Abuse spotlight on Sisters of Nazareth
The Sisters of Nazareth order has admitted paying up to $75,000 to women who claimed they were abused in an orphanage.
But Sister Clare Breen, regional superior of the order in Australia and New Zealand, said the payments were not an acknowledgement of guilt.
"It is a way of reaching out to the girls to try to help in the healing process," she told Reuters news agency.
The claims come just a week after the head of the Catholic Church in Australia, Sydney Archbishop George Pell, temporarily stood down from his job while he is investigated over child sex abuse allegations.
The payments relate to a 1999 court action by 17 women cared for as children at Nazareth House orphanage in Brisbane in the 1940s and 1950s.
Some of the women have described their allegations in The Bulletin.
Lizzie Walsh told the magazine she was raped with a flagstick "to get the devil out of me".
Support group Broken Rites, which campaigns against abuse by the clergy, said complaints of abuse by nuns had risen sharply.
Sisters of Nazareth
Breach of Faith (The Bulletin)
Orphanage abuse allegations (ABC Radio 'AM')
Australian nuns in sex abuse spotlight (CNN)
29 Aug 2002