The Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston, Ont., have issued an open letter, urging the Catholic church to issue an apology following the discovery of 215 children buried in unmarked gravesites at a former Kamloops, B.C., residential school.
“We, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, wish to express our profound sorrow, shame and regret at the abuse perpetrated on the Indigenous Peoples of Canada by both the Catholic Church and the federal and provincial governments of Canada,” the letter stated.
The Motherhouse, which houses local nuns, called specifically on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a formal apology on behalf of the Catholic church for the residential school system, which worked to strip Indigenous people of their cultures and identity, and often subjected Indigenous children to physical, mental and sexual abuse.
While the federal government and all other churches involved in running the schools have issued an apology, the Catholic church has not, despite repeated calls for action.
“We pray that the discovery at the residential school in Kamloops will be the tipping point for all Canadians to implement the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” the Sisters said.
The Canadian Conference of catholic Bishops did not provide a comment for this story. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience can access this 24-hour, toll-free and confidential National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.
— With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly