Hell on the way to heaven – Chrissie Foster

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This is the harrowing, true story of a mother’s struggle for justice. Chrissie and Anthony Foster were like any other young suburban family, raising their three daughters, Emma, Katie, and Aimee in a quiet spot and educating them with what they hoped were the right values. In Chrissie’s case, these values were based on her Catholic faith; when she married Anthony, not a religious man, they both committed to bringing up their children in the faith, which included attending Catholic schools. Carefully driving her children to school each day, Chrissie could not have known that the stranger-danger she feared lurked not on the streets, but in the presbytery attached to the school. There, an evil man dwelled whom the Church knew to be a long-term paedophile, moving him from parish to parish in order to avoid his career of sexual assault on children becoming public. This was Father Kevin O’Donnell. First one, then two of their beautiful girls fell victim to the after-effects of O’Donnell’s crimes against them as small children. Chrissie and Anthony Foster began a battle to find out the truth of what had happened, and how it was that the very Church which promised to love and protect their children could slam the doors shut on them. Instead, the Church offered silence, lies, denials, broken promises, and threats, until one day the Bag Man arrived. This is a courageous account of a family’s suffering and their determination to stand up for themselves against the massive power of the Catholic Church.

This book was just… wow. Very intense. There is currently a Royal Commission into the abuse that happened through the Catholic Church in regards to abuse that has happened over decades. The story is quite heartbreaking as well – what the two girls go through after their experience, especially the older daughter, is just devastating. I feel for the whole family.

5/5