Excerpt from Report of the Inquiry Instituted by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Exeter, as Visitor of the Orphans' Home, Established by the Sisters of Mercy, at Morice Town, Devonport, Into the Truth of Certain Statements Published in the "Devonport Telegraph" February 10th, 1849
Selina jones, daughter of Elizabeth Jones, residing at 19, Barrack Street, Devonport, father was an able seaman on board the Britannia, and died in the Naval Hospital at Stonehouse, about Christmas, 1841, states as follows - I am eleven years of age. I was in the Orphans' Home, in Milne Place, nearly three months, and left there on Friday 19th January last. During the time I was there it was the practice to rise at five or half-past five o'clock in the morning. At six o'clock the bell rang for prayers in the oratory, which was the room over the back-parlour the walls were covered with red cloth, there was a raised plat form also covered with red cloth, and on this stood a table covered with blue cloth, and on the table was a cross, I think between two to three feet high. At first only the cross stood on the table, then Sister Catherine brought a picture of the Virgin Mary, and placed by the side of it. The table on which the cross stood was against the east wall of the room. The Lady Superior, Sister Catherine, and Sister Caroline, wore crosses suspended from their waists. The Lady Superior and Sister Catherine, always wore crosses, but Sister Caroline did not always wear them. The children on entering the oratory used to bow to the cross. When I went to the house first, there were only two other children residing there. Sister Catherine told us we were always to bow to the cross when we went into the oratory, and shew us how we should do it. The Sisters had prayers many times a day, but the children only went to the oratory once, that. Was in the morning. The Lady Superior, or Sister Catherine, usually read prayers in the oratory, but several times an old gentleman, who came from a distant part, read the prayers. Friday and Wednesday were called Festival days, no work was done on those days.
The publication of these statements, and the circulation of various idle rumours and clandestine charges, which had been made by various parties, evidently ignorant of the real facts, in the hope of bringing discredit on the intentions and objects for which the Sisters of Mercy have so non devoted them selves, caused the Lord Bishop to institute the investigation, which will be found in the following pages.
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