In Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Trying To Find Hope

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Between 1864 and 1981, over 11,000 children from poor and working-class families came to call Smyllum Park Orphanage home. The orphanage still sits in Lanark, Scotland, once a major medieval trading post, situated about halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. With its high stone turrets and impressive wooden door at the entrance, it looks a bit like a castle. But castles, we know, weren’t just made to keep things out, but to keep things in, too.

Since September, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has been gathering evidence and hearing witness testimonies about the brutal abuse of the Smyllum Park orphans by the members of the Roman Catholic clergy who ran the home, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul. The bodies of 400 children, most under the age of five, were confirmed to have been buried in a mass grave in a nearby cemetery, substantiating the suspicions of former residents who doubted the number that was acknowledged by the Catholic order.

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