Sunday, October 23, 2011

In memory of the Family of Babies Children and Adults who are Buried in The Bog Meadows area of Miltown Cemetery and Throughout the Island of Ireland

Written by Aine Mac Aohda


Sister Monica had a special box
sat on her wooden desk beside her cane
her roll book, rosaries and bible.
Collections for the little mites
limbo babies
pagan babies
lost souls
the unbaptised
Nothing more to be said.
At age six we prayed hard for the babies
nameless and godless and without
questioning the word of God
or Mother Monica we felt loss.
I held an image of a lost soul in my mind
carried it with me into secondary school.
In childhood overheard muttered prayers
A grandmother weeping
a trail of tears when thought un-noticed.
Visits to ancient church ruins
flowers laid by the old stones
prayers said while watching the invisible
blow leaves around the ruins.
Babies denied recognition
Buried on the outer edge of their parish churches
Babies who had no place in heaven.
Their sin, still born, unbaptised at the time of death.
Parents lost in the mire of faith, grieved alone.
Under the landscapes of boundaries
and fields many mass graves lie denied.
For them I mourn…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On the "Churching" of Women

I heard of this practice the other day so I "googled" it and saw that there is quite a bit of information on it (see

Churching is a blessing by a priest that is bestowed upon women who have just given birth. It was usually done forty days after the birth, that period of time given to the mother to rest in preparation for returning to Church and participation in the sacraments.

I was surprised to find out that my own mother had been churched after the births of my five brothers and sisters and myself in the 1950's and 60's. The daughter of Irish immigrants, the churching ritual was practiced mostly in the UK and Ireland and was continued in this country for many years. However, it is no longer practiced in mainstream Catholic Churches like it once was. 

According to Church laws, any woman who died within that 40 day time period following the birth, gave birth to a stillborn baby, was unmarried, or was otherwise not churched for whatever reason was seen in the eyes of the Church as unclean and therefore could be denied burial in consecrated grounds. For that reason, many of them are buried in the Cillini.