Since changing his religion Emily’s father suffered persecution from those who disapproved of his choice. He and his family were targeted verbally and sometimes physically as most converts were. It was over twenty years since he renounced Catholicism from the alter in his hometown of Kinvara in Co. Galway. That day he was stoned by the local community, who did not take kindly to his perceived betrayal of his background and faith.
Rev. Burke moved several times in the two decades since but no matter where he went the
persecution against him followed. Even when he moved to Edenderry, sufficiently far away from his native West of Ireland the violent attacks continued. One such attack occurred when Emily was one year old. This was probably one of many, as most incidents went unreported. The Dublin Daily Mail carried the following story in October 1868:
A correspondent writing from Edenderry, King’s county, says—” Last Sunday night, October 11th, as the Rev. William J. Burke, incumbent of Castlejordon, and his family were engaged in family worship, a party of ruffians came rushing down the hill towards Windsor Place, where the Rev. gentleman resides, and flung a volley of stones at his drawing room window, breaking several panes of glass, and damaging the woodwork. The cowards fled immediately.
Dublin Evening Mail, October 18 1868