Former students of a defunct school for the deaf in Montreal allege they were abused by the nuns who worked there

Over 40 deaf women allege they were physically, sexually and/or psychologically abused by nuns while attending the now-defunct Institution des Sourdes-Muettes de Montréal, a school for the deaf established by Catholic congregation the Sisters of Providence.

The women are represented by La Maison des femmes sourdes de Montréal (MFSM), who filed an application to institute a class action lawsuit against the Sisters of Providence Wednesday. The MFSM is an organization that provides services to deaf women across the city.

According to Trudel Johnston & Lespérance, the law firm representing the MFSM, the nuns “used the power and authority bestowed on them by the religious community to abuse children in their care and to instill fear in all those who might come forward.”

The request submitted to authorize the lawsuit includes graphic descriptions of sexual abuse alleged by an anonymous member of the MSFM, who says she was routinely violated by two nuns.

The member claims she suffered various health issues as a result of the abuse, and brought said issues to the attention of a novice at the institution. The member says the novice relayed this information to one of the nuns that was allegedly abusing her.

According to the member, she was punished by the nun for speaking to the novice about her health problems. The nun allegedly dragged her to the furnace and threatened to throw her into the fire.

The member also alleges that she was prohibited from contacting either of her parents while at the school.

The lawsuit request goes on to allege how numerous other students shared similar experiences at the Institution des Sourdes-Muettes, which ran from 1851 to 1975.

Trudel Johnston & Lespérance are encouraging anyone who believes they were abused by the nuns of the Institution des Sourdes-Muettes de Montréal to contact the firm.

The Sisters of Providence have yet to respond to our requests for comment on these allegations. The charges have not yet been demonstrated in court.

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