Book Review :: Walking with Aletheia: A Survivor’s Memoir by Jean Hargadon Wehner
Guest Post by Bruce Mason
Netflix’s The Keepers – which was released five years ago in 2017 — follows the investigation into the 1969 death of Sister Catherine Cesnik, a Baltimore nun and former Archbishop Keough High School teacher, by a group of investigators including her former students. Her murder remains, to this day, unsolved, but members of her community believe she was killed to cover up Keough’s allegedly rampant clergy sex abuse, which was brought to light in the ’90s. One abuse victim previously known as “Jane Doe” is at the center of it all. “Doe” has since come forward publicly, leading many to wonder: What is Jean Hargadon Wehner doing now?
In March, Jean Hargadon Wehner’s tell-all story, Walking with Aletheia: A Survivor’s Memoir hit bookstores nationwide. In her book, Jean recounts the abuse and trauma she and others experienced at the hands of Fathers Maskell & Magnus, how her upbringing in a devout Catholic family made her feel helpless, how these priests leveraged their authority to blackmail and sex traffic their young victims, and how the corruption of local police and politicians who participated in the abuse and its cover-up continues to this day. Even the brutal murder of a beloved nun did not result in a successful investigation of her death, which remained a “cold case” for years.
A survivor of years of sexual abuse by an uncle and members of the clergy and other adults at her Catholic high school, Jean was terrorized into silence, including being shown the murdered body of her beloved teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik. Jean dissociated from these traumatic experiences until the age of twenty-seven, when, through journal writing, conversations with the child within, and her spiritual and psychological inner work, she began to recover the memories she had suppressed from her younger self, and to heal.
Walking with Aletheia: A Survivor’s Memoir by Jean Hargadon Wehner. Logosophia Books, March 2022
Reviewer bio: Bruce is a writer, aspiring playwright, lover of life, globe trekker, and dweller on the threshold. You can read some of his work in his Huffington Post column and on his Instagram page. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.