They were young and for years suffered moral but above all physical abuse, including sexual violence, within the Catholic congregations of the Good Shepherd in several cities in France: Angers, Orléans and even Avignon and Marseilles. These children who are now women, sometimes elderly, were sent to the Bon Pasteur boarding schools because justice considered them “problematic”: too free, too lazy or sometimes because their mothers could not take care of themselves. of them in too large a family.
From 1940 to the end of the 1970s, these women, probably thousands, were victims of atrocity. During all these years, these mistreatments were kept under silence, but today the word is released.
France Bleu Provence collected the testimony of two victims: Yolande Scarponi, former resident of the Bon Pasteur in Marseille, and Eveline Le Bris, from Angers. Placed under court orders in Good Shepherd congregations in the 1960s, they suffered physical and psychological abuse.
Yolande Scarponi was torn from her siblings when she was 8 years old. She was then placed in the congregation of the Good Shepherd on boulevard Baille, in Marseille: “All the school holidays, the days when there was no school, we did maintenance. I think it’s of slavery. I was under the control of Sister Marie-Thérèse of the Sacred Heart, she constantly told me that if I was there it was because my parents did not love me. We were nothing. It was very difficult until the moment I gave up on living.”
On the other side of France, Eveline Le Bris undergoes the same treatment from 16 to 19 years old at the Bon Pasteur in Angers: “The nuns were the madam mothers and the children’s judges, the touts to get them free labor”. Between 35,000 and 40,000 former residents may have been victims of such abuse.
“Girls died in these Bon Pasteur, died of grief, of suicide, some were beaten too. They put me under a chemical jacket.” – Eveline, former resident
United in association“The Daughters of the Good Shepherd” take legal action to seek compensation from the institution, but also from the State, even if the facts are prescribed.
The “pardon” requested
They know they can’t expect much from managers, but they say they want at least one “pardon”. With their lawyer, Maître Yasmina Belmokhtar of the Lille Bar, they also hope the opening of a parliamentary commission of inquiry.
If you are concerned by this affair, if you have been a victim and would like to testify or find help, you can join the association “Les filles du Bon Pasteur” on its page Facebook. Today, 48 members have joined the association, which is calling for other testimonies.