December 28, 2020
By Jessica Blank
Four former nuns shared their story of their time in the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate religious order.
Religious orders are supposed to provide spiritual guidance to those who join. But some of the women who entered Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) say they faced physical and emotional abuse.
Patricia Budd, one of the former nuns of SMMI, first entered in 1995 in hopes of connecting with her Catholicism. It was at her first retreat where she met the order’s U.S. delegate, Sister Theresa Kovacs.
“It was a lot of hugs. There was a lot of encouragement,” Budd told HuffPost. “They would listen to you, and you felt really important, and you felt like you’re valued.” But soon after she joined, Budd and the other nuns realized things were not as they seemed.
“I witnessed other girls just being yelled at on a constant basis by Theresa Kovacs,” said Rose, who joined SMMI in 1995. (Three interviewees asked to only be identified by their first names.) According to Rose, a sister named Georgiana often got the brunt of Kovacs’ anger.
“It would be a torrent of the nastiest stuff you could ever say to a human being, she would say to me,” said Georgiana. “It was meant to keep people in line.”
Theresa Kovacs did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The nuns faced strict rules. They weren’t allowed to speak to each other. They weren’t allowed to go for walks outside the convent doors.
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