GENO CLARK

An Introduction

 

From 1964 through 1965, my siblings and I lived at St Joseph's Child Center on North Avenue in Burlington Vt. On September 10, 2018, Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan announced the creation of a task force to investigate claims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and yes, even murder, at the former child center.

 

I was one of the children who was sexually and physically abused at St. Joseph’s. I’ve carried the emotional scars of those horrible experiences with me all my life. For decades, I kept silent about the embarrassing details of my abuse. However, with the report from the Vermont Attorney General's office due to come out shortly, I hope my truths will no longer have to stand alone. With this report, the wrongdoing, on a massive scale, at the hands of nuns and priests, will no longer be so easily denied.

 

For many years, I’ve gone from therapist to therapist. None of this did much good. That was until I met my last therapist. She knew that I was a singer/songwriter, and she suggested that I write about my experiences in song form. As a child I was very religious; I loved singing in God’s name. But the abuses I endured at St. Joseph’s made me lose all faith in God. I’ve tried over the years to regain that faith, but it seems it’s lost forever.

 

One of the songs describes the very moment I remember losing the last piece of my faith. Another has helped me in a battle I’ve fought for over 5o years. Every single day, the refrain, “I don’t want to do this! I don’t want to do this!” has played over and over in my mind. Writing about the events where that refrain began, in lyric form, has showed me that my songwriting is a process that is both artistic and therapeutic. It helps me to reclaim, in some way, aspects of myself that I have lost. Several of my song lyrics are included in a video I recently produced. I would love to share that video with you. At this time, It is available on my Facebook page.

Anthem

 

We are the Children of St Joseph’s.

We need our voices to be heard.

Will you hear all our truths

And take us at our word?

 

You didn't believe us then,

So please believe us now.

For we'll tell you all our truths

If you'll just believe somehow.

 

Your disbelief in us has added to our tears.

For we've lived with all these truths

For oh so many years.

 

We are the Children of St. Joseph’s

We need our voices to be heard.

Will you hear all our truths

And take us at our word?

 

So, we're going to raise our voices

For everyone to hear, in spite of all your doubts

In spite of all our fears.

 

So please believe us now, for our pain is so sincere.

For we’ve lived with all this pain

For oh so many years.

Betrayed Faith


He didn't know what was going on.
All he knew, it was oh...so wrong.
Covered his eyes, when she dropped to her knees,
As she took him, just as she pleased.


She betrayed her Faith, destroyed his as well.
But he didn't know who he could tell.
Would anyone believe that betrayal he was dealt?
For he lost all...his Faith, that day as she knelt.


Swallowed up by her Veil, his Faith so betrayed.
His innocence lost, his childhood delayed.
His Faith in God went up in a flame.
For how could he let her do this in His name?


She betrayed her Faith, and destroyed his as well.
But he didn't know who he could tell.
Would anyone believe that betrayal he was dealt?
For he lost all...his Faith, that day as she knelt.


He said “Please, I am clean.”
She said “no, you need more scrubbing.”
Those days in the shower,
Were more than just troubling.
So, he covered his eyes, and let her have her way,
It still haunts him, to this very day.


She betrayed her faith and destroyed his as well.
But he didn't know who he could tell.
Would anyone believe that betrayal he was dealt?
For he lost all...his Faith, that day as she knelt.

 

I Don’t Want to Do This


It happened a long time ago
But it still bothers him so.
It happened every Friday night
And the food was a frightening sight.


“I don't want to do this,
I don't want to do this.”
He cried, oh, so...many times
For surely this, this must be a crime.


“Please, Please, don't make me do this.”


Blood sausage is what they called it.
The very smell would made him sick.
It was dark red, and full of blood.
“Clean off your plate,” she said.
“You don't need taste buds.”


“I don't want to do this,
I don't want to do this.”
He cried, oh, so...many times
For surely, this, this must be a crime.


“Please, Please, don't make me do this.”


When he couldn't eat it, he got a paddle to the head.
He faced Friday nights with so much dread.
He choked it down, and it came right back up.
Then, forced to his knees to eat what he just threw up.


“I don't want to do this,
I don't want to do this.”
He cried, oh, so...many times.
For surely, this, must be a crime.


“Please, Please, don't make me do this
Please, Please, don't make me do this.”

ABOUT US >

The St. Joseph Orphanage Restorative Inquiry seeks to understand and document the events of the orphanage through the voices, experiences, and stories of those most impacted: the former children of the Orphanage. The Restorative Inquiry will then facilitate inclusive processes of accountability, amends-making, learning, and change.  The St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry is an initiative of the Burlington Community Justice Center, a division of the Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) of the City of Burlington.

CONTACT >

Marc Wennberg

T: 802-522-7394

E: marc@communityreentry.net

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