‘Now I’m able to forgive’: Alberta residential school survivor speaks out on Pope apology

Alberta’s residential school survivors are speaking out after Pope Francis issued a formal apology Friday for the harm caused by the harrowing system.

Mary Mitchell, who was a student at Holy Angel Indian Residential School, listened to the apology and tells 630 CHED she forgives the church.

“I do accept the pope’s apology,” she said. “It’s going to make me healthy and I’ll go on with my life and not have to live in the past because I’ve done that so many times already.

“Now I’m able to forgive.”

Read more: Pope Francis apologizes for residential schools at Vatican: ‘I ask for God’s forgiveness’

Holy Angel operated from 1900-1974 as a residential school on the outskirts of Fort Chipewyan, according to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Mitchell was a student there for nine years from 1961-1970. She started there when she was five years old.

Story continues below advertisement

Click to play video: 'Pope issues apology for Church role in Residential schools' Pope issues apology for Church role in Residential schools

Pope issues apology for Church role in Residential schools

Mitchell said the students at the school suffered sexual assault from the priests and the nuns at the school and said she left the Catholic church “a long time ago” when she was still young. She’s 66 now.

“It’s time to go on with life, and enjoy life, and not have that anger in my heart or take that to my grave or anything like that,” she said.

“I’m ready to just say, ‘You know what? It’s time to close the doors on the past.’”

Read more: What lead to the historic papal apology? How the Catholic Church has changed its tone

The apology comes at the end of a week of meetings with a delegation of Indigenous elders, leaders and chiefs from Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

“All this made me feel two things very strongly — indignation and shame,” the Pope said Friday, before a packed room at the Vatican. “Indignation because it is not right to accept evil, and even worse to grow accustomed to evil as if it were an inevitable part of the historical process.

“All these things are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church — I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart, I am very sorry.”

Click to play video: 'Inuit delegation leader says he was ‘extremely touched’ by Pope’s delivery of apology' Inuit delegation leader says he was ‘extremely touched’ by Pope’s delivery of apology

Inuit delegation leader says he was ‘extremely touched’ by Pope’s delivery of apology

Outside St. Peter’s Basilica, Indigenous peoples from across Canada celebrated their resilience and survival in a jubilant round dance around the Vatican Obelisk. Church officials, tourists and Italians joined them hand-in-hand.

The Pope also promised to come to Canada to visit with survivors on their land, but didn’t say whether another apology would be issued on Turtle Island.

Story continues below advertisement

– With files from Elizabeth McSheffrey, Global News

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source