Google+ Followers

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Life in a Magdalene institution around the world

Haunting images show children raised in cruel orphanages around the world 'as punishment for their mothers' sins' 
Images show the everyday life at Magdalene Laundries around the world through the early 1900s
The establishments were set-up to house 'fallen women', who had children out of wedlock
Many former occupants of homes have spoken out about the abuse they suffered at the laundries
Named after the Bible's Mary Magdalene, the homes were used to reform so-called 'fallen women' 
They expanded to take in girls who were considered 'promiscuous', unmarried mothers, the criminal, mentally unwell and girls who were seen as a burden on their families

Eerie photos from Magdalene Laundries around the world show children eating dinner as nuns watch over them and young women working on heavy equipment.
The images give an insight into life inside the laundries, which were places for women branded 'undesirable' by the church and orphaned children, where untold horrors are said to have taken place.

The establishments were set-up to house 'fallen women', a term that was used to imply female sexual promiscuity, when in reality they were women who had children out of wedlock.
These institutions, also known as Magdalene asylums, have sparked great controversy, only this month a mass septic tank containing the skeletons of 800 babies was found in County Galway, Ireland. 



Images from Magdalene Laundries from around the world show what everyday life looked like in the homes across the world. Pictured above, small children wait to be immunised at a laundry called Nidgee Orphanage in Brisbane, Australia in 1928


Named after the Bible's Mary Magdalene, the workhouses were used to 'reform' so-called 'fallen women'. Pictured above, nuns cared for dozens of children at the Bessborough Mother and Baby home in Ireland



Magdalene Laundries around the world, show children eating dinner as nuns watch over and young women working on heavy equipment (pictured above)


Some Magdalene Laundries, including the one pictured above in Montreal, Canada, had nurseries full of rows of cribs to house dozens of babies



In some laundries, including the Dalwood Children's Home in Seaforth, New South Wales, appeared to construct cribs out of the same material used to make chain-link fences

The dead babies are thought to have been secretly buried beside a home for single mothers and their children over a period of 36 years, ending in the 1960s. 
In another case, it is suspected that 796 children were interred on unconsecrated ground without headstones or coffins next to the home run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam between 1925 and 1961.

Reports show that they suffered malnutrition and neglect, which caused the deaths of many, while others died of measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.
The babies were usually buried in a plain shroud without a coffin in a plot that had housed a water tank attached to the workhouse that preceded the mother and child home. 

Many former occupants of homes have spoken out of the abuse they suffered, including Irish woman Kathleen Legg whose nightmare of being in the 'care' of nuns still haunts her. 

The establishments, like the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Tipperary, Ireland (pictured above), were set-up to house 'fallen women', a term that was used to imply female sexual promiscuity, when in reality they were women who had children out of wedlock


The institutions (like the one pictured above in London) have sparked great controversy, only this month a mass septic tank containing the skeletons of 800 babies was found in County Galway, Ireland



Nuns housed dozens of children at a time, feeding them at their own small tables and chairs in the homes, like the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Tipperary, Ireland, pictured above

At a Magdalene Asylum in Brighton, Victoria, in Australia, children appeared to stand and pray before eating a meal in a scene from 1920 (pictured above)

Many former occupants of homes have spoken out of the abuse they suffered, including Irish woman Kathleen Legg whose nightmare of being in the 'care' of nuns still haunts her

Named after the Bible's redeemed prostitute, Mary Magdalene, the workhouses were used to reform 'fallen women' and their children. Pictured above, Far West Children's Home in Manlym, New South Wales, Australia

ORPHANS, UNWED MOTHERS AND THE MENTALLY ILL: LIFE AND DEATH IN MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES

The Magdalene Laundries were institutions, generally run by Catholic religious organisations that operated for more than 200 years from the 18th century to the late 20th Century.
The laundries, depicted in the award-winning film 'The Magdalene Sisters', put 10,000 women and girls as young as nine through uncompromising hardship from the foundation of the Irish state in 1922 until 1996.

Run by Catholic nuns, the laundries have been accused of treating inmates like slaves, imposing a regime of fear and prayer on girls sometimes put in their care for becoming pregnant outside marriage.
They were established to house unmarried mothers, but later expanded to house girls who were considered 'promiscuous', the criminal, mentally unwell and girls who were seen as a burden on their families.

Former inmates spoke instead of physically demanding work, enforced by scoldings and humiliation, at the laundries that operated on a commercial basis to wash linen and clothes for the state, private firms and individuals.
An estimated 30,000 women were confined in these institutions in Ireland.  
The infant mortality rate at Church-run institutions was significantly higher than in wider Irish society, and it is likely that other unmarked mass graves will be discovered.
Earlier this month, a mass septic tank containing the skeletons of 800 babies was found in County Galway, Ireland.
Death certificates mostly blame infections like measles, gastroenteritis, bronchitis, tuberculosis, meningitis and pneumonia, but nobody has established why children were so much more likely to die than in the general population.
In the past, Ireland's strict Catholic morality made it deeply shameful to become pregnant before marriage, and women would be rejected by their families and society as sinful.
The power of the Church and the stigma associated with unmarried mothers were so overwhelming that for decades the harsh treatment of these women and their children were taboo subjects, and many were forgotten.
While the Magdaline Laundries were especially prevalent in Ireland, there were also homes across Australia, Canada and England. 
In Australia, girls faced verbal abuse, long hours of work and long hours of silence in the convents. Women were often injured while working with hard machinery and faced dangers of spreading diseases.
In Canada, a network of asylums housed women without public funding. By the late 1800s in England, many laundries had resembled penitentiary work houses.

Speaking in 2015 she said: 'The memories are still there. There are some things you can't block out. Until the day I die, it will be with me.'
Named after the Bible's redeemed prostitute, Mary Magdalene, the workhouses were used to reform 'fallen women'. 
But they soon expanded to take in girls who were considered 'promiscuous', unmarried mothers, the criminal, mentally unwell and girls who were seen as a burden on their families.
Kathleen recalled some of the work she was forced to do: 'There were great big heavy rollers. 
The sheets would be red hot. It would be the work of an adult man. I was up at six in the morning and every time the bell rang you went where you were told to go.

The Laundries soon expanded to take in girls who were considered 'promiscuous', unmarried mothers, the criminal, mentally unwell and girls who were seen as a burden on their families. Pictured above, children at a laundry in St Vincent De Paul Creche, Canada


Many women had to work while at the laundries, with some of the jobs being 'the work of an adult man', Irish woman Kathleen Legg, who used to live in one of the homes claims. Pictured above, a Magdalene Laundry in Melbourne, Australia

At her laundry, women would have to be up at 6am for work each day, and a bell rang to tell them where to go and when, Legg said. Pictured above, girls make their beds at the Dalwood Children's Home in Seaforth, New South Wales, Australia, in 1930


Legg claimed that there was no calendar at the home, so women did not know how old they were and did not celebrate their own or their children's birthdays. Pictured above, infants at Bessborough Mother and Baby home in Ireland


Run by Catholic nuns, the laundries have been accused of treating inmates like slaves, imposing a regime of fear and prayer on girls sometimes put in their care for becoming pregnant outside marriage. Pictured above, women fold sheets at St Mary's Training School in Dublin, Ireland

At the Castledare Boys Home in Cannington, Western Australia, young boys make their  beds in a room that held dozens of boys in rows and rows of beds

'I didn't know how old I was. There were no mirrors and birthdays were never celebrated.'
Rather than getting an education, once she entered the convent Kathleen was stripped naked and given a uniform, she wouldn't see another classroom for four years.
She said: 'For the next four years I would scrub, polish and clean every inch of that building, working long hours in the laundry. I had my name changed and I was known as number 27.
'All the time I was there I had little to very basic food. In fact it was dismal and how we survived I'll never know. I was constantly hungry and on the verge of starving.
'The nuns treated me and indeed others in there as slaves.'

Other survivors share the same stories of having their name changed on arrival and of constantly washing laundry in cold water, of using heavy irons for hours, of being forbidden to form close friendships and never feeling free to leave.
Worked to the bone, starved, beaten and abused, women reported frequent injuries caused by handling the huge mangles, a precursor to the spin dryer 
Others have spoken about trying to escape but being unable to scale the high walls, often topped with glass.

Former inmates spoke instead of physically demanding work, enforced by scoldings and humiliation, at the laundries that operated on a commercial basis to wash linen and clothes for the state, private firms and individuals. In a dining room at Newcastle Girls Home in New South Wales, Australia, in 1938, young children ate at a different table than the older girls and women


The infant mortality rate at Church-run institutions was significantly higher than in wider society in Ireland. In some larger homes, like the Salvation Army Boys Home in New South Wales, Australia, boys had to wear what appeared to be uniforms as they ate meals at round tables

Death certificates mostly blame infections like measles, gastroenteritis, bronchitis, tuberculosis, meningitis and pneumonia, but nobody has established why children were so much more likely to die than in the general population. Boys would sleep just metres from one another in rows of beds in dormitories in Castledare Boys Home in Cannington, Western Australia


The power of the Church and the stigma associated with unmarried mothers were so overwhelming that for decades the harsh treatment of these women and their children were taboo subjects, and many were forgotten. At a Magdalene Laundry in Dublin, Ireland, young women and girls worked together during grueling work hours that started early in the morning

At the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Tipperary, Ireland, women brought children outside in cribs so they could get some fresh air. Children regularly died of measles in homes as there were no antibiotics and whooping cough was endemic

By Kelly Mc Loughlan