The Belfast Telegraph
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
A lesbian nun, in charge of children as young as six months, was so drunk on one occasion that she fell into the playpen on top of one of the children, the Republic’s child abuse commission found.
Nora Wall, who was given the name of Sister Callida in the report, often went away with her nun lover and left a 20-year-old in charge of the children. She could go for days at a time without giving any prior notice and without leaving any contact address or number.
Two different nuns instructed to keep an eye on her ended up in lesbian relationships with her, according to the report.
Ms Wall was in charge of a group care home run by the Sisters of Mercy in Cappoquinn, Co Waterford, with about 16 children from the ages of six months to 16 years. Then known as Sister Dominic, she was resident manager from 1978 until the early 1990s when she was removed.
The Commission concluded Ms Wall was unpredictable and irrational, bullied staff, beat the children, drank to excess and put children at risk by leaving junior staff in charge.
Details of parties held in the home, men who stayed overnight, older boys sexually abusing younger ones and being drunk in front of the children have emerged in the report of the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse.
According to Judge Sean Ryan’s inquiry report, Ms Wall regularly drank whiskey in the sitting room of the home in front of the older children.
It has also emerged that the former Mercy nun had her conviction for the rape of a child quashed in recent years. Ms Wall was convicted in 1999 for the rape of a 10-year-old girl in the home, however, this was declared a miscarriage of justice by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2005.
The conviction was struck down by the court after it emerged that evidence had been given by a witness who was known to be unreliable.
Her co-accused, Pablo McCabe, also had his conviction for the same offence overturned. Mr McCabe, a homeless man, has since died.
The report found that older former residents and total strangers were allowed to stay overnight at the house even though the children were frightened by some of these visitors.
One of the workers at the home told how “there was a lot of drinking going on. Parties were held in the home and former residents and student priests came and stayed overnight” A second nun, “Sister Melita”, appointed to the house to report on events subsequently formed a lesbian relationship with Sister Callida and instead protected her from scrutiny, according to the report
The order then appointed a “Sister Serena” as Superior to the convent in Cappoquin, instructing her to keep an eye on Sister Callida and report back on her behaviour. This nun also became sexually involved with Sister Callida.
The pair went away for holiday weekends together and would take “three or four children with us”, said Sister Serena who described how they would all sleep in the same room, the two nuns in the main bed and the children in pairs in other beds in the room.
Asked by the Commission about her drinking Sister Callida accepted there were times when she drank a lot but “there was never a time when I was out of order or didn’t know my place or was falling all over the place”.
She also insisted she only had a relationship with one of the two sisters mentioned and said when they slept in her room at the care house “we had a bed each and that was that … but there was an occasion or two outside of the home when it wasn’t appropriate”.
Source: Evening Herlad