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The Magdalene Laundries

(31 Posts)
FrameyMcFrame Tue 05-Feb-13 22:34:12
Makes me so sad and angry, this waste of lives. Slavery and torture.

Confused40 Wed 27-Feb-13 10:39:39


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........

BingBongBoo Fri 22-Feb-13 15:00:50

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. sad

FrameyMcFrame Thu 21-Feb-13 12:30:36

Oops did the link wrong.

FrameyMcFrame Thu 21-Feb-13 12:29:59

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 hmm

sashh Wed 20-Feb-13 08:40:15

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.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 19-Feb-13 10:21:31

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.

FrameyMcFrame Tue 19-Feb-13 08:51:16

Gardenpath, I've also heard about women such as the ones you mention in a residential mental hospital in Northumberland. Why do these horrendous injustices just get swept under the carpet? Because they are women? If it was an ethnic minority or in fact any other sector of society there would be public outrage!!!! sad sad sad
I would also like to read the book, will order today.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 17-Feb-13 18:18:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

msrisotto Sun 17-Feb-13 18:12:16

It's disgusting and the nuns running the places and all the other people who let this happen need to be arrested.

munchkinmaster Sun 17-Feb-13 06:56:23

gardenpath in the late 90s one of my friends volunteered at a local mental health hospital and told me there were several patients who had been admitted for similar reasons on the 50s but were now completely institutionalised and stuck there.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 17-Feb-13 06:16:29

How do the nuns who ran these laundries reconcile their Christian principles of love, forgiveness, not judging with what went on inside them....

Mind you from what my Mother said about her convent education, the nuns were anyting but Christian - they were nasty, judgemental cows who appeared to take pleasure in inflicting misery on those in their care...

GardenPath Sun 17-Feb-13 05:16:06

I've an idea at some point in the future, should anyone care to do any probing, we're going to discover this was not just the Magdelene's. This has got me thinking about something a friend of mine once mentioned to me when I was much younger, I guess this must have been about 30 years ago now. We were no older than twenty and he was working part time in a local 'home' for the mentally challenged, I dare say they called it a mental asylum then, or, less pc, 'the looney bin'. He told me, just in passing, about an old lady inmate he used to chat to, of about seventy-ish, who'd spent almost her entire life there and had been incarcerated at fifteen years old for having an 'illegitimate' baby. In other words, she'd been given what amounted to a life sentence, (or several if you count 15 years as the average LS for murder) at fifteen, for having a baby out of wedlock. Apparently, she wasn't there for being a 'loony'. He didn't say the inmates were necessarily badly treated or abused, at least for the time he worked there, but this was not a Catholic home or institution, this was a state run home in the UK, somewhere in Buckinghamshire if I remember correctly.
Of course, she must have been born around 1910, which now almost seems like pre-history, and the thinking was different then, though not much it can sometimes seem. We all know of the shame and calumny young women (never the fathers) had to bear for such things in those days. And I remember being horrified and outraged on her behalf, though my young friend treated my reaction with some bemusement; well, she wasn’t the only one, he said. I expect she had become so institutionalised she couldn’t have coped in the outside world anyway. Perhaps she was even happy there, by that time, with company and some sort of security and order. Outside she’d possibly have been left, alone and friendless, as are many of our seniors, to our shame.
But I do hope that perhaps this appalling Magdalene story, being current in the news, though by no means unknown about or new, might bring to light many more instances of the injustice meted out to women, incarcerated simply because it was expedient or for ‘crimes’ against society, for which they were never tried or convicted. What is most appalling about the Magdalene Laundries is that we’re not talking Dickens here – this was still going on, and being allowed to go on, so recently; under our noses.
I’d better stop here, this was only meant to be a quick post, and I feel a rant about a load of other social injustices coming on.

BreadForMyBREADGUN Sat 16-Feb-13 23:24:48

Thank you, i'll look out for it

Darkesteyes Sat 16-Feb-13 23:14:34

The Magdelene Sisters is being shown on BBC1 on Thursday at 11.35pm.

BreadForMyBREADGUN Sat 16-Feb-13 22:38:35

I've just seen this on the BBC -

Absolutely incredible and unbelievable that this was going on so bloody recently, and it's so little known!

FrameyMcFrame Tue 12-Feb-13 22:02:48

I'll watch that, we've got netflix. Thanks.

ItsintheBag Tue 12-Feb-13 18:56:38

There is an excellent film that gives you an insight into what these women suffered.One being in there for basically being pretty and leading men to temptation.I felt sick after watching it.

Animation Tue 12-Feb-13 12:01:20

Are these perpetrators being prosecuted?

An apology isn't usually enough with other serious crimes.

Feels like they have got away with it,

BOF Fri 08-Feb-13 08:22:44

I could open it yesterday. There are some good links on the thread in Chat too.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 08-Feb-13 08:12:11

Lafaminute, there are a lot still alive and many are only aged 50+

An apology in necessary but if it was me I would want financial compensation for being illegally imprisoned and treated as a slave.

I hope they get as much as possible so they can live the rest of their lives in comfort and support their families.

LesBo, I can't get on that website JFM either.

AmandaPayne Wed 06-Feb-13 21:25:54

1996. Fucking hell.

I was doing my A levels. These things have existed in basically my adult life time. I cannot get my head around that.

LesBOFerables Wed 06-Feb-13 20:10:17

The campaign is called Justice For Magdalenes (JFM), but their website has crashed with the increased traffic, I think.

Lafaminute Wed 06-Feb-13 20:08:33

Because of the catholic churches huge influence over a state. It is the fundamental wrongness of the application of the catholicism that is at the root of these cases and the idea that every person must be capable of evil in order to carry out these attrocities - that over all these years not one intelligent and articulate person did not come across these heinous institutions and choose NOT to tow the line and speak out - THAT is the crime; that families allowed their children to be taken into these prisons, didn't question them or value their children over the power of the church/state. Unfortunately I think this issue is being overtaken by the demand for compensation. How can a life have monetary compensation????? I get that they have worked for nothing/have no pension accrued, but that is surely a separate issue over the acknowledgement of a state , a church and a people that wrong was done by everyone in allowing these institutions to exist without monitoring. Also, if the inmates are still alive, surely so are many of the perpetrators and where are they and surely some salve could be achieved by their apologies too????
I am catholic and have chosen to raise my children catholic - in a different world than that in which I was raised. This topic makes me ashamed of my irish ancestors and of my church's lack of humility and humanity.

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Feb-13 19:41:54

You are right Fastidia. They are a huge barrier to human rights, women's in particular.

Truly horrific and barbaric. I can't quite get over them being in existence until 1996. How? Why?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 06-Feb-13 19:33:00

It was awful waking up to the reports on this this morning, made me glower with fury.

Can anyone really doubt that the Catholic church has in its history mostly been a force for terrible evil?

The crusades, the inquisitions, the burnings to death of human beings FGS, the rapes of children and the constant, steadfast hatred of half the human race - why the fuck are they still allowed to operate their mafia?

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