Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
God see’s all, so we don’t have to be the ones to judge. Sister Augustine
I finished reading the book club pick early this month. What a choice, “The Home for Unwanted Girls” by Joanna Goodman. This is a story about a little known dark part of Canadian history. In 1955 when it was more profitable to look after children with mental challenges, orphanages had a “Change of Vocation” and became mental institutions.
Truth is stranger than fiction and fiction is the lie that tells a truth. I have found out disturbing truths about what has gone on in the world through fiction that I didn’t glean out of history books, newspapers, and magazine articles.
I found a magazine article by Conrad Black written for The National Post on June 30, 2016, about this dark period. “The chief characteristic of this era has been the same personnel teaching the same curriculum and caring for the hospitalized in the same edifices at 10 and then 20 times the cost to the taxpayers.”
Forgiveness is not easy. By design, it’s not meant to be easy. If it were, it would have little meaning. Yet, it’s one of the greatest gifts in this world that we can give to one another, and ourselves. Sister Augustine
Everything he says in that excerpt is true from what I can ascertain, but just like fiction is the lie that tells a truth, sometimes it seems we can use the truth to tell a lie. It isn’t even a lie of omission. It minimizes it to only a financial misdemeanor. This is how history is whitewashed so we don’t know what, “The same personnel teaching the same curriculum and caring for the hospitalized” means. It is such an innocuous sentence that doesn’t tell the story at all how children cared for as orphans on March 17, 1955, were cared for as idiots, mentally deficient, and retarded children on March 18, 1955. Mental patients were moved into what were formally orphanages, and orphans were moved into mental institutions. The biggest thing it doesn’t say is that they didn’t teach orphans and look after mental patients in the same facility. Everyone was now a mental patient.
How many innocuous sentences do we read in history books that don’t tell the whole story? To be fair it is not possible to tell the whole story, every person’s side of the story, and have everyone happy with what was said. This story however from what I can glean is so horrific it was easier to believe they were just taking extra money to care for orphans, but the orphans were still cared for, educated, and given the best life afforded by the circumstances, and the reason for it was because the Federal Government paid more for the care of mentally challenged children in asylums than orphans in orphanages.
The horror comes when we realize they deliberately misdiagnosed normal children as profoundly mentally deficient to do this.
If we were put in a mental facility and our medical diagnosis said we needed to be there, how could we prove we didn’t?
Man’s inhumanity to man is not the last word. The truth lies deeper. It is economic slavery, the savage struggle for a crumb, that has converted mankind into wolves and sheep. Alexander Berkman
Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn? Robert Burns
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. Albert Einstein
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