The report, drawn up by one of the Department officials following this visit, made a number of observations regarding the difficulties facing St Michael’s: A factor in the unsatisfactory condition and management of the residential home in St. Michaels has been that it is looked upon as the poor relation by the Convent and has not been properly supported by it. Discreet hints were given to [Sr Clarice]4 that the residential home demands attention as good as can be given to any sector of the Convent’s education Commitment ... ... At present there are 65 children in the residential home which is too many for the kind of set-up there. Apart from this, a small town like Cappoquin would not find it easy to absorb and integrate a community of children as large as the present. Add to that the difficulty in getting the Convent to allocate suitable staff to St. Michaels in adequate numbers and the future might seem most appropriately to lie with two modern, well-staffed group homes accommodating a total of about 30 children between them.
Sr Clarice was a retired teacher in the primary school who had a ‘fair’ degree of contact with the children in the group homes. She recalled that, in the early 1990s, Sr Viola asked her to help out the staff in the group homes and to ‘be there to help them’. She was already aware that the staff were having difficulties with Sr Callida at the time and, although she says she did not know the specifics, ‘I think they were getting contradictory messages about the children who were in the home and they were stressed’.
Another nun, Sr Clarice, described the circumstances of Mr Restin’s departure. At the time, she was the teaching principal of the girls’ primary school in Cappoquin and a former Superior of the convent. She had contact with the Industrial School because some of the children attended the primary school and she also helped out at weekends and holiday periods. She remembered Mr Restin as a kind of supervisor in the institution. He was an assistant leader in the Scouts. One day a scout leader warned her about him saying ‘Sr Clarice, go home to Sr Carina and tell her to try and get rid of Mr Restin and do that soon’.