Work of Bon Secours Sisters commended by Archbishop Farrell

No explicit reference made to congregation’s role in running Tuam Mother and Baby Home

The Bons Secours Sisters were ‘dedicated to the service of the sick, the poor and the needy,’ said Archbishop Farrell who made no explicit reference to the order’s involvement in the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The Bons Secours Sisters were ‘dedicated to the service of the sick, the poor and the needy,’ said Archbishop Farrell who made no explicit reference to the order’s involvement in the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

The 70th anniversary of the Bons Secours Hospital at Glasnevin in Dublin and the 160th anniversary of the sisters arrival in Ireland have been warmly acknowledged by Archbishop Dermot Farrell.

The French congregation of nuns were invited to Ireland by then Archbishop of Dublin Paul Cullen “in an attempt to alleviate the plight of poor Catholics in the aftermath of the ravages of the Famine,” he said.

“With Ireland still suffering the effects of the ‘Great Famine’ and centuries of intermittent warfare for religious and political freedom, Dublin was an over-crowded and very poor city.

“Sisters of Bon Secours were the first to stay in the homes, caring for the sick and dying for as long as required,” he said at a Mass in the Bon Secours Hospital chapel.

“Given all the changes that have taken place since their first arrival in Ireland in 1861, the Sisters have not deviated from the charism of their foundress. From the beginning, the congregation of Bon Secours has been dedicated to the service of the sick, the poor and the needy,” he said.

According to the Sisters’ website they are “one of the largest providers of private healthcare in Ireland” and treat “in excess of 280,000 patients annually in its five modern acute hospitals in Cork Galway, Limerick, Tralee and Dublin as well as a Care Village in Cork.”

Archbishop Farrell said that “with the gradual move to institutional care that has marked the sisters’ work, care of the poor still continues as a major ministry of the Bon Secours. Has everything been perfect in that ministry? It would be naïve to think it had been.”

He did not refer explicitly to the Bon Secours Sisters’ role in running the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam, Co Galway, from 1925 to 1961, where the remains of 796 infants remain unaccounted for.

He continued: “our witness to the gospel and its gift of life, comes not from our being perfect, but from our ability in our shortcomings to turn to Christ, and allow His forgiveness and acceptance become the hallmarks of our dealing with others.”

Expressing his gratitude to the Sisters, he said that “since your arrival here it would be impossible to measure your impact on generations of families in the Archdiocese”.

He was “delighted that your congregation took up residence here in this city, and today still has a very visible and active presence here”.