One woman, the secrets of a small town, and a quest for justice that rocked a nation.
Catherine Corless could not have known where her interest in local history would lead her, as she began researching the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in Galway in 2010. Uncovering no less than 796 missing burial records of children born there, the stark truth of their place of rest became clear: a disused sewage tank on the old home site, where two boys had once stumbled upon bones.
But who were these lost children, and what had happened to them in the care of the Bons Secours order of nuns?
Determined to know more, Catherine’s painstaking research led to a quest for justice that continues still as, often against fierce resistance, she brought to light a terrible truth that shocked the world, impacted the Vatican, and led to a Commission of Investigation in Ireland.
Part memoir, part detective story, Belonging is both a personal account – of identity, beginnings and Catherine’s search for her own mother’s lost story – and a recounting of her forensic crusade on behalf of the lost babies of Tuam. It speaks to the tender love of a mother and her child; to the unforgettable screams which echoed through the corridors as babies were taken against the parent’s will; and to a mystery which continues to this day, as so many still search to know where, and to whom, they belong.
Catherine Corless is married to Aidan, and they have four children, Adrienne, Alan, Alicia and Aaron, and nine grandchildren. Her quiet, secluded life – rearing a family, farming, gardening, and enjoying her pastimes of art, crafts and family history research – changed drastically in 2014, after some research she had done into the Bons Secours Mother and Baby Home at Tuam was picked up by media and exposed worldwide. Her research revealed the harshness, cruelty and discrimination of the mothers who gave birth there, and their offspring. It also revealed the terrible secret of 800 babies who had died at the Home from 1925-1961, whose remains had been laid in a defunct sewage tank. Resulting from this revelation, the Irish government was pressurised…