WEYMOUTH FALLS, N.S.- The woods behind St. Matthews Anglican Church in Weymouth Falls brings up some unwelcome memories to some members of the community.
Many years ago, if a baby was still born or died before being baptized, they could not be buried in the church’s cemetery. This is because Anglican churches did not allow anyone who died before baptism to be buried on consecrated ground.
And so instead, infants were rumoured to have been taken into the woods behind the Weymouth Falls church and buried there.
Juanita Peters and Amoretta Price, with the help of Rev. Laura McCue, decided to organize a plot next to the woods, in honor of the ‘Angels Remembered’.
“We were just doing something that should have been done a long time ago,” says McCue.
The woods next to the church is full of jagged rocks and branches scattered on the ground.
“It’s hard to believe there are babies in there. I figure that the families thought, this is the nearest spot to the church,” McCue says.
McCue held a service at the church on Sunday, July 29. She consecrated the plot for the Angels Remembered stone and the area near it in the woods.
“It’s our way of saying you did matter and we will never forget you,” she says.
More than 85 people attended the service.
“It was a very emotional service. Everyone was touched, you could see it,” she says. “As soon as we uncovered the stone, you should have seen the lights go off. Everyone wanted a photograph.”
Rumors of babies being buried in the woods travelled throughout Weymouth Falls for a long time. McCue first heard about it through word of mouth.
After asking around, she learned that many people had similar memories of babies being brought to the woods to never return.
Since the stone has been laid at the church, McCue has had many families reach out to her and thank her for doing this.
“It’s unbelievable to hear how many families were touched by this,” she says. “I really don’t think there are words to describe how those families are feeling now.”
McCue hopes this helps bring closure to some families.
“Now because of this there’s a chance of closure. There’s no more shame,” she says. “We know now this was wrong, but we can’t change the past.”
McCue knows of other parishes where they did the same thing.
“People keep coming forward about it. It’s horrible to hear but it allows us to rectify those mistakes.”