Penance By Lee Todd Lacks

On the third Saturday of Lent, Sister Claire McKenna arrived at the office of the Reverend Mother Martha Clancy, promptly at half past six, as she had done every Saturday evening for nearly three years. “What have you done this week, Sister Claire?” the Reverend Mother asked. For the first year or so, the confessions came easy to the young novice, but after a while, they had to be contrived.

From the time she was young, Claire had taken pleasure in being spanked, first by her widowed mother, then by the nuns at school. The Ursulines who taught at St. Angela’s struck a delicate balance between compassion and severity, a balance which Claire found most alluring. One day, during her sophomore year, Claire had given sweet Sister Helen cause to keep her after class, yet again, for a dozen with the strap. Having tended Claire’s bottom to their mutual satisfaction, Sister Helen looked up at the clock, and noticed that she was late for an appointment with the Reverend Mother, at which point, she suddenly became alarmed. Without waiting for Claire to inquire, the middle-aged nun confided in her young pupil, “Let’s just say that I won’t be sitting comfortably for the next week or so.” Sighing ruefully, she then left the classroom in haste. Claire could hardly believe what she had heard. The thought of Sister Helen having her ample backside paddled by the Reverend Mother seemed inconceivable, and yet, inexplicably arousing. At that moment, Claire realized that she wanted to join the Ursuline Order.

There’s never been a student at St. Angela’s who has graduated without visiting the Reverend Mother’s office at least once, and during her thirty-seven-year tenure as abbess, Mother Martha had chastened the bared bottoms of nearly every one of the nuns, from novices younger than Claire, to the eldest sisters of the convent.

The Reverend Mother knew what motivated Claire to be such an eager penitent. In fact, she had known for quite some time. Loathe as she was to admit it, Mother Martha had enabled Claire’s self-indulgence because she derived a commensurate satisfaction m from strapping, paddling, and caning her. Though she knew that it was sinful to take pleasure in Claire’s pain, the Reverend Mother persisted in doing so, thereby abetting Claire’s sin. Tonight, however, she was determined to put an end to it, for Claire’s sake, as well as her own.

Claire approached the desk of the abbess, stopping just a few inches short. All too familiar with the chastening ritual, Claire proceeded to unfasten the black woolen belt which secured her habit, and handed it to Mother Martha. She then removed her scapular, folding the apron neatly before placing it upon the Reverend Mother’s desk. Next, she reached down to the floor and grasped the hem of her white tunic, raising it well above her waist, till it draped over her back. Then, she turned up her long black underskirt, thereby revealing the opaque woolen stockings and voluminous cotton bloomers customarily worn by members of the Order. Finally, she took down her bloomers, placing them upon the desk, next to her scapular.

Claire could feel her excitement growing as she presented her bare bottom to Mother Martha. While she had never been able to explain her longing for the proverbial rod of correction, she knew that it awakened her nether regions in unspeakably impure ways.

Claire could barely suppress her enthusiasm, as she waited for Mother Martha to pronounce her penance. Mother Martha held herself accountable for the piety of her female charges. To this end, she regarded the administering of corporal punishment as being one of her most sacred duties, a duty which she had faithfully discharged for nearly four decades. ”Twenty-two with the paddle, one for each day remaining in Lent.” Claire gasped. Accustomed as she was to the paddle’s wicked sting, the Reverend Mother’s pronouncement seemed frighteningly severe. “Oh, my God! Twenty-two?!” the young novice fretted. For the first time in a long while, the solemnity in Claire’s voice seemed wholly genuine, as she uttered the obligatory refrain, “Yes, Reverend Mother.”

Bending sharply at the waist, Claire reached out and grabbed the oaken edge of the Mother Martha’s desk, once again marveling at the myriad indentations formed by countless fingers, desperately struggling to maintain their grip. For Claire understood that the urge to let go often seemed irresistible. However, the consequence of having to restart the count served as a most effective deterrent. While Claire savored the Reverend Mother’s attention, she dared not test her limits by letting go intentionally.

Moments later, the young novice heard a resounding thwack, accompanied by a sudden, searing pain, as the Reverend Mother put the sturdy maple plank to her backside. The sting of the first two or three strokes never ceased to amaze her. With each successive stroke, Claire’s cries grew more fervent.

“Unnnoooooohhhhhhh!” While cognizant of her acute discomfort, Claire began to notice herself becoming highly aroused. Upon receiving the twelfth stroke, her whole body shook in an effort to throw off the pain. Mother Martha knew that Claire was nearing her threshold for punishment, and yet, she felt obligated to rid the young novice of her craving.

“Uuunnnnooooohhhhh!!” Claire wailed, as the fourteenth stroke lit into her. Just then, Claire become aware of a forbidden sensation welling up inside her. Dread mixed with shame, as she realized what was happening. Her all-consuming pain, awful as it seemed, was being transformed into that most carnal expression of femininity. Try as she might to keep the wave from breaking, Claire’s rapturous outbursts shook her to the core. As the seventeenth stroke seared her tenderest parts, Claire could feel every muscle below her waist tensing in anticipation of the impending release. Recognizing Claire’s condition, Mother Martha swung the paddle with even greater force. The sound of its impact echoed loudly within the close confines of her office. That very same moment, Claire let go a piercing shriek, which quickly morphed into something much more primal. Mortified by her body’s inability to repress itself, Claire felt it rush past the point of no return before she finally broke down. The Reverend Mother stayed her paddle for just a moment, as she watched the young novice undergo her catharsis. Though she did her best to seem appalled by Claire’s lack of inhibition, Mother Martha couldn’t help but feel similarly aroused. Steeling her resolve, the abbess exacted the remainder of Claire’s penance.

Just then, the young novice regained enough composure to cry out. “Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!” The Reverend Mother’s voice turned icy, “What have you done, Sister Claire?” “Oh, Reverend Mother! I’m so sorry!” “What have you done?!” repeated Mother Martha, struggling to sound condemnatory. “Oh, Reverend Mother!” Claire pleaded, her confession in tears.

Mother Martha brought the paddle down upon Claire’s frightfully distended bottom once more. “Unnnnooooohhhh!!! Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!!” she pleaded. “Say it again, Sister Claire!” Mother Martha demanded. “Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!” “Again!!”shouted the abbess. “Let this wickedness out of you!” Sister Claire did as she was told, veritably bursting with pain and shame. “Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!!”

The paddle found its mark for the twentieth time. Suddenly, in spite of her dire distress, Claire became aware of the Mother Superior’s strident voice calling out with hers. “Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!!” The Reverend Mother delivered yet another stroke, once again professing her guilt. Raising the paddle for the final time, Mother Martha swung with a zeal that astonished even her. Claire screamed, as the dreadful plank caught her full upon that very sensitive region just above her stocking tops. This time, however, she did not hear the Reverend Mother repenting in unison.

“Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!!”cried the young novice, choking on the words. Moments later, Claire was startled by what sounded like a bellow through clenched teeth. Mother Martha had succumbed to her own womanhood. Not daring to look back, Claire listened in disbelief, as the Reverend Mother Martha Clancy came completely undone. “Oh, God! Oh, God!! AAAAGGHHHUUUNNNN!”

Claire suddenly realized that she wasn’t the only one sobbing. The Reverend Mother’s fall from grace only led Claire to feel even more ashamed. Defying every convention, young Sister Claire reflexively stood up and let her underskirt and tunic down, so as to maintain some semblance of decency, before turning to face the Reverend Mother. Realizing that Claire had borne witness to her abject humiliation, Mother Martha accepted full accountability for her role in the young novice’s folly. “Please forgive me, my child. I have let you go astray for these many months, solely to indulge my own impure urges.” Please forgive me!”

Though her bottom was throbbing, Claire rushed over to embrace her beloved Mother Superior. “No, Reverend Mother! Only I should be seeking forgiveness. I willfully exploited your duty to correct me, because I craved the penance. It was a terribly wicked thing for me to do, and I’m so, so sorry!”

“Oh, Sister Claire. I’ve known your reason for seeking absolution ever since you first started coming to my office, and yet, I did nothing to deter you. The sin is mine as much as it is yours. Now, I’m afraid we both must accept the consequences of our wrongdoing.”

How, Reverend Mother?” Claire asked. Mother Martha let out a deep sigh. “By paying a penance that will seem wholly disagreeable to us both, I’m afraid. “

“What will be our penance, Mother Superior?” Claire asked. The Reverend Mother paused before answering, “Starting tonight, and for the next twenty-two nights, you will administer correction to me, as I have done to you, during Evening Services, just prior to the Act of Contrition……in front of the entire convent.”

Claire gasped in horror. “Oh, no! Please Reverend Mother! I could never…cause you suffering…Oh, please! Don’t make me do this!” Mother Martha’s voice became firm. “You can, and you shall, Sister Claire. The time has come for us both to relearn the divine purpose of punishment!” Claire resumed her sobbing. “Now, put your bloomers back on, and bring the paddle. Come along. We mustn’t be late for Evening Services.” With that, Mother Martha proceeded to exit her office, with Claire following closely, if ever so reluctantly, behind. Stepping outside of the vestibule, both women began their sorrowful march towards the chapel.

 

 

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