These women controlled by the Church

A talented writer, highly regarded by her readers, Claire Bergeron is interested in the place the Church has reserved for women in her new novel. In the shadow of the holy mafia. She reminds us, through fictional characters and a story beyond her imagination, but based on real events, that the population of Quebec has long been subject to the yoke of the Catholic Church.

In this novel, which begins in Abitibi-Témiscamingue during World War II, Claire Bergeron describes a time when the Church, a large, inviolable institution, enforced the law of silence, concealed crimes, and strangled victims.

In 1942, sister Anne-Marie-de-Jésus, a fictional character, finds herself at the heart of a drama that could hurt the clergy. She fears we want to silence her forever. A man endowed with a deep moral sense, Maître Eugène Duvernois, as well as a young lawyer, Maître Laurent Dumas, came to his aid and questioned the clerical authority.

“I had the title in my head for several years,” Claire Bergeron said in an interview. “I heard a report and the host was talking about the Catholic Church. He had called it the Holy Mafia. I was connected to him. Finally, last year, I decided to go for it. And I started digging. »

During sermons

She was looking for an original angle to work with. “I have come across reports of nuns being abused. We do not hear much about it, but there were many of them. There were pregnant nuns, who were expelled from their monastery. Others who committed suicide. I still had to develop a plot – it is always fascinating to develop a plot, with emotions, suspense, characters. »

The 75-year-old novelist, who this year signs her 11thAND novel, explains that he grew up at a time when the Church had great power over the people of Quebec.

“If you missed Mass, if you did not pay tithing, it was amazing how strict it was. Women should not hinder the family. I, was there when the Catholic Church fell from the pedestal, in the late 1970s. It was when women took the pill. After all, I did not live the life I was educated for. »

“There has been a great liberation of women. Today I find that the woman’s place is still fragile, but there has been a long way to go. I participated in it. In the novel I talk about the sermon of Father Magloire L’Étoile who says that women are the guardians of chastity. It’s a sermon I heard when I was young. Really. »

“The poor were fragile enough to fall … You should not show them some meat. Women were responsible for their virtue. Today it seems ridiculous to us, but it really existed. Damn, at the time, it was serious. »


Claire Bergeron, moreover, is very saddened by the war in Ukraine, she wrote Spirit Lake Crossed Lovers, a story set in the Ukrainian detention camp near Amos, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

“This novel has just been translated into Ukrainian and I had to be invited to Kiev for a presentation. But I tell you I think it’s in the water, huh! she shouts, forgive me.

She had done a lot of research on this novel and made many Ukrainian friends, including her translator, who lives in Montreal, and her Ukrainian editor.

“It affects me more than many people, because I have some Ukrainian acquaintances. Some people from this community also came to see me at the Salon du livre de Montréal. It hurts me. It’s awful what is happening now. »

  • Claire Bergeron has touched readers on several continents with her novels in particular Under the cloak of silence AND Cross lovers of Spirit Lake stars.
  • Her website:


Claire Bergeron

He was convinced that the Church would once again try to hide someone’s corruption under her heavy lead merchandise. The world reputation of this … this … how could you describe the Church and its clergy in the context of such acts? A skillfully orchestrated organization, endowed with invaluable resources, which, thanks to its influence on a large stratum of society, could monetize its power with the political class. An association that could afford to act with total impunity, to solve its problems internally, protected by the law of silence, without the risk of being disturbed by justice … Eugene had the impression that he was describing the mafia. Holy Mafia, he said, mentally, which brought a smile to his lips. »

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