Saturday, July 19, 2014


'At one stage she retreated so much into herself that she lay naked and unwashed in a room with a few dolls as companions and talked only in cries and grunts. Even as recently as three years ago, at the age of 45, she still had to be taken by the hand when shopping, like a young child nervous of strangers and public places.'

“I greatly rejoice that time flies so quickly, because that means so much less time to spend in this world, where there is nothing to attract me. My heart goes incessantly in search of a Treasure, an immense Treasure that I do not find in creatures; a Treasure that will satisfy me and console me, and give me rest."

"I can recall when it started happening to me. I was still working as a nursing sister at the time, although I was living at the centre, and one day I was standing in the kitchen dressing myself to go to work. I couldn't seem to get my hair up right and my stockings kept falling down. My teeth were chattering and I felt extremely cold. I rang up the hospital and said I wasn't coming in. Then I rang up Sid, a friend of Ronny's and he told me to go to bed. I stayed in my bed for more than four months."

"Gemma, do you realize that you are offending Me when in your great need you come to Me last, after other creatures who cannot give you consolation? I suffer, My daughter, when I see that you forget Me."

"One night I got hold of a tin of black paint and started painting black breasts all over the walls of my room. I wanted to paint and I wanted to suck those black breasts. I was fed from a bottle most of the tune and wet my bed all the time. This gave me great relief. I was completely naked and didn't want anything on me at all. I wet myself continuously and used to smear it all over the walls."

"My spirit is will­ing but my flesh is weak, weak because I am so lazy."

'She was still in a babyish state and he gave her some scrap paper and told her to start scribbling. When she did so a picture emerged of a woman kneeling with a child at her breast. Finally she began painting on any surface she could find at the centre, working with a compulsive speed and energy. It was her painting that led in a sense to her second breakdown. The other people at Kingsley Hall objected to the walls of the building being covered with them. This drew her anger and precipitated her crisis. She retired to her room again and this time stayed there for more than a year. During this breakdown Mary underwent her second journey back through her mind and body into infancy again. At one time she even refused her bottle and demanded to be fed from a tube. She now recognises that this was a desire for attachment to the umbilical cord and that she had, in her own mind, gone right back into the womb again. In her book her recollection of this period is woven thickly of physical detail and general sensation.'

"Today I thought I was to be entirely free from that nauseous animal, and instead he has knocked me about greatly. I had gone to bed with the full intention of sleeping, but it turned out otherwise. He began to beat me with such blows that I feared I would die. He was in the shape of a big black dog, and he put his "paws" on my shoulders, hurting me greatly. I felt it so much in all my bones that I thought that they were broken. Also, when I was taking holy water he wrenched my arm so violently that I fell to the floor from the pain. The bone was dislocated, but went back into place because Jesus touched it for me, and all was remedied."

"I kept sucking on a bottle. I bit hard on the bone ring someone got me. It had a bell on so. I know when someone held it for me to bite. It helped me. Sometimes my limbs, seemed heavy and sticky, it seemed I was a little animal, gone to sleep for the winter. My body did often seem apart. A leg or an arm could be the other side of the room. Often it seemed I was floating and moving as if in fluid."

"Jesus, as soon as he arrived on my tongue (the cause so often of so many sins), made Himself felt immediately. I was no longer in myself but Jesus was in me; He descended to my breast. (I say breast, because I no longer have a heart; I gave it to Jesus' Mom.)"

'The only things she had brought with her were her bedding, a cushion she had made at Kingsley Hall and two dolls, which Joseph Berke had bought her during her "second" childhood. She has since acquired a lampshade of hanging twigs, together with a stone crucifix she made herself, and a copy of Where the Wild Things are.'

'When I met her she was sitting among this tiny litter of possessions like sonic mystic female ascetic. She wanted to be a nun once and, with her long dark hair and flowing clothes, she seems like the priestess of some sect whose secrets can only be penetrated through personal suffering.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"during the day it seemed stronger than my very strong body and will. instead of using my strength i become as a slave bound in chains of my own making, stiff, set, unable to bend"

lessons on painting the skin; the question remains: can we speak of another choice?

"A book is not a property. Whose property is a body?"

Thoughts of Moira & Janine.