'My Brutal Days in Irish Version of San Quentin'
Oldham Advertiser [Ireland]
Downloaded May 5, 2004
STEPHEN Joyce with his book 'Suffer the Captive Children'.
FAMILY man and sporting hero Stephen Joyce has just had his first book published which tells the true story of his time spent in the brutal St Joseph's Industrial School in 1940s Ireland.
Stephen, now aged 70, has lived in Failsworth with his wife and family for nearly 50 years, but was born in Connemara in County Galway.
When he was just 11, his mother and sister both died from tuberculosis.
Stephen's father was unable to cope alone and did not want him and his brother John to be separated, so sent the boys to St Joseph's School in Galway, which was run by the monks known as the 'Good Christian Brothers'.
The family believed it was an orphanage, but Stephen was to find out later that it was an Industrial School - a facility for 'delinquent' boys who had committed minor crimes such as stealing apples or playing truant.
St Joseph's became known as San Quentin by Stephen and his brother, as well as the 200 other boys who had to live there and suffer the dreadful conditions and savage daily beatings.
Stephen stayed at St Joseph's for four years and it was the need to defend himself while he was there that encouraged him to learn to box.
He went on to become a boxing champion, as well as a successful and accomplished Gaelic footballer, rugby player, soccer player, Werneth golf captain and coach with the Manchester and Lancashire League's boxing teams in a sporting career lasting several decades.
Stephen said he wanted to write the book, titled "Suffer the Captive Children: From Industrial School to Reluctant Exile", to expose the regime at St Joseph's and tell the terrible story of what happened there.
He said: "Time was passing and I felt that those best qualified to tell the story hadn't done so. I spoke to a fellow 'inmate' who told me to put pen to paper."
"I don't feel qualified to write a book, but I had to get the story down. I don't regard myself as a scholar or a writer, but am very flattered that so many people have taken an interest."
Stephen came to England when he was 20 and met his wife Rita while working in Manchester. The loving couple have now been happily married for 46 years and have three sons and seven grandchildren.
Rita says the family have been encouraging Stephen for years to write all his stories down.
She said: "He is a real story teller and has had such an interesting life. He has overcome so many terrible things and had to survive so much, it's amazing he is so happy now."
"But there is a lot of humour in the book and some very funny stories."
'Suffer the Captive Children' by Stephen Joyce is published by Trafford Publishing and costs 9.99. It is available online at www.trafford.com or on 0845 230 9601
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