Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh, The Sisters Of Mercy, They Are Not Departed Or Gone

The following account of a typical day was given in evidence by a witness who reported she was removed from the classroom at the age of 12 years to work full-time in the Industrial School:

There was no electricity in the laundry and it was steam mechanised. Myself and ...named 2 co-residents... were told we had to work from Monday morning. Three of us, we used to have to go down and light the furnace that heated the whole school part. On Monday we got up at 6 o’clock in the morning, we lit the fire, then 3 of us took it in turn to keep shovelling the coal in to keep the steam up in order that the machinery in the laundry ... would keep going. On the Tuesday we had the ironing to do ... we had ...(a large number of)... nuns in the convent and we had to do their ironing and the white things had to be starched. I had to get up at 7 o’clock and there was a round boiler thing. We, 3 of us had to light that and as soon as it got red hot you put the old fashioned irons around it, between 20 and 30 irons. The older girls, there were 8 senior girls, were given the job of ironing all the white things for the nuns. On Wednesday that was the baking day.... On Thursday we would go out and weed the garden ... or ... in summer if there was turf coming in, the lorry would just leave the turf there and the nun would come in and say “you, you and you go out and throw in that turf.” On Thursday the 3 of us used to have to go down and clean that big boiler out, clean the ashes and set it again for Friday and the laundry. On Saturday then we would do odd jobs, go over to the convent and did “blocks” ... polish the floors with these big block things to get up a shine on them.

~From the Irish Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse

Photo found here. Warning: Free Republic

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