Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We Owe Her

"She was alone, a voice in the wilderness, and she finally got drowned out.''

On Saturday, Sister of St Joseph Catherine Mulkerrin was called to her eternal reward:
Mulkerrin "was a gentle, caring woman with a wonderful sense of humor which those who knew her saw manifested in many ways," the order said in a statement.

As assistant director of the Boston Archdiocesan Office for Victims of Abuse from 1992 to 1994, Mulkerrin received allegations of clergy abuse and dealt directly with victims. She once said she heard allegations against more than 100 priests during that period.

Many of her memos to supervisors were later released as part of lawsuits filed against the archdiocese by alleged victims.

"I know I sound like a broken record," according to a memo from Mulkerrin that was released in 2002, "but we need to put in church bulletins: `It has come to our attention a priest stationed here between 19XX and 19XX may have molested children — please contact ... .'"

She said archdiocese leaders ignored her repeated concerns that priests accused of sexual abuse were allowed to return to parish work without the kind of supervision she had recommended.

"I expressed concern, consternation. What are we thinking of? What are you thinking of?"...

"She really confronted the Archdiocese of Boston six years before the sexual abuse scandal broke out. ... I think that she was incredibly brave to do that," said Sheila Boyle, 60, who received a settlement from the church after she was abused by a now-defrocked priest. "It took a tremendous amount of guts to do that at a time when no one really knew the breadth or scope of crisis was."...

Mulkerrin became a nun in 1955, working as a teacher and college librarian. She served six years as president of her order in Boston, resigning after her cancer diagnosis in 1984. She later began working for the Boston Archdiocese.
Before it was too late, she tried to remind chancery about Christ... thank God she tried.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory... and may her heroic voice and example never fade from our midst.