Prayers Are Not Enough

I sit at my desk this morning, listening to the Robins calling to each other, the sweet twittering of their babies in the nest tucked in the beams beneath our deck a melodious accompaniment to this gorgeous day.

The leaves of the trees shimmer and dance against the peacock blue of the sky above. The yellow wings of a Finch flitter through the greenery. They are passing through on their migratory route north. Their song adding a sweetness to the morning symphony.

And I listen and watch and let the beauty sink in and still my heart is heavy. My spirit uneasy.

I am grateful the media continue to report on the discovery of the remains of 215 children discovered under the soil of the former Kamloops Residential School.

I am grateful the story has not been brushed over, buried like so much of the truth of what happened in those dark days of our history.

And I feel sad. Confused. Angry.

Where is the Catholic Church?

Where is the Pope’s voice of care, concern and above all, admission and accountability?

The Bishops are offering up prayers.

Prayers are not enough.


In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission requested funding of $1.5 million from the Federal Government to assist them in searching for what they knew to be true. There were many bodies of children buried beneath the soils of the network of approximately 140 Residential Schools that were in operation, run by churches of many denominations, across Canada from the 1880s until the final school closed in 1996.

Their request was denied.

In 2018, despite the urging of Prime Minister Trudeau along with survivors and families of the children, Pope Francis refused to provide an apology for the wrong-doings of the Catholic Church.

Today, the Pontiff remains silent on the discovery of 215 children’s bodies buried in unmarked graves on the site of a school run by his Church.

The Government of Canada has not yet offered to fund further investigations using the same technology to help find the bodies of lost children on the sites of other Residential Schools.

Let us not let their silence be a reflection of the truth. Let us raise our voices. Let us demand action.


Where Is The Church?

Two-hundred and fifteen
two-hundred and fifteen
children’s lives
to a system 
that did not
for the innocents
and treated their souls
as fodder for their own redemption.

Two hundred-and fifteen
children’s lives
while they stood by
and watched
as priests and nuns
Bishops and Cardinals
the evidence
of their disgrace
beneath the soil
of the lands
that once belonged
to the people
whose souls
they professed to be saving.

Two hundred and fifteen
while the Church remains

Where are you?
Your prayers
are empty
when your voices
remain silent
to the truth
of your transgressions.

Where are your coffers
to support the hands
for truth
for the bodies
who must be found
to bring comfort
to the families
who suffered so much
at your hands
holding high the cross
with which you hammered
your faith
into their bodies and minds 
to erase their culture
their traditions
their spirits

Where is this church
that promised to love
all God’s children
in the truth
of all that they did
to harm
these innocents?

Oh God,
how can your people
find comfort
how can they find their missing children
when your emissaries on earth
stand silent
in the soil
with the blood
of all that was done
in your name
to steal the lives
and futures
of your children?

Is your Church missing too?
Is its faith lost
beneath the dark soils
of its past
that cannot be erased
and must never be forgotten.

9 thoughts on “Prayers Are Not Enough

  1. sadly – but rightly – this issue-du-jour will not be swept under a carpet; and sadly too, it is one-tip of a many-tipped iceberg

    the solution – and there is one – is rooted in children, in giving every child equality of opportunity, for all Canadians. What I mean, is a new approach to education that follows and supports kids from K-through-Ph.D. … because education lifts people, families, and communities, and can lift nations too – because education first lifts the spirits, and then lifts people out of chronic poverty and all the attendant issues of substance abuse, chronic unemployment and discrimination both on and off-reserve. The massive amount of pressure being brought to light right now sells newspapers in an election year – but sadly we need fewer leaders like Mr. Trudeau and more leaders like Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Mr. Sinclair. And we should have a first-nations Governor-General …

    And faith leaders of all stripes need to pull their head out of their collective asses and do more than pray mea culpa – because, as someone once said, “If we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem” … but that was about race in the U.S. in the 60s, and we know how little progress has been made since then.

    This is not a white problem or a first nation’s problem, this is not a political issue or a human rights issue or a religious one – this is about how we all live together in a country as equal citizens of our country, because otherwise we cannot have a country that is the envy of the world, as we so often boast, but one with its head hung in shame.

    We all own this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It happens when a church puts Christ on the back burner to be a political organization, with all the ugly skeletons to hide. While I know that prayer does miracles, and for me there is little else to be done, I agree the Pope needs to bring this into the greater light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too believe prayer does miracles. Alas, my prayers for the Pope to bring this into the greater light seem to be falling on the deaf ears of the Church. Thank you for your comment – -and yes, they have many skeletons to hide, and much practice doing it. ❤


  3. Dear Louise, thank you for your thoughts, comments, observations about the Kamloops tragedy. They have opened many forbidden doors to conversations that should have taken place eons ago. Just who will take part in these discussions remains to be seen. As for the RC church and its hierarchy, their SILENCE is deafening. My elementary years were in a convent school, enough said. This is not the beginning, this issue has been brewing for sometime, it does not end with Kamloops. The time for prayers is long gone. The time for positive action is now. Sadly this government speaks empty words, as have those before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This tragedy hurts so deeply at a heart level. Where is the church in all of this? “They”(church and government) knew and did nothing and continue to do nothing
    Let the voices rise up and take action…more will come to light till denial is no longer an option.


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