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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Philomena Lee returns to honour her late son

Brian Byrne

Published 02/06/2014 | 02:30

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Philomena Lee, daughter Jane and son Kevin at the grave of her son Michael A. Hess in Roscrea. Picture: PJ Wright
Philomena Lee, daughter Jane and son Kevin at the grave of her son Michael A. Hess in Roscrea. Picture: PJ Wright
Philomena Lee is portrayed by Dame Judi Dench in the film Philomena
Philomena Lee is portrayed by Dame Judi Dench in the film Philomena

PHILOMENA Lee returned to the convent she was sent to as an unmarried mum to support fellow mothers who lost their children there.

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The 81-year-old, whose tragic story inspired the Oscar-nominated movie 'Philomena', joined hundreds of mourners at an "emotional" memorial at the former Sean Ross Abbey Mother and Baby Home in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, yesterday.

The service took place to honour mothers and children who died in the care of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, and who are buried on the property.

Organiser with the Adoption Rights Agency and The Philomena Project, Mary Lawlor, described the hour-long memorial as "very, very emotional".

She said: "We had mothers there today who were looking for their children, and wanting to know where they were buried there, or if they were buried there."

It is still not known how many mothers and children were buried in the grounds – many in unmarked graves.

The remembrance included readings from the now adult children born at Sean Ross.

There were musical performances and the laying of flowers and flags representing US states to which many children born at Sean Ross Abbey were adopted.

Ms Lee, from Newcastle West, Co Limerick, attended the event with her children Kevin and Jane.

Irish Independent

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