Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
I watched a documentary series on NetFlix, The Keepers, over the weekend. It is about “Sister Catherine “Cathy” Cesnik (who) was a nun and an English and Drama teacher at the former, all-girls Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, Maryland. On November 7, 1969, Cesnik disappeared. Her body was later discovered on January 3, 1970 near a garbage dump in Lansdowne, Maryland. However, the murder still remains a mystery.”
What is clear is that a Father Joseph Maskell, the school chaplain, had sexually assaulted scores of girls during his time there. He was a manipulative, evil man who not only engaged in raping the girls, but also provided them for other in his circle to engage with.
This was after having been transferred to Keough from a parish where he had been caught molesting an altar boy.
Maskell never faced criminal charges for his crimes, which destroyed many lives, both the girls and their families, in the decades since. He died in a mental hospital, where he was sequestered by the archdiocese of Baltimore to keep him and his sordid tale out of the courts and the news.
Two former students of Sister Catherine have taken the matter into their own hands, using social media to do the detective work that the Baltimore PD never did. In a latter episode they interview the current head of Homicide. He was not a part of the department during the time of Sister Catherine’s murder, so there is no question of collusion on his part. He did have a pretty uncomfortable time of it, though, as the ladies and their film crew had much more data than he was even aware of.
He had to keep looking over at assistants off-camera for any confirmation they might have of what these two civilians had uncovered. He stopped the interview at one point and left the room. When he came back, he explained that he had just made several calls to state offices and the FBI to track critical missing evidence. You could see he was getting hot, but not at the women.
That’s the very rough outline then; The Sister was murdered by Maskell and or someone in his circle. The men who disposed of the body have been identified, but one is dead, and the other is a feeble man in his 80’s. I couldn’t decide if he was now a moron or very good at playing one on TV.
Sister Catherine’s parents have both died, never knowing who would’ve killed their daughter. Time is running out to find and get anyone responsible before they die. The series leaves with comments that they want justice for their former teacher, but they don’t know if that will ever happen.
I started sharing their anger, wanting those who committed all of these inhuman acts from the abuse to the murder to get theirs. No satisfaction was to be had in the conclusion. The women will just keep on digging and pushing until they can break something loose or die.
Maskell died a shell of a man. A former victim found him and scammed her way into the hospital to see him. She found him in a wheelchair, pushed by a nurse and lied as to who she was to talk to him. She knelt and got her face close to his and sweetly introduced herself by name and a few details that wouldn’t give her away, but would jog his memory.
I couldn’t wait to hear how he reacted; the fear, the panic. I was disappointed to hear her tell how he was a blank, a mere husk of a human being. She looked into his eyes and found “no one home.” He died not long after.
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
We’re all pretty familiar with the Old Testament. If God wants to punish someone, He can be pretty thorough and imaginative. I recall a passage that tells us it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Whatever Maskell lived through in his last days and what he endures at this moment… I don’t even want to know.
There but for the grace of God… I’ve never done those things, but I’ve sinned and deserve damnation myself. I can’t rejoice at Maskell’s fate. I feel like the only smart play is to mentally fold my hands and not get in the way, so to speak. If I were to give a victory dance, I can imagine God looking over His shoulder at me. You know The Look, right? The one your dad used to shoot you that shut you right up? Imagine that from God.
If vengeance is God’s. should those women give up their quest? By no means! I cite the well-known quotation – “The only thing required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke.
So, ladies, continue the fight. God gives us each our mission to accomplish. You may not get justice from your government. You may not win your cause in this world. God will take care of things in the end, however. You are in my prayers.