When she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent of Roscrae, Co. Limerick, to be looked after as a fallen woman and at the age of three her baby was whisked away and sold to America for adoption. She never saw him again, having been forced to sign a document promising Never to Seek to Know what the Church did with him. She would spend the next 50 years searching for her son, not knowing that, renamed Michael Hass, he was doing exactly the same thing in America.
While Philomena worked as a nurse in England, her son grew up to be a top lawyer and then a Republican politician in the first Bush administration. He was also gay, and had to conceal not only his sexuality, but, eventually, the fact that he had AIDS. With little time left to live he flew back to the convent to plead with the nuns to tell him who his mother was. When they refused he asked only that he be buried within the grounds of the convent with enough information on his gravestone for his mother to identify him if she ever came looking.
In The Lost Child of Philomena Lee Martin Sixsmith tells the heartbreaking story of how two lives were ruined many times over by the forces of hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic, and how a mother finally found solace in the words on a gravestone in a remote Irish graveyard.
- Publication Date:
- 02 / 11 / 2009