Road to Recovery
August 13, 2014


The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a national organization of nuns, is meeting this week here in Nashville, TN. The LCWR will once again ignore a critical issue during its convention; namely, the sexual abuse of children, teenagers, and vulnerable adults by nuns.

One such case of sexual abuse by nuns comes out of New York City. The Sisters of Saint Ursula is a religious community of nuns with a regional center in Manhattan, New York City. For the past few years, the Sisters of Saint Ursula have ignored the pleas for help from a former nun from their religious order. Her name is Cecilia Springer, and she is nearly 85 years old. She was a nun for decades, and she was sexually abused by her high school Principal as a minor child.

In 1946, Cecilia Springer was a high school sophomore at Notre Dame School in Manhattan, New York City, when her Principal, Sister Mary Andrew, SU (aka Sr. Frances Doyle) followed her up the staircase from the lunch room and sexually assaulted her by embracing and kissing her on the lips on more than once occasion. At least one other classmate of Cecilia has reported a similar assault. Cecilia reported the sexual abuse to the leaders of Notre Dame School and the Sisters of Saint Ursula, who are most likely here this week in Nashville, but they have refused to help Cecilia Springer heal by acknowledging her claim of sexual abuse or providing her with resources that will help her live a more stress-free life.

Over a year ago, Cecilia Springer and her attorney met with representatives of Notre Dame School, the Sisters of Saint Ursula, and their attorney and told the story of having been sexually abused by Sister Mary Andrew, SU (aka Sister Frances Doyle). Following the meeting, Notre Dame School and the Sisters of Saint Ursula told Cecilia Springer to take a hike.

It is probable that leaders of the Sisters of Saint Ursula and Notre Dame School are here this week to partake in the deliberations of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. It is ironic that Sister Mary Dolan, SU, the regional superior (Provincial) of the Sisters of Saint Ursula, would be here among leaders because she has ignored Cecilia Springer. Sister Mary Dolan, SU, was an elementary school student of Cecilia Springer many years ago when Cecilia Springer was a teacher. Sister Mary Dolan is urged this week to come to her moral senses and respond to the sexual abuse claim of Cecilia Springer.

Sister Virginia O’Brien, SU, is the President of Notre Dame School. Perhaps she is here this week as well, and she has the opportunity to do the right thing and care for a former Notre Dame School student, teacher, alumna, and nun. It is our hope that Sister Mary Dolan and Sister Virginia O’Brien will be impressed by the discussions on topics such as justice and truth and act compassionately toward Cecilia Springer.

CONTACTS: Robert M. Hoatson, Advocate for Cecilia Springer, and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., Livingston, NJ – 862-368-2800 Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston MA – 617-523-6250


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