Explore the Ryan Report

1 entry for Sr Ann Marie


General conclusions 1. The relatively small number of children in St Joseph’s was an important factor in making this a less abusive institution. 2. The buildings were extremely cold, unfriendly and forbidding, ‘a barracks’ before 1960, and attempts to improve them made little impact. 3. The children were poorly educated and trained, and their full potential was not realised. 4. Family contacts were not maintained and children were deprived of crucial information that would have helped them form family ties and establish identity. 5. For most of its existence, recreational facilities were almost non-existent. The children were kept occupied by doing daily chores. The need for children to play was not considered by management. This regime harmed their emotional development. 6. The children came from deprived backgrounds and the conditions did little to help them. 7. The punishment book, even though it is not a complete record, is evidence of an attempt to control corporal punishment. 8. Problems arose from time to time in this Institution because of the incapacity of a Resident Manager, by reason of old age and/or infirmity. The management system of the Congregation was slow to remedy the situation. The Department of Education was limited to exhortation and threat, but was unable to effect the necessary change because the Mother Superior appointed the Resident Managers. 9. There was neglect of children in 1944 and 1946, including gross indifference to hygiene, where the children were left with ‘verminous and nitty heads’. 10. Despite the forbidding environment and the fear induced by some punishments, the children did not live in constant fear. The Sisters, particularly in the latter years, were more approachable and involved. A small anecdote told by Sr Ann Marie McQuaid illustrates this point: when Inspection Reports said the School needed painting, the Sisters ran bazaars and collected door to door in Dundalk and Dublin to fund the cost; they could afford the paint but not a painter, so four of the Sisters, including the Reverend Mother and the Resident Manager, two Sisters from the School and the caretaker of the convent, painted the building from basement to top floor at nighttime; a former resident told her that they used to creep out of bed to see the nuns without their veils.

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