The discovery of 800 babies skeletal remains in a septic tank on a site that was once a Catholic home for unwed mothers has put the spotlight on the Catholic Church and its past practices once again. The septic tank was packed to the brim with bones of children from newborns up until about the age of eight years old. This was discovered on a site in Ireland, according to Yahoo News on June 4.
The septic tank filled with the children's bones was first discovered in 1975 by locals after the covering of concrete slabs broke apart revealing the tank. It was thought this burial ground dated back to the potato famine and that the bodies were buried there after they had died sometime around 1840.
Little did they know that the bones were from a more modern time in history. The bones came from a home for unwed mothers, or "fallen" girls as they were referred to back then. The home closed their doors in 1961. It was in operation for 35 years, opening its doors in 1925.
MSN News reports today it was new research that found the origin of the children's bones and put the date of these deaths much later than the potato famine. Historian Catherine Corless made the discovery when studying death records for the St. Mary's home in Tuam County, Galway.
The records she found suggested a large septic tank near the home was used as a burial site. She found the evidence that the bones discovered in 1975 were not from the potato famine, but from the unwed mother's home.
Children born of unwed mothers could not be baptized in the Catholic Church, so that meant they could not be entered into a Catholic cemetery. Apparently the septic tank was their answer to a burial place for the 796 children who are documented as dying during the time the home was open.
These children died from malnutrition and infectious diseases such as TB or measles. A government document showed that in 1944 an inspection of the home found children with "pot bellies" and many of the children appeared "emaciated."
A child's pot belly is a sign of malnutrition, you often see this on those television commercials that are showing the starving children from around the world. This sad and horrific sight of close to 800 skeletal remains has horrified people from around the globe.
The home is long gone and newer houses now stand on the grounds around this septic tank. The locals have cared for the lot of land that was left where the septic tank is buried. They no longer want the children to remain in an unmarked grave.
They are planning to erect a monument with each one of the 796 children's name on it. A fundraising committee has been formed to do this. They do not want these children to ever be forgotten.