BURLINGTON, VT – Former orphans of Burlington’s Saint Joseph’s Orphanage are sharing their stories of abuse in a new exhibit at the Fletcher Free Library.
Voices of Saint Joseph’s Orphanage focuses on the abuse children faced at the Catholic-run institution with an emphasis on the path forward for survivors.
The orphanage housed over 13,000 children between 1854 until its closure in 1974. But it wasn’t until the 90’s that survivors began to come forward to report abuse by nuns and other clerical personnel. The stories shared by survivors were not believed at first.
One former resident, Brenda Hannon, said exhibit’s purpose is “to remember, so that what happened to us, and the abuse and the horrors, would hopefully never happen to any more children.”
“Our stories are true, they are now out in the open, they are no longer suppressed,” Hannon adds.
The exhibit opens Thursday with a reception and runs through February 18, 2023. It’s open to the public during the library’s regular hours, with dedicated ‘quiet study’ time on Sundays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.