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Thy will be done

Meisjes in de klas bij het St. Joseph pensionaat in Woerden. [1941]. 6001254, Wiel van der Randen, Spaarnestad Photo

Uw wil geschiede – Kinderen op katholieke kostscholen

Truska Bast

Querido, 2017

ISBN: 9789021406701

What Truska Bast wants to show is how the system was set up in which that abuse could occur. How it is possible that other children actually had ‘a fine time’ there. How it is possible that one existed alongside the other – and everything in between. And why it was kept quiet about for so long.


In Uw wil geschiede, twenty former pupils talk about their time at boarding school – stories of men and women who were placed under the care of religious between roughly 1945 and 1970. Some of them were sexually abused and some were ‘only’ psychologically humiliated (they also had long nightmares about it). But there are also cheerful stories, of girls who secretly went to the convent garden to look at the nuns’ pants lying there on a bleaching field to dry. Or sneaking off to buy an ice cream at Jamin. ‘Without that boarding school, I would never have got such a good education,’ says someone.

What kind of children were they anyway, taken to boarding school by their parents at 12 (and sometimes as early as nine or 10)? Why did those parents do that? Why didn’t Protestants have boarding schools? And what expectations did the children have, the first time they were delivered to boarding school with a big suitcase full of numbered clothes, sheets and napkins?