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Traditional Catholic Faith => Catholic Living in the Modern World => Topic started by: John Grace on August 16, 2013, 05:05:00 PM

Title: Myths of the Magdalene Laundries
Post by: John Grace on August 16, 2013, 05:05:00 PM
Myths of the Magdalene Laundries


                                                   Bill Donohue
                       Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Prejudice, as the psychologist Gordon W. Allport stressed, is always an “unwarranted” attitude. If someone experiences severe discomfort by eating certain foods, there is nothing prejudicial about refusing to eat any more of them. But there is something prejudicial about making sweeping generalizations about an entire category of food, or a community of people, when one’s experiences are limited. One contemporary example of prejudice is the popular perception of the nuns who ran Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries.

From the mid-eighteenth century to the late nineteenth century, the laundries housed “fallen” girls and women in England and Ireland. Though they did not initiate the facilities, most of the operations were carried out by the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy, Good Shepherd Sisters, and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity. The first “Magdalene Home” was established in England in 1758; Ireland followed in 1765 (the first asylum being a Protestant-run entity).

The popular perception of the laundries is entirely negative, owing in large part to fictionalized portrayals in the movies. The conventional wisdom has also been shaped by writers who have come to believe the worst about the Catholic Church, and by activists who have their own agenda. So strong is the prejudice that even when evidence to the contrary is presented, the bias continues.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to the laundries titled, “Victims of the Irish Holocaust Unite.” Irish politicians have spoken of “our own Holocaust,” and Irish journalists have referred to the “Irish gulag system.” But the fact is there was no holocaust, and there was no gulag. No one was murdered. No one was imprisoned, nor forced against her will to stay. There was no slave labor. Not a single woman was sexually abused by a nun. Not one. It’s all a lie.

How do we know it’s a lie? The evidence is fully documented in the McAleese Report on the Magdalene Laundries, formally known as the “Report of the Inter-Developmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries.” The Report, which was released February 5, 2013, was chaired by Senator Martin McAleese.

An analysis of the McAleese Report will show how utterly false the conventional view of the Magdalene Laundries is. First, however, we need to understand the genesis of the popular mythology. Nothing helped to put a monstrous face on the laundries more than the movie, “The Magdalene Sisters.” .........

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Title: Myths of the Magdalene Laundries
Post by: John Grace on August 16, 2013, 05:08:15 PM
Statement from the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy 5th February 2013

5 February 2013 CONGREGATION

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy welcomes the publication of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries. For the women who spent time in Magdalen Homes, we hope this Report brings clarity, greater understanding and healing.

Two Magdalen Homes, at Dun Laoghaire and Galway were under the care of Convents of Mercy. Both were already in operation before coming under our care. The Home at Dun Laoghaire closed in 1963. The laundry at the Galway Home closed in 1984. Many of the women who resided in the Galway Home remained voluntarily in our care for the remainder of their lives.

Our Galway records suggest that women came to the Home in many different ways. They stayed for varying periods of time. Some women came and went on several occasions.

We fully acknowledge and are saddened by the limitations of the care which could be provided in these Homes. Their institutional setting was far removed from the response considered appropriate to such needs today. We wish that we could have done more and that it could have been different. It is regrettable that the Magdalen Homes had to exist at all.

Our sisters worked in the laundries with the women and, while times and conditions were harsh and difficult, some very supportive, lifelong friendships emerged and were sustained for several decades.

We would like to extend an invitation to anyone who may have spent some time in either Dun Laoghaire or Galway to come and meet with us, if they so wish.

Finally, we wish to thank Senator McAleese, Nuala Ní Mhuircheartaigh and the members of the Committee for their detailed and thorough work in this sensitive area.

Title: Myths of the Magdalene Laundries
Post by: BTNYC on August 21, 2013, 08:12:58 AM
Title: Myths of the Magdalene Laundries
Post by: BTNYC on August 21, 2013, 08:21:20 AM
Good for you, Bill Donohue. Looks like it's the time of day when the broken clock is right.
Title: Myths of the Magdalene Laundries
Post by: Telesphorus on September 06, 2013, 08:24:55 PM
It's so easy to tell lies about people, especially about things that happened long ago.