Inside an abandoned former catholic girls farm/’rehabilitation unit’ I visited in mid 2013. Founded by a French sisterhood in 1953 – “the girls who came into the care of the sisters often had problems that could not be resolved in their normal environment and needed the loving care of others to restore their sense of self-worth.” The first residents stayed at the ’13’-room Manor built by its previous owner- and over the years the Catholic order embarked on a building program that included a 25-girl dormitory, two-story working/training block, visitor accommodation and sports facility. At its peak the farm was home to 70 girls. The last building was an expanded convent for the growing number of sisters at the facility. At it’s peak there were allegedly up to 50 nuns in the convent- that’s nearly 50/50. Rumours of fear and cruelty have been whispered about the place for years. The farm/borstal/school/convent was finally closed in the early 80’s.
An excerpt from a personal testimony: “It would take me a whole book to tell you about my life there. I was there from 1959 – 1963, it was a Convent for girls that had differences with their Parents. It was not a Borstal. The Nuns did their very best and they were very strict and had very high standards. If you proved that you were being a very good girl and conforming to expectations then you had the privilege of cleaning and cooking breakfast for the Nuns up at their Convent where they lived with Mother Superior.”
“On site was the Convent, a Chapel, Sewing factory, School, the Virginia Block where the girls lived and another building across from there also where the girls lived, and a hall down the back. It was all situated on a farm. The night Nun who was on duty always stood outside our dormitories saying her rosary until we fell asleep. Life was a lot tougher in those days and we had nothing, anything that we strived for we had to work very hard to get. No work, no money no hope, that’s where we came from. Only one very bad and evil nasty Nun lived there, Mother Aidin. All the girls hated her, she kind of emotionally tortured you very slyly so the other Nuns didn’t catch her and she was good at it.”