People Are Sharing Their Stories Of Catholic Orphanages In Response To A BuzzFeed News Investigation

"The stories I've heard give me chills."

BuzzFeed News on Monday published a multiyear investigation into the systematic abuse and alleged murder of children at American orphanages.

The story cracks open a secret history of American life — and adds a vast new dimension to the Catholic Church’s mistreatment of children in its care.

As people read the story, many began to share their family stories of orphanages in America, and Catholic orphanages worldwide, on social media.

"Only my grandpa came back out."

Poverty forced my great-grandma to put her 2 kids in a NJ orphanage. Only my grandpa came back out. We don’t know what happened to my great-aunt. “Nuns Killed Children, Say Former Residents Of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage via @chriskenneally

"Multiple generations of abuse horrors."

@ChrisKenneally @BuzzFeedNews This is especially poignant to me, as I’ve friends whose family are from Burlington, VT. Catholic family, with multiple generations of abuse horrors. Family history research showed the common grandfather & great-uncle were Boy’s Home charges, where the disfunction began.

"I can barely read this without tears."

Since my dad was put into orphanage at age 2 I can barely read this without tears 😢😢thank you @ChrisKenneally for this 💔💔story.

"A 22 year old man who 'married' her when she was 12."

Not a big shock, the nuns at the orphanage where my 10yo GGmother was left gave her to a 22 year old man who “married” her when she was 12. I suppose being Native American had nothing to do with that.

"Abused and bullied."

@alsosusieq2 @ChrisKenneally Horrific! My father was placed in a Catholic orphanage in N.Y. at the age of 6, in 1925, and stayed until 18. I'm positive he was abused and bullied. It explains his anger, fury, and his insistence that it was not an orphanage, but a boarding school. Research by me and my

@alsosusieq2 @ChrisKenneally Sister proved otherwise. She hired a genealogist who tracked down family records. His mother was institutionalized in 25 and he was sent to orphanage. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Ovid N.Y. He cried when my sister located her grave and brought back soil from it for him.

"Tortured by nuns."

"The stories I've heard give me chills."

I’m not surprised. I know an elder who was in a catholic orphanage and the stories I’ve heard give me chills. Poor kids…

"Horrified me."

@BuzzFeedBen @yashar @ChrisKenneally This article horrified me and prompted me to ask my dad about my grandmothers raising in an Odd Fellows Orphanage in KY. While not as egregious as those examples in the story I further learned being in an orphanage in the 20s/30s was not an easy course to navigate.

"Her younger sister died there."

"He laid in a crib for seven months."

I shared this story with my father — who was adopted out of a Catholic orphanage in 1954. He was re-united with his birth mother 50 years later and was told stories of the orphanage process...

The day after he was born, his birth mother changed her mind and wanted to keep him. The nuns at the orphanage where he was born told her that was not an option unless she had cash to buy him back.

She was banned from seeing him ever again (until 50 years later, but that's a whooooole other story.) He laid in a crib for 7 months until he was adopted. He couldn't even sit up by the time he left.

And the fact my dad went through all this in Quebec City, Canada...that shows this problem is not uniquely American and not specific to St. Joseph's orphanage. There's thousands and thousands of these stories out there.

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