried to get Matt’s attention by coughing and widening my eyes towards the impending danger that was heading his way, but I was too late. Sister Agnes was on him in a split second and what happened next is forever seared into my memory. Sister Agnes boxed his ear and Matt turned around AND HIT HER and let out a slew of cursing. The whole class stopped and scattered against the walls to watch in shock. The fight was on. Sister Agnes was trying to grab and restrain Matt and he was cussing and swinging and kicking. It was so surreal; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Suddenly in his struggle Matt reached up and grabbed Sister Agnes’ wimple and ripped it from her head! I gasped as I saw the nun’s hair and I think I screamed “LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!” thinking I was about to be turned to a pillar of salt or something. I averted my eyes to the ceiling, half expecting it to open and either a lightning bolt or the hand of God to come down and smite Matt. I heard a commotion down the hall and turned and saw four or five other nuns rushing in for back-up.  They all swooped down on Matt and in a matter of seconds he was being carried down the hall, a nun on each arm and each leg as he struggled and cursed at the top of his lungs. We all just stood there, staring at each other in complete disbelief until another nun herded us together and lead us on.

That was the last time anyone ever saw Matt Mudderman.  Some of the  kids said he was expelled, some said God probably went all Old Testament on his ass and threw him into the bowels of Hell.

All I know for certain is he wasn’t face down in the koi pond in the courtyard next to the convent…because I looked.


117 Responses to If you went to Catholic school and all you got were emotional scars, then the nuns didn’t do it right.

  1. Jennifer says:

    LOL! Poor Matt Mudderman! Well, not really. Maybe he’s still chained in the church basement! lol

  2. garnet says:

    Damn! I’m glad I never went to a Catholic school! How’d you ever survive it?

  3. Heather says:

    I love your stories!!

  4. One Crazed Chick says:

    Maybe he was buried, like the dead hookers. Thankfully I went to public schools where they just paddled you with a board with holes bored through it

  5. hoodyhoo says:

    He… hit… a… nun? How is that even possible? Also, I am STILL scarred from the time I saw Sister Agnes out power-walking at the mall in a red velour jogging suit .

    • Laura says:

      I know! I thought they had force fields around them kind of like the USS Enterprise when the Klingons attacked.

      • Jean says:

        My mom (morningglory) broke Sister Mary Agnes’ nose once b/c the nun pulled her hair while mom was walking out of her class…….

        • Laura says:

          Oh we (well I and all the others I knew) never raised a hand to any of them. Not because we were afraid of burning in Hell so much as we were afraid we’d get expelled and our parents would murder us because they’d lose the tuition money. You did not cost your parents money.

        • MorningGlory says:

          It was Mrs. Meyer, not a nun.

        • MorningGlory says:

          And I wasn’t ‘walking out’. She told me if I didn’t like the way she ran her classroom, I should leave. So I did. She took exception to me slamming the door on my way out. Go figure.

          • Laura says:

            In high school a teacher said something rude to another kid– like “No wonder you’ll only be a farmer.” I quietly said “What the fuck?” and the teacher spun around at me and yelled “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” I stood up and said “Rather a farmer than a dick-headed fucking idiot like you.” We then went to the principal’s office. The principal who happened to BE A FARMER.

  6. Tink says:

    Oh My! I always wondered what those wafers were made of… Unruly non Catholic kids… eeeeeekkkkkk!

  7. Princess says:

    I was home schooled and my mother was worse than any Nun, I can guarantee it! She was BRUTAL! We were slapped, punched and beaten into submission. and there was no escape……I think she just wanted us to leave the nest early… It worked….

  8. Yabu says:

    I was talking to another boy in class(7th grade) once and the sadist motherfucking teacher grabbed us both by the hair, jerked us out of our chairs and dragged our asses out of the classroom. I’d just had a knee high cast sawed off due to a broken foot, and during the melee I re-broke my foot in the same place. If I could’ve stood, I would have hit that son of a bitch. Later, I thought about sniping his ass.

    • Laura says:

      I once saw a kid knocked plumb out of his seat and lay semi-unconscious on the floor from a flying eraser. I have to admit though, I laughed. Shit was brutal when we were kids. What didn’t kill us did make us stronger.

      • Jean says:

        And yet NO ONE complained, or sued, or got their panties in a wad….. Now, I’m afraid of disciplining my son by smacking his hand and saying no…..

        • Laura says:

          If parents complained they were told to get their kids out of their school. My mom did once ask that they not pull on of my brother’s ears because he had a bad eardrum. My brother later begged my mom to go back and tell them they could pull his ear because he was getting the crap beat out of him instead. Ha!

          • Yabu says:

            Genetics…interesting stuff, and you have no control over it…you are born who you are…can’t change it, so to say. I bet you look good in a green Christmas dress. Just an observation, nothing more.

            Seriously, every red-headed person I’ve ever known, and I know a few, are way too cool. Wild as hell, but cool all the same. I like wild. You are hereby awarded the Juju Queen of the Red medal. Very important position.

          • Laura says:

            HA! I was a wild as hell youngster. It was like I couldn’t control it. I HAD to be wild. How my mother ever tolerated four of us I will never know. Green is my color for sure.

      • Yabu says:

        I agree, I am wiser and stronger because of all the shit I experienced…also had some help from a slang eye (no slight intended, he called himself a “slang eye”, not a slant eye) who taught me how to fight and protect myself.

        I admit, I laughed all the time, but I also learned how to think, and strike fast, and get the fuck outta Dodge.

        This WP comment thread shit is pretty cool, eh?

        • Laura says:

          I shudder to think how I personally would have turned out without all the discipline I had growing up, because I was WILD AS HELL. Seriously.

          OH MY GOD this commenting thing is BANANAS!

  9. Jena says:

    “cold-cocked by an eraser thrown at 2000 mph from the blackboard”

    Ya know, that’s probably the only pleasure they have!

  10. Jena says:

    Matt…. what an asshole, I bet he still is too!

  11. patti says:

    I love being a home schooling mom and being able to discipline any way I please – mwahaha!

    But seriously, the boy just said, “Laura went to a Catholic school? That explains a lot!” Wonder what he meant by that…

  12. THE Mr. Bill says:

    With all them erasers zipping around and you having a larger than normal (bulbous) head, it’s a miracle you didn’t collect a stray one here & there. BTW, I’ll see your Sister Agnes & raise you a Brother Regis…he’d nail kids in the back row while FACING the blackboard! Never even look & nail you dead. He also preferred a yardstick to a ruler…more reach I guess. He scared the bejeebus outta us he did…

    ps – I’ll not comment on uniforms. It’s Tuesday, so I gotta behave (hard damn work I tell you).

    • Laura says:

      Oh, my bulbous head caught its full share of erasers, believe me. Hurt like hell too. One time I swear I was put into a coma and missed recess.

  13. MorningGlory says:

    I was the ‘token Protestant’ at a Catholic high school in NJ. We had nuns and priests for teachers, and a few ‘lay teachers’. This was in the 70′s (I know – shut up) when Jimmy Carter was trying to get us all to switch to the metric system. Sister Tarcilia (I couldn’t make that up) thought this was a fine idea, because the meter stick was just a tiny little bit longer than the supposedly obsolete yardstick, and it gave her a longer reach when she swung it at you.

    I never hit a nun, or a priest. But I did break my English teacher’s nose. She was a lay teacher, and it was an accident. Sort of an accident. Just don’t come up behind me and grab me by the hair is all I’m gonna say, or I just might turn around swinging. Even she said it wasn’t my fault, but Father Gacquin (the Principal) thought it would be better if I wasn’t in her class any more. Go figure.

  14. Holy shit….sounds like Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s.

  15. Timothy J McCorkle says:

    first Grade St. Pats, Little timmy is accused of Pulling the Nuns Leg…
    ” But I’m Not touching your Leg!”
    I said it, and I was special until 2nd grade at public school.
    It did’t help that Dad owned the Gas station next to the church either.

  16. Dannie says:

    MY CHILD just sent my comment into the vortex….anyways, my favorite part of the story was corporal punishment without lawsuits! Ha. Now we can’t look at a kid funny without it going on youtube!

    My SDA school wasn’t that much fun ;)

    • Laura says:

      God, I really don’t see how anyone deals with a kid that can’t whack ‘em upside their heads when they need it. Parents and teachers. HA!

      • Dannie says:

        I know right? I gently guided a child who was not listening to me to their consequence….(chill out spot…I don’t think we can call it time-out…our principal believes in hugs..gag me, I want to give her a whack upside the head…er hug too when she’s out of line)
        and the child had the audacity to say that I was hurting him….since most of the kids here are Catholic I gave him a mean look and told him Jesus was going to make sure he ended up in purgatory so he needed to watch it because God had eyes everywhere….that shut him up. HA! I’m not even Catholic LOL

  17. Rob says:

    When I was in Catholic School, only a handful of the nuns had first names. They all had names like Sister LaSalle or Sister Venard. One day in eight grade, one of them grabbed one of my classmates by the sideburns and banged his head right on the seam of the chalkboard until he burst into tears. My Catholic School experiences (Kindergarten through high school) were about the same as yours. Not as bad as portrayed in the movies. Just strict by today’s standards.

  18. AmyLynn says:

    The worst I ever saw was a junior high school teacher who verbally ridiculed a girl for a wrong answer in Science class. He kept on making fun of her when she started crying he mimicked her. This went on for at least half the class until the bell rang.

    The next day the same class, the teacher somehow sat down in dog shit that made it’s way to his chair when he was at the blackboard.

    The entire class got detention because NO ONE would tell on the person who put the dog shit there.

    There are a few of us on facebook now that were talking about it the other day–

    I would take an eraser to the head over that verbal abuse any day…

    I hope Matt gave them all rabies. Will God strike me down for that??


    that is all

    • Laura says:

      The nuns (my experience anyway) never verbally abused us. Their justice was swift and painful then it was over. Now public school was a different story.

  19. Brea says:

    Are you sure those were nuns that taught in that school?? When you described them “SWOOPIN” down on ole Matt, sounded an awful lot like a troop o’Flyin’ Monkeys to me! They probably et him. Monkeys gotta eat, too, ya know…

  20. Curtal Friar says:

    Yep, I went to Catholic school for a couple of years, 2nd and 3rd grade. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of talking back to a nun, let alone trying to hit one.

    I remember one who carried a switch with her all the time, and I got caught by it many times, mostly for talking in class.

    She had a way of sneaking up on kids and then catching right alongside the ribs with that damned switch. Smarted like a bastard after being hit.

    Then there were many times when I had to hold my fist out, and the nun would rap my knuckles with a ruler while saying “You….will…..not…..talk…..in…..class”. Each word she spoke, she rapped my knuckles. If I flinched or pulled my hand back at any time, she started over.

    Even today, I’m very respectful in the presence of nuns.

    • Laura says:

      When I read about how some teachers today get bullied by their pupils all I can think is- send in the nuns that taught me! And I really think they taught them ninja skills in the convents.

  21. cricket says:

    I had the honor of going to college with a group of “Blue” nuns. In our state teachers have to be certified. They came from out of state to teach so they had to attend our little two year college. I thought they were pretty cool. They even went canoeing down the Niobrara with us. One of the gals got surprised by a sudden drop while pushing through a shallow area and went into the water up to her forehead. She still went into town that night for services, wet habit and borrowed sandals.

    My point? Sister Bridget would have taken Matt down with one fell swoop of her sandal, looked him straight in the eye and said “Matt, you are evil and must be destroyed.” Hand to go, heard her tell another student that. bwahahaha.

  22. Mikey says:

    Never had the pleasure of attending a Catholic school. We did have a shop teacher who would bring in a brand new Louisville Slugger on the first day of class, plane it down to a thin, wide blade, and tell us that he would use it if we ever fucked up in his classroom. Yes, he said fuck. And he followed up on his promise. Even I got whacked once, and I was the proverbial small quiet kid. Good times. In his defense, though, we were kind of an unruly class, lighting hair spray cans, igniting sawdust, and even firing off a small tear gas cannister one day (the kid who did that is a priest now, heh).

    Good times.

  23. Wiccapundit says:

    I attended a Catholic prep school, and the principal was a former professional boxer with a many-times-broken nose. NOBODY messed with him.

    There was one Brother who, while at the blackboard with his back to the class, could spatially sense who was talking behind him. He would reach down for the eraser, and without looking or turning around would whip it backwards with a fast-pitch-softball blur of his arm and nail the offender in the forehead. He was like a Catholic Yoda, ’cause boy, could he use The Force.

    I once smarted off in Latin class. I answered the question of what “cornucopia” meant by saying “horn of plenty.” When the teacher turned around, I said – sotto voce – “plenty horny.” I had to bend over and grab my ankles in front of the class, while he whacked my ass with a wooden paddle with holes cut in it. I can still hear the air whistling through them as the paddle descended on me.

    Good times.

    • Laura says:

      HA! And they were good times weren’t they? We ran on survival mode at all times and it made things more enjoyable. Every day was “Will I get caught today and humilated?”

  24. zonker says:

    I went to Catholic school for a good part of grammar school, followed by a Christian Brothers high school. Plus, I was an altar boy for years. I just cannot imagine hitting a nun or priest/brother back. My folks would have fricking killed me…assuming my siblings didn’t beat them to it. (No pun intended.) Not to mention the fact that most of the priests were ex-Golden Gloves fighters and shit like that. I respected them, though, unlike the pussified jackasses who became prevalent in later years.

    That said, I do remember pissing a lay teacher off to the point where she actually picked up a student’s desk and threw it. Off to the side, not at me. She should have thrown it at me, though. I was a horrible little shithead. If I had a time machine, I’d go back and drown my ass, paradoxes and unraveling of the fucking time-space fabric be damned.

    ps: Loving the new WP site but “Preview Comment” button would be nice.

    • Laura says:

      Oh that’s a good idea. I’ll see if my tech support can do that.

      I was a little shit too. Probably why I never wanted kids. I knew what horrible little creatures they can be and with my DNA, well, it probably would have been a baby serial killer or something.

  25. Elphaba says:

    I went to public school, where the humiliation was mostly verbal, and IMHO, this is far worse and much more damaging to self-esteem. If the teacher picks you to bully, it’s open season for the rest of the class.

    • Laura says:

      I agree. Verbal is much, much worse. The nuns would slap you silly and then tell you that you that God loved you.

    • Jena says:

      Yep and I dropped out of 7&8th grade cos of a coach/teacher wouldn’t stop talking trash about me and the other nerdy kid in class. He would say some pretty bad sexual harassing shit. So when I finally got back in school I was retested and just totally skipped 8th grade and on the condition they put me in the remedial classes. lol. I was actually happier in there. I just couldn’t handle the larger groups and my Asperger’s was making itself more obvious.

      I still wonder about that dick head. How sad for him to tear down kids to make himself look hip to the other kids.

  26. Cheryl says:

    Great story! Went to public school but raised by a Baptist minister. I got spanked EVERY SUNDAY when we got home after church – always something! Needless to say, I am very respectful on those rare visits to any church of any faith :)

  27. Larry says:

    I dated a red-headed preacher’s daughter when I was in high school. It’s probably why I have such a fondness for redheaded gals even to this day.
    I never went to Catholic school, but I would have rather faced an army of nuns than my mom. Trouble is, if I had gone to a Catholic school I probably would have gotten both.
    I tell my kids now that my mom was mean as a snake and they don’t believe me. She had four brothers that she was expected to keep under control, and she did.
    Did I mention she was raised Catholic?

  28. Terri the Terror says:

    I was always in awe of anyone who survived catholic school. In my town, the catholic school only went up to 9th grade and they were hellions in high school. Put this redheaded hellion to shame!

  29. Julia says:

    I am a Catholic school survivor too. So many stories. So many narrow escapes. So many Hail Mary’s. Is there a support group?

  30. You don’t think that penguin SWAT team fitted poor Matt for a concrete overcoat, do you?

    My old running buddy Bob, aka Bone Head to his friends, went to Catholic school through the 7th grade and really had a time with the penguins and their rulers. This was in the days when beating hell out of a kid was the prescribed treatment for what we now know as dyslexia. Then he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, had successful surgery in 1966 and after recovery ended up in public school with us heathens. He was put in remedial classes but the special education faculty were some great educators and Bob ended up graduating on time along with his class…..and the last time I saw him about 10 years ago he was still cussing about the evil penguins!

    • Laura says:

      You always cuss the penguins.

      I did in fact think Matt was fitted with a concrete overcoat! That’s why I kept checking that koi pond for a couple of weeks.

  31. SB Smith says:

    I didn’t go to Catholic school, but I’m getting an idea where the term “red-headed step child” came from.
    Many years ago when we picked up our female cat from being neutered. We asked the Vet if there were any special instructions and he said “Just treat her like a red headed step child.”…We both laughed (we’re both brunette) and left. That wasn’t the only time I heard the term but you sure are painting a colorful picture !. Laura, were your 3 siblings red headed, too ? I’m surprised your mom didn’t keep a chair and a whip handy…”Down Leo !”…..Heh heh….
    I had a red-headed friend growing up and I always thought I wanted red hair. Now I use hair color L’Oreal Furia’s “Chocolate Cherry”: deep brown with red.#36.

  32. iampisspot says:

    When I was a kid, my Dad was the Chair of Governors for the primary school I attended. This was always a little embrarrassing, as I often saw him in school and everyone knew he was my Dad and pointed that out to me. I dealt with this by ignoring him.

    Anyways. I asked him one night, as we sat round the table eating dinner, if he had the power to sack a teacher if so required. He answered ‘yes, I guess so’.

    Armed with that sweet little nugget of imformation, I confidently marched into school the following day and informed my poor teacher (who I didn’t like) that my Dad had told me he was going to sack him.

    All manner of craziness ensued, including my Dad forcing me to apologise to the teacher in front of my entire class.

    My Dad still brings that story up.

    In a lot of ways, I guess I haven’t changed much, I’m still a hot-headed little shit. I just rely on my Dad less to fight my battles with people I don’t like.

    • Laura says:

      HA! I would have done the same thing. “I better get an A, or my father will fire you!” And of course, it would have ended just as tragic as yours did. Yeah, I’m kind of hot-headed still too.

  33. Carra says:

    I was raised by my Protestant grandparents, but one year when I was in the 5th grade, my brother and I went to live with Catholic relatives and we were put in a Catholic school for the year. It was like being on another planet as far as I was concerned. The nuns were very strict, but there were also kids who seemed to enjoy provoking them. I never got into trouble myself, but usually the whole class would end up being punished for something one person did. I only remember getting recess on the playground two times the whole first semester, as it was always the first thing to be taken away from us. And I remember kids being smacked with rulers and having to kneel on the hardwood floor in front of the class for hours. But the punishment I remember the most was having to write sentences over and over-like “I will not talk without being spoken to” or some shit like that. We would have to write these stupid sentences 500 times as homework, and we would have to do it several times a week. The class was always in trouble. I was so glad to go back to public school the next year. Those nuns were terrifying to me and one year with them was enough for me. I feel for all of you who had to cope with them longer than that.

    • Laura says:

      I felt like I was on another planet when I went to public high school where you could wear “civilian” clothes and talk in the hallway and no church every day! The biggest thing I remember though was in all my classes I was all “WTF? We learned this in 5th grade!” Seriously. And yes, nuns are terrifying. I also remember they were REAL big on cursive writing. That maybe why you remember writing shit over and over. They also forced left-handed people to use their right. Lefties are Satan’s handmaidens FYI. Ha!

  34. Larry says:

    Well this could have been a disaster. I had to reload this site on my blog list because the latest posts weren’t coming up. Something about the new place must have thrown the feed off or something. It’s a good thing I was checking it all along, otherwise I might have missed the last two posts.
    And that is a fate not worth contemplating.
    It’s all good now.

    • Laura says:

      OH NO! There’s been a few problems involving the move. I may have even lost a few readers! Well, either the move did that or the incessant goat talk. I don’t know which. HA!

  35. Rick says:

    He’s buried in a shallow grave in the outside prayer garden. That’s where all of the nuns put our “missing” students. I barely escaped that fate myself.

  36. Mrs. Who says:

    Went to parochial schools most of my life. The only time I was walloped, however, was at a SDA daycare. Yanked my ass off the monkey-bars and spanked me because only kids aged 7 and older could get on there. I was 8, but small for my age. Grandmommie came, gave them a piece of her Catholic mind. If the nuns had done the same thing, I wonder if I would have just gotten another spanking at home for making them go through the effort.

  37. BoneyButt says:

    After reading all these horror stories, I’m glad I was raised in the public school system. Of course, some of the things you described, my mom did to me so I didn’t miss a whole lot!!

  38. Teresa says:

    I went to Catholic school in 1st grade. I was scared to death of St. Mary Margret’s fingernail… she would use it under the chin of children she thought needed to be disciplined.

    Then we moved and I never went to Catholic school again because the schools were all full so they couldn’t take me and my sister. But it didn’t matter – I always ended up with the 60+ year old mean teachers or the one really flighty stupid teacher. I loved learning but hated school. heh.

  39. Chantelle says:

    So, I apologize if someone else already said this… but since I’m a creepy facebook stalker, is this the brave bastard??


  40. Chantelle says:

    Oh damn, never mind… I see someone else already asked about him :)

  41. Rose says:

    Once again, I think I might have peed myself. Are you SURE he wasn’t in the koi pond? Was he behind the couch? Cause that’s where I found Jesus…

  42. Dannie says:

    Props to Mrs. Who…..I attended SDA schools until sophomore year of college…oh wait and grad. school.

    But I was never walloped, I don’t think it was allowed and I know it definately isn’t allowed at all now.

    Sending my kid’s rear to an SDA preschool come August.

  43. Its this type of environment that allowed tens of thousands of priests to rape children and get away with it. All of them were afraid to talk. They didn’t think they’d be believed. They still think about it every single day, and it has ruined their lives.

    The Catholic church will continue to fight them every day, using the most powerful lawyers in every town, and will ignore the victims where ever possible. What a horrible experience for a young child.

    I lived it for grades 1-12, and would never put a child through it.

    • Laura says:

      Whoa. That’s horrible. Just horrible. And I am sorry that happened to you and if these men aren’t punished by the judicial system, hopefully they will be in Hell. And it has to be the nastiest Hell ever for a man or anyone that abused children.

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