Meet Claire Ashman – Bracken Ridge Library

Growing up in the southern Australian countryside in Lal Lal, Claire Ashman knew there was something different about her strict Catholic upbringing. Largely isolated from the outside world, Claire and her siblings were raised by parents who rejected the post-Vatican II attempt to modernise the Catholic Church by following the Tridentine teachings of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). As a result, Claire and her siblings spent their days alternating between caring for the land and the animals they owned and praying, studying the Bible and preparing for the End of Times. At eighteen, Claire married a man twelve years her senior with whom she would have nine children, and who would move the family to a doomsday cult (the Order of St Charbel) in Nowra. After years of scraping by on next to nothing and living in fear of the next End of Times prediction, Claire was torn between being a good Catholic and wanting out of the cult. When an unexpected visit from the police gave her an opportunity to finally escape, Claire took it and never looked back. Join Claire Ashman as she discussed her fascinating life and the writing of her book Lessons from a Cult Survivor. Books will be available for purchase on the day, or bring your copy from home for Claire to sign.