Category Archives: Nazareth House in South Belfast
Nuns ‘forced children as young as 5 to eat own vomit in exchange for holiday’
The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry also heard lamb stew was made but the meat was off and the nuns at Nazareth House, Belfast, forced them to eat it
Nuns allegedly forced children as young as five to ear their own vomit in exchange for a holiday.
The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry heard how youngsters at Nazareth House in South Belfast had been promised a holiday if they ate their dinner.
In a statement read to the hearing, a witness said a lamb stew had been made but the meat was off and the nuns forced them to eat it anyway, reports Belfast Live.
And with the 66-year-old ex-Nazareth House resident taking the stand on oath, she was challenged: “You have said the smell was horrendous but the nuns made you eat it otherwise no one would go on holidays.
“You were literally eating your own vomit. Each of the children as young as five were doing this.
“You said it seemed to go on for hours.
“If you didn’t eat your stew, somebody else ate it for you because you all wanted to go on your holidays.
“The congregation has said the food was the best they could provide in the circumstances but they had never made a child eat meat that had gone off and deny anyone would have had to eat their own vomit.”
The witness replied: “The congregation were not there. I dispute what they are saying. It’s not true.”
The inquiry also heard girls were forced to eat in silence and would be slapped with a cane, ruler, spoon or strap for talking.
The witness added: “I was beaten thousands of times. I remember so many punishments.
“I’d lie in bed and think it was just a nightmare and daddy was coming to take me out. But I was there for nine years.”
The congregation that formally responds to allegations made to the inquiry also refused to acknowledge the witness was made to empty a box containing soiled sanitary towels every week.
She further claimed she was beaten so fiercely by a nun she was left bruised and bloodied.
She ran away from the home and caught a train to an aunt and uncle in Lurgan, Co Armagh.
The inquiry heard how her aunt was shocked to see the 14-year-old’s back was seriously injured and bleeding.
She was taken to a police station and the nun was reported but a police officer suggested she had injured herself.
The witness said she was taken back to Nazareth House by her abuser and ordered to say a decade of the rosary by the mother superior but refused.
The Church congregation said they have no record of the incident.
The witness also stated the girls were bathed twice a week in water disinfected with Jeyes Fluid, an industrial cleaner.
And DDT, a toxic insecticide that causes nerve problems, was used on them if they had lice.
Years later she said she received a letter from a nun who told her: “My sincere apologies for any pain I have caused.”
The witness told the inquiry: “I do not accept an apology. It’s too late and it did not come until the wrongs were made public.
“And those who should be apologising are no longer here. I feel like their denials are calling us liars. We are not.
“It was unpaid labour to earn our keep. We were unpaid labourers, not children in care. It was nothing but humiliating and degrading.
“They did not love us, most of the time they did not like us. So no I don’t want an apology but redress, yes.”
The hearing continues.