St Michael's Home, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales
St Michael's Home was established in 1874 as a Diocesan home for Roman Catholic children placed by the workhouse authorities and by those (from 2 years old) placed by friends. In 1884, the Home occupied premises on Francis Street (now St Michael's Avenue), Treforest, Pontypridd, with accommodation for up to 100 children aged from 2 to 14 years.
In 1887, a 99 year lease was taken out on the premises by the then Diocese of Newport, with Lord Bute making a substantial contribution to the cost. The Home at this period was run by Sister Fltyd Morgan, assisted by several members of the third order of St Dominic. With advancing age eventually forcing the women to give up their work, the Bishop of Newport, John Cuthbert Hedley requested the Sisters of Nazareth to take over the running of the Home, which took place on 1st September, 1905. Two months later, the girls were transferred to Cardiff Nazareth House, with the boys remaining at what was now the Treforest Nazareth House.
Initially, the Superior of Cardiff Nazareth House, Mother Lucy Burden, also took charge of the Treforest Home. She was succeeded in 1907 by Mother Mary Aidan Maher, with Mother Mary Laurentius Reid taking over in 1913. Mother St. Mildred O'Keefe was appointed Superior in 1919, with her successor in 1922 being Mother Mary Rita Coakley.
On March 24th, 1924, the Sisters purchased a property known as Glan-yr-afon in the Sketty district of Swansea. In September of the same year, the Sisters and boys moved to Glan-yr-afon and the Treforest property was handed back to the Diocese.
Treforest County Secondary School subsequently occupied the site but the old buildings have now gone to be replaced by modern housing.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Nazareth House, 169-175 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8DB. The archivist is Christine Hughes. The archive contains material from the very beginnings of the order in the 1850s up until the present day. The archive is not open to the public and does not have facilities for personal searchers, although exceptions can be made for Sisters and for academic researchers. Enquiries are welcomed by post only for privacy and confidentiality reasons and replies are by also letter. There is no fee for dealing with enquiries, although donations to the Sisters are appreciated.
- Fothergill, Anne Memoirs of a Nazareth House Girl (2013, Quoin Publishing). Memories of the Middlesbrough Nazareth House.
- Gray-Wilson, Shirley It isn't Always Raining: Children in Care, 1939-1948 (2000). Life in the Carlisle and Newcastle Nazareth Houses.
- Kelly, Judith Rock Me Gently: A Memoir Of A Convent Childhood (2006, Bloomsbury). A memoir of life at Bexhill Nazareth House in the early 1950s. The factual veracity of this book has been challenged, and charges of plagiarism levelled against the author (e.g. see Catholic Herald 2/9/2005). The introduction to the current edition of the book acknowledges some of these criticisms.
- Reilley, Frances Suffer The Little Children: The True Story of An Abused Convent Upbringing (2009, Orion). Memories of the Belfast Nazareth House.
- Nuns 'abused hundreds of children' (Guardian article 16/8/1998)
- Sisters of No Mercy (Guardian article 1/4/2003)
- Compensation for care homes abuse (BBC News item 15/8/2006)
- Sisters of Nazareth become second Catholic order to admit to child abuse (Guardian article 14/1/2014)
- Children at Derry care homes were made to eat vomit, inquiry told (Guardian article 27/1/2014)
- A Time for Penance? (BBC Scotland 'Frontline' TV feature on abuse in Scottish Nazareth Houses)
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