Sr Xavieria Lally of the Goldenbridge industrial school in Dublin, had been “demonised and vilified” over the past decade, with this “accepted in the public domain as fact”, Sr Helena O’Donoghue of the Sisters of Mercy told the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse yesterday.
The nuns’ denials that children in the industrial school were “abused in a horrific way” had been “almost completely ignored”, she said.
Sr O’Donoghue, provincial leader of the south central province of the Sisters of Mercy congregation, was giving evidence to the commission’s investigation committee, which held a public hearing on St Vincent’s industrial school, Goldenbridge, yesterday. Proceedings on the school go into private session from Friday, until April 27th.
Sr O’Donoghue noted that,despite Garda investigation of complaints made after the 1996 Dear Daughter programme on Goldenbridge was broadcast, no criminal charges were brought.
The allegations of child abuse there “was a source of deep shock to us”, she said, and led to the congregation’s first apology in February 1996, for pain and hurt suffered. The congregation apologised again in May 2004.
“I reiterate those apologies. There were many aspects of Goldenbridge we deeply regret, but there were some serious, extraordinary allegations, especially as regards Sr Xavieria, which we do not, we cannot accept as correct – allegations of extreme physical punishment, starvation, malnourishment, or any child dead due to mistreatment,” she said.
Sr O’Donoghue was concerned such allegations appeared to have been accepted by the court of public opinion without any apparent examination.
From the 1940s there were 185 children at the school at any one time, with a staff ratio of one to every 30+ children round the clock. There was no training in childcare and the capitation system made it financially difficult. The regimental style with which the school was run emphasised conformity and relied on corporal punishment to maintain discipline. Sr O’Donoghue deeply regretted in particular the use of such punishment on children with bed-wetting problems.
She recalled the “particular bitterness of some former residents” where the practice of making rosary beads was concerned. Between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays, the children had to assemble 60 decades each, a quota which was to be completed after tea if not done before. She was unable to say whether the children were punished if they did not meet their quota.
She recalled there had been a small number of sex-abuse complaints, with just one definite. It concerned a groundsman who was complained of by one of the girls in 1962. The gardaí were informed by Sr Xavieria. The man was prosecuted and dismissed from his job.
Prior to Dear Daughter the congregation employed a childcare expert to look at complaints who, following preliminary investigation, found them “broadly credible”. It had also found that the regime (at Goldenbridge) was inadequate and did not meet the basic needs of the children.
There was no evidence of any complaints in the school archive, which Sr O’Donoghue said was “minimal” and she could not explain why there were no punishment books extant there, despite legislation prescribing these should be kept.
Inspectorate reports from the Department of Education, as discovered from Department files, were “consistently positive” from 1945, she said.
Senior counsel for the former residents John Rogers failed to secure an assurance from Mr Justice Seán Ryan that they would have a guaranteed opportunity to challenge Sr O’Donoghue’s comments on the allegations in the third phase of these proceedings.
Nor was he allowed introduce details from the 1996 report commissioned by the Sisters of Mercy, though it was agreed Sr O’Donoghue might be asked whether she accepted the report. She said she did, within its limitations.
Attention of Archbishop Eamon Martin Archbishops of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
Re: Catholic Church Apology. Day of Prayer/ More like a day of further deception & cover-up!.
I am a survivor of institutional abuse in Ireland’s Industrial schools ran by the sisters of mercy congregation. It will take a lot more than the power of prayer to get out of the evidence that I have discovered.
I wish to inform you that your so-called apology to victims means nothing, it is no more than a few idle words that sound good when they are put together on paper, there is no meaning behind the words, the religious congregations are not one bit sorry for the abuse that they have crippled their victims with, our lost lives mean nothing, we are seen as a dirty stain on the Catholic Church’s good name and reputation, the sooner that there is none of us left the better, the problem with that is the Catholic Church will destroy more lives, more victims will be created and then destroy and disposed of like a piece of garbage.
If your sisters in Christ, the sisters of mercy were genuinely sorry for the hurt and abuse that I was subjected to they would not have stolen my evidence and hid it from the Commission To Inquire Into Child Abuse and the Residential Institutions Redress Board.
They wouldn’t have denied me a fair hearing at the Redress Board, instead, they deliberately suppressed my evidence and planted a fabricated paper trail blaming my mother for my suffering.
They wouldn’t have created a vile disgusting report of an alleged visit to their school, by my late mother, they wrote lies about my mother so that they could discredit her so that nobody would believe her about the abuse that was going on in their school, where they chose to cover and protect a Paedophile instead of protecting us children!.
They wouldn’t have apologised to me in person on the 14th of February 2020 and then send me a letter informing me that I made grave allegations about my time in both St Vincent’s Goldenbridge Dublin and St Kyran’s Rathdrum Co Wicklow and that I am profoundly mistaken with my accusations and how they are full of integrity.
Your apology is fake, it is designed to further trick citizens of the world and encourage them to go back to Church. I believe in God but I don’t believe in the Church, there is no doubt that some members of the Church are decent, kind and caring people, however, not everyone who smiles at us are our friends and until such a time that the Catholic Church put their victims first for once and make a real and genuine apology for our suffering and stolen lives, idle words mean nothing more than an insult to injury.
I set out on a healing process in October 2019 this is when I discovered the deliberate suppression of my evidence by the sisters of mercy, my healing process can’t progress when I am still being called a liar who’s profoundly mistaken with my accusations. They apologised out one side of their mouth while lying out the other side of their mouth. They turned my healing process into a total nightmare.
I have the evidence to back up everything in my email, I will leave the lies and unhanded deeds to the experts of the Catholic Church.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
The Abuse was sick, but the cover-up is twisted, it proves that there is no place in society for the Catholic Church, as it is still a breeding ground for the triumph of the evil with sick and twisted people who both abuse and those who turn the blind eye, save the reputation and to hell with the victims.
Nothing has changed, only the wall of silence got thicker to ensure the children’s screams get weaker and harder to hear, eventually, the screams will fade away leaving the Catholic Church free on its way to continue on its mission to destroy more children and vulnerable people as they please.
I am giving you the opportunity to prove that you are sincere in your apology, do you wish to view my evidence? If not I think that the best thing that you can do is resign from the Catholic Church and take your flock with you.
I intend to start my own campaign against the Catholic Church, it is time victims fight back and counterclaim the lies of the Catholic Church. I will if needs be publish all my evidence, I’ll spam the internet and ensure everyone sees the truth!.
They couldn’t silence me when I was small, what chance have they got now that I am tall!.
Link to the Public Stunt!.
Dated 18th March 2021
Dear Archbishop Martin,
Thank you for your reply to my email, It is appreciated.
You are speaking the word of God, God is everywhere, God is not confined to jurisdiction and neither are you while you are speaking the word of God. We only have one God who is the creator of both heaven and earth.
Where continued excuses are used, resolutions are never reached.
The sisters of mercy have a northern province.
Dioceses: Raphoe, Derry, Down & Connor, Dromore, Armagh.
You are a director of safeguarding NBSCCCI and on your appointment, you said one of the greatest challenges facing the church was to live with and learn from the past. You told a press conference in Armagh that the church “can never take it for granted that the safeguarding systems we have in place are robust and failsafe, so we have to keep working on that”
You share the same safeguarding as the sisters of mercy and you do not have authority over them?
I am reporting a number of different types of abuse to you regarding the sisters of mercy who have an office in the Vatican, they share the same NBSCCCI as the Catholic Church and you are telling me that you have no authority over them? What chance would a child have reporting any type of abuse to you?
The fact of the matter is, I’ve discovered the deliberate suppression of evidence from the commission to investigate child abuse and the church is trying to cover it up.
The Sisters of Mercy made two public apologies, one in 1996 and again in 2004, they also apologised to me in person in February 2020, with the discovery of the deliberate suppression of evidence those apologies can not be accepted as being genuine.
The Sisters of Mercy need to clarify the position on the deliberate suppression of evidence and the two apologies, Survivors need to know that the apologies are genuine and not just carefully selected words that sound good when they are put into a public statement?
Sister Brenda Dolphin is the person who thinks that she has the right to chose who gets justice and who gets nothing.
Catherine McAuley Sisters of Mercy founder was declared venerable on the 9th April 1990. Once this happened the work of the cause moved to what is called the Roman phase. This means that the Postulator must live in Rome in order to be on hand to work with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints when material about the servant of God is sent in. The Catholic Church has no authority over the sisters of mercy?
Claire Guerin Manager with NBSCCCI told me at the meeting in February 2020 that my file will lead to an inquiry, she then stood with the silence of the church.
A zero-tolerance approach is what is needed to tackle child abuse. What is allowed, is what will continue.
Jesus taught, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men … but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen”(Matthew 6:5-8)
Dear Archbishop Martin,
If the Catholic Church fail to properly act on what I have discovered, it will prove that the Church is aiding and abetting the Sisters of Mercy, the Church will be accused of shielding criminals and allowing Criminals to use the Catholic Church as a front to commit serious crimes.
I think that I have said enough. I will not make further efforts, I am tired of begging, it’s up to the Catholic Church to allow Survivors to heal and to close the final chapter of the horror in our shattered lives.
Dated 9th September 2021
I taught you had no jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland?
An Open Email
You have had the time and ample opportunity to act on the information that I have sent to you, and you were legally advised to ignore me, would I be correct?
You have questions to answer regarding your failures to act on the information that I have sent to you, you claimed that you have no jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland and that you have no authority over the sisters of mercy, this is not true, how can a person who is so high up in the Catholic Church preaching the words of God treat people in the manner in which you have treated me? You really do need to go to your own confession for your own sins, or maybe you don’t believe in practicing what you preach? Set the rules for others and none for your lot? And the matter about not having jurisdiction, you had jurisdiction for the letter from the minister of housing when he wrote to you, it even made the news and that is how I know that you do have jurisdiction, when it suits, and as for claiming that you have no authority over the sisters of mercy is not true, why do you have a day of prayer for the survivors and the victims of the sisters of mercy if the Catholic Church has no authority over the sisters of Mercy? Why would the church get involved with the survivors and the victims if they have nothing to do with the sisters of mercy? I don’t see the Catholic church with a day of prayer for the Stardust Fire Victims and Survivors?
I said I was going to setup my own campaign for justice and publish my evidence all over the internet, well, with the help from God who has given me an idea, I am not just going to start a campaign to expose the Catholic Church, I am in the process of getting an inquiry into the rape and possible murder of some of my school friends, the deliberate suppression of my evidence is only the tip of the iceberg. Commission of Investigation Act 2004.
St. Kyran’s industrial school in Rathdrum Co. Wicklow was ran by the sisters of mercy, their residence manager was Sr Xaviera, AKA (Maura Lally) Sr Xaviera was the nut or I mean the nun at the center of the Goldenbridge scandal, which led to the commission to investigate child abuse, she was transferred to St. Kyran’s following the death of a baby girl in Goldenbridge, I was unfortunate enough to have crossed paths with Sr Xaviera, the school that she was transferred to was St Kyran’s, now here is the part for you to pay attention to, on the 28th of February 1996 an article was published in the Irish Times newspaper, the article stated that the HSE were tracking former residents of St. Kyran’s to see if they had suffered any physical abuse, the HSE stated that they are receiving the “fullest co operation” from the Sisters of Mercy Order
which ran St Kyran’s Orphanage, in Rathdrum, until it came under the control of the board. It further stated that; There had been no complaints about St Kyran’s Orphanage, where the nun who had served in
Goldenbridge Orphanage had been transferred in 1963.
The Facts are that no inquiry took place into St. Kyran’s, it’s a lie, created by the HSE and their partners in crime the sisters of mercy, it’s a matter of public record that an inquiry took place into St. Kyran’s and as you know all public records must be correct and factual and not an illusion to trick the public.
So, you are probably asking yourself what do I want you to do, I am going to tell you what you need to do, do the right thing, setup an investigation into the theft and fraud of the evidence from the commission to investigate child abuse (Ryan Report) and a full investigation into St. Kyran’s, I think that rape, serious sexual assault, murder, serious violence, Neglect, starvation, mental abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and Parent alienation against innocent Vulnerable children is a matter of not only significant concern, but grave concern.
If you do not investigate this claim and I do have an inquiry established, you will be asked to comment on it, remember that this email will stop you from playing the card that you didn’t know anything about it, I’ll produce this email and I’ll make it a public record that you did know and that you ignored it, you wouldn’t be very popular at your next mass.
Do my accusations not bother you? Are you not worried about the situation? The abuse, the lies, and the cover up?
I won’t hold my breath waiting for a response.
Link to so called inquiry in the Irish Times newspaper.
Dated 17th March 2022
I was wondering how long it was going to take for the Catholic Church to crawl out from under their rock, and grab the low hanging fruit with regards to the Ukrainian refugees, with the intentions of self-gain, more power, and take the credits for helping the Ukrainian refugees with accommodation in an attempt to rebuild credibility in your church!.
How come the church have never explored the needs of the survivors from the industrial schools who were left destitute by your church and in desperate need of accommodation?
President Vladimir Putin will possibly someday face charges for his crimes against humanity, however, you and your flock have immunity from prosecutions for violent crimes against innocent vulnerable children who were entrusted into your care.
The church is offering accommodations for refugees, next thing that we will hear is that the church is opening “refugee Industrial schools” where they can continue to abuse more children and create more victims.
The church will probably rebuild their cahoots relationship with the HSE/TUSLA and they will grease the wheels on the money-making machine and get back on the road to making more billions and creating more victims just like the old days.
I blog posts about justice for victims of sexual abuse by the sisters of mercy who apologised for the abuse twice yet they do not accept that sexual abuse took place, this is very odd given that I was compensated for sexual abuse by a sister of mercy, she was in fact the resident manager! More to follow;