Worcester Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]
May 18, 2022
By Richard Duckett
[Photo above: Skip Shea, who wrote and directed “Trinity,” suffered abuse by several priests as a child. – Courtesy, Damien Gaudet]
Uxbridge filmmaker Skip Shea will screen his movie “Trinity,” based on a true story about a man who recalls the sexual abuse he received as a child from a priest, at the location that was formerly “an epicenter” for the abuse and where Shea was himself abused.
“Trinity” will be shown at 8 p.m. May 21 at Estate of Mind, 120 Hill St., Whitinsville. There will be reception at 7 p.m. and a Q&A after the screening. Tickets are $20.
Estate of the Mind is a new performance space and art center. The property is the site of the former House of Affirmation, operated as a treatment center for Catholic priests suffering from psychological issues, including pedophilia, from 1973 to 1990. However, the priest who started it was himself a pedophile and networked children in the Blackstone Valley, Shea said.
“Walking through that building again, that had its moments for me for sure. Now we’re finally talking about clergy sexual abuse,” he said.
“My decision to screen ‘Trinity’ at the site of much of my abuse wasn’t difficult at all,” Shea said.
“The new owners of the old mansion — now called Estate of Mind — were gracious enough to work with me on this screening. The property has been transformed into an arts and event center, something that I find healing for this property with such a dark past.”
Shea is an award-winning filmmaker based in Uxbridge, and also recently oversaw the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival in Worcester in April.
“Trinity,” which was made in 2016 and received good reviews at film festivals, follows Michael, who while in a coffee shop accidentally bumps into the priest who sexually abused him when he was a child, sending him on what has been called “a wild and twisted journey through his past.” Shea wrote and directed the movie.
Shea experienced sexual abuse by several priests beginning at the age of 11 at St. Mary’s Church in Uxbridge.
The House of Affirmation was “the epicenter of clergy sexual abuse within the Diocese of Worcester,” and Shea was also abused there, he said.
A friend told him that the property was now the home of Estate of Mind. “I went over and met the new owners and they were very open and very supportive about screening there,” he said.
Still, he had some initially mixed feelings, Shea acknowledged. “When I first heard I didn’t know if I could go. Five minutes later I was making the call,” he said.
Shea said he doesn’t like using the terms “victim” or “survivor” because they still connote power to the abuser.
Instead, “I’m somebody that happened to,” he said. “The fact that I’m able to go there and show the movie is just that bonus.”
Shea said he hopes that screening “Trinity” at the revival of the estate will remind people of its history while also showing its potential for healing.
“And I couldn’t think of a better way to show the Diocese of Worcester that we won’t forget as much as they try to bury it,” he said. “It’s also a great way to remind the Catholic Church that some of us are still willing to stand up and be heard.”
All proceeds will benefit BishopAccountability.org, which Shea said is the most comprehensive resource covering the global reach of clergy sexual abuse. Two members of BishopAccountability.org will take part in the Q&A with Shea after the screening of “Trinity.”
Tickets are available at https://bpt.me/5447487.
“Trinity” was picked up for distribution by BayView Entertainment and had its official release in 2021. It is available on Amazon Prime at https://tinyurl.com/trinityhoa.