Mount St Vincent’s is a girl’s school in Limerick, owned by the Sisters of Mercy order. Many of their schools around the country used to have orphanages attached to them, and the children from these orphanages attended school along with the local children.
But they were treated very differently.
Somebody called Christy wrote to me yesterday, inquiring about this establishment:
hi , just came across your blog while looking for information on st vincents industrial school o connell ave limerick where i lived for 4yrs approx 1971-75.at this time it was not known as an industrial school but had adopted the title of residential home,unfortunately that was the only change ,its nature and character remained exactly the same. during this time i was subject to and witness to many acts of cruelty degradation and humiliation which were carried out by a minority of religious and lay people.people who i looked at with awe and fear and who now i regard as pathetic. however my biggest difficulty is not actually with our tormentors and abusers but with those people whom i regarded as good or not so bad.were they so blind that they could not see,so deaf that they could not hear or did they simply turn and look the other way. for evil to triumph all that is necessary is that good men do nothing, i don’t know who said that but he was a wise man indeed .and all those senior clergy who scurried to protect holy mother church from the excesses of its deviant members like rats in a sewer.theirs is the greater sin.
That sounded familiar, so I sent Christy’s comment to a friend of mine who attended the school, and this is what she replied:
We used to call those children the House Children and they were all, without exception, treated like shit.
I remember one incident when I was in 4th class. There was one particular ‘house child’ Marion, a fat kid who was abandoned for whatever reason. I don’t think Marion had any brothers or sisters in the house. Anyway, she was brought up to the blackboard to work out some problem, but she wasn’t very bright and couldn’t do it. The teacher started hitting her with the ruler, first the hands and Marion kept pulling away, the teacher held her hand and the arm got twisted, anyway Marion ended up on the floor with the teacher walloping her all over.
I was appalled, I never forgot it, I was 10. Went home told my mother, who was also appalled but did nothing. There were other incidents but that I can still picture clearly.
Marion and I had the same dress on that day. She ended up a prostitute down the dock road. I think she’s dead now.
I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that. Do you?
Also on Bock: