Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sister Mary David, OSB Writes Back

For the past eight years, I've been writing about Linton Hall Military School, which I attended while Sister Mary David was principal. A few years ago, she resumed use of her birth name, and is now known as Sister Doris Nolte, OSB. She is still at the convent in Bristow, where she is involved in projects including adult literacy and training caretakers.

I believe that, as Principal, she was ultimately responsible for both the good and bad aspects of LHMS. Therefore, I wrote her a few days ago, asking for an apology. I wrote:

"Sister Doris Nolte,
I attended Linton Hall while you were principal.
Linton Hall was good academically, as were the field hikes and camping.
However, punishments were cruel and excessive, including ..."

(A long summary of the negative aspects of Linton Hall which I've written about on my blog follows.)

"Now the truth is out, shared and corroborated by many LHMS alumni, thanks to the Internet.
I don't wish for what you did to us to be done to you, since to wish that would take me down to your level.
But I do believe that a sincere, public apology from you to the hundreds of cadets who attended Linton Hall while you were principal is the least you can do, and is long overdue.
If you decide to reply, I will publish your response on the internet for all to see. If there's no reply within fifteen days, I will report that fact, and your silence will speak louder than words.
A Linton Hall Alumnus
(It doesn't matter who I am. I am one of hundreds who suffered at Linton Hall.)"

Here is her reply:

"I'm very sorry these things happened while you were at Linton Hall. I'm not aware of all the things you spoke of, but I'm sure they were traumatic to some of the cadets. Forgive us all for the unpleasant things you experienced while a student with us. We meant no harm, but we tried, to the best of our ability, to make Linton Hall a safe and caring environment. If you wish to discuss this further feel free to visit me at the monastery here in Bristow.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Doris (formerly Sister Mary David)"

After much reflection, I replied:

"Sister Doris,
Thank you for your prompt reply.
Although I would not characterize LHMS as "caring," I accept your apology and forgive you. I wish you well.
I can speak only for myself, and will share your reply with other alumni."

I have not asked for permission to share her email address, but if you'd like to write to Sister Doris Nolte, OSB, the address of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia is the same as for Linton Hall School, and can be found on the web.
Alumni comments are welcome. My Facebook page is visible only to LHMS alumni who've friended me, whereas the blog can be seen by all. You may wish to comment in both places.


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