A woman’s quest to confront the priest who sexually molested her brother.
In this powerful, novelistic memoir, Joan Nockels Wilson recounts a woman’s quest to confront the priest who sexually molested her brother. It is also the heartbreaking story of the traumatic effects on an Irish-American family after they discover that Joan’s younger brother, Tim, was sexually molested by their Chicago parish priest, Rev. John Baptist Ormechea.
Twenty years after the fact, Tim revealed the abuse after reading the Boston Globe’s exposé of predatory priests, later enacted in the film Spotlight. Living in Alaska, far from her family’s Chicago home, Joan plunged into a guilt-tinged depression. She then became consumed by what she saw as the priest’s treachery as he had often been at their dinner table and had even presided over the wedding of Joan and her first husband.
Set in Rome, Chicago, and Anchorage, and spanning thirty years from crime to confrontation, The Book of Timothy: The Devil, My Brother, and Me recounts a sister’s journey, partly through trickery, but eventually through truth, to gain a long-absent admission from the priest who abused her brother. While on that journey, Joan, a former prosecutor, confronts not only the priest, but her personal quest for vengeance. She further seeks an understanding of how the first Book of Timothy, the work of St. Paul, contributed to the silencing of women in her once loved Catholic Church. This Book of Timothy promises to take the reader on a quest for justice and down a path of unexpected coincidences that ends where it first began: out of a great love for a brother and the power of first memory.
FROM THE PROLOGUE OF THE BOOK OF TIMOTHY:
April 22, 2012 – Sunday
I’m boarding the Leonardo Express, the commuter train from Fiumicino Airport to the Termini Train Station in central Rome. It’s four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, and although it’s April, two weeks after Easter, I expect it to be darker outside. This is a distinctive trait of an Alaskan. Despite the change in latitude, I still expect darkness everywhere and every time.
How did I get to Rome? The simple answer is that it took thirty-eight hours with a layover in Chicago, my birthplace, to gather blessings. Or shall I say curses? And isn’t life more complex than the Alaska Airlines flight 30 to British Airways flight 4 to Alitalia flight 110 answer? Don’t trips like this really begin ten years prior, devouring, for me, my late thirties and making all of the forties I have lived so far a mess for healthy relationships of any kind?
And my brother? His saga began well before, before he really had a chance, behind a closed door that should have been opened, on a twin bed that should have slept one, under the watch of Saint Michael, who supposedly stood ready to battle. Isn’t this where tragic stories really begin? Under the theoretical custody of a guardian angel who could not have cared less? Or, rather, under the watchful eye of a wolf in shepherd’s clothing? The one who left the ninety-nine grazing peacefully in the verdant pasture to terrorize that solitary, frightened, honey-made lost lamb? In the words of the apostle John, isn’t this the true “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God” start to it all? READ MORE
John Baptist Ormechea (speaking at Tim’s high school graduation)
Wrigley Field Famous Marquee With the Banner That Keeps This Cub Fan Joyful Even With Difficult Seasons Like 2021
The Nockels Firefighting Legacy: Chief Cletus Nockels with Sons Lieutenant Walter Nockels and Lieutenant Daniel Nockels (1966)
Teenage Joan Nockels age 13, 1978
The Nockels Home – Northwest Side Chicago (site of great family love, but also location where years of abuse took place)
The Heroes of CFD Truck 58 -- BX 5132 Never Forgotten 2-1-85
John Baptist Ormechea, Christmas at grandfather Cletus Nockels’s home, 1980, height of abuse
Tim Nockels, age 7, 1973 (the lost smile)
Tim as altar boy
Tim Nockels, age 13, age of abuse
Chicago El’s Blue Line (the beginning of the Before and After)
Tim, age 16
St. Peter’s Square from the Copula of St. Peter’s (April 2012)
Joan Nockels Wilson – On the Blue Line headed to the Cubs World Series Champions, Victory Parade
Tim 2018, Husband, Dad, and Still Awesome Brother
The Nockels Family, 1983 (Walter, Mary, Teresa, Joan, Tim, Julie, Joyce, and Maureen)
Tim Nockels, Age 11 (Immaculate Conception Grammar School Photo, Sixth Grade)
The Ormechea Quest – Path from the Hotel Lancelot to the General Curia
Passionist Roman Headquarters/Curia General
Mass at St. Peter's -- Bringing Tim to the Beginning
The Ormechea Quest (April 2012) (Graphic from Runaway Priests: In the Shadow of the Vatican, Dallas Morning News Sept. 12, 2004
A woman’s quest to confront the priest
who sexually molested her brother
“Searching, righteous, uncompromising—this is a powerful tribute to a brother’s courage, a sister’s perseverance. In the end, The Book of Timothy transforms into a book of redemption."
— Alison Smith, author of Name all the Animals