The Abuse Inside St. Joseph’s Orphanage

In an edition of Buzzfeed News’ Investigations, senior contributor Christine Kenneally describes the traumatic, dark, and tragic history behind St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont. Ran by nuns, this now shut down orphanage has been home to many  children over the years, most of them now living their own lives- with a dark emotional baggage:.

St. Joseph’s in Burlington, Vermont. It had been a dark and terrifying place run by an order of nuns called the Sisters of Providence. Joseph Barquin recalled a girl who was thrown down stairs, and he remembered the thin lines of blood that trickled out of her nose and ear afterward. He saw a little boy shaken into uncomprehending shock. He saw other children beaten over and over.
Some of the women recognized each other not by name but by number: Thirty-two! Fourteen!
Barquin told everyone about the nun taking him into the closet. Roger Barber spoke next. Sally Dale remembered him saying that a nun told a group of older boys to rape him.
Then one woman spoke about how nuns wiped her face in her own vomit, and Sally started to remember that the same thing had happened to her. She could hear the voice of one sister telling her, after she threw up her food, You will not be this stubborn! You will sit and you will eat it.A woman said she’d watched a nun hold a baby by its ankles and swing its head against a table until it stopped crying.

The orphanage has been long shut down, legal action filed turned into settlements - however, the children that survived still live with their dark past haunting over them. Some of them weren’t able to leave the orphanage alive.

image credit : Ian MacLellan for Buzzfeed News

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