We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage
It was a late summer afternoon, Sally Dale recalled, when the boy was thrown through the fourth-floor window.
“He kind of hit, and— ” she placed both hands palm-down before her. Her right hand slapped down on the left, rebounded up a little, then landed again.
For just a moment, the room was still. “Bounced?” one of the many lawyers present asked. “Well, I guess you’d call it — it was a bounce,” she replied. “And then he laid still.”
Sally, who was speaking under oath, tried to explain it. She started again. “The first thing I saw was looking up, hearing the crash of the window, and then him going down, but my eyes were still glued—.” She pointed up at where the broken window would have been and then she pointed at her own face and drew circles around it. “That habit thing, whatever it is, that they wear, stuck out like a sore thumb.”
A nun was standing at the window, Sally said. She straightened her arms out in front of her. “But her hands were like that.”
There were only two people in the yard, she said: Sally herself and a nun who was escorting her. In a tone that was still completely bewildered, she recalled asking, Sister?
Sister took hold of Sally’s ear, turned her around, and walked her back to the other side of the yard. The nun told her she had a vivid imagination. We are going to have to do something about you, child.
Sally figured the boy fell from the window in 1944 or so, because she was moving to the “big girls” dormitory that day. Girls usually moved when they were 6, though residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont, did not always have a clear sense of their age — birthdays, like siblings and even names, being one of the many human attributes that were stripped from them when they passed through its doors. She recounted his fall in a deposition on Nov. 6, 1996, as part of a remarkable group of lawsuits that 28 former residents brought against the nuns, the diocese, and the social agency that oversaw the orphanage.
I watched the deposition — all 19 hours of grainy, scratchy videotape — more than two decades later. By that time sexual abuse scandals had ripped through the Catholic Church, shattering the silence that had for so long protected its secrets. It was easier for accusers in general to come forward, and easier for people to believe their stories, even if the stories sounded too awful to be true. Even if they had happened decades ago, when the accusers were only children. Even if the people they were accusing were pillars of the community.
But for all these revelations — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — a darker history, the one to which Sally’s story belongs, remains all but unknown. It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children. Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms: People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item. They were forced to eat their own vomit. They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes. Children were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days, sometimes so long they were forgotten. They were told their relatives didn’t want them, or they were permanently separated from their siblings. They were sexually abused. They were mutilated. They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes.
Darkest of all, it is a history of children who entered orphanages but did not leave them alive.
From former residents of America’s Catholic orphanage system, I had heard stories about these deaths — that they were not natural or even accidents, but were instead the inevitable consequence of the nuns’ brutality. Sally herself described witnessing at least two incidents in which she said a child at St. Joseph’s died or was outright murdered.
It’s likely that more than 5 million Americans passed through orphanages in the 20th century alone. At its peak in the 1930s, the American orphanage system included more than 1,600 institutions, partly supported with public funding but usually run by religious orders, including the Catholic Church.
Outside the United States, the orphanage system and the wreckage it produced has undergone substantial official scrutiny over the last two decades. In Canada, the UK, Germany, Ireland, and Australia, multiple formal government inquiries have subpoenaed records, taken witness testimony, and found, time and again, that children consigned to orphanages — in many cases, Catholic orphanages — were victims of severe abuse. A 1998 UK government inquiry, citing “exceptional depravity” at four homes run by the Christian Brothers order in Australia, heard that a boy was the object of a competition between the brothers to see who could rape him 100 times.
The inquiries focused primarily on sexual abuse, not physical abuse or murder, but taken together, the reports showed almost limitless harm that was the result not just of individual cruelty but of systemic abuse.
In the United States, however, no such reckoning has taken place. Even today the stories of the orphanages are rarely told and barely heard, let alone recognized in any formal way by the government, the public, or the courts. The few times that orphanage abuse cases have been litigated in the US, the courts have remained, with a few exceptions, generally indifferent. Private settlements could be as little as a few thousand dollars. Government bodies have rarely pursued the allegations.
So in a journey that lasted four years, I went around the country, and even around the world, in search of the truth about this vast, unnarrated chapter of American experience. Eventually I focused on St. Joseph’s, where the former residents’ lawsuits had briefly forced the dark history into public view.
The former residents of St. Joseph’s told of being subjected to tortures — from the straightforwardly awful to the downright bizarre — that were occasionally administered as a special punishment but were often just a matter of course. Their tales were strikingly similar, each adding weight and credibility to the others. In these accounts, St. Joseph’s emerged as its own little universe, governed by a cruel logic, hidden behind brick walls just a few miles past the quaint streets of downtown Burlington.
When I first started looking, it seemed that all that remained of St. Joseph’s were deposition transcripts and the sharp, bitter memories of the few remaining survivors I was able to find. But over the course of years I found that there was far more to discover. More than the former residents themselves knew, and more than was uncovered during the 1990s legal battle. Through tens of thousands of pages of documents, some of them secret, as well as dozens of interviews, what I found at St. Joseph’s and other American orphanages was a vast and terrible matrix of corroboration.
The Diocese of Burlington, Vermont Catholic Charities, and the Sisters of Providence, the order of nuns who worked at St. Joseph’s, all chose not to speak with me about these allegations. At the end of my reporting, Monsignor John McDermott, of the Burlington Diocese, provided a brief statement: “Please know that the Diocese of Burlington treats allegations of child abuse seriously and procedures are in place for reporting to the proper authorities. While it cannot alter the past, the Diocese is doing everything it can to ensure children are protected.”
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Eyewitnesses Testify: Pope Francis Allegedly Raped, Trafficked & Killed Children
Last month a website reporting that Pope Francis, the Jesuits and the Church of England will be prosecuted for child trafficking and genocide. The Queen of England was already found guilty by a previous trial.
Here is how the trial is unfolding:
This article was based on today’s exclusive interview with Kevin Annett of the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State on this week’s litigation in the Brussels Common Law Court of Justice.
Five judges and 27 jury members from six countries including the USA, considered evidence on over 50,000 missing Canadian, US, Argentine and European children who were suspected victims of an international child sacrificial cult referred to as the Ninth Circle.
Two adolescent women claimed that Pope Francis raped them while participating in child sacrifices. Eight eyewitnesses confirmed the allegations according to evidence presented this week at a Brussels Common Law Court of Justice.
The Ninth Circle Satanic child sacrifice rituals were said to take place during the Springs of 2009 and 2010 in rural Holland and Belgium.
Pope Francis was also a perpetrator in satanic child sacrifice rites while acting as an Argentine priest and Bishop according to records obtained from the Vatican archives.
A prominent Vatican official and former Vatican Curia employee obtained the sealed documents for use by the court. This was not the first time satanic activities were suspected to be at the Vatican according to this ABC news story.
Another witness was set to testify that they were present during Pope Francis’ meetings with the military Junta during Argentine’s 1970’s Dirty War. According to the witness, Pope Francis helped traffic children of missing political prisoners into an international child exploitation ring run by an office at the Vatican.
Evidence of a Catholic Jesuit Order document called the “Magisterial Privilege” was presented in court by the Chief Prosecutor. The record dated Dec. 25 1967 was said to show that every new Pope was required to participate in Ninth Circle Satanic ritual sacrifices of newborn children, including drinking their blood.
“Documents from Vatican secret archives presented to court clearly indicate that for centuries the Jesuits had a premeditated plan to ritually murder kidnapped newborn babies and then consume their blood,” the Chief Prosecutor told the five international judges and 27 jury members.
“The plan was born of a twisted notion to derive spiritual power from the lifeblood of the innocent, thereby assuring political stability of the Papacy in Rome. These acts are not only genocidal but systemic and institutionalized in nature. Since at least 1773, they appear to have been performed by the Roman Catholic Church, Jesuits and every Pope.”
Two witnesses claimed that as children they were at child sacrifices with the former Pope Joseph Ratzinger. Since at least 1962 Ratzinger participated in child sacrifices as a member of the Knights of Darkness according to the Vatican records presented at court. Ratzinger was an S.S. Chaplain’s assistant at the German Ravensbruck Concentration Camp during World War II.
The children to be killed were supplied from prisoners at the death camp. The Nazi Waffen S.S. Division Knights of Darkness was established by Hitler in 1933 and embraced ancient pagan occult beliefs in human sacrifice.
Dutch Therapist-ritual abuse survivor Toos Nijenhuis testified of her witness to child sacrifice in this video:
“Survivors of these rituals describe newborn babies being chopped to pieces on stone altars and their remains consumed by participants” the Chief Prosecutor said.”During the 1960’s the survivor-witnesses were forced to rape and mutilate other children and then cut their throats with ceremonial daggers.”
According to witnesses Pope Francis, former Pope Joseph Ratzinger, Jesuit Superior General Adolfo Pachon and Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby were participants in the Ninth Circle Satanic child sacrifice cult rape and killing of children.
Evidence also could link to cult ceremonies UK High Court Justice Judge Fulford, members of the British Royal Family including Prince Phillip, Dutch Cardinal Alfrink, Dutch Queen Wilhemina, her family and consort King Hendrick, Belgian Royals and Bilderberger founder Crown Prince Bernhard.
Documentation of The Canada Gazette Issue No. 232, December 26 1942, Ottawa was also presented to court. Evidently and unfortunately, the Canadian government and Privy Council Office in London granted to the Dutch royals, exception from all criminal, civil and military jurisdiction. What would make these global leaders exempt from justice?
The Chief Prosecutor presented alleged links between the British, Dutch and Belgian royal families to disappearances of Mohawk children at Canada’s Church of England’s Brantford Ontario Indian residential school. In 2008 a child mass gravesite was discovered at the Mohawk School. An ITCCS dig by archeologists was shut down when remains of a small child was uncovered.
Since then over 30 child mass grave sites have been located at Indian residential schools across Canada. The Catholic and Anglican Churches, United Church of Canada, Canadian government and Crown of England have refused ITCCS’ repeated requests for excavation of the mass grave sites.
“This week conclusive evidence was presented that the Catholic Church is perpetrating ongoing crimes against children,” the Chief Prosecutor stated. “The Catholic Church is the world’s largest corporation and appears to be in collusion with governments, police and courts worldwide.”
The Ninth Circle Satanic child sacrifice cult was said to operate at Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montreal, New York, Rome and London according to evidence filed in court.
Witnesses claimed child sacrifices took place at Carnarvon Castle in Wales, an undisclosed French Chateau and at Canadian Catholic and Anglican Indian residential schools in Kamloops, British Columbia and Brantford, Ontario. The Ninth Circle Satanic child sacrifice cult was believed to use privately owned forest groves in the US, Canada, France and Holland.
Yesterday the five international magistrates adjourned court for two weeks and considered continuing in closed sessions. This week’s closed court was held in an undisclosed location due to notification that the Vatican had released a Jesuit “hi