Sisters of Nazareth

Sisters of Nazareth, formerly known as Poor Sisters of Nazareth, is a Roman Catholic Apostolic congregation of religious sisters.

 

In 2019 the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry issued a report on the Sisters of Nazareth orphanages in Aberdeen, Cardonald, Kilmarnock and Lasswade.  The Inquiry concluded that between 1933 and 1984, children who had been in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth orphanages had encountered sexual abuse “of the upmost depravity”.  Since then the Sisters of Nazareth has become a major financial contributor to the Scottish Redress Scheme.

 

The Sisters of Nazareth operated four residential children’s homes in Scotland from 1862 until the last one closed in 1985, namely:-

Nazareth House – Aberdeen

Nazareth House – Cardonald

Nazareth House – Kilmarnock

Nazareth House – Lasswade

In 1998 many allegations of cruelty and sexual abuse were made in relation to numerous institutions run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

In 2019 the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry issued a report on the Sisters of Nazareth’s orphanages in Aberdeen, Cardonald, Lasswade and Kilmarnock.  The report concluded that between 1933 and 1984 children who had been in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth orphanages had encountered sexual abuse “of the upmost depravity”.

The Chairwoman of the Inquiry, Lady Smith stated “The Nazareth Houses in Scotland were, for many children, places of fear, hostility and confusion, places where children were physically abused and emotionally degraded with impunity”.

In 2000 Marie Docherty, also known as Sister Alphonso, was convicted of four charges of child cruelty, charges she denied, but was not sentenced to prison for the crimes.  She was found guilty of slapping and force feeding a girl at the Aberdeen home.  She was convicted of punching and slapping another girl and on one occasion pushing her against a radiator and of throwing dirty underwear and a third girl and force feeding her sweets.

During the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in 2018, Sister Alphonso finally admitted that she had carried out a catalogue of child abuse at Nazareth House homes in the 1960s and 1970s.  In a statement given to the Inquiry she said she was prepared “to acknowledge and accept” she was responsible for the abuse and stated “this is a matter of regret, it troubled me significantly … and I am truly sorry and apologise for the hurt I have caused to the persons I have affected.

The Sisters of Nazareth were also involved in child migration prior to 1956 with many children being migrated from the UK to Australia.