In memory of Derry’s lost babies

Relatives of the still-born lay flowers at the new monument dedicated to their memory at the City Cemetery on Sunday. 2202JM32
Relatives of the still-born lay flowers at the new monument dedicated to their memory at the City Cemetery on Sunday. 2202JM32
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A considerable crowd gathered at the City Cemetery on Sunday afternoon for the unveiling of a monument in memory of all the stillborn babies buried there in unmarked graves.

The poignant dedication ceremony was attended by many mothers, fathers and extended family of those who had tragically lost children at birth.

Group pictured at the City Cemetery on Sunday after the unveiling of a monument in honour of the still-born interred there. From left, Colr. Jim Clifford, Colr. Patricia Logue, Phyllis Callan, Colr. Paul Fleming, Mickey ??????, Frances Meenan, Fr. Stephen McLaughlin and Bebe McLaughlin. 2202JM33

Group pictured at the City Cemetery on Sunday after the unveiling of a monument in honour of the still-born interred there. From left, Colr. Jim Clifford, Colr. Patricia Logue, Phyllis Callan, Colr. Paul Fleming, Mickey ??????, Frances Meenan, Fr. Stephen McLaughlin and Bebe McLaughlin. 2202JM33

Until very recently, stillborn and un-baptised babies were often buried in unmarked graves or outside consecrated ground as was the former practice of the Catholic Church.

This harrowing tradition left countless families with nowhere to mourn their lost children and no official recognition of their presence in the world.

The new monument at City Cemetery is quite close to where the unmarked graves of babies are situated and offers a place of remembrance to those grieving.

Fr Stephen McLaughlin of St. Mary’s Chapel, Creggan, offered a blessing as part of Sunday’s dedication ceremony.

A touching dedication on the new monument reads: “To mark the presence in City Cemetery of stillborn babies and infants whose remains rest in unmarked graves. May they rest in peace. Until we have the chance to meet, you stay with God above, and from here on earth we send to you our everlasting love.”

A second monument will be unveiled next Sunday, February 27, at Altnagelvin Cemetery.