Date of Award

Spring 2017

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies




Professor Victoria Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Tom Cook


Catholic Girls and Cold Wars - a Memoir What I remember best about my childhood is fear-- fear that I would commit an impure act by touching myself in the bath and thereby be disqualified for sainthood. Fear that the communists would drop nuclear bombs and, unless we built a bomb shelter, we would all die. Fear that my father would come home, yank his belt from his waist, and beat someone for no good reason, fear that his brand of abuse was leaving permanent scars. Books, movies, and television shows taught me important lessons. But the sixties added new confusions: the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, assassinations of men I admired. Desperate for fun and escape, I ran away to California in 1970 and embraced the drug culture and discovered that life is beautiful. With a friend, I traveled to Europe and hitched rides around the continent. Hitchhiking from New York to Florida to get home, we had a chance encounter with screenwriter Norman Wexler, who voiced his outrage at the Nixon administration in a highly visible way, and forced my friend and me to tag along for a few days. All of these experiences in the first twenty-three years of life led me on a life-long quest to understand why the Catholic Church’s teachings about sexuality are so repressive. Who started this war against the body anyway? Why did St. Augustine’s ideas become the foundation for so much of Catholic ideology? Why, since the incest taboo is so firmly entrenched, is it so often violated? What is God? Where is the divine feminine? What are the roots of misogyny? How can we end sexual abuse and promote mutually satisfying relationships? Why did the Vietnam War need to be fought in the first place? And are the communists really so different from us? The memoir is about a journey from fear to understanding, from isolation to love.

Rights Holder

Patricia Geary Schoene