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Assisi Heights Sisters Make 'Dammit Dolls'

Posted at: 11/15/2012 7:42 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 10:37 PM
By: Betsy Singer

(ABC 6 News) -- Up on the hill, in the heart of Rochester, yet tucked away in its own solitude sits Assisi Heights. The Roman Catholic Sisters live here, worship here and, well, what else do they do?

For one, they gather for fellowship. "We have more fun in community and being together," said Sister Valerie Killian.

And they create. "And so I said to her, Rita, I think we should try these," says Sister Dorothy Hanson.

"The first thing you do is you stuff the legs. They're going to be very, very sturdy," said Sister Valerie.

What started as a cute idea has turned into a 25 year tradition. This is a dammit doll.

"Mayo Clinic buys a lot of them!" Said Sister Dorothy.

Made by hand by the Sisters, stuffed, sewn and sold at Assisi Heights. "Do you ever call them by name? What they're called? No. No, you don't? Now how come?"

They are frustration dolls, if you will. The idea is simple. When frustrated, take it out on the doll.

"Some people get concerned that the Sisters make these dammit dolls," said volunteer Carol Berteotti.

"Like some of the Sisters say, we're not using the word God in it," said Sister Dorothy.

"These dolls are cute. Why wouldn't you throw these?" asked Berteotti.

"You think it's really swearing Sister Sean? No. No. See?" said Sister Dorothy.

And sweet little Sister Valerie has never had the need to use one...so she says.

"We want it sturdy so when it hits the wall, the wall suffers," said Sister Valerie.

But there is definitely a market for them.

"We've sold thousands of these over the years," said Sister Dorothy.

And while the name dammit dolls may have caused a tiny bit of controversy over the years. "There is definitely a group in the house that, if it was their Druthers, they wouldn't have them," said Sister Dorothy.

But the concept, the name and their purpose gets attention. And the bottom line, "They sell. The people love 'em," said Sister Dorothy.

"When you think you want to climb the wall or stand right up and shout, here's a little dammit doll you can not do without. Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. Then as you whack its stuffing out yell dammit, dammit, dammit."