I am proud of the Sun Journal’s decision to publish the stories of the former residents of St Joseph’s Orphanage (June 18). Several years ago, I interviewed a number of those women for the Franco-American collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College. It was a heart-rending experience to hear what they had gone through and how they lived with the effects. Hopefully, these women — and others who were at the orphanage — will now have a measure of peace. I commend Sister Beaudoin for her thoughtful response.

It is important for people to acknowledge such lessons from the past. While we can blame some individuals and their superiors in the church hierarchy for what went on at the Marcotte Home, we should also take a hard look at ourselves. At that time, poor parents had no choice but to rely on unpaid, untrained nuns for child care. Lack of health care created too many widows and widowers, or left parents with mental health issues unsupported.

Society has come a long way since then, but there are still tens of thousands of Maine children struggling to meet basic needs, including food, shelter and medicine. Let’s not forget them, either.

James Myall, Topsham

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