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According to the information from their website, the Sisters of Nazareth have been supporting and caring for those in need at all stages of life for more than 150 years within our Nazareth Houses. They do this by living their core values of Love, Compassion, Patience, Respect, Justice and Hospitality. These values are shared by all who work in their Nazareth Houses.
According to the judge-led Scottish child abuse inquiry, thousands of children put in four homes run by the Catholic order in Aberdeen, Cardonald, Lasswade and Kilmarnock endured systematic violence and degrading emotional abuse for more than 50 years. The inquiry published its findings into residential institutions run by Sisters of Nazareth between 1933 and 1984 on Thursday, concluding that children suffered sexual abuse there.
Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “The Nazareth Houses in Scotland were, for many children, places of fear, hostility and confusion; places where children were physically abused and emotionally degraded with impunity.
There was sexual abuse of children which, in some instances, reached levels of the utmost depravity. Children in need of kind, warm, loving care and comfort did not find it. Children were deprived of compassion, dignity, care and comfort.”
Her 140-page report, the second summary she has issued about specific institutions, detailed cases of:
- Persistent sexual abuse of boys and girls at all four homes, with one nun facilitating the abuse of a girl by men including priests.
- Children punished routinely with belts, canes, sticks, broom handles, hairbrushes and crucifixes.
- Children who wet their beds being beaten, given cold baths or forced to wear their wet sheets.
- Children being force fed, including when they were vomiting the food back up.
- Runaways being beaten on their return.
In her conclusions on the Sisters of Nazareth, Lady Smith said: “It is apparent to me that records made suggesting that the homes were happy places where children received ‘every care and affection’ from devoted sisters are a gross distortion of what, for many children, was the reality of their lives, a reality which included cruel, brutal and dehumanising treatment.”
“Her report details the suffering and abuse endured by some of the children in our homes and for that we are deeply ashamed,” the Sister of Nazareth statement said. “As we have said before, we apologize wholeheartedly and unreservedly to those who suffered any form of mistreatment.”
The problem is that no apology can help those people to forget bad things that happened in their childhood; only they know how those experiences have affected their lives.