For some children, being hit was “a normal aspect of daily life”. The judge added: “Children were physically abused. They were hit with and without implements, either in an excess of punishment or for reasons which the child could not fathom.
“The implements used included leather straps, the ‘Lochgelly tawse’, hairbrushes, sticks, footwear, rosary beads, wooden crucifixes and a dog’s lead.”
Children who were bed-wetters were also abused physically and emotionally by being beaten, put in cold baths and humiliated in ways that included having to “wear” their wet sheets.
The inquiry heard that some children were alleged to have been killed, but found that the deaths were not deliberate.
One boy, six-year-old Samuel Carr, died of a severe E.coli infection although the inquiry said he had also been malnourished and had received a severe beating from a nun.
Lady Smith added: “To children, ‘home’ should mean a safe place where they know they will find unconditional loving care provided by adults they can trust; a place they will find light whenever life outside has grown dark; a place which does not fill them with fear; a place where they will not suffer abuse.
“The provision, by the order, of homes for the residential care of children in a way which routinely and consistently met that description would have been in keeping with their mission and with Christ’s teaching.