Co-written with Ottawa-based novelist and literary agent Bonita Slunder, Yvonne Maes' account of sexual abuse entitled The Cannibal's Wife: A Memoir (Paul C. Williams, New York: Herodias, 1999) describes her plight as a nun in South Africa who is sexually abused by a Catholic priest and mentor in Durban at age 46.

Born in Manitoba, Yvonne Maes was a nun for most of her life. She taught school in Manitoba and became headmistress at the Mabathoana High School in Maseru, Lesotho. Her book recalls her difficult childhood on a dairy farm near Winnipeg, her decision to take her vows in 1959 in Montreal and her missionary work in Africa after 1968. After being sexually assaulted at a church-sponsored retreat, she was tormented for eight years by secrecy and shame, feeling powerless to stop or expose her charismatic abuser until she broke the silence. In her struggle for justice she felt re-victimized by the Catholic authorities in England, leading her to leave her order and the Catholic Church. Maes moved to British Columbia to live in West Vancouver, having also worked as a sexual abuse conselor at the Labrador Correctional Center in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.

[BCBW 2004] "Women" "Missionaries"