Safeguarding Children

MSHR Safeguarding Children

We, the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, as Members of a Religious Missionary Congregation strive to be at the service of God’s people through our various ministries.  Our mission extends beyond geographical borders and we live and work in many different countries and cultures.

We recognise the fundamental right of each child and young person to be respected, nurtured, cared for and protected.  This right is embedded in the Gospel as well as the civil laws of different nations.  It is also enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in various Church Documents.

Our Child Protection Document outlines the guiding principles, policy statement and procedures for the care and protection of children and young people with whom we have contact especially those in our care in the various institutions where we work. It expresses our commitment to best practice for safeguarding children and young people, for providing a safe environment for them and for responding to allegations or suspicions of abuse.

Our MSHR Child Protection Policy and Procedures are intended for all our sisters and for co-workers employed in our houses and in the various institutions administered by us. Each one is expected to know and comply with the contents of this document.

Guiding Principles

These principles are derived from:

  • Gospel Values
  • Bishop Shanahan’s Vision for Children
  • International Law
  • The Civil Law of any Country where we live and work


Gospel Values

Some children were brought to Jesus so that he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples told them not to bother him.

But Jesus said:    “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!

For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

And he put his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.

 Matt. 19:13-15


Like Jesus, we must cherish and affirm each child and young person as a gift from God with an inherent right to dignity of life and bodily integrity which shall be respected, nurtured and protected by all. 

Children and young people are an integral part of our life and mission as MSHR.  They bring life and hope to us.  They depend on us, as we do on them, for they are our future.  It is the responsibility of all of us to work together to ensure their safety and well-being.

Every sister and all our co-workers have an obligation to ensure that the fundamental rights of children and young people are respected:

  • A right to be respected, nurtured and protected
  • A right to an environment free from abuse or neglect
  • A right to justice and freedom: they have a right to be listened to and to be heard
  • A right to good role models whom they can fully trust, who will respect them and nurture their spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical development
  • Those who have suffered abuse within our care should receive a compassionate and just response and should be offered appropriate pastoral care as they seek to rebuild their lives.


Bishop Shanahan’s Vision for Children

For Our Founder, Bishop Shanahan, a child was:

  • A temple and an instrument of the Holy Spirit
  • A child was full of the life of God
  • Children carried with them the intimate presence of God
  • They were the radiance of the supernatural


Bishop Shanahan built his dream for the Evangelization of Southern Nigeria on children. This would be achieved through the establishment of schools.  Through the school, children would come to see God as the centre of their lives and thus grow to respect and appreciate their dignity as persons.  He saw the school as a place where children and young people would be encouraged to develop all their God-given gifts needed to transform their families and society.

Bishop Shanahan had a deep compassionate concern for sick children. In 1923, he wrote:  “Then there are the sick, the multitudes of little children that die on the first day of their existence for various reasons…..”  The sisters would be available to care for these children and also for the children who were unable to attend school.   

In 1928, he wrote to the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary:

“It is the children of Nigeria who are responsible for the amazing things that have happened, and the unbelievable rapidity with which God’s church has branched and blossomed in a few short years.”




International Law

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an International Treaty which was ratified by the General Assembly of the UN on the 20th November 1989 and it became law on the 2nd September 1990.  All Nations, except The United States and Somalia, have ratified the treaty. Those nations which have signed and ratified the treaty as well as the Catholic Church worldwide have adopted its terms as the minimum standards to be measured by when caring for children.

The CRC affords children rights to enable them live full lives.

Article 12 affords the child a voice in all matters affecting him or her.

  1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.


  1. For this purpose the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Article 19 provides the child with the right to protection from being hurt or badly treated.


  1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
    1. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
  2. Article 34 gives the child the right to protection from sexual harm.

    States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:


    (a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual    activity;


    (b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;


    (c)  The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

  3. In adopting the Treaty the Catholic Church and the jurisdictions of the other nations have accepted to honour the rights of every child as outlined in it.

    Each Child Protection Policy Statement should indicate when the National Government signed and ratified the treaty.  For example, The Republic of Ireland signed the treaty on the 30th September 1990 and ratified it on 28th September 1992.

    Civil Law

    Each Child Protection Policy Statement should also include references from the Civil Law of the country relating to the care and protection of children and young people.

  4. Policy Statement


    We, the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, value and encourage the participation of children and young people in activities in our different ministries that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional and social development.  We recognise the dignity and rights of all children and young people and are committed to their protection and support.


    Our Congregation undertakes to do all in its power to create a safe environment for children and young people and to ensure their protection from neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

  5. The Congregation is committed to:

    1. Minimising Risks, in order to safeguard the interest of children and young people
    2. Practices that protect children and young people from harm
    3. Ensuring that all our co-workers are carefully recruited, selected, trained, supported and supervised
    4. Supporting all victims of abuse
    5. Ensuring that offenders become Accountable for their actions
    6. Working closely with statutory authorities to ensure that all allegations of abuse are dealt with Justly and Promptly.                                                                                                                                                          *******************************************                                                                                        *******************************************



For the Press Release for our Website:

The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary invited the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) to conduct a review of safeguarding practice in the Congregation. The Board did the review on the 3rd of December 2014, and today, we, the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary publish the Report of the Review on our website. 

We are grateful to the NBSCCI for undertaking this Review.

MSHR Safeguard Review Report