Mother Superior And Child




From last night’s BBC2 documentary ‘Ireland’s Lost Babies’, Sacred Heart nun, Sister Sarto Harney, [Mother Superior of Bessborough Mother and Child Home] made a reappearance.

Cathy Deasy, who was adopted, had been trying to trace her mother for years and wrote many times to Sister Sarto. Sister Sarto suggested that her mother was dead.

But Cathy discovered her mother was alive and had spent 35 years in an institution after giving birth to her in a mother and baby home.

She confronted Sister Sarto in 2002 and captured the moment on video.


From 1996, in an RTÉ Prime Time documentary Sister Sarto said:

“I think it is the right of every individual to know their background and we help in any way we can to put people in contact with their parent of origin.”


Earlier this year on TV3, Sister Sarto said in relation to Bessborough Mother and Baby Home that no babies were adopted or vaccinated without the mothers’ permission:

“I think it’s sad that it’s come to this. We gave our lives to looking after the girls and we’re certainly not appreciated for doing it.”

Ireland’s Lost Babies is on RTÉ One tonight at 10:15pm.

Previously: Staying In Tonight?

After Philomena

The Art Of Storytelling

Anything Good On BBC News At Ten?

Cross Her Sacred Heart

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14 thoughts on “Mother Superior And Child

  1. daithi

    Sarto is a very very nasty piece of work , protecting those who did wrong and shameful what she did to girls and their children…….

    1. Atticus

      Watched the documentary last night and it was truly heartbreaking.

      One thing thing that really irked me was that the convents constantly said that they couldn’t give out any details due to confidentiality laws. The church didn’t mind going against the law of the land when they were protecting paedophiles though, instead they’d say they were bound by canon law.

  2. Der

    They weren’t convents or homes, they were prisons. These women were imprisoned against their will and had their families ripped apart. Yes a single mother and her kid IS a family. Its just so upsetting. Those poor women, those poor kids/adults.

    1. Hosannah in the Hiace


      they didn’t leave as they would have been homeless otherwise. ever wonder why homelessness wasn’t an issue then.

  3. java

    Why is there never any mention of the families who put these women into these Homes? Surely blame should be directed towards those also.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Tough one that…. particularly when you are talking about an extremely religious and superstitious people governed by a local priest or bishop, a revered and feared individual of any town or city. It was from those people that the ordinary folk took their direction.

      I know, each and every individual is capable of making their own mind up… under the judgmental and all seeing eye of the RCC.

    2. Sancho

      Some blame should certainly go to the society which didnt stand up to the church. In the end, Irish society facilitated these places. A willingness to turna blind eye was certainly needed. Also, the complete failure of society to look after these vunerable people mean they had often had few options. However, these nuns and others at the coal face; they knew what they were doing and exactly what was happening. And they still did it. Of course, as Clampers says, this horrible situation was result of De Valera’s Ireland. There was huge pressure on families to act in concert with the church. As a result, they really did lack free will in the process.

  4. ScareySarahCarey

    Over 90% of schools in Ireland still have the Catholic Church as their “patrons”

    Excuse me while I vomit.

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