Every day of my life as a wee child was spent entering this chapel door, which adjoined Goldenbridge convent. It was one of two side entrances into the chapel. The other entrance on the far side was mainly used at evening time for benediction. No outsiders ordinarily attended the chapel. It was mainly in usage for children; nuns and local visiting priest.
The nuns entered the body of chapel via the convent, the latter of which which lay directly opposite this entrance. In fact, the chapel was an arm off the convent.
I’ve jazzed up the photo to make it appear surreal, as to me that was how I’d adequately describe the feelings felt every day when having to go several times to this chapel for Latin mass and benediction. I knew exactly what awaited my arrival there in terms of rituals. The nuns had their allotted pews at the back of the centre aisle. Children from the industrial “school” had to wait under the cloister in all sorts of weather until the priest had arrived at 6: 55 a.m. to say mass at 7: 00 a.m..
If this two-way door could speak, it would tell of all the children who had to be carried out of the chapel because they had fainted due to lack of food, not having had any sustenance since 6: 00 p.m the evening before, and that would have consisted only of two miserable mouldy slices of white bread, and a plastic cup of sugarless black cocoa. Some children who fainted were invariably told by the industrial “school” nun that they were looking for attention from the convent nuns. How absurd, considering that the pallidness on their faces was self evident that they were weak and unwell. Notwithstanding also that there was no interaction with the convent nuns at all. The majority of the children wouldn’t have even been cognisant of their names. Never the Twain did meet. Such was the stigma attached to Goldenbridge industrial “school” children. Shame on the Irish judiciary for having sent children – who were in need of care and nurturing – to the religious who were so cold. It had been part of the training of nuns in general in other industrial “schools” not to get attached to children in their care. That was so at odds with the LOVE they lavished on the enormous crucified Christ that adorned the main altar wall where the priest said mass in the chapel.