31Jan A Religious Sister tells her Story

In the year 1953 two young girls, both about seven years of age, were living very different lives. One had just been put into an orphanage, while the other, a child of a secure and settled home, was attending primary school in a country area in a different part of Ireland.  There was only a difference of a few years in their ages. The first girl spent her formative years in that orphanage, while the other girl, myself, grew up and eventually became a religious sister.

Though I later became acquainted with the orphanage in which this girl spent some of her early life I never worked there, and I never met her.  But our lives interconnected in a most traumatic way for me some fifty four years later when I was accused of inflicting the most horrific abuse on this child on a daily basis while she was in the orphanage. This was the child that I did not know, that I did not teach, and neither was I ever a staff member of the institution where this abuse was reputed to have taken place.  I have no idea why or how she picked on my name to make these terrible allegations.

The consequence for me was that I was brought before various legal people, solicitors and barristers, and for the next two years I suffered unimaginable stress as I tried desperately to clear my name.  Eventually I succeeded, and the word came through that I had been proven innocent. But there was no redress for me, no suggestion that anyone would be accused of lying, or of taking away my good name.  The news of my declaration of innocence came to me in a legal document, with no apology or no human contact from any side, not even from my own congregation.  I can only imagine what Nora Wall suffered during her time in jail; if I had had the misfortune to work in that particular institution I may well have been jailed, or, worse still, permanently destroyed by being named in the Ryan Report.

This is my story. (The Association of Catholic Priests knows who I am.) I encourage others who were falsely accused to come forward with their Truth and bring some healing to their lives.


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