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In the weeks following the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school site in Kamloops, British Columbia, Toronto mom Mateja noticed her daughter had covered up a shelf of religious items in her bedroom. The 14-year-old had placed a sheet of blank paper over a cubby containing a cross, a rosary, a photo of the Virgin Mary, and a prayer book. “I said, ‘You know, if you don’t like that, you are not forced to keep that there,’” said Mateja, who does not want her last name used to protect her daughter’s privacy. Like her daughter, Mateja, 48, is struggling with her association with the church in light of the discovery of the graves under the Catholic-run Kamloops Indian Residential School. She said the church’s response has been inadequate and she will no longer attend mass. “I’m done,” said Mateja, a lifelong Catholic. “They have one job to do and that’s to be good people—people that would protect, people that you count on… And, you know, there are pedophiles, rapists and murderers. I can’t stand for that anymore.”

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