Shortlist Winner published in Adelaide Literary Award 2020 Anthology
In light of the travesty unfolding in Canada, where authorities are unearthing hundreds of Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves, I thought I’d share this scandalous story with you. Several months ago, I came across the story of Catherine Corless, an Irish woman who exposed the sickening truth behind the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Ireland. The similarities between what the church inflicted upon the children and their unwed mothers and the Indigenous are a breathtaking reality. This revelation is not to diminish the travesty inflicted on the Indigenous community; it is to highlight and support their cause for justice and reiterate that what happened to them is criminal.
I can honestly say I’ve never recovered from discovering these facts of what the Irish government and church officials sanctioned as appropriate. What is alarming to me is that we allow the real culprits an escape when we hide them behind the terms: government and church. Government and church are the names applied to people in charge of organizations. It isn’t a building or conglomerate–it’s people.
In Ireland, as many as 35,000 unwed women entered into the care of these horrific institutions. As many as 6000 babies are assumed buried without records across the beautiful Irish countryside. And at best guess, as many as 15,000 children were sold in an adoption ring without consent (or forged consent) from their mothers by the nuns in charge of these institutions.
Just as devastating is that these women and children were abused to such an extent until 1996. Even now, the government of Ireland can’t face the horror and no matter how you say it, Sorry, is simply not enough.
And there is yet another layer that needs to be brought to the surface. Just where were the fathers of these children? The families of these girls who were subjected to such inhumanity?
The excuse, times were different, doesn’t fly.
It was never okay.
Wow Monika, some story! It must have been painful writing it. Gruesome, but something that has to be made known. Thank you for having the boldness to share it.
Thanks Peter. It was a difficult story to research but you’re right, it needs to be told.