The Provincial of the Vincentians, Fr Gregory Brett cm, formally apologises to victims of sex abuse at St Stanislaus Boarding School, Australia's oldest Catholic boys' boarding school ran by the Vincentians.
At least 160 students were abused by former staff and priests at the school between the 1970s and 1990s.
In his message, Fr Greg expressed:
We have failed to live the Gospel of Christ and the vision of St. Vincent. I am very aware of the failure to protect and nurture, in a safe environment, you, the victims of sexual abuse: young men placed in our care.
This abuse, carried out by Vincentians, has destroyed and impoverished your lives. We have failed you…..
So, tonight, I stand before you as the Provincial of the Vincentian community. I stand before you to apologise to you unreservedly, the victims of sexual abuse by members of our community. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. It should never happened, but it has.
I acknowledge that your lives have been so diminished, so affected, so destroyed. Those I talked with in the last eighteen monthstold me of your hopesfor the future, your normal development before these attacks occurred. Your futures were so affected by these heinous, criminal acts carried out on you by our Vincentian members. I am so sorry.
He further admits that saying sorry is not enough and assured the victims that the school has responded positively through the leadership of its current principal, Dr Anne Wenham. He also shared the soul searching, implementation and monitoring put in place to ensure child-safe environments in the Vincentian community.
Victims of sexual abuse at Australia's oldest Catholic boys' boarding school have welcomed a formal apology, but say there is a long way to go in the healing process.
(Image from the cover of the apology service booklet)