January 24, 2018
A nun in charge of a Catholic order has offered her “deepest and most sincere apologies” to anyone who may have been abused at Smyllum Park orphanage.
Sister Ellen Flynn said “horrifying” accounts of abuse at the Lanark care home were “totally against” everything the order stood for.
She was giving evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh.
The inquiry has already heard weeks of evidence about the institution, which was shut in 1981.
One former resident, who was a child at the orphanage in the 1960s, has told the inquiry there was a “culture of evil among religious orders” at that time.
Sister Flynn – who broke down in tears during her testimony – said that her heart was with the survivors, as she vowed the order would engage with them and the probe to “put right what wrongs are found”.
The pledge came as she and another witness admitted a variety of historical failures had taken place at the home, including “weak” governance and record-keeping.
Dozens of former residents have testified that they received beatings and were mistreated at the home, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.
Sister Ellen, who is the current head of the order, said: “For those who are in distress, for those whom we have hurt in any way, our deepest and most sincere apologies.
“If we can do something about it, let us know.”
She and another nun, Sister Eileen Glancy – who also gave evidence – told the hearing that they wished to amend a previous apology because they now realised that there was “more than a possibility that some abuse had occurred” at Smyllum.
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