Sisters of Nazareth Glasgow Nun ‘left Me at Farm to Be Raped’
By Stephen Naysmith
May 9, 2018
A WOMAN has told how a nun in a home run by the Sisters of Nazareth in Glasgow used to take her to visit a nearby farm and leave her to be raped by the farmer.
The anonymous witness, known as Margaret at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said the regular trips were on the pretext of gathering eggs, but she said she never carried any eggs and was “100 per cent sure” the nun knew about the rapes.
“I didn’t know that was what he was doing at the time,” she said. “But the nun also sexually assaulted me. She didn’t penetrate me but she mauled me all over my body on a regular basis.”
In a written statement which was read into the inquiry record, the woman said she was living at Nazareth House, in Cardonald, Glasgow, from the age of two, in 1943, and was told her mother had died giving birth to her.
She later discovered, with her adult daughter in 2010, that her mother had signed her birth certificate and had in fact been alive until 1990.
During her time at the home she had been punished for bedwetting, which led to her and other children being left to stand draped in their wet linen for hours at a time, she said, adding “if you wet the bed you were finished.”
Girls were beaten if they did not sleep on their backs with their arms crossed over their chests, she said.
She fell ill after she left the home and discovered she had tuberculosis, she said.
She was left-handed but in classes her left hand was tied to the chair, and was later put to work in the nursery where “cruel” toilet training consisted of tying infants to their potties.
Children were beaten for giggling, talking during mass or laughing, she said, although punishments depended on which individual nun you crossed.
“They hit your, walloped you for an awful lot of little things”, she added. But one nun had “bitten the head” off another nun for the treatment Margaret had been given for being left-handed, she said.
The rapes had taken place on a number of occasions, she said, and she didn’t believe she had been the only girl to suffer the attacks, which happened in her mid teens.
“He was a little round man, I remember him as a little barrel,” she said.
“I don’t know whether the nun stayed around or watched but I’m 100 per cent certain she knew it was happening.”
She was “put out” of the home soon after, and given a bus ticket to Victoria Bus station in London to meet her father.
“I was comletely on my own. It was like being sent to Australia”, she said.
When she arrived, she went to live with her father for six months, but he “did the same thing the farmer did to me” and she left.
She said she had suffered claustrophobia and a terror of confrontations as a result of her experiences and had counselling to cope with her memories but for years had had nightmares about a man in a cape walking up and down while she slept.
She later realised “it was actually a nun marching up and down in my dreams”.
Another witness known as Tommy gave evidence in person and said he had been so terrified of nuns that when he was taken to see the Sound of Music, he sat shivering in fear in the darkened cinema thinking Julie Andrews must be the “baddie” and waiting for her to start beating
He could not stop remember another experience, he said, when, after a nun had died, he had been told to wait in the chapel with the body.
When other nuns came in to kiss their late sister’s brow, he was to wipe it down after they left, he said. “I didn’t know what death was. I was expecting to end up in the coffin with her,” he said.
He said he wanted revenge and had visited the home later aiming to confront one of his tormentors but the nun was no longer there.
He had left after giving a donation, he said. He said he had given evidence because he wanted the home destroyed. “I want Cardonald bulldozed,” he said.
Earlier the inquiry heard from a third witness, known as Anne, who said she and her siblings had suffered at the home but that levels of corporal punishment were normal for the time.
The nuns were there because they had a vocation, she said, but lacked training and some were not suited to child care.