Terrible secret Catholic shelter: mass grave of children in the sewers

Terrible secret Catholic shelter: mass grave of children in the sewers

Well, today’s the day: October 31. The soul takes a dive into the spooky vibe of the holiday, the nerves are not averse to have their tickled, and the blood freeze in his veins. It remains only to take the mind that is hungry for spooky stories.

And not necessarily to opt for the movies, TV shows and books in the horror genre. Towards a new part of «Saw», «American horror story» and the works of Stephen king. There is also the reality.

Terrible secret Catholic shelter: mass grave of children in the sewers

Sometimes it can hurt worse than horror movies, by putting a counterbalance to the suspense and the screamers, the impact on viewers screens, the tragic stories that happened in the world in which they live.

One of these stories, makes you crawl, bite lips and casually look down, it is possible to assume that what happened in the Catholic home of the mother and child Bon Secours.

He started his full operation in 1925 in Tuam, Ireland, where for many years the society has condemned pregnancy outside marriage, and with special respect attitude to the conducting of the funeral in strict accordance with religious rites.

Bon Secours took orphans and provided support for unmarried pregnant women, helping them to hold delivery. However, after the child was born, it was separated from the mother. In the care of the nuns until then, until it will take in another family, or he is older.

Some mothers who are aware of the hopelessness of their situation, took a job near the orphanage, Ty hope to see my own child on the weekends. However, such meetings were prohibited.

A photo of some of the children at «the Home» in 1924 (Connaught Tribune, 21st June 1924) pic.twitter.com/foGFqAKJ8m

— Liam Hogan (@Limerick1914) May 27, 2014

«Photo of some children from the orphanage in 1924».

Children could be grandma and grandpa, and other relatives in the maternal line, but in those days, any illegitimate child meant not only a disgrace to the family, but also put its members at risk of deprivation of the right to inherit land. The problem could be local pastors.

The house of the mother and child Bon Secours lasted until 1961, that is 36 years.

The building, built in 1846, was in dire need of repair. Especially after the ferocious storm «Debbie», the visitor to Ireland in 1961. Over the next 56 years, the country has not seen stronger storms, although this month she struck a powerful «Ophelia».

The allocation of funds for the restoration of the orphanage, apparently, seemed then the local officials not as a necessary event.

«..the supply of food, clothing and other necessaries has been a valuable trade for local business houses..» (1961) pic.twitter.com/LawjVMib5p

— Liam Hogan (@Limerick1914) May 27, 2014

«… the supply of food, clothing and other necessities [once] was a valuable trade deal for a local business… (1961)».

But while Bon Secours was «in service» his services was used by about 35,000 women.

And now it is time affecting «inside», a study undertaken by local resident Katherine Corliss. She was born in 1954 and managed to catch the last years of the orphanage.

On the road every day in primary school she passed near Bon Secours and often met with his pupils, who in her memories was always painful.

Some of them she went along. They always sat in the back row.

But the real closeness to the illegitimate children of Bon Secours, the woman felt only a few decades later, after the death of his mother, who died in 1992.

Going to the far to house the County Armagh, to find archival records about the birth of his mother, Corliss found that the deceased woman was a bastard child. The secret the late Mrs. Farrell kept until his death.

And only then, Catherine decided to dig into the backgrounds of Bon Secours. Meticulous work, consisting of search and study of old Newspapers and documents, historical maps and talking with old-timers, accompanied by flashes in its own memory and guilt.

Like other children, she could neglect the illegitimate, often poking fun at them. Sometimes not knowing when to stop. But so did all.

She also remembered that in the early 70-ies of the last century, two local boys, aged seven and nine years, Frannie Hopkins and Barry Sweeney found a concrete slab with a human bone, when playing in a field beside a former orphanage.

However, this finding has not become a sensation, and the story received little publicity and was quickly forgotten. But not forever: the incident surfaced in the memory of Catherine, when she compared a modern map of Tuam with a similar, published since 1890.

Terrible secret Catholic shelter: mass grave of children in the sewerssource: wikimedia/cc0

And then the woman found out that the place where the kids found the bones, in the XIX century, built a zone for purification of household wastewater. This site was only part of an extensive network of sewers, the operation of which ceased in 1930.

Soon in the hands of Katherine’s got a document that contains information about the 200 dead children in the orphanage. Going to the local cemetery, she found only two graves, the names which match are listed. But these children were legitimate.

Buried where the other 198 people were not known. Recourse to the local Council also did not give any results.

But the woman again was lucky: she found in the sale of another table with data about the pupils of Bon Secours. The document contains information about the names, date of birth and death of nearly 800 children born out of wedlock (the exact number – 796).

As reported by The New York Times, the cause of death stated different: gastroenteritis, anaemia, meningitis, tuberculosis, bronchitis, measles, flu, alimentary dystrophy.

Beginning in 1932, Bon Secours died every year at least 24 people. In 1944 – 40 deaths in 1947 – 52. And illegitimate children died four times more oftenthan legitimate.

None of the graves in the cemeteries of the district, and also on cemeteries, where are buried the mother of these children did not contain their names. Almost 800 dead babies – and they’re all gone.

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But Catherine continued the struggle for their search. She wrote articles in the local press, tried to find the former employees of the orphanage and its inmates. It was all in vain, until Corless not appealed to the journalists of the national newspaper the Irish Mail.

Published in 2014 scandalous article has stirred up all Ireland. Katherine contacted Mary Moriarty, who in 1975 saw the neighborhood kids playing with a human skull. Asking to show where they found it, the woman came upon a cave filled with stock bundles of bones.

Received calls from former pupils of the orphanage. They thanked Katherine and wanted her to help them find their mothers, brothers and sisters. She never refused.

Responded and the government, established in 2015, a special Commission for the investigation of this case. In addition to Bon Secours, the high mortality rate found in similar houses located in different parts of Ireland.

One version, considered by specialists as the cause of the appalling number of child deaths was linked to the testing of new vaccines for common pupils. They also tried to establish whether they used the remains of children to study anatomy in medical colleges.

During excavations carried out in March this year, a sensational discovery was made: the territory of the Bon Secours found «a significant number of human remains» buried in 17 of the 20 underground elements of the Sewerage system.

Basically, it was children at the age from 35 weeks to three years, although he was older – up to eight years.

The investigation is still ongoing. It remains difficult to decide on whom hangs the blame for the immoral destruction of the remains: the nuns, the administration of the orphanage of the Catholic Church or the society.

Does not stop its activity and Katherine Corliss, who is now 63 years old. She has a husband, children and grandchildren, but she prefers spending time alone, delving into his past.

The woman wants the kids found memory was duly honored, and the remains buried. The government does not know what to do.

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Last week Kathryn was awarded the prize for human rights from the Association of the bar of Ireland (The Bar of Ireland).

«Katherine Corless have shown incredible courage and determination in their advocacy work for survivors of the pupils mother and child Tuam.

She worked tirelessly for them and was covering a dark period in our history, with vehemence represented victims and their rights, often faced with adversity.

It represents the very essence of humane activities and is a very worthy winner of this award,» said Paul McGarry, Chairman of the Board of the Association.

«My work for survivors of orphanages mother and child continues. And I hope that this special award will give strength to an even greater number of survivors, so they responded and told his story,» said Catherine.

She also said that it would be «ideal» if it was carried out the exhumation of human remains.

«We need to Express in these little bodies, respects, and perhaps to bury them in the main teamcom cemetery, which is located just across the road,» she added.

«I share this award with all the survivors – it is for them,» said Catherine.