There was an excellent Stephen Poliakoff drama in the 80s, before Poliakoff got stuck up his own arse, called She's Been Away with a stunning performance from Peggy Ashcroft, about a young woman who was put in a mental hospital in the 20s for being rebellious and sexually active, and only emerges as an old lady when 'care in the community' comes in and the hospital is closed. If you can get hold of it is is well worth watching.
I think there's also a Michelle Magorian novel that deals with the same theme.
The cruelty seems to be different from that of the Magdalenes - medicalised rather than religious, with straitjackets and forcefeeding. But it is still a patriarchal system in which women were tortured.
I had a friend who worked with elderly people at that time helping them to write their own histories when their institutions were closed. They were disorientated and afraid at being released after a lifetime of incarceration and the idea was to help them rebuild a sense of who they were. I wonder what became of them.
There were men in the hospitals too - I wonder what they were put there for (as well as the ones who were mentally ill or disabled). Of course, we're talking about this being ignored because they were women, but I should think it's if anything even more true of the awful things that were done to disabled people. No-one has made a prizewinning film about that yet AFAIK.
How do the nuns who ran these laundries reconcile their Christian principles of love, forgiveness, not judging with what went on inside them
They don't have Christian principles, they have RC ones and these are different.
The laundries existed in England too, not as many, but they existed.
Look at Mother Theresa, she got the Nobel Peace Prize and is on her way to being a saint. From an RC principle she did wonderful things. She created a home for the dying and ensured as many people as possible died as RCs.
But then take a step back and look at what she didn't do. Anyone entering the home was there to die, even though they could be treated and live. Life saving treatment wasn't offered, in fact it was (and I assume is) with held.
In her acceptance speech for the NPP she talked about teaching 'natural contraception' to leppars. Leprosy is completely curable. The WHO has also made it free anywhere in the world.
What sort of person encounters someone with a disfiguring and disabling disease, that can be cured, and does not tell them where and how to get treatment?
Well someone that thinks suffering is good for you, and that it will get you a place in heaven may well think it is in your best interests to remain in suffering.
My dad is cradle RC, my mum is a convert and I spent most of my schooling in RC schools.
There are certain things my mother just does not 'get', that my upbringing means I do. I do not think this is right, just that I understand the reasoning.
Eg my mum heard about a woman who's ultrasound scan showed serious disability. Being a good RC woman she continued her pregnancy and then after the birth came home leaving the baby in hospital.
My mother could not understand how a woman could give birth to a child and then try to pretend nothing had happened.
My RC schooling taught me she had done all she needed in giving birth. That's all the RC church asks for.
Added to this warped attitude is the idea of serving 'penance' on earth. So when you became a nun you were asked about your interests and likes and were then sent to work in something you didn't like. So if you liked working with old people and hated children you may well find yourself in a nursery or a school.
My old headmistress was quite clear that she had never wanted to be a teacher but that is what the convent told her to do. They also sent her from the Republic of Ireland to Belfast to train, then to England to teach.
Having said all that, I know lots of people who attend RC churches and do not have the same mentality, I hope it is on the wane.
Just been reading about this barbaric procedure that was also practised in Ireland right up until the 1980s. What is it with Irish Catholics and woman hating? These poor women were subjected to butchery without consent and with no right to complain. It's almost medieval
GardenPath - I live relatively close to a long sinced closed 'asylum' and know someone who worked nearby when it was open. He heard quite a lot of stories about the people who lived there and understood from what he had heard that there were a lot of things that could get you locked up for life - having a baby out of wedlock; 'loose' behaviour (their term, not mine) or 'hysterical' behaviour (whatever that is) even gynaecological problems.
I don't know how true it is.
I know he said most had been in there their whole lives and were totally institutionalised. I makes me so sad, all of this. It's a disgrace.
This happened in the UK too!! This book tells the story of a child who grows up on care. His mother was 'sent away' when she fell pregnant, and lived in a 'home' for pregnant women. Her baby, and other women's babies were taken away from them and given up for adoption or put into care as in the authors case.
Magdalane Laundries were not isolated to Ireland........