What Did You Do in the War, Sister?

Primary tabs

What Did You Do in the War, Sister? front coverJoin Professor Dennis Turner as he talks about his new book, What Did You Do in the War, Sister? How Catholic Nuns in Belgium Defied and Deceived the Nazis in World War II.  The discussion will focus on the history of German occupied Belgium from 1940 to 1945 and the role Catholic sisters played in resisting the German occupation. Professor Turner will also describe the extraordinary string of events that prompted him to write the book. A couple of passages from the book may also be read. Finally, Professor Turner hopes to generate lots of audience participation in the discussion. The audience’s questions and comments will largely dictate the direction of the dialogue, but in previous discussions of his book the audience was interested in the following themes.

  1. In time of war even the most rigorous rules, like those of a strict religious order, have to give way to more practical concerns.
  2. Sisters spend their entire adult lives adhering to their vows of obedience in everything they do. Sister Superior’s orders are considered the same as if they emanated directly from God. Now, during the War, those same sisters are suddenly thrown into roles in which they are forced to make life and death decisions for themselves and others.
  3. The skills and discipline a sister acquires in becoming a nun are also useful for becoming a spy.

Dennis TurnerDennis Turner graduated from Georgetown University in 1967 with a degree in History.  He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1970.  Since 1974, he has been a Professor of Law at the University Of Dayton School Of Law. During his tenure at the University of Dayton he has served as Assistant Dean, Acting Dean, Director of the Law Clinic and Director of the Legal Profession Program.  The University of Dayton has awarded him its highest award for teaching, The Faculty Teaching Award. He has served as a visiting professor for the University of Notre Dame London Law Program. He also has extensive experience with the British criminal justice system through his association with the barrister firm, Pump Court Chambers, in Winchester, England. 
Dennis turner is the author of many law review articles and a law text book, Steele v. Kitchener Case File.  For two years, he also wrote a bi-weekly column for the Dayton Daily News entitled, “On the River.” 
Dennis Turner lives in Dayton, Ohio, with his wife Kathleen, and spends summers in Michigan sailing, rowing a scull, playing tennis and Pickleball.  They have been married over 48 years and have three children and two grandsons.