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***** Please Note: Text and images copyright to Anne Frandi-Coory – All Rights Reserved 4 January 2019.


Anne Frandi-Coory is interviewed by Chris Morris of the Otago Daily Times in November 2018 for the series ‘MARKED BY THE CROSS’ a research project. Part Two. 


Q7. Did you witness other incidents, forms of abuse (psychological, physical/violence, sexual) by nuns or others there, and if so, how often and against whom?

A. The kinds of child abuse I witnessed at the Mercy orphanage were more psychological and emotional; traumatised little children being re-traumatised over and over again, by religious women dressed in intimidating habits, who offered us no love, or affection, no comfort and who also allowed us to suffer from gross neglect. They terrorised us into submission and into ‘holiness’ and ‘piety’… These issues must have been raised by other children incarcerated in these orphanages, in the years since, because Sister Joanna volunteered in 1992 when I met her, that Sister Christopher, who managed St Agnes Nursery, was “far too busy to give individual children special attention.”

An example of the psychological and emotional abuse involving my brother Anthony and me at the Mercy orphanage occurred during one of the only times I remember both Joseph and Doreen visiting us at the orphanage in c.1952 when I was around four and a half years old, Anthony three years old. Joseph and Doreen brought Kevin with them, but I am not sure where Doreen and Kevin were living at that time. We were taken to St Kilda beach playground where Doreen took a photo of the three of us children on a swing. I remember that day, because we were all together, we had equipment to play on and we were given the very rare treats of ice creams and soft drinks, and Kevin told me many years later that it was one of the happiest days of his childhood.

the three of us cropped

Afterwards, Anthony and I were dropped at the entrance to the convent, but Anthony was starting to cry, he didn’t want to leave Doreen, to whom he clung. The nuns instructed me to take Anthony inside to the toilet.

All the while my heart was breaking because I didn’t want them to leave us there. I took Anthony to the toilet but when we came out, and he saw that Joseph and Doreen had gone, he screamed and screamed, the tears streaming down his little pale face…I started to cry as well, but the nuns offered no comfort, told me to stop that nonsense (or words to that effect)  and dragged Anthony off to the nursery and told me to go into another room. It took me days to get over this, but I was not allowed to ask about my mother. My brother and I were not even permitted to comfort one another.

On another occasion, I was sitting on the floor with other children and there was a nun sitting in front of us in a chair, when another nun came in carrying a small gold bangle, approached me and told me that my mother had arrived at the door of the orphanage with the bangle as a gift for me. The nun tried to get it over my hand but it was too small. I was too frightened to ask about my mother, who I wanted to see, and then I saw the nun put the bangle up high in a cupboard which I knew I could never reach.  Once again, I bottled up my feelings of, how shall I describe those feelings…infinite sadness, and when I did summon up the courage to ask the nun, after she had put the bangle in the cupboard, if I could see my mother, she replied that no, she had already left.

I  remember a little girl in my primer class, Ann Tye (of Asian descent), who like me, was laughed at and bullied by other children because we wet our pants and obviously stank, yet the nuns treated us as though we were ‘sinners’ or ‘lepers’ which I certainly felt like, and who failed to provide treatment for us or to protect us, or even to clean us up. The nuns never ceased to tell us stories about lepers in colonies that Catholic missionaries ‘looked after’ and I certainly believed, from what they told me, that lepers were sinners and that the sores they suffered from were as punishment from god and that missionaries were there to convert these ‘pagan sinners’ to Christianity so that they might be cured. I cannot stress enough the harm these ‘stories’ caused us already ‘suffering’ children.


St Patrick’s Primary School class  in orphanage complex

We learned about the intimate lives of saints, how they were tortured and died because they refused to deny god or Jesus. All of these saintly stories were designed to keep us pure and to provide role models for us children. To sacrifice ourselves for Jesus or god, was to ensure that we entered the kingdom of heaven when we died so I aspired to be a chosen one after movies we were shown of ‘unblemished’girls in biblical times, being chosen for sacrifice.


We had to help cook meals for all the children when I was living at St Vincent’s wing for junior school girls which was then managed by Mother Boniventure. I believe I was around six or seven years old. Another girl and I had helped to prepare and cook lemon sago pudding for dinner, and as she removed the heavy, boiling dish from the oven with oven gloves on, which I remember were huge, she dropped the boiling dish and I watched in horror as the sticky orange goo slowly ran down her bare legs as she screamed. There was chaos everywhere and later an ambulance came and took her to hospital. When I next saw her, her legs were covered in bandages. I will never forget that smell of lemon sago pudding which we all hated!

The thing is, we were little slaves, and the impression I was left with was that we were worthless and that no-one really cared what happened to us. Our mothers were ‘fallen’ women, and in so many ways, we were reminded of this daily. Very few children were actually orphans …and some children were there because their mothers were ill, or who had died, and they were the ones who went home for holidays. On the other hand, children like me, whose mothers had ‘sinned’, well we knew we were different, because we were treated with indifference.

Anne's first year at St Patrick's

Anne Frandi-Coory  5-6 years old…note the squint.

Q8. Can you describe the atmosphere of the place and the impact you saw this experience having on others around you?

In the Mercy orphanage, it was that lack of affection, the knowing that we were not special to anyone, and the nightmares we experienced. I especially remember the nightmares, of burning in hell, and that god would not bring another flood to the earth, like he did in the bible, as the nuns and priests loved to tell us; no, the next time humans were bad, it would be the end of the world and there would be fire like the fires of hell. Every time we heard fire engines, we thought it could be the end of the world. There were those children who were dressed better, and who spoke with better diction, and had better vocabularies, than those of us who were abused and traumatised. They went home for holidays and the nuns and priests favoured them; that was obvious to us, the cursed ones.

St Philomena's Dormitory

St Philomena’s Dormitory for girls in Macandrew Road, South Dunedin

The Mercy orphanage was always busy with people; children, college girls, nuns, priests, visitors. I also remember large dormitories, with rows of beds, and when I was a toddler, I remember many cots in the nursery, not in rows, but placed this way and that and I was probably more than three years old and still sleeping in a cot, because I can remember standing up in the cot for what seemed like hours. Most of us were scared of the dark. We were not happy children … and we didn’t have toys or play equipment. We didn’t even know how to play, or to smile. When photos were taken, and someone said smile, I honestly didn’t know how to. My most vivid memories are of children crying and us small children polishing floors, and me waiting for Joseph to visit me. We hardly ever ventured outdoors.

Kevin in tennis shoes

Kevin’s First Holy Communion

When I was a boarder at St Dominic’s, around 1957, the whole building began to fill with smoke, and we children were all terrified that the building was engulfed in flames. We heard sirens and nuns rushed in and ordered us to vacate the building at once. We all raced down the stairs and out onto the concrete steps behind St Joseph’s Cathedral. We had been in bed and were half asleep, so we were all shivering in our nighties standing outside on a cold winter’s night. This seemed to go on forever, with firemen running in and out of the building and nuns seemingly rushing about everywhere, red faced and in mild panic. Once everything had calmed down, we were instructed to go back to bed, it was only a chimney fire which had been caused by a blocked chimney which hadn’t been cleaned for some time.

Rear view St Dominic's College blog

The dormitory at the rear of St Dominic’s College and the boarded up dining/kitchen area.


Entrance to kitchen St Dominic's Boarding School



When we were back in bed, lacking comforting words to allay our fears, the girl in the bed next to mine began to talk about how frightened she was. We discussed what it would it be like at the end of the world when it was all on fire and there weren’t enough fire engines to put all the fires out. We stayed awake for hours after that; I am sure her heart was racing as fast as mine was. We talked about animals and birds and people being burned to death. It was a long night.

Q9. What was the impact on you at the time? And since then?

Fear and loneliness were what I lived with every day as a child … fear of things, fear of the end of the world, fear of dying, fear that the devil and god were always watching me, fear of animals. I was so afraid of the dark, because I often ‘saw’ the devil watching me to see if I was a bad girl. Many were the nights I lay awake in terror, hiding under the bed covers, with my heart pounding in my throat, after a nightmare. I was even afraid to go outside at night because I believed that either god or the devil lived on the moon; I could see someone there…and I was always sure that the moon followed me in the dark.

Anne in convent clothes

Anne Frandi-Coory in Mercy Orphanage clothes aged about eight years old

One of the worst nightmares, which recurred again and again during my childhood, was of me sitting on a swing which was swinging higher and higher, and I am screaming for it to stop, while trying to look around to see who was pushing the swing, but I could never see who it was although I knew someone was there. Another recurring dream was me being locked in a tiny space, my screaming waking me up. This happened once when I was staying at my cousins’ house when I was about 13 years old, and my screams woke the whole house.

I would sit alone somewhere, completely zoned out, I don’t know in what mind space, so that if someone called me, I couldn’t hear them. This happened many times and often I was punished for not coming when called. I suppose it was no wonder that my family, nuns and priests thought I was ‘backward’.

Anne Marie Coory 1958

Anne Frandi-Coory  10 years old

I was still afraid to go to the toilet and continued to wet my pants until I was about 11 years old. We didn’t have access to animals or birds, and knew nothing of the natural world. We were never read nursery rhymes or fairy tales, so in later years when my children were young, I used to read to them every day, and I learned so many fairy tales and stories that I’d never heard of. … the only stories about animals that we heard in the orphanage were abstract e.g. St Francis loved animals and birds, and sheep and goats were looked after by shepherds.

As a young mum, (I was married at 18 and gave birth to my first child at 19) I’d race to the church to have my babies baptised, because I ‘knew’ that god would take them from me if I didn’t have them baptised asap and that they would go to Limbo forever. I was still having nightmares about the end of the world and of one or more of my children dying. I was jumpy and over emotional, with a very quick temper…I could become very angry over the slightest thing, which often left me screaming and crying. I felt intense pressure to be a good mother which was the cause of much anxiety and depression on my part. I asked our family doctor if he could help me, but he didn’t suggest counselling, which now when I think about it, he should have done. However, he prescribed me amitriptyline in 1972, which calmed me down and I did sleep better. I stopped taking this medication in 1980, and later I consulted psychologists; the best and most helpful was John Craighead who worked from the public hospital in Blenheim, Marlborough. I remember well my opening words at my first appointment with John Craighead: “I have been paying for my mother’s sins for years” …his silence was deafening.


Anne Frandi-Coory 23 years old with three of her four children

Up until the late 1990s, a nightmare, a triggered memory, could make me cry for what seemed like hours, but the next day the depression that had been building, would lift, until the next time. All through my childhood, and early adulthood, I was socially inept and behind all of my peers in all other milestones. I was bullied at school, laughed at, humiliated and had no close friends all through my school years. However, I could read, I loved learning, especially English grammar which I excelled at, and once I learned to read, I stole children’s books from cousins and a neighbour, and sometimes to be alone, I’d take the books and sit somewhere alone to read them.  I am an avid reader but this has had its drawbacks, especially when I was younger. I take things literally, which often caused confusion and which meant I was very slow to understand colloquialisms and sarcasm.

I find it difficult to engage with people I hardly know, at an intimate level, because of trust issues. I am a virtual recluse, with only a few close family members and my life partner sharing my life. I loathe being the centre of attention so social media and writing are very important aspects of my life.

I experienced anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks, a deep sense of loss and fears of abandonment, interspersed with bouts of crying, which abated in my forties. I had attended Canterbury university in Christchurch, enrolling when I was 42-years-old, commuting from my home in Marlborough, with the support of my partner. I started a degree in psychology, but I changed my major to sociology because I wanted to understand more about life and the socialisation process. I completed my degree through Massey University while working for Social Services full time in Blenheim. It was around this time that the nightmares finally ceased. I felt safe and secure…but the journey was too long and too arduous.

Q10. Why was your Italian mother never allowed to visit you? Did you know this at the time, or just wonder why she never did?

According to my paternal Lebanese family, my mother was a ‘sharmuta’ (a prostitute) and needless to say my father passed this information onto the nuns at the Mercy orphanage. There was no secret about my mother being a ‘fallen’ woman, and although I didn’t fully understand what those particular words meant, I knew they were about sinful, impure women; we as children had been read many stories of what happened to sinful women.

Doreen portrait

Doreen Marie Frandi

Doreen was evicted from the Coory house at 67 Carroll Street for some reason, and I have listed Kevin’s and my thoughts on the possible reasons above. Kevin was 3+ and I was ten months old and it appears at that time she was about 6 weeks pregnant with Anthony. I saw Doreen a couple of times as a very young child; Joseph occasionally took me to visit his family at 67 Carroll Street and while I was there on one occasion, Doreen crept down the concrete steps at the side of the house, and found me in the rear yard, where she smiled her dazzling smile and gave me three picture books, said goodbye and left. I was perplexed, and when Joseph asked me where I got the books, I told him about the lady with red hair… ”Oh, that was your mother” he said, but I truly didn’t understand who or what a mother was then. Then later there was the trip to St Kilda playground, one of the few times we were all together, parents and three children. I knew she was my mother at that stage, and I loved being with her.

I think I understood while still living at the orphanage that Doreen was a sinful woman and that is why she wasn’t allowed to see me, but of course I didn’t understand then, what she had done to make her a “sinful, impure” woman. If ever I asked Joseph why he and Doreen were not together he would just say that “she broke my heart” and my aunts would tell me that she was a sharmuta. Although I didn’t fully understand the meaning of that word, I knew it meant something very bad.

My father took me to visit Doreen a few times; when she lived in a boarding house in St Kilda at the corner of Forbury Road and Valpy Street, where I remember Joseph taking me up a curved flight of stairs, and he obviously had been there before, because he knew which room Doreen lived in. I have a stark memory of standing there in front of her and watching her smoke one cigarette after another, while she chatted to me. And once when I was about three years old he took me to visit her in hospital after she had been knocked over by a car and had her leg broken. She always had a warm smile for me. However, I knew not to tell the nuns or the Coory family about these visits.

Q11. Did you have contact with your mother later in life?

I met my mother occasionally when I was a teenager and after I was married, usually at her state house in 56 Hewer Crescent, Naenae where she lived with Kevin, later at his house after he married, and not long before she died, at her government flat in Newtown, Wellington.

56 Hewer Cres blog

56 Hewer Crescent, NaeNae, Lower Hutt

Joseph died in December 1974 and I went to his funeral, although Doreen didn’t attend. However, the following year in 1975 she flew to visit me and my family in Marlborough. She was very well then and on medication for her bipolar disorder. It was only for a few days, but it was very healing. We talked a lot about her marriage to Joseph, and when she had custody of the three of us children in Dunedin.

At that time, I hadn’t done any research for my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ so I knew nothing of her Italian background, her childhood etc, so our conversations were concentrated around her marriage to Joseph, and my birth. She told me that I only weighed five pounds at birth but that I quickly doubled my weight, which astounded everyone. While she was pregnant with me, Joseph raced around to shops to buy the food that would satisfy her cravings and that she lost a lot of blood during my birth. She breastfed both Kevin and me. I didn’t ask more about Anthony because I did not know much about him, apart from when he was a baby, and a very small boy. These conversations conveyed to me that she tried to be a good mother, she had done her best with what she had, and photos of Kevin as a baby, show a happy, chubby boy. There are no photos of Anthony or me as infants.

Doreen told me that Joseph was good to her at first and that she believed having a daughter “made a man a man”, but apart from that did not say much about the Coory family or why they evicted her and I didn’t like to ask. She talked about being admitted to Porirua Mental Hospital as it was called then, and how during one admission, she screamed out that the lady in the other bed was her sister Anne (whom I was named after) although the staff did not believe her and told her to stop screaming. Finally, Aunty Anne saw her, and she began to scream as well. Anne was suffering from severe depression. Doreen had become a nun at nineteen, to escape the violence at home; her mother was sexually abused and beaten by her father, and one day he dragged Doreen, the eldest daughter, out of school at 13-years-old to take care of her siblings and her mother. She witnessed her mother self-aborting with a knitting needle on more than one occasion and was forced to clean up the bloody mess.

Of course, entering a convent when she was 19 years old, did not help Doreen (then called Sister Martina) to escape from the realities of life as she had hoped. She left the convent a very naïve and troubled woman, but remained a devout Catholic from then on, which I believe hindered her rather than helped. Doreen prayed endlessly, instead of seeking the professional help she so desperately needed. She subsequently spent the next few years looking for love, but instead was used and abused by several men. I believe that Joseph did love her, but he was a simple man, socially unaware, with the vocabulary and reading age of a twelve-year-old. He certainly had no idea how to treat a woman or how to raise children! Doreen kept in close contact with an order of nuns when she moved to Wellington, until the day she died.

Doreen said that she never stopped thinking about us children and when Anthony and I were taken from her, and she was forbidden to have any contact with us, it worsened her illness and caused her to be deeply depressed. She also told me that it was Joseph who originally placed us children in the Mercy orphanage. This and other information was verified by Doreen’s psychiatrist, Dr Bridget Taumoepeau at Porirua Psychiatric Hospital when I spoke to her in 1995 about two weeks after Doreen’s funeral. She told me that whenever Doreen was admitted to the hospital “she never stopped talking about Anne and Tony” and how she was never allowed to live with us or to have contact with us, and she often didn’t know where we were. Not being able to be a mother to Anthony and me caused her to be consumed with guilt which in turn deepened her depression.

Sometime after Doreen and Joseph had moved to Wellington to live, Doreen was admitted to Porirua Psychiatric Hospital for the first time, suffering from deep depression, on 25th February until the 2nd of April in 1947 according to Dr Taumoepeau …and this was when her bipolar disorder with psychotic episodes was first diagnosed. After that first admission, Doreen was re-admitted almost every two or three years (sometimes at her own request), usually for months at a time, and she received ECT on many occasions for severe depression. During her first admission, Doreen had wanted her son Kevin to stay with her Italian family in Wellington, but Joseph insisted that Kevin should stay with his own Lebanese family, although he had not yet officially adopted Kevin. Doreen’s psychiatrist also told me that Doreen had a very settled period in the late 1980s, up until about two years before her death.

I was always told by the Coory family that Kevin was illegitimate and that his father was an old man with a walking stick who lived further up Carroll Street. As I child I believed this to be true and Joseph never disputed these lies. In my teens, my cousin who is the same age as me, told me that our uncle Phillip, Joseph’s younger brother, was Kevin’s father and that he couldn’t marry Doreen because he was already married. In 1975, when Doreen came to Marlborough to visit me, I already knew the truth about who Kevin’s father was and that Joseph had adopted him before I was born.

Kevin told me that when they heard that Joseph was possibly dying from pneumonia and pleurisy in 1957, Doreen and Kevin flew to Dunedin, where Doreen dropped twelve-year-old Kevin off at 67 Carroll Street and then went on to find a hotel. I remembered that day because I was there visiting Joseph. There was a knock on the door, my uncle answered it and I saw there standing on the doorstep, Kevin, whom I hadn’t seen in years, carrying a suitcase. Two aunts were standing on either side of me and one of them asked what he was doing here. Kevin answered that he had come to see “my father” … my aunt told him that he couldn’t come in because he had made the choice to go and live with his mother… “but I don’t know where she is” Kevin replied. They told him in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t come in. I was scared and once again rooted to the spot, unable to move although my body ached to go and hug Kevin, who later described this to me as the most humiliating time of his life. He had to walk some distance to the police station and ask them to find his mother, and in the meantime the police found him a place to sleep at the YMCA while they searched all the hotels for Doreen. At that time, I had no idea where by brother Anthony was.

That image of Kevin standing at the threshold of the Coory family home carrying a suitcase, and which had caused me so much anguish at the time, has never left me. I have lost touch with Kevin over the last few years.

I was constantly indoctrinated by priests and nuns, both at St Dominic’s and at the Mercy orphanage, that I had to be pure, not to have impure thoughts and certainly not to have sex before marriage, and by implication, not to end up like my mother, so much so that my teenage years were utterly miserable. I was completely and utterly lost, going from one job to the next trying to avoid boys and men at all costs. So terrified was I of becoming like my mother, who of course at that time, I scarcely knew. However, after I met her in the Coory family’s backyard in Carroll Street, we re-connected and after that episode I began to search for her red hair whenever I walked around the streets of Dunedin.

During one of my visits to see Doreen and Kevin when I was a teenager, (which we had to keep secret from the Coory family, some of who lived in Wellington) they told me about the time they were struggling to survive while living in the state house at 56 Hewer Crescent, Naenae, in Lower Hutt, and Doreen was working at the Zip factory close by.

Q12. How old was your younger brother when he, in turn, came to the orphanage, and what year was that? What was his experience?

Anthony was about seven months old, and was first admitted to St Agnes’ Nursery on 13 May, 1950, which was managed by Sister Christopher who was very fond of Joseph due to his supposed devotion to Anthony and me. Sister Gregory was in charge of St Joseph’s Boys’ Home when Anthony lived there, and I interviewed her at the Catholic convent at 19 McAuley Crescent, Waikiwi, Invercargill in 1992. She remembered Anthony well, as I in turn remembered her from those days. At the time I interviewed her, she was elderly and very softly spoken, and also a little hesitant to say much. I got the impression from her that nuns were receiving a lot of harsh criticism for their treatment of children in Catholic homes in the past, but told me that they thought they were doing the right thing. I detected a fair amount of guilt in the way she said it. There is no doubt Anthony was a deeply traumatised little boy. Whenever Kevin and I have asked him about what he remembers of the past, he says he remembers nothing about his early childhood. He did not have a good formal education, but now has a steady career, and he kindly looked after Joseph until he was admitted to Cherry Farm, even though in the early days Joseph wanted to have nothing to do with Anthony because “…he is not my son”. Anthony also looked after Joseph’s dog Tim until he died. Anthony moved to Wellington permanently around the late 1970s and early 1980s.

joseph and tim 103 maitland st dunedin

Anne Frandi-Coory’s father Joseph Coory with his beloved dog, Tim.

Anthony also worked with Kevin in his high profile and successful restaurant, The Bacchus, in Wellington for a few years, and built a close adult relationship with Doreen, who also worked at the restaurant as a dishwasher.

I have only met up with Anthony occasionally over the years, because he is very close to the Coory family, whereas I am still terrified of them, so much so that when I am in their company, I can barely put a sentence together and then only with a voice I can barely muster. Kevin and I do have suspicions that Anthony was sexually abused during his childhood in Catholic institutions. He is gay and lives alone. You will have to contact Anthony for more complete answers to those questions concerning him. I do not know where he lives in Wellington.

As I have related above, Anthony could barely speak until he was five or six years old. He was severely beaten with a belt by uncle Phillip in my presence, but he says he doesn’t remember that either. That particular beating left him screaming and sobbing, which he ‘asked for’ because he and I had stolen two empty soft drink bottles to take to the dairy to cash in to buy lollies, while I was so terrified, I hid.

Q13. When were your brothers moved to the Doon St orphanage and why? What was their experience like there?

I do not have a memory of ever visiting Kevin at St Joseph’s Boys’ Home in Doon Street, although I do know he was living there for a very short time. Anthony was moved from St Agnes’ Nursery to the Doon Street Home when he was five years old in 1954 while Sister Gregory was in charge there. There was gender segregation when boys turned five, and siblings were separated regardless of the emotional damage it might cause. I interviewed Sister Gregory in Invercargill in 1992 and she remembers Anthony and me very well. As I have said above, Anthony has blocked out all memories of his time at the Doon Street orphanage, and I can only relate what I, Kevin and Doreen witnessed whenever we visited him there and when he lived with me at St Agnes Nursery.

Q14. What year were you finally able to leave, and how did this come about?

My father told me one day in 1955 at St Vincent’s Orphanage when I was about seven or eight years old that I would soon be going to school at St Dominic’s Boarding College in Rattray Street. I remember being very anxious when he told me this but I don’t recall him giving me a reason. When I met Sister Joanna at the disused orphanage in Macandrew Road in 1992, I asked her what the reason might have been for my father shifting me to St Dominic’s after all those years. She explained that at that time the Lebanese community was well settled in Dunedin and many Maronite priests were coming to Otago for further education. The Lebanese community were by then largely well off and were contributing some of their wealth to St Joseph’s Cathedral and the attached Dominican primary and secondary Catholic schools, and while most of their children attended those schools, I was the only Lebanese girl who was a boarder. I became a boarder at St Dominic’s around 1956.

Sister Joanna informed me that the Vatican had made changes to Canon Law, and there were other big changes afoot within the Catholic Church. Numbers of orphans and destitute families were dwindling, and there were fewer nuns and priests taking up those vocations.

 Q15. What do you think motivated the treatment dished out by the nuns, and what do you think of their behaviour, and of the Catholic Church, now, looking back?

four nuns 001

The habits worn by the Mercy nuns when Anne and her brothers were living in the Mercy orphanage

I believe that Catholic nuns and priests were unfit to have full charge of young children. While living in these Catholic total institutions, we were indoctrinated to the point that we could not think for ourselves, were terrorised daily about what awaited us in the fires of hell if we sinned. We were preached at daily, about how Jesus died on the cross because we were born with Original Sin …that we had to suffer here on earth to have any chance of getting into heaven. Graphic images of Christ hanging on a cross, with blood dripping down his side and out of his hands and feet, not to mention the blood on his head from the crown of thorns, were everywhere, to remind us daily what we had done to this poor man. Every nun had a large crucifix hanging around her waist.

These Catholic men and women (priests and nuns) had no idea how to educate and raise healthy and well-adjusted children, let alone children who were deeply traumatised.

Corporal punishment was barbaric, especially when it involved children who had done nothing more than talked in the hallways or at the table during meals when we were forbidden to talk other than to say grace, or some other minor ‘sin’. These men and women took it upon themselves to separate siblings from each other by gender when boys reached five years old, which added to the despair and anguish felt  by children already suffering deep trauma.

From research I’ve done, and from knowing my own mother’s reasons for entering a convent, many nuns and priests took up their vocations because they were either indoctrinated themselves from childhood, wanted to escape violent home lives, or had some sort of anti-social disorders. Then there were the sexual perverts who believed that having control over so many children meant that they could do anything they wished to them and no-one would care because no-one wanted them, not even their own families.

The fact that the teaching nuns labelled traumatised children ‘backward’ or ‘feebleminded’ or ‘imbeciles’ was especially cruel. In Anthony’s case he was sent to a special school at St Bernadette’s because he couldn’t read or write when his peers were able to, and I can remember at St Dominic’s time and time again, when I excelled at some subject, I was queried as to whether it was all my work. I remember in one case in form one, in an art class we had to sketch a copy of a famous work of art, and when the teacher saw my effort, she asked if it was my own work, and when I said yes, she asked, “…are you sure?”  I didn’t know how to cheat, even if I had wanted to!

On many occasions the nuns took their anger and spite out on us children… we were lost children but were seen as slaves to do their bidding, even when we were supposed to be learning in the classroom. They had total power over us and we could never escape their control 24 hours a day. All the nuns and priests cared about were our souls, they had to be white but if we committed sins, our souls would have black spots on them and god would not be happy.

I didn’t even know that I had a body from the neck down because as the nuns told us, our bodies could lead us to sin. The nuns always wore habits that covered their whole bodies except for their faces so we never saw a naked adult body and of course to look at another child’s body was a sin too.

Q16. What has been the lasting impact on your life, and the lives of your brothers, from all of this?

Anthony and I completely missed out on any form of normal socialisation during our formative years in Catholic institutions. There can be no doubt about that. It has taken me almost my entire lifetime to overcome the impact that spending all of my formative years in a Catholic institution has wrought upon me. Only now at age 70 years, can I truly say that I feel secure and safe. I have written two books, taught myself to paint, but not until I was in my sixties, and I only wish that I had begun to really live a full life so much earlier, because now I am running out of time, and going blind, because of the neglect and deprivation I experienced during my childhood years. Neither my brothers, or I, have ever reached our full potential.

You would have to ask my brothers this question for a full answer, but what I do know is that Kevin had a dreadful life living with Doreen when he was a child, and that he never was able to visit Joseph, the only father he ever knew.  I remember Joseph talking about Kevin all the time and for Kevin’s first five or so years he had a close relationship with Joseph. Photos certainly show a happy little boy and I do remember Joseph taking me to Carroll Street when Kevin lived there and he did seem happy, playing in his peddle car and laughing at the time. When Doreen decided eventually, after her divorce from Joseph, to return to Wellington where her extended family lived, Kevin wanted to go with his mother. The Coory family from that moment on refused to allow any contact between Kevin and Joseph.



When they moved to Wellington, Kevin often stayed all night at movies which ran 24 hours if Doreen was in hospital and he also had to deal with her sexual liaisons with other men, and of course her mood swings. None-the-less he was always loyal and caring towards her, but it wasn’t the kind of life any young boy should have had to endure. Kevin has never been able to sustain a happy personal life with a woman, although he does have two children with whom he keeps in touch. Anthony has no children and from what I know, he lives a lonely life on his own, although he still has contact with some Coory family members.

My two brothers and I grew up living separate lives for the most part, and so have never really been siblings in the true sense of the word i.e. having the same reference groups, shared memories of a happy home life, or been able to offer support to each other. That sense of loss is always with me.


Link here for Part One of  Anne Frandi-Coory is interviewed by Chris Morris of the Otago Daily Times in November 2018 for the series ‘MARKED BY THE CROSS’ a research project. 


More here about Anne Frandi-Coory’s memoir  WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ISHTAR? 

*All text and images are copyright to Anne Frandi-Coory*

*All rights reserved 16 August 2018*


There is so much domestic violence occurring in Australia …so many women and children murdered. Why? I believe it is a societal problem, but why in 2018, can’t we find solutions?

My mother, Doreen Frandi, abandoned me when I was ten months old for various reasons which I explore in my book: Whatever Happened To Ishtar?; A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers.

ishtar-front-cover (200x299)


In the fifteen years of research I did for the book, I discovered how awful life was for my Italian mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I was devastated to put it mildly! The domestic violence, marital rape, too many children, no contraceptives, brutal men, etc etc. In my mother’s case, she was thrown out of my father’s Lebanese extended family’s home onto the streets of Dunedin. Just like her mother and grandmother before her, she was used and abused all her life by men. My mother had previously entered a convent to escape the violence at home, but her life as a nun didn’t give her the peace she craved.

I often wonder if I had not been placed in an orphanage and other Catholic institutions for most of my childhood, would I have also become the victim of domestic violence? Instead, I became an angry, frightened child and combative young adult, not trustful of anyone, particularly men. I was independent and passionate about whatever I chose to do, and refused help from anyone! I obviously had something to prove to the world.

Anne & Tony

Anne Frandi-Coory 6yrs old


I loved my mother, and have never blamed her for her abandonment of me. She did her best. The nuns would never allow her to visit me in the orphanage, which broke her heart, and she suffered all her life from mental illness brought on by the guilt that she could never be the mother she wanted to be. I blame the Catholic Church which could have helped her to care for me, particularly as she was a former nun, but it didn’t! As far as the Church was concerned, my mother was a ‘fallen woman’ because her first child, a son,  was born out of wedlock. She couldn’t care for me and work as well.


Doreen & Joseph's wedding

My father Joseph Coory and my mother Doreen Frandi on their wedding day.

It didn’t matter to the Church that my naive mother was pregnant to a soldier who was already married, which he neglected to inform her at the time of the affair. She followed him to his family home in Dunedin, and the rest is her tragic story. The father of her firstborn was my father’s younger brother. My father, 18 years older, with the best of intentions,  married her, adopted his nephew, and almost three years later, I was born. The major problem was that my red haired mother lived with the immigrant Coory family in a three storey house, in which several generations also lived. Including the father of her first child! The Coory family was a devout Catholic one, and it’s clear from my research and my memories of visits to that household,  that my pretty mother was a harlot, and her red hair proved it beyond doubt! The fact that she was Italian just added racism to the hatred the family felt towards her.

So many successive generations suffering domestic violence. It occurs in all races, cultures, religions, and countries. If there are solutions, I don’t know what they are. Societal change takes generations and we should all be looking for answers. I know one thing for sure: Australia’s current LNP government is not interested in investing in the prevention of domestic violence. It has cut funding for Women’s Refuges and other safe houses, cut Newstart and other benefits which could help single mothers. Once again, the cards are stacked against women and children!


anne_006-twitter-2     Anne Frandi-Coory 16 August 2018


More information here about Whatever Happened To Ishtar? 



This page, including text and images, is Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory
All Rights Reserved 6 August 2015
Excerpts from a letter sent  to Anne Frandi-Coory by Sister Bernadette Mary, Archivist
Home of Compassion, Island Bay Wellington, New Zealand.

February 2002

Dear Anne

In response to your enquiry about the time your mother spent as a novice with the Sisters of Compassion, the following is what I have found in the Convent’s Register:

Your mother was 19 years old when she entered the Convent at Island Bay on the 7th December 1939 as a postulant. This is a kind of probationary period to find out whether or not a person is suited to the religious life. There was a separate wing set out as the Novitiate in the red brick building which had been built in the early 1930s, and was where all the novices were trained.


Novitiate Home of Compassion

Sisters of Compassion Convent (Image and text Sister Bernadette Mary)


A note made four months later, in April 1940, reveals that the Novice Mistress found Doreen to be a very highly strung person, but her manner was always pleasant. By July, Doreen always seemed to be worried about her family at home, especially her mother. However, she wanted to become a novice and looked forward to her reception into the Novitiate, the next stage of training to be a Sister of Compassion.

In July Doreen had to write to the Superior General asking to be admitted into the Novitiate, and giving her reasons for wanting to do so; that is the usual procedure. Apparently she was formally accepted, for on 15th  September  1940 she was received as a novice, together with four other young women. She was given the name Sister Mary Martina.


Home of Compassion

Postulants wore a black dress, cape and hat, Novices in white veils as on the front left of photo.  Sisters’ habits were navy blue with  light blue piping. (Image: Sister Bernadette Mary)


We all had to go through the same kind of training that Doreen would have had during her postulancy and Novitiate days, and although looking back, things were hard, we were never unhappy or abused in any way. Most of the time we were kept very busy indeed, either working in the laundry or caring for the babies and children, which didn’t give us much free time for idleness, I can tell you from experience.


Original Home of Compassion

(Image and text: Sister Bernadette Mary)


At the age of twenty Doreen requested to go home and subsequently left the Convent on 16th November 1940. There are no further comments in the Register. Any medical records were returned to Doreen when she left and there is no record of her being sick or having a nervous breakdown during her eleven months at the Convent.

I believe that Doreen often came to visit the Sisters after she had left the Sisters of Compassion. She rode out to the Convent on her bicycle which she had named ‘Martina’.

Yours Sincerely

Sister Bernadette Mary


Doreen & friend

Anne Frandi-Coory’s mother Doreen on right of photo (Image: Parkhill Collection)


The old Home of Compassion and Convent were demolished in the 1980s.

Read More: Letters To Anne Frandi-Coory

Origins Of The Italian Surname ‘Mansi’

This page and its contents, including all images, is Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 23 November 2013


Manzo Coat of Arms

Original Manzo Coat of Arms

Raffaela Ishtar Arts

Raffaela Marisi Mansi Grego

… Since doing research for my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?‘ I have become fascinated with the origins of surnames. … … My maternal great grandmother’s maiden name is recorded on original documents as Raffaela Marisi Mansi and her father’s name as Johannis Mansi (possibly reflecting Austrian origins).  It’s likely that Raffaela’s mother’s family name was the Italian Marisi. Raffaela was raped by a Catholic Priest in Rome when she was 13 years old. She was sent to London in disgrace when she became pregnant as a result of the rape. … … creating ripples which affected the fortunes of succeeding generations.


Raffaela Marisi Mansi

Raffaela Marisi Mansi Grego

… The first Italian records showing variations of the surname Mansi were found in Venetia, northern Italy. The region of Venetia is named for the Veneti, a race related to the Illyrians who allied themselves with the ancient Romans and consequently prospered. From this famous region in Italy, the name Manzo, or Manso, emerges. Research shows that it is Germanic in origin and means ‘strength’. It is believed that the name became Italianized over time with various spellings according to dialect. For example, documents can be found in Friuli dating as far back as 1083, with such names as Patriarca di Aquileia Volserico Manzano. The history of the Venetia region begins with the invasion of the Ostrogoths and Vandals under Attila the Hun in the mid 5th Century CE.


The most famous city in the region is Venice which was created on the island of Rialto as a refuge for those fleeing from Attila and his army. The city of Venice remained a refuge for many centuries. After the Lombardi invasion of Italy in the 6th Century, more fled to its relative safety. Venice became a fully fledged city in the 8th Century when Duke Orso was elected and supported by Pope Gregory. However, it wasn’t until the Frankish invasion that Venice felt a true sense of unity, when an alliance was formed in order to retain its independence. In the 9th Century, while Charlemagne was king of Italy, the Eastern Emperor Nicephorus was lord over Venice. Thus Venice retained closer alliances with the East than with the rest of Europe. Venice became a religious rival of Rome when it received the remains of St Mark, for whom the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco and the Piazza San Marco are so named. … ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. The famous winged lion, which is considered to be the emblem of Venice, was originally the emblem of St Mark. Venice proved itself to be an economically strong city, noteworthy for its trade overseas and as a gateway to the major trade centres of Central Europe. It also maintained diplomatic ties with the East. Various forms of the surname gradually moved down the peninsula: Manzi, Manzo, Mansi, Manzano, Manzoni, Manzonni, Manzonno, Manzina, Manzino, Manzini, Mansone, Manzolino, Manzolina, Manzone, Manzano, Manzoli, to name a few variations. Artistic prosperity was one of the most important features of Venetian history. Many of the most famous painters in the history of art come from this region. The earliest Coat of Arms for the Manzo dynasty displays a blue shield with a lion holding a bull’s head and three fleur de lis. Prominent members who share the Manzo/Manso heritage include Torpe di Federico del Manzone of Sicily, a priest in Pisa for seven years. His son acquired the position after his death. Pierangelo Manzoli (Marcello Stellato) a poet and philosopher 1500 – c.1543 Cianciano Manzano was commander of the castle of Manzano the remains of which still stand in Friuli. The Manzini family of Modeno was one of the most powerful families in the city during the medieval period. Alessandro Manzoni was born in Milan in 1785. He was a poet and novelist of noble blood and wrote the historical novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed)  published in 1827. It is regarded as the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language.  In 1860, Manzoni was elected senator for the Kingdom of Italy. Pope Benedicto XlV born Prospero Lorenzo in Bologna 1675 to Marcello Lambertini. He died in Rome in 1758. He was a descendant of the Mansi family.  See more: Pope Benedict XlV Lucida Mansi was a descendent of wealthy silk merchants and her family home, the Mansi Palace, still stands today in Lucca, Italy, as a museum owned by the state since 1957.  For more about the legend of Lucida Mansi see Silhouette in Bagni Di Lucca In 1680 the marriage between Arlo Mansi and Eleonora Pepoli, from a wealthy Bolognese family, increased the riches of the Mansi family. This was the first familial Roman/Italian connection with the Germanic Mansi clan. The Mansi family’s commercial enterprises sold silks, and other fabrics throughout France, Italy and Germany. The first members of the Mansi family arrived in Italy from Saxony in the 11th Century. ….

See Here: Frandi; My Fascination With Italian Surnames Part 2

Excerpt from ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?; A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’ 

The following letters were written by Anne Frandi Albert to her niece, Anne Frandi-Coory, following the death of her mother, Doreen Marie Frandi.  Anne Albert died in 2001 shortly after writing the last of several letters to her niece, but if she had not met her niece at Doreen’s funeral. the two would not have known each other and there is so much about Doreen’s life that her daughter would never have discovered.


***This page is copyright to author Anne Frandi-Coory. No text or photograph can be copied or downloaded from this page without the written permission of Anne Frandi-Coory.***


Doreen Maria Betty Anne

Doreen Frandi, Maria Frandi (mother of the other 3 women) Betty Gentz, Anne Albert





Letter from Anne Albert 2


Doreen was such a beautiful child that on the ship which brought her, her brother and parents to New Zealand, a genuine childless couple offered her parents money to allow them to adopt her.  Doreen had a cloud of bright red curls that framed her pretty face.  How different Doreen’s life would have been had the adoption gone ahead.  Life within the Alfredo Frandi family was an uneasy one, so inclined was he to uncontrollable bouts of violent rage, during which he would throw furniture around the room and punch holes in doors.  Often it was his wife, Maria, a pale and nervous woman,  who felt the force of his fists.  Maria was in a perpetual state of acute anxiety and her concern about their lack of money exacerbated this state.  Alfredo was a labourer and work was hard to come by.  They had four children they could barely feed and clothe so any subsequent  pregnancies were aborted  with a knitting needle.  Unfortunately, as the oldest daughter, Doreen was needed to assist with the cleaning up after these procedures.  Maria had no conception of the trauma this was causing her daughter, and which was to haunt Doreen for the rest of her life.

When Doreen was sixteen years old, I was born, but I have never quite known why I was not aborted.  I can only suppose that my mother may have been experiencing symptoms of the menopause and may have been unaware of the pregnancy in  time.  So unexpected was my birth, that an apple crate was all that my parents had to lay me in.  Doreen was thrilled about the new baby and set about lining the crate with material and making it look pretty for me.  This was the beginning of Doreen’s devotion to me which was to last all her life.

Doreen was a very gentle girl and she was a help to her mother in caring for  the younger children, but she loathed house work of any kind.  She was adept at shopping for bargains and was a very good sewer.  Catholicism began to influence her life early on, as it brought her a peace and beauty so missing from her home environment.  Significantly, the nuns at the convent school she attended, recognized her potential for a vocation and one nun, Sister Anne, encouraged Doreen all she could to think about entering the convent.  As Doreen approached womanhood she exhibited no interest in boys or other worldly things, so firmly were her sights set of becoming a Catholic nun.  Alfredo was dead against his eldest daughter becoming a nun and turned the house upside down to show how much he detested the very idea.  This turmoil only made her more determined, and after a short time working in a department store and following her debut at the annual charity ball, for which she made her own stunning gown,  Doreen entered the convent. 


Doreen's debut

Doreen’s Debut in the dress she made herself


Initially Doreen loved her life as a nun, but after almost a year of doing nothing but housework, she asked if she could train as a nurse.  Her wish was to care for severely handicapped children.  However, her request was greeted with profound disapproval because to actually ask to be able to do what one wanted, was against the very  strict rules of the convent  as well as a denial of the vow of absolute obedience.  Doreen was severely reprimanded and as a result sunk into a deep depression.  The nuns could not understand Doreen’s depression;  they believed that if you had a true vocation faith was enough to protect you from such things.  They then put pressure on Doreen constantly questioning her commitment to her vocation.  Doreen became hysterical which appalled the nuns, and they subsequently demanded that her mother remove her from the convent.  They could not know that bi polar disorder was manifesting itself in Doreen and would consequently ruin her life.

Doreen recovered very slowly from her first breakdown but she was devastated that her vocation was at an end and that she had broken her vow to God.  Doreen did  finally find acceptance and there followed a succession of jobs, which began a pattern set for the rest of her life;  employment interspersed with breakdowns.  In the 1940’s not much was known about bi polar disorder nor were there any satisfactory drugs available at the time.  Doreen was then subjected to countless ECT treatments without anaesthetic which really amounted to torture.  Around this time Doreen’s Aunt Italia, Alfredo’s only sister who was then 70 years of age, decided to take more of an interest in her niece. Italia  regaled Doreen with stories of the privileged   life the Frandi family lived in Italy before they arrived in New Zealand [Italia was born in Pisa, Italy in 1869]. Aristodemo, Italia’s father, had to flee Italy because he was a political agitator alongside Garibaldi, and Italia showed Doreen the fine silver and linen they had brought over with them.  Italia also dazzled Doreen with stories about the family riding in a grand carriage and people bowed with respect for them. Whenever  Doreen  was in the manic phase of her illness, she had illusions of grandeur, and would repeat all that her aunt had told her about their previous  life in Italy.  In these early stages of her illness, Doreen would spend money she did not have and would charge up accounts to her Aunt Italia and sometimes even stay in expensive hotels, all charged against her aunt’s name.  Following these episodes Doreen would then sink into the depths of depression. 

Shortly before the end of the war Doreen joined the Air Force.  It was while she was in  the Force that Doreen met the father of her first child, Kevin. Phillip Coory  neglected  to mention that he was already married with a young  son, Vas, until Doreen informed him  that she was pregnant.  Phillip Coory  believed at the time that that was the end of the matter and he had rid himself of her, but then his brother Joseph came on the scene.  Joseph was a kind and simple man, who did his best to make Doreen happy.  Sadly, his family conspired  against Doreen from the outset; perhaps they did not approve of her good looks or the way the marriage came about.  The marriage ended in disaster;  Joseph was not her intellectual equal and her illness would have been extremely difficult to live with. About three years after their marriage Anne was born and eighteen months later, came Anthony.  Following a severe bout of  bi polar disorder, the children were taken from her and placed in an Orphanage for the Poor in South Dunedin.

The permanent loss of  her children caused Doreen great anguish from which she never really recovered.  In later years she had contact with her daughter Anne, but Doreen was never able to accept that the child did not blame her mother for her abandonment.  Years later, her youngest son, Anthony moved to Wellington to live, but that feeling of guilt never left her and obviously prevented her from having an emotional relationship with her son, although he did make a futile attempt at it.  Doreen and Kevin lived a life of great hardship and near poverty, with Doreen frequently suffering nervous breakdowns, which culminated in her being  admitted to Porirua Psychiatric Hospital.  Kevin had to learn to deal with his mother’s extreme mood swings from a very early age which made his young life intolerable at times.  I have no idea how she coped during those years but I am sure that sometimes  she must have prayed for death, yet through it all her faith in God  never wavered and carried her through until the day she died.

At the peak of her loneliness, Doreen met a man, Edward Stringer, and spent a night with him.  Of course, given her luck, or lack thereof, it ended in pregnancy.  During the weeks after the birth of her daughter, Florence, and suffering from depression, Doreen signed adoption papers for her daughter.  Sometime later, Edward and Doreen met up again, and with the sole intention of getting her daughter back, she married Edward.  Heartbreakingly for Doreen, it was much too late; the adoption was quite legal and binding. Once again life had defeated Doreen and during a severe bout of mania, Edward left, unable to cope with his new wife’s disorder.  From this, there followed a period of dreariness, when Doreen and Kevin lived in a state house at 56 Hewer Crescent Naenae, Lower Hutt in Wellington, and she obtained a reasonably stable job in a factory close by.  At least the disorder left Doreen in peace for an extended period, in which Doreen developed a love of cats, and she had up to six at one time or another.

Kevin started up a very successful restaurant, Bacchus, in Courtney Place in Wellington.  Doreen was employed by Kevin in the kitchen of the restaurant, and she appeared to enjoy her time there.  Sadly her mother died on 10 March 1980, which caused Doreen to have another nervous breakdown.  Following her recovery, Doreen retired from work and moved into a council flat in Daniell Street, Newtown in Wellington.  During this time, she appeared to me to be doing no more than going through the motions of living.  My heart ached to see her like that, with no apparent interest in anything.  Kevin’s bankruptcy and his consequent  permanent move to Sydney, took the utmost toll on her spiritual well being.  Doreen then lapsed into a serious bout of her  disorder, suffering yet another complete nervous breakdown, and she was admitted once again to Porirua Hospital for a considerable time.

I have no doubt whatsoever, that it was not only Doreen’s manic depressive illness that had such a destructive effect on her life.  I sincerely believe that she carried guilt feelings from her experiences as a young girl,  witnessing  her mother’s self inflicted abortions, made worse by Doreen’s Catholic beliefs.       I realized this to be true, with great clarity, when I visited her at the hospital during her final stay there in 1995. She led me out into the hospital gardens, and pointed to a bed of purple pansies in bloom.  “There you see” she told me with infinite sadness, “there are all the little babies”  – Anne Albert.


Letter from Anne Albert 3


Copy of Doreen's headstone

Whenua Tapu cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


Read more here:My Mother Was A Catholic Nun 


Doreen’s Children….


Kevin Coory

Anne and Anthony at first Santa photo session

Anne and Anthony Coory


Florence – adopted out (now Hudayani Gleeson)








Vincent aka Bruce 2

Bruce – adopted out (now Bruce McKenzie)












More:  ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’

Below: Catholic orphanage, schools & boarding college complex in Adelaide Road South Dunedin which also included the Sisters of Mercy convent, as described in Anne Frandi-Coory’s book:

‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar?’

A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers



Rear view of St Philomena’s Dormitory (for older girls) shortly before it was demolished. Anne lived here for a short time before being sent to St Dominic’s Boarding College at 9 years. (Photo:copyright to afcoory)


St Philomena's Dormitory 2

The long remembered narrow sashes and fire escapes. (Photo:copyright to afcoory)


four nuns 001

Carmody sisters: Sister Christopher, right (Anne Frandi-Coory’s ‘foster mother’ & nursery supervisor) with her three biological sisters. (Photo: Sister Joanna)


St Patrick's school & chapel

St Patrick’s Primary School and Chapel in the Mercy Orphanage complex where Anne & Kevin began their first year at school. (Photo: Sister Joanna)



Anne (3rd row from front, 2nd left), in St Patrick’s School group photo; most were day pupils. (Photo: Joseph Coory copyright to afcoory)


St Agnes' Nursery

St Agnes’ Nursery where Kevin, Anne, Anthony, were placed as infants. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)


St Vincent's

St Vincent’s building which housed the orphanage kitchen & dining room. On the left, the same tree in which Anne saw the never forgotten black mother cat & kittens, while she lived at the orphanage. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)

BELOW: The Catholic St Joseph’s Boys’ Home, 133-135 Doon Street,  Otago Peninsula. The Boys’ Home, when my brothers lived there,  was surrounded by farmland owned by the Catholic Church (This building now serves as a students’ and nuns’ hostel)


St Joseph's Boys' Home Waverley 5

Front entrance to St Joseph’s Orphanage for boys at Waverley, Otago Peninsula; home to Kevin & Anthony at various times. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)

Rear view St Joseph's Boys' Home Waverley overlooking Harbour

Rear view of St Joseph’s Orphanage overlooking Otago Harbour. (Photo: Copyright to afcoory)


BELOW: St Dominic’s Boarding College, surrounded by St Joseph’s Cathedral, St Joseph’s Primary School and Christian Brothers’ establishment.


St Dominic's College

Imposing view of St Dominic’s Boarding College at the top of Rattray Street, Dunedin. (This building was one of the first to be built totally in concrete, in the Southern Hemisphere. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)


St Joseph's Cathedral, St Dominic's College, St Joseph's Primary School

Another view of the Dominican complex & St Joseph’s Cathedral (photo: copyright to afcoory)



Rear view of St Dominic’s boarding complex behind the Cathedral (photo: copyright to afcoory)



St Dominic’s entrance to the boarding college kitchen and dining room; day pupils could also have their lunch there if their parents paid.(Photo: copyright to afcoory)


St Joseph's Cathedral & St Dominic's College

Dunedin Lebanese Citadel viewed from Rattray Street: St Joseph’s Cathedral & St Dominic’s Boarding College (Photo:copyright to afcoory)



View of St Joseph’s Cathedral Dunedin looking down onto Rattray Street from Smith Street, 2019 (Copyright photo by Susan Tarr, Author)

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