Talk:Magdalene asylum

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earlier unsigned chaos[edit]

Barbara, I had taken good care to merge only the parts which were actually accurate, non-redundant and verifiable. You now reinserted most of them. This is unacceptable. Here is a detailed response:

The Magdalene Laundries or Magdalen Asylums were a network of laundries operated by the Catholic Church in Ireland

Redundant, removed.

and run by the Sisters of the Magdalene Order.

Inaccurate. The primary order were the Good Shepherd Sisters, but the Asylums were run by different orders. Magdalen Asylum is really an umbrella term for a specific type of institution. There were even Asylums run by protestant individuals.

The Magdalen Laundries, together with the Biltmore Industrial School, were the most publicized of the many institutions funded by the Irish government and run by orders of Catholic nuns at which children were housed and frequently mistreated until the late 1980s when they were closed down.

Redundant, furthermore, there is not a single Google hit for "Biltmore Industrial School". Please check your facts. Removed for now.

CORRECTION: it's the Baltimore Fisheries School, a boys industrial school in Co. Cork Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Irish government was democratic but Democracy can rarely oppress minorities in a tyrannical way and become The Tyranny of the Majority.

Pure ranting, removed.

As a group the nature of these institutions were exposed in a RTE (state run Irish television) series by reporter Mary Raftery in 1999. See also Mary Raftery, Eoin O'Sullivan or Eain O'Sullivan, Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland's Industrial Schools, Continuum International Publishing Group, hardcover, 424 pages, ISBN 0826413374. Despite convening of a government Commission to inquire into Child Abuse attempts to obtain compensation for the 130,000 victims of the system have proved frustrating. [1] [2]

Redundant, also off-topic as Suffer the Little Children was about industrial schools. Moved to bottom + references, should really be in industrial schools.

Mary Raftery discusses Magdalene Laundries in this book Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feminists frequently complain that sexual misconduct by women or even suspected sexual misconduct by women is punished harder than sexual misconduct by men.

Since this seems important to you, I have reworded and tried to integrate it.

Women became slaves for life, sometimes because of a single act or suspected act considered immoral.

Redundant, overly emotionalized language.

Not so -- it has been proven that women were committed involuntarily, were not free to go and performed commercial laundry and sewing. By definition of the UN Committee Against Torture in May 2011, this constituted slavery and the UN called for a statutory investigation. Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By contrast male Roman Catholic Priests guilty of sexually abusing children were often routinely moved on to other parishes where they reoffended and parents did not know they had to protect their children from them. Nobody forced paedophile priests to enter monasteries and spend the rest of their lives washing clothes, cleaning pigsties or anything similar. Bishop Brendan Comiskey in Ireland resigned over this.

Highly charged, rephrased and integrated with feminism para. Bishop Brendan Comiskey resigned over what? Details, details. This is also getting off-topic.

Many women lived and died in these institutions with little hope of escape. The only way they could be freed, was by being claimed by a relative, although officially they had to be signed out by two men.

100% redundant with previous and following sentence with the exception of the "signed out by two men" claim, which I find dubious. Source?

See for testimony, submissions and further reporting to the Irish Human Rights Commission (2010) and the UN Committee Against Torture. Ample evidence exists that women were not free to go once remanded to a Laundry.

Irish women “guilty” of having illegitimate children were sometimes forced to live as virtual Slaves in these institutions. Some ended up there simply because they were considered in moral danger.


Mary Norris and Josephine McCarthy were examples. The nuns refuse to admit how many women victims there were but it is suspected there may have been tens of thousands.

Source for Norris and McCarthy story? Which Magdalen Asylum? All the following claims have to be verifiable:

HERE'S THE SOURCE. Its one of the references at the bottom of the page.Barbara Shack 16:14, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC) I can't source all the material. Some of it was put in by other people. Eloquence, please read through the CBS News link and reinsert the information there back into the article. You have improved the article a great deal, thanks.


 • Section Front 

The Magdalene Laundry

Aug. 3, 2003

(Photo: MIRAMAX)

"The next thing I knew, I was with this woman on a train to Cork. And I was just brought up here. I was just told my name was Phyllis, and I'd work in the laundry."Ms. McCarthy, former Magdalene

(Photo: MIRAMAX)

"(CBS) Someone once said the only thing really new in the world is the history we don't know. The Irish people are learning that right now and it's a painful experience.

It began five years ago when an order of nuns in Dublin sold off part of its convent to real estate developers. On that property were the remains of 133 women buried in unmarked graves, and buried with them was a scandal.

As it turns out, the women had been virtual prisoners, confined by the Catholic Church behind convent walls for perceived sins of the flesh, and sentenced to a life of servitude in something called the Magdalene laundries.

It sounds medieval, something that happened hundreds of years ago, but, in fact, the last Magdalene laundry closed just over two years ago. And as the story was firstly reported in 1999, revelations have shocked the Irish people, embarrassed the Catholic Church and tarnished the country's image.

From the front, the former Good Shepherd Convent in Cork looks like an exclusive private school, with a hidden history too heavy to tell. At the back of the convent, you can still see the skeleton of the washhouse, one of dozens of Magdalene institutions scattered across the countryside.

It was there that Mary Norris and Josephine McCarthy each spent three years of hard labor, enforced silence and prayer, after it was decided that they were in moral danger and unfit to live in Irish society.

Both had come from troubled homes, spent time in Catholic orphanages, and were sent out as servant girls, where they ran into trouble with their employers for staying out late. They were turned over to the nuns because it was suspected they either were, or were about to become, sexually active. Josephine says she was accused of having sex in the backseat of a car.

“And then the next thing I knew, I was with this woman on a train to Cork. And I was just brought up here. I was just told my name was Phyllis, and I'd work in the laundry,” said McCarthy, walking down the laundry during her revisit to the convent.

They were given new names by the nuns to help them break from their pasts. No one knows how many women were sent off to the laundries. The religious orders refuse to make those records available, but estimates range into the tens of thousands.

The church was the only authority under which they were held, as Norris explained. “I would have rather been down in the women’s jail. At least I would have got a sentence and I would know when I was leaving,” she said.

“It's made me feel a horrible, dirty person all my life,” McCarthy added, when the two of them walked past the convent.

They were both teenagers when they came here, Norris in the 1950s and McCarthy in the 1960s. Their only crime was appearing to violate the moral code dictated by the church. At that time, it was the church and not the state that was the most powerful force in Ireland. There was no due process and no appeal.

According to McCarthy, the women got up about 5 in the morning, went to Mass, had breakfast, started work and then went to bed about 7 at night.

“That was it. That was our life. And we dare not ask questions,” she said. “And (the work is) very hard. You’d have to hand-wash – scrub. You’d have no knuckles left. Ironing – you would be burnt. It was just hard work.” "

In the 1960's when they were sent there the Roman Catholic Church was more powerful than the state in Ireland. Mary Norris and Josephine McCarthy had violated the rules of the Church but had committed no crime. The working day would start at 5 in the morning and consisted of hand-washing, drying, and ironing clothes from children's orphanages, churches, and prisons. Bedtime was at 7 in the evening. They were given food and accommodation but received no remuneration for their work.

And this is far too POV:

The scrubbing was intended to wash away the women's sins. However much the women washed they were considered dirty and sinful throughout their lives.

Redundant again:

By the 20th century, unwed mothers, rape victims and generally "wayward" women were considered eligible inmates.

I have edited the page accordingly.--Eloquence* 22:15, Apr 5, 2004 (UTC)

Well done! You have successfully incorporated most of Barbara's useful information (crossreference to other forms of institutional abuse in Ireland) and restored the coherence of the article. BrendanH 09:06, Apr 6, 2004 (UTC)

I feel I am asked to carry the can for a great many things which other people wrote. If Eloquence had checked the history of the previous Magdalene laundry article he would have seen that. I don't think any Wikipedian has intentionally put unsourced, made up matheial into the article. At least I know no evidence thlat it was intentional. The Roman Catholic Church has, as usual been secretive. In such an environment rumours and suspicions circulate and it can be difficult to separate lies and suspicions from truth. Any Irish family which has lost touch with a female relative can reasonably wonder if she was shut up in a Magdalen Asylum, can reasonably wonder if perhaps she's still languishing there under an assumed name. I fear that is probably so in some cases, here's the source.

Note by author of that website: since its initial writing, I did discover that my mother spent 10 years at the Sunday's Well Magdalene Laundry, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, in Cork. She subsequently spent two years at the Bessboro mother-baby home, run by the Sacred Heart Adoption Society/Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, also in Cork. Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

“In addition to graves gone unmarked, so too, living women go "unmarked," languishing still inside the convent walls—unclaimed by their respective families as many were given false names upon admittance, making their true identification enormously difficult. Even in death these women suffered callous, inhumane treatment and were robbed of their dignity.”

Then eventually suspicions get to newspaper reporters and get printed as facts. Further I for one don't live in Ireland. I do not know which Irish newspapers are reliable and which are sensational. Input from Irish people could be useful here. I have done my best to expose honestly a serious human rights abuse. I don't feel I deserved the level of criticism Eloquence and the others subjected me to.

Reliable Irish papers: The Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Examiner. Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mary Norris and Josephine McCarthy were discussed here.

The source was given at the bottom of the original Magdalene laundry article. Eloquence should at the very least have checked that before he criticized me. Eloquence, you are in a position of authority. Please exercise your authority humainly and justly.Barbara Shack 13:48, 17 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The "Abuse may still be continuing" claim should be removed. It is wild illogical speculation with no evidence behind it. Illogical because the convents have been closed down and therefore cannot still hold unaccounted women. The source given is interesting but does not provide any evidence whatsoever. Claims like this damage the article -- this is a very serious issue, which persisted into the remarkably recent past, but to claim it is still on-going is ridiculous. BrendanH 09:07, Apr 19, 2004 (UTC)

The abuse IS still continuing, as we have testimony and evidence of former Magdalene women still living under the care of the same religious orders, now in elder care hospices. They are routinely denied money sent to them by family and friends and given less than standard care. This is not true of all former Magdalenes in all elder residential facilities run by former Magdalene orders; however, this abuse most definitely still exists. Evidence of such lack of care has been brought to the attention of Minister for Older People, Kathleen Lynch T.D. Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please give evidence that the convents have been closed. Have they all been closed or only some? I'm not being ridiculous. I live in the United Kingdam and don't know exactly what's going on. I want to make sure women are not still suffering in this terrible way.Barbara Shack 13:22, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Barbara, the article itself reports that the last one closed in 1996. But if you don't know exactly what's going on, to use your words, don't add unfounded claims to an encyclopaedia article. Please be more cautious in what you add. Like I said above, the various strands of Church-related institutional abuse in Ireland and elsewhere are a very important story, but adding implausible claims makes the article look at best as if it doesn't understand what it is talking about, and at worst like a conspiracy theory.
BrendanH 13:39, Apr 19, 2004 (UTC)

I hope you are right, Brendan.H. The trouble is, the Roman Catholic Church is very good at hiding things. Can we be sure they've admitted to every establishment and closed it? Can we be sure they didn't quietly transfer some women to a different closed convent before closing a Magdalen Asylum? Am I just practicing my debating skills or are there women suffering unrecognized and unhelped somewhere? I know I am outside Ireland. Sometimes it helps if someone from outside who isn't at all brainwashed by the Roman Catholics has a look at a question. Barbara Shack 18:10, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

"Can we be sure they didn't quietly transfer some women to a different closed convent before closing a Magdalen Asylum?" Yes, in so far as there are no more Magdalen Asylums/Laundries and damn few convents of any size (practically no new vocations for several decades). The idea that the Church is running secret prisons for wayward women in 2004 is about as plausible as the idea that Tony Blair is running a secret Gulag for socialist members of the Labour Party.
There is, however, a serious issue of accounting for all the women who went through these institutions: partly those who died nameless and perhaps without a death cert, but also the possibility that some of these women completed their lives in long-stay mental hospitals, having become completely institutionalised. However, we wikipedians do not have this information, and the wikipedia is not the place for speculation and conspiracy theory.
I'm going to delete the "continuing abuse" section later today if it is still there. It damages the article.
BrendanH 08:30, Apr 20, 2004 (UTC)
I took a little longer than I said, but I have removed the claim. It was wild speculation and had no place on the wikipedia. I would have kept the link to [3] but it seems to have disappeared, which is a pity. That was interesting, throwing light from the wider perspective of adoptive children seeking their birth mothers, and would be worth linking to again (under "External Links") if it comes back. BrendanH 12:35, Apr 22, 2004 (UTC)

I'm still not completely clear as to whether the last Magdalen Asylum truly closed in 1996. This is the date given by a number of sources, but the article "Last Days of a Laundry" only refers to it as "Dublin's last Magdalen laundry". Even so, the article notes that all the women "will remain living there after the laundry closes on October 25th", and "a woman in her twenties with a mild mental handicap was admitted as recently as last year." This indicates that at least after 1996, some women were still held in that particular church home, but it is not clear whether they have been given a clear choice to leave. I've tried to contact Dr. Finnegan by e-mail, but I've been told before that she does not use her e-mail account so I'm not very hopeful to get an answer.--Eloquence* 16:59, Apr 24, 2004 (UTC)

We must base the article upon reliable sources, which say that all of them closed. I think what you might mean, is that many of the woman suffered mental damage from their stay (and some were already mentally handicapped prior to arrival), and therefore were unable to care for themselves after the closing of the laundries. So many were transferred to church run nursing homes, sometimes with the same nuns in charge. However, there is no reason to believe that the abuse is continuing. And the policy of Wikipedia is clear. Can we prove that leprechauns don't live on Jupiter? No. But since no reliable source has published the information, it is not in the article on Jupiter. --Puchiko 09:52, 26 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The last Magdalene Laundry, at Sean MacDermott Street, closed on September 25, 1996 (not Waterford, as previously incorrectly reported in this wiki). c.f. James Smith, Boston College, "Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment". Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was appalled by this article, which is incredibly anti-catholic POV. Barbara Shack seems to be violently anti-catholic, having included links to Jack Chick and Ian Paisley sites in other articles. Have amended a lot of opinion and irrelevant or unsubstantiated assertions. The whole thing seems based on a sensationalist book and film. If "thousands of women" were held virtual prisoner in these asylums until very recently, its very strange that only TWO have complained about it or come forward. A little bit of reputable information on this subject which seems to contradict the "prison" assertions, is available here

Nor is institutionalization particularly to do with catholicism. Until the 1990s thousands of people were still in places where they had been forcibly institutionalised for life in the 30s 40s and 50s, all across Britain, often in mental asylums, for being socially outside the norm. Xandar

Your attempts to turn this article into a Christian apologist's rant are as deplorable as Barbara's tabloid assertions. You removed scholarly quotes without comment and inserted POV claims of "polemic" where it suits your belief system. Frances Finnegan happens to be the world's foremost authority on Magdalen Asylums (and in fact a leading expert on prostitution in Ireland in the 19th century), whose book, Do Penance or Perish, is written in large part on the basis of the Church's own internal guidelines, documents and records.
James Smith (Boston College) and Maria Luddy (Warwick University) are more considered experts on the 20th c. Laundries; Frances Finnegan is acknowledged as more expert on the 18th and 19th c. models, particularly in the UK, and their early spread to Ireland by Catholic orders. Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is correct that the Asylums were initially "rescue" institutions for prostitutes, but they quickly ceased to be just that even in the 19th century. To quote the order's internal literature again:
"At the majority of Homes the Managers content themselves with receiving any fallen woman under 30 years of age, [provided she is not pregnant, or with an infant]. The cause of this is not far to seek. The Homes have sprung up without method or design, beyond the desire of the founders to do something to save the perishing. They are mostly unendowed, and are therefore dependent for their maintenance upon two sources of income - voluntary subscriptions, and the profits on the Laundry; and the deficiencies in the former have to be made up by the latter. This can only be done by keeping the number of inmates to a certain point; and so, when there are vacancies, the Institution cannot afford to wait an indefinite time for one particular class of girl, but must accept the most eligible of the applicants seeking admission. All this renders the task of classifying the girls and selecting the best Homes for them very difficult."
Mission statements included women "either fallen or in danger of falling" by 1848. Many homes only accepted "women" under the age of 25. Finnegan cites three example cases from around 1900; two were 15- and 14-year-olds respectively, both admitted (forcibly of course, as they were not adults) for prostitution, and one girl who was admitted for having "suffered from her father's misconduct in her own home. The man is now undergoing 20 months hard labour on account of his continued misconduct with her and her sisters." In other word, a young girl being sexually abused by her father was considered to be morally tainted and was now under the guidance of nuns who would force her to engage in hard labour, and who would discipline her if she did not comply.
In the 20th century as the Asylums struggled to meet their demand for workers they accepted more and more women who were sent to the homes by their relatives, such as girls who were too flirtatious, or those who had a child out of wedlock. As many survivors have testified, it was only possible for them to get out if someone on the outside would "vouch" for them, otherwise they would be returned by the police as being in moral danger. Aside from that, it must be remarked that the moral climate in which prostitutes were regarded as a social cancer, as sinful creatures who could only be "rescued" by the good Church (by brainwashing them and turning them into slave laborers), was of course one which was created and promoted by Church institutions.
All these crimes are well-documented and proven, and your denial of them is shameful. To combat it, you quickly copy and paste two sentences ("Where asylum registers are available in Ireland, it is clear that many women entered these refuges regularly and used the institutions to tide them over poor work availability. Entrance is often seasonal and for the women who remain in the institutions it could be argued that they were making a choice to 'retire' from their occupation" [4]) from a rambling book review without sources and try to discredit, in the fashion of a corporate PR spinmeister, the sources whose information you find inconvenient. In your quest to apologize the Church, you do not shy away from plagiarizing any material that Google turns up that sounds like it can be used in its defense, or from condemning books and documentaries you show not the least familiarity with, or from the most deplorable of all moral apologetics, the "but they were at least as bad as we were" type argument (which falls flat, as the Church dominated the entire culture, and so-called secular institutions were of course based on the same moral mindset).
You have the nerve to accuse others of partiality with the shameful behavior you have displayed on this article? You have the nerve of implying that women and scholars are fabricating bad, bad stories about the Church out of an "anti-Catholic agenda" without even reading the books and accounts you pass judgment on? Dear Xandar, this is the first time I meet you, but I can assure you, I will keep a good eye on you. Further attempts to insert revisionist history into this article will not be tolerated.--Eloquence* 03:24, May 7, 2004 (UTC)

Eloquence, the article as it stood was a disgrace. Full of emotive language, wild accusations, and very short on verifiable fact. In your post above you say: "All these crimes are well-documented and proven, and your denial of them is shameful." What "crimes" are you talking about? A CRIME is something that is illegal and immoral, and for which punishment is mandated by law. What laws have been broken, and what action is being taken to enforce these laws? Or is the argument that the British and Irish justice systems too are in on this "conspiracy"? Grave charges were being laid here, of imprisonment, enslavement and abuse - and grave charges need to be well and conclusively proven. What we have with the Magdalen Asylums is a situation where women who were ex-prostitutes, or "at risk of" prostitution, were admitted (some possibly under some state coercion and having few other options open) to strictly-run institutions, and allegedly often treated with what would NOW (but not necessarily at the time) be regarded as undue harshness.

Conditions where vulnerable people were subject to strict discipline and rigid institutional routines were the NORM in SECULAR institutions in the US, UK, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere until very recently. In fact those unlucky enough to find themselves in secular mental institutions (and that was a considerable number) were also subject to the maiming torture of drug "treatment", and Electro-convulsive-therapy. And some of that still goes on today - with no catholic nuns involved! So attempts to present this as some "evil catholic scandal" as the article has done, are utterly misplaced.

Talk of people being kept in "prison", and being used as "slaves", is emotive nonsense, bordering on hysteria, and certainly not the stuff of any sort of encyclopaedia. There are many, many institutions in the UK, US and Ireland, where the inmates work, or have worked, both as part of their integration into normal society, and to contribute towards their own upkeep. To call such systems "prisons" and "slavery" is crass nonsense. Not ten miles from where I live there is a community where mentally handicapped people live and work in hostels, under supervision, farming and producing craft goods.

I call the article anti-catholic, because that is how it has been presented. The impression given was of catholic nuns imprisoning and brutalizing people. Links were placed from "Roman Catholic Church", with the clear intention of presenting this supposed imprisonment and enslavement as an outworking of catholicism. And if you think anti-catholicism doesn't exist, just trawl the net a little. It is based on one sensationalist book - and yes, there ARE sensationalist books - and books written to an agenda. That is why I quoted a contrary opinion based on reputable research. Maria Luddy of Warwick University, who wrote the review you pooh poohed, is one of the foremost experts on the subject in Ireland. A paper of hers here: states:

The majority of women who entered these refuges did so voluntarily. Approximately 7110, or just over 66%, and a number of women re-entered, some as often as ten times. From the available evidence it seems that entering a refuge was, for the majority of women, a matter of choice. While it is true that many destitute women ad only the workhouse or the magdalene assylum to turn to in times of utter distress, it would appear that the second was the favoured option of many. The length of stay in the asylums varied from one day for some women, to an entire lifetime of thirty or forty years. It was generally women who entered in their teens or were in their thirties or older, who remained in the homes. The decision to stay was made by the women themselves, and although the nuns certainly did not encourage women to leave, they had little choice in the matter if the woman was determined to go. It would seem from the number of re-entries that some women may have used the asylums as a temporary shelter, and once they were able to return to the outside world they did so. For others, the stability of life within a refuge, the order and discipline involved may have bought a sense of security, and made it an attractive option to remain.

No mention of "crimes", let alone "slavery" and "imprisonment".

See UN Committee Against Torture May 2011 assessment of Ireland: the UN acknowledged that the Laundries represented torture, slavery and abuse and called for a statutory investigation by the Irish State. Culchiewoman (talk) 16:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article still contains blatant pieces of unsupported OPINION, such as: "Because of their background as prostitutes, inmates were regarded as vile creatures of sin:"

Another extremely dodgy paragraph that has been put back in is: "

They disappeared as they ceased to be profitable. "Possibly the advent of the washing machine has been as instrumental in closing these laundries as have changing attitudes," according to Frances Finnegan.

This is just opinion "supported" by opinion. An examination of the facts shows that nearly all such large-scale residential institutions for the non-violent, (secular and religious), disapppeared at the same time, between the 70s and the 90s, as attitudes changed and community-based solutions dominated. The idea that they were closed because the washing machine was invented is risible. And actually, the washing machine appeared around 1920, the automatic following in 1950.

More risible still is the notion that the Catholic church had a wish to run chains of laundries based on slave labour. Xandar 04:58, 8 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Xandar has a point (a number of them, indeed), and I would endorse much of what he/she has to say. Certainly he (?) does not deserve to be called a Christian apologist for objecting to links to crackpot sites like Chick's. We need to recognise that, while the Magdalen laundries were indeed a scandal and this must be acknowledged and publicised, there was a context. The harsh institutionalisation common to the period was part of it, but an extremely repressive sexual climate in Ireland (arguably since the aftermath of the Famine) played a major role. The very inward-looking nature of Irish society after independence up to the late 1950s is another key part of the context: problems were hidden, and exported, outside influences were discouraged, leading to a socially repressive atmosphere. BrendanH 12:36, May 12, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, Xandar makes valid points and I apologize for being rude earlier; however, he did try to remove valid quotes and inserted content copied verbatim from a website, which is unacceptable. Certainly many women did enter the homes voluntarily, especially early in their history, but many others, especially young girls, did not -- they were sent there by relatives for questionable reasons and often could not get out. I'll try to track down concrete evidence for some of the things which have been reported, such as women and girls being sent back to the homes by police after they tried to escape.
It is fair to provide context about other similar institutions; however, it must not be forgotten that all these institutions existed in the same moral climate - secular or not -, and the Church was of course one of the dominating factors in that climate. As for a profit motive, I think Finnegan has done some research on that. I'll check. I have also established contact with Finnegan who wanted to send me some answers, but so far hasn't.--Eloquence*

Hebrew Version.[edit]

I am glad to inform you, that the article is now fully translated to Hebrew.

To all of you who think this can not be true[edit]

I live in Sweden. My sister was locked up against her will in a similar institution here in Sweden (but run by the municipality) when she got her first child without being married. And the bureaucrats tried to take her child. In that institution there were a number of women locked up that just had given birth. Their only "crime" being that they got a child without being married, the father of the child "being absent" and not protecting the woman and the woman not having a family that could protect her.

When my family finally found out where my sister was we managed to liberate her. (The bureaucrats clearly had not realised that my sister had a big family that could protect her.) After that the bureaucrats attacked us by all legal (and illegal) means at their disposal. We had to keep my sister hidden from the authorities for several months while we informed the politicians and gathered evidence to defend ourselves against the bureaucrats. Finally with the help of some politicians the bureaucrats were made to stop their efforts to take my sisters child and locking her up again. Afterwards our lawyer said that as far as she knew we were the first family ever in Sweden to manage to keep a child in spite the bureaucrats being on full attack. And this happened as recently as 1999-2000.

Why the bureaucrats do these things I don't know. Perhaps there is black money to get in the adoption business or they simply do it so they "have something to do" so their department won't get downsized. The scary thing is that this is an ongoing thing, defenceless women (but good mothers) are still being locked up and get their babies taken like that in Sweden.

--A disillusioned Swede 06:06, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

I have very hard to believe that. I live in Sweden myself and haven't heard anything about this happening for the last 50 years. What real sources (articles and stuff) do you have that this is still happening since single-mothers with childs is nothing unormal in Sweden. //Netza

The babies of the mothers admitted.[edit]

It neglects to mention the mass graves found and linked to the Magdalene Asylums or Laundries across Southern Ireland. Women were admitted to there if they were guilty of pregnancy outside wedlock, either pregnant before they were married, or with a child believed to have been fathered by a man other than their husband. The babies were taken from the mothers at birth, and some of them were put into care, the children born with 'defects' or disabilities were not. What happened to these children, no one knows for sure, but hundreds if not thousands of babies, dating from different years, have been found in mass graves throughout Ireland.

Sadly, there are similar places still in existance. My great grandmother was admitted into an asylum by my great grandfather, and her own father as she concieved her youngest son 'out of wedlock' which is ridiculous as he is the son of my great grandfather. She was of sound mind and she was kept there until her death in 2001. The asylum is in the Downpatrick area of Northern Ireland. After the death of her father, her estranged husband (my great grandfather) did attempt to 'sign her out' but it never happened. They needed signitures of both men who admitted her, and one had died.

She was admitted around 1950 and lived there until she died in 2001. Her son, was admitted into care straight after birth and then fostered by his grandfather when he remarried, the same man who admitted his mother. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:12, 2 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


i think some exposition needs to be included of the economic aspects of this phenomenon. i.e. the catholic church helping themselves to a source of free labour, with the collusion of the civil authorities. this being a talk page, i feel no need to be npov. the material in the article would have to be. Toyokuni3 (talk) 21:52, 3 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The final report of the Inter-Departmental Committee Investigating State Interaction in the Magdalene Laundries (led by Senator Martin McAleese) is due by year-end 2012, and should shed light on the economic of the Laundries. Evidence has been submitted by Justice for Magdalenes as well as uncovered by Dr. McAleese and his team, and will serve to highlight financial data.Culchiewoman (talk) 16:53, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Magdalene Asylums - Ireland vs. aka Homes of the Good Shepherd & Mary Magdalene Cloisters - United States[edit]

Question: Is there information any place documented about the exact same 'Church Programs' in the United States?

I personally was locked up for 5 years working in a Good Shepherd laundry 6 hours a day, 6 days a week.

In the United States the Asylums were called "Home of the Good Shepherd". They housed about 90 to 120 young girls from 10 to 19. All the girls worked in the Laundry or else where in the "locked prison-like" buildings. The nuns who did not live in the Cloister portion of the buildings were of the Good Shepherd Order. They were called "Mother so & so" by the girls and were charged with the task of redeeming the 30 or so girls within their care. The nuns of the Mary Magdalene Order were cloistered, did not speak, took similar vows the Good Shepherd Order did but were not 'good enough' to become a Good Shepherd nun because they were grown-up 'girl prisoners' from the un-cloisted side of the Good Shepherd Home who never left after become adults. They spent their entire lives repenting for their sins while they were young girls - those sins being the catalist for being locked up in the Home of Good Shepherd.

I was allowed to leave late 1964 upon turning 18. My sin was running away from an abusive home environment.

I am now 62 and have sufferred nightmares my whole life. I am seeking information about the Good Shepherd Homes in the United States and if they were ever "found out" and exposed for what they really were.

I know nothing about computers actually, so I respectfully will attempt to follow your rules above but am not quite sure what many of the terms mean. If I have broken your rules, I apologize. But can you direct me to further information other than that of the very same institutions exposed in Ireland which were also here in the United States? I would like to try to connect with some of the girls my age with whom I lived and worked. I want to see if their lives were as injured as mine? I was in the Good Shepherd Home, 931 Blair, St. Paul, Minnesota. Best Regards and with Appreciation, (talk) 10:10, 25 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An international perspective to the article, if relevant, would be a useful expansion. An Australian story : Seems to be quite a lot in the External Links that could be incorporated. Ctbolt (talk) 23:55, 13 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

False information[edit]

The material from the New York Times purporting to be a summary of the Irish Ryan report has been replaced with the actual factual information referenced to the reprt itself. The quote was exaggerated to the level of fantasy. Tens of thousands was not the number of those claiming abuse, but the total population of the istitutions over the 60 year period - of whom around 900 claimed physical abuse and 380 claimed some form of sexual abuse. The report specifically did not "claim" that any of the abuse allegations were verified. Saying that the report said these things on the basis of a garbled US newspaper article was false and misleading in the extreme. Xandar 00:06, 22 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should also be noted that the 2002 Redress Act omitted women who had been remanded to Magdalene Laundries. As such, Ryan should not be cited at all with relation to the Magdalene Laundries, except to highlight that they were omitted from the Redress Act.Culchiewoman (talk) 16:55, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anti-catholicism link[edit]

I removed the link to the article on anti-catholicism because its presence was clearly meant to imply that the article is somehow anti-catholic.

If you think the truth comes off as "anti-your-group" then tough mammaries - you need to adjust to reality. POV-pushing like including that link doesn't belong on Wiki (talk) 13:14, 6 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The link is quite legitimate. Anti-Cathoicism is an aspect of much coverage of this issue, including the spreading of dubious tales and memoirs. Xandar 00:49, 7 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, anti-catholicism has been a huge part of the coverage and prior edits edits with links to Paisley. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hhfjbaker (talkcontribs) 00:48, 27 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This word is unknown to the SOED, it should either be replaced with a word or words whose meaning is plain or an explanation provided. treesmill (talk) 21:09, 14 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should be 'recarcerative' or 'punitive' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Culchiewoman (talkcontribs) 16:31, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'interred' in the legacy section means 'buried / deposited in earth'. I would suggest 'confined'.≈≈≈≈ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:18, 26 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fallen women[edit]

The articles says that the so called "fallen women" were sent to those asylums, but there is no clear definition of what a fallen woman is. This lack of information might confuse readers unfamiliar with the subject. (talk) 16:09, 25 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest qualifying with:
  • Magdalene Asylums were institutions for so-called "fallen women", (a euphemism for sexually active unmarried women, contrary to contemporary social mores): unless someone has a better formulation. RashersTierney (talk) 19:44, 25 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest not using terms like fallen women and wayward women as if they are acceptable or objective terms. This article is poorly written and sometimes outright misogynistic.

Fallen Women and Euphemisms[edit]

I suspect those who used the terms "fallen women" and "wayward women" did so with the assumption that readers would realize these terms were meant to reflect how people in the past felt about such women. Perhaps they could be replaced with more neutral terms.

Anyway, "fallen woman" is not a euphemism. A euphemism is a word or term that tries to make something negative or disturbing less unpleasant than it is--i.e., "physically challenged," "downsizing," "landfill," "exceptional" (for intellectual disabilities) etc.... (talk) 18:02, 1 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Doesn't that mean "fallen woman" is a euphemism? Since it's less unpleasant than saying prostitute? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 7 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest that we amend/remove the first sentence under the Fallen women heading, for the following reasons: 1) The actual definition is provided earlier in the article lede with a link to the relevant WP entry. 2) As User:Ruby Murray noted ages ago, the cited reference doesn't mention anything specific about Magdalen institutions, and certainly none in Ireland. 3) The reference is not authoritative anyway; it's actually drawn from a 2002 undergrad writing course assignment at UC Davis - see [5]. Thoughts/comments? jxm (talk) 17:45, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This section seems out of place and random. I suggest removal of it entirely. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:59, 9 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I second that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

30,000 women?[edit]

I removed the line from the introduction, "It has been estimated that 30,000 women passed through Ireland's laundries." It wasn't appropriately citation'd. I did some quick Googling - although the 30,000 number is widely quoted, I couldn't find a reference to a primary source. The book Ireland's Magdalene Laundries by James M. Smith may have the primary source reference, but I haven't read the book.

This number should rightfully be removed, since the religious orders who ran the laundries have yet to produce their records. So there is no verifiable source for the number "30,000" . Justice for Magdalenes has collated 1901 and 1911 census figures indicating an average of 1,000 women for each census period resided in the 13 laundries. One could extrapolate (with decreasing numbres by the 1960s) for the years leading to 1996, the closing of the last laundry. But that number would still be unrealiable. (Mari Steed, Justice for Magdalenes)

I think it's important to the article to quote a figure, so if one of you watchers can find it, please add it in.

Raddick (talk) 14:57, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done. RashersTierney (talk) 19:05, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The McAleese Report is available on-line and has some of the most comprehensive statistics, actually the only comprehensive statistics to date ( (talk) 03:34, 29 April 2014 (UTC)ssReply[reply]

Quotes for fallen women[edit]

Why is every instance of the words fallen women given in quotes in this article? This was the actual description employed at the time. Also, the term is not a euphemism, as suggested at the start of the article. Van Speijk (talk) 17:13, 25 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a misogynistic slur. It would be like filling an article on black slavery with the n-word, unquoted. The women did not "fall" and the article doesn't even provide a clear description of whom is being described by this - those pregnant out of wedlock (was there a place for the "fallen boys" who got them pregnant?), prostitutes, street criminals, victims of incest who were discarded by their perpetrators or what. It also implies that women who had children out of wedlock were "often" (note quotes) involved in crime - without a citation. Since the terminology is all of offensive, bizarre, morally biased (and far outside of current societal norms), misogynistic and has no clear meaning it cannot be used without quotes as a term that makes sense in modern English. The encyclopedic tone is one of modern usage. The victims of this practice (not to say there were not legitimate homes for unwed pregnant girls) are accurately termed "inmates" unquoted as used in this article. The same treatment of terminology is appropriate for any article which uses terminology which is outside of modern usage and which would be offensive. The only expression using fallen in my dictionary from the blessedly thorough people at Oxford is "fallen angel" which you should feel free to use without quotes in any relevant articles. Obotlig (talk) 05:51, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good answer. Tend to agree. Particularly appreciate the dictionary observation! RashersTierney (talk) 11:27, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yup. Also agree with Obotlig. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 14:43, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find this article troubling in several respects. First a point about the use of quotes and the dictionary definition of fallen woman/women. Obotlig, if you look in the online Cambridge and online Oxford you'll find this term is listed (without quotes) [6] and [7], so your comment about fallen angels is slightly disingenuous. Note the absence of any mention that the term is pejorative; merely that it's old fashioned. To equate the term with nigger is absurd. That said, I can see that it makes sense to have the first instance of the term in quotes. However, we can get rid of the "so-called" since its use goes agasint the MOS; see WP:ALLEGED. Furthermore, we don't need to labour the point and other instances can easily be removed. I'll do this immediately. There is much unsourced material in this article and much of it is likely to be POV-laden; see this for example "The women were typically admitted to these institutions at the request of family members (mostly men)." I'll place the NPOV banner in the article. I suspect there's also a substantial amount of OR, but before putting that banner up I'll see what others say on that matter. the Legacy and Quotations sections are quite appalling and need either removing (certainly the Quotations section should go) or cleaning up. Finally, the new categories are, as RashersTierney says, subjective - highly, I might add. I'm removing them. Overall, the article is a long way from being encyclopedic. In the past it has obviously attracted the POV pushers, as subjects such as these are bound to. Any other suggestions? Van Speijk (talk) 16:29, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(edit conflict)

Mostly agree with Obotlig, though there is an element of revisionism at work too. The Victorian-era sensibilities were such that few things thought scandalous were discussed directly in polite society, so at the time it would have been normal to apply euphemism. The poison quotes are certainly appropriate, but so would be an outright discussion of (or wikilink to) the terms then in use which we now see as misogynistic, such as "compromised", "temptress", or "easy virtue" (as if men had no responsibility for self control). There are, of course, still societies and legal systems today which sustain the same pattern of thought. LeadSongDog come howl! 16:56, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fallen woman presently redirects to Prostitute. This is not correct. Van Speijk (talk) 16:59, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It didn't always. I've restored that article, with some repair, but it needs more attention. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:54, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The NPOV banner is justified IMO. Also agree that the 'Quotations' section should go, as a minimum. There is more than a hint of campaigning here. RashersTierney (talk) 21:42, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fine, but please remember to identify the problematic text, not just slap a banner on the lede. So far, I'm not clear what POV you think the article presents that is in need of balance. Is it too easy/too hard on the inmates/church/order/inquiry/garda in your view? Do the issues relate to the history or the current state of affairs? LeadSongDog come howl! 22:06, 26 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks to everyone for your attention on this matter. What I meant above was not that there was no such term as fallen women but that it is not in use in modern english and that it is indeed pejorative. The dictionary I looked in was The Oxford Dictionary of English which offers thorough definitions of modern English. I would be very curious to see the full current OED entry for it which I don't have access to. At any rate, both the definitions you linked described it as outdated and Cambridge indicated that it was indeed pejorative (old-fashioned and "disapproving" they tagged it). We cannot use a term that is out of current usage and is a moral condemnation in the voice of the editor of the article. It is very much like using the n-word as it might have been used in 1850 or 1950 merely because the article is about that time. The entire article has NPOV issues, wording problems, insufficient attribution and such. I would like to see a careful rewrite that avoid the hints of catholic bashing, church partisanship, extremely unclear description of time and place and remove every piece of attack and counter attack that has snuck in here. Rather than tag this article to perdition let's make it a good and impartial one. Obotlig (talk) 02:23, 27 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree that there should be a concerted effort to address issues highlighted before interest wanes. I'll get out what books I have on the subject, but if anyone wants to make a start, feel free. RashersTierney (talk) 15:34, 27 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unprecise formulation?[edit]

You can read here by "Conditions":

Magdalene asylums were a generally accepted social institution until well into the second half of the 20th century.

Then again on "Public scandal":

The existence of the Irish asylums was not well known until, in 1993, an order of nuns in Dublin sold part of their convent to a real-estate developer.

In my understanding, something not well known can't be gererally accepted, so this might be just formulated unprecise, meaning:

The conditions in the Irish asylums was not well known until, in 1993, an order of nuns in Dublin sold part of their convent to a real-estate developer.

I don't have much knowledge on this theme so I might just misunderstand things here, but maybe somebody more expert could take a look on ths?

Greetings. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:08, 27 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Subject matter[edit]

As part of the revamp discussed above, could we start by deciding the scope of this article. The historic 'Magdalenist' movement had its equivalents in many countries, but this article focuses mainly on the phenomenon in Ireland. As a minimum there should be a dedicated section dealing with these institutions on a country by country basis. Most of the (limited) academic sources follow this approach. The Irish section will probably develop into a separate article in time, given the material increasingly being produced and because they lasted into more recent times. Terminology (the term 'Magdalene' was not always applied to such institutions) is problematic too. Thoughts?.RashersTierney (talk) 11:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. The introduction should perhaps not mention Ireland and should be restricted to an overview of the subject. All the Irish stuff should be in a section of its own, with other sections for the UK, and then as the article develops, sections for other countries can be added. I notice we still use the word "pejorative" in the intro. Actually the reference doesn't back this up and I'm not sure if it is a pejorative term - do we hear people insulting a woman by saying to her face "you fallen woman!"? The term was widely used in earlier times but isn't any more, so I think a simple "old fashioned" is better. I think for a term to be pejorative it has to be used, not just disliked. Also, can we get rid of the Quotations section? We could maybe get a quick decision on this one. Van Speijk (talk) 16:51, 1 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Section removed. Would like to hear others on the appropriateness or otherwise of the 'fallen' term. Different sources treat it differently. Working my way through the books of James Smith and Frances Finnegan at the moment, as well as online sources, just to get an overall view for now. RashersTierney (talk) 17:52, 1 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Cambridge link had it tagged as disapproving which is or can be a direct synonym for pejorative. Obotlig (talk) 23:15, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Fallen women" with the scare-quotes is appropriate, in my opinion. It's alien to us now, but that's how Irish society viewed women who deviated from the norm back then. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 23:47, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neutrality dispute(s)?[edit]

I'm having a hard time discerning which of the above neutrality concerns are still at issue. If they have been resolved, the tag should go, but if not, could editors please list them here for the benefit of third parties? (talk) 23:49, 3 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK, lets kick this off. It was proposed above that there would be a section that would segregate analogous institutions by country/state. Would welcome comment on a section title where these institutions can be addressed in such a way; perhaps 'Magdalene asylums by country'? RashersTierney (talk) 21:03, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think that any organisation which did not explicitly use the term Magdelene or Magdeline should be included in the article. Also, the primary focus does seem to be about Ireland. Homes for unwed mothers should be a distinct article if there is any subject matter for it. Obotlig (talk) 23:22, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"If"?! They - dozens of them - were known as "Mother and baby homes" in Ireland. But they were indeed separate and distinct from the laundries. Which is not to say that a woman couldn't be sent from one to the other. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 23:49, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree with bastun. While they are separate and distinct institutions (mother-baby homes were regulated, accredited and inspected by the State; Magdalene Laundries were not), there was enormous crossover between the two with girls and women routinely sent from one to the other, and also from industrial schools.Culchiewoman (talk) 16:59, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To Bastun above: Sorry, I didn't really mean "if" but whether there was adequate material that an editor would be interested in putting together for a new article, which might also be a more appropriate place for the international material. I think the name Homes for unwed mothers is good if anyone wants to verify that it wouldn't duplicate anything. Then this article can be solely about the history of the institutions titled Magdelene and their laundries and conditions. Obotlig (talk) 02:21, 7 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the proposed article name is missing the point from a historical perspective. These 'asylums' were not instituted either as homes or predominantly for 'unwed mothers'. My own view is strongly that the current title should remain, but that much of the Ireland-related content be forked to Magdalene asylums in Ireland. There would be a nominal amount within this article introducing and contrasting the Irish institutions in a section dealing with analagous institutions on a country by country basis. 'Lock asylums', for example, which served essentially the same function and had a related genesis but without using the term 'Magdalene' could also be addressed here - perhaps with a re-direct. RashersTierney (talk) 08:53, 8 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it would be to the advancement of the neutrality aspect to shed some light on why folks thought these laundries were advancing choices for women, namely how many women in similar circumstances would end up engaging in prostitution or other criminal enterprises in other places. - Haymaker (talk) 09:18, 10 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for comment. Part of the problem stems from what institutions this article should cover. From what I've been reading there were two main motivations involved. One was the 'rehabilitation/reformatory' agenda and the other 'the saving of souls'. Depending on the 'asylum' in question and what time period, sometimes both aspirations were pursued, though generally one or other predominated. The term 'Magdalene' was applied indiscriminately or not at all. There were convents that dated back to the middle-ages, particularly in Italy that were very similar in purpose. Should these be included, or are we to confine ourselves to the enlightenment-era phenomenon and later? RashersTierney (talk) 10:04, 10 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose we'd be best off exploring all of those locations if someone can put the time in for them, in the meantime I'd like something along the lines of "this is why masses of people thought these asylums were good ideas". - Haymaker (talk) 02:55, 14 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPOV Tag Inappropriate[edit]

From the discussion above, it appears the NPOV tag is inappropriate. The criticisms relate to the completeness of the content, e.g. which institutions should be covered by the article, and not a lack of neutrality in its POV-ness. I therefore suggest the removal of the NPOV tag or, in the alternative, a clearer description of any NPOV issue rewinn (talk) 21:02, 11 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removal of Spam Links In Doc Body[edit]

I noticed that a recent contributor entered a number of links to their website throughout the document. Remove the links from the article body and added one link to the relevant section. It seems that the contributor was attempting to self promote, rather than provide information conducive to the subject matter. Also edited badly written content, also provided by the contributor. ( (talk) 23:11, 7 October 2011 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Thank you -- pretty sure who that contributor would be, and certainly not an "expert" in any sense of the word on the Laundries. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Culchiewoman (talkcontribs) 17:00, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An edit summary is the usual way to let eds know of this sort of thing. RashersTierney (talk) 08:36, 8 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of the discussion was to split out the material relating to Ireland. See WP:POVFORK and WP:SPINOFF. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:46, 23 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article is primarily about the situation in Ireland. I would like to see the article split with the info pertaining to Ireland in a Magdalene laundries article and what little that is left remains at Magdalene asylum. A move may be better to keep the page history with the dominate topic? -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 23:49, 7 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i think we might want to revisit this issue of splitting off the Irish material. Thoughts? jxm (talk) 15:45, 30 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My recent tag to suggest spinning off the details of the Irish situation into a separate article was summarily dismissed as 'pointless', without discussion, by another editor. The basic situation is that more than 80% of the current article is taken up with the details of the unfortunate and controversial issues in Ireland. This challenges a new reader who, perhaps for the first time, simply wants some insight into what a Magadalene Asylum actually was, etc. We're clearly violating the concept of [WP:DETAIL], so I'm reinstating the suggestion to split. Comments are most welcome, of course. jxm (talk) 21:55, 9 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
jxm (talk) Splitting the article, also, makes sense to me. In his earlier suggestion, Alan Liefting (talk) mentioned that one article simply on the Magdalene asylum would help explain what the place is/was. (The proposed Magdalene asylum article could cover what it was, where it was in the world, a basic timeline, and how the concept of the institution may have evolved under different names around the world.) The other page could provide more detail about the Magdalene laundries in Ireland. Those working on that Magdalene laundries page could add information about the government supported-religious congregation run Mother-Baby homes and the "unfortunate and controversial issues," there. As with all articles, both would have hyperlinks and provide references that the reader could go to if he or she wanted more in-depth information on specific concepts, ideas, opinions, and topics. So, I for one, support the idea of splitting this rather massive page into two articles, so that each can be covered accurately without hindering the other.Taram (talk) 14:46, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This editor was happy with the article before info about the mass grave, and Catholic reaction to it, was added a fortnight ago. It is now less than a screen longer.

The average "new reader" would, of course, be interested in finding out about what was in the news.

This article already clearly provides "some insight into what a Magadalene Asylum actually was, etc."

In summary, then: No to a POV fork, or removing the title from this page in a cynical attempt to conceal information he doesn't like. Wikipedia is not censored. zzz (talk) 02:24, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Move/Split proposal simply addresses the problem of organizing the information that we already have. Nothing is being concealed and there's no issue of censorship. The recent changes are not of concern with this specific matter; User:Alan_Liefting first proposed the split several years ago - see above. The suggestion is simply to try and structure things a bit better.

As the article states, there were about 300 of these institutions around the world, but most of our material concerns less than 20 of them. It's not a POV fork, since the proposed summary section for Ireland in the current main article would presumably include some info about the latest Irish situation along with suitable references, and the pointer to detailed information in the new article. If anything, it's a split along geographic lines - see WP:IMBALANCE. jxm (talk) 18:03, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User:Alan_Liefting did indeed propose it three years ago, during which time no one was interested - until the new material, which you tried repeatedly, and failed, to have removed. Do you actually want to pretend that that is a coincidence? Do you not realise that any rational person can see your intentions perfectly clearly? Am I missing something here?
And, by the way, why was there no mention of the "discovery of a mass grave" for all that time? Accidental oversight? Another coincidence? Of course, it's a purely rhetorical question. I'm not a complete idiot.
You should remove the template forthwith. You have done a truly remarkable job of suppressing the information that the vast majority of readers have been looking for, so you should congratulate(?) yourself for that. And, feel free to create an article on "geographical lines" as you suggest - you have 2 short paragraphs of material about american and australian asylums here to get you started... and then merge your "new article" into this one, presumably. zzz (talk) 21:19, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree that the article should be split. When user Alan Liefting first suggested it, content amounted to 24,196 bytes. It is now more than double that and most about the Irish "troubles". Doesn't this deserve its own article? The information about the general Magdalen programs is primarily of sociological/historical interest, which might provide some overall context but needn't get lost in a split. "Smith asserts that the "Irish variety took on a distinct character". Mannanan51 (talk) 23:46, 22 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Last Laundry[edit]

The last laundry to close is identified in this piece as having been in Waterford.

A search reveals multiple sources indicating that the last to close was that at Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin as previously stated by a contributor above. The following two links are among several Irish news outlets that cite Dublin as the last (those citing Waterford appear to be relying on wiki): Irish Melkite (talk) 10:13, 7 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree. The laundry at Waterford closed in 1982 and that at Sean MacDermott Street, Dublin in 1996. See McAleese report Chapter 3 section 58. for Waterford and same source Chapter 3 section 29. for Sean MacDermott Street. RashersTierney (talk) 22:15, 9 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I marked both cites as 'failed verification' because they supposedly give Waterford as the last laundry to close. They don't. Neither in fact mentions Waterford. See NYT and Toyntanen. Ref #5 does give Waterford as the last, but it is incorrect. Numerous RSs give Gloucester/Seán McDermot Street as the last to close in 1996 eg Finnegan and McAleese #29. Waterford closed in 1982 - see McAleese Ch.3 #58. RashersTierney (talk) 18:33, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was looking at the year of closure not the location, my bad! Snappy (talk) 22:04, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No problem. RashersTierney (talk) 22:27, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


As the article now stands, it's a poorly-organized collection of apparently random paragraphs, many of them with no source cited. The first section jumps between England and Ireland, and maybe back again, as well as through time. Somebody who knows the full story should be recruited to whip this page into shape. --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 18:28, 7 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A start might be to deal with the topic country-by-country, and within these on a chronological basis. RashersTierney (talk) 21:38, 7 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Will begin to implement the above shortly, unless someone has an alternative suggestion. RashersTierney (talk) 22:45, 9 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A new editor has just added a large amount of material, sourced to a few books, about the laundries. On my talk page, the editor says it's for a college class project, and that she's working to a deadline on it. I've nominated it to be checked for neutrality. Examples from the introduction:

  • ...enslaved women, institutionalizing them against their will, and stripping them of their rights and identities." - but in sections below there are referenced contradictions to this, saying that not all of them were operated in this way
  • From the first Magdalen laundry to open in 1758 to the last laundry to close in 1996, these institutions went through transformative periods, becoming progressively more violent and oppressive. - did all of them progressively become so?
  • Initially the mission of the asylums was to rehabilitate women back into society, but by the early twentieth century the homes had become increasingly punitive and prison-like. - again, this is using the case of the homes that were operated this way to infer that they all were.
  • Eventually, changing attitudes about sexuality and the role of women in society discredited the social values of these institutions, while the rise of the washing machine as a common household appliance undermined their economic viability. One author, Finnegan, makes this claim in a book, but this doesn't seem to be a widely endorsed conclusion.

From the "Ireland" section:

  • Given Ireland's historically conservative sexual values, Magdalen asylums were a generally accepted social institution until well into the second half of the twentieth century. They disappeared with changes in sexual mores—or, as Finnegan suggests, as they ceased to be profitable: "Possibly the advent of the washing machine has been as instrumental in closing these laundries as have changing attitudes."[36] This is again cited only from Finnegan, though the editor doesn't give a page or even a book in the reference.

From the "Fallen women" section:

  • As the motivations started to range from a need to maintain social and moral order within the bounds of patriarchal structure, to a desire to continue profiting from a free workforce, Magdalen laundries became a part of a large structure of suppression. - citation is from the Finnegan book and some unnamed work by Parrot & Cummings. I've added one book I found online by Parrot & Cummings (which mentions the Magdalene laundries) to the bibliography, but it's unclear if that's the work being cited: there are few page numbers in the new cites.

There are several other examples in there, and I'd like to see more eyes on this article to bring it to a more neutral point of view. Ruby Murray 10:09, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Would you suggest that a wiki page on "Slavery" or "concentration camps" be rendered more "neutral"? These laundries are the site of many human rights violations, particularly in Ireland, as my edits clearly state. And my sources are researched historical academic texts. What is the value of a site like Wikipedia if ppl like you are editing history to sugarcoat it or render it "neutral"? It's offensive and irresponsible. You should read Orwell's 1984 for a fictionalized account of what happens when truths are corrupted and history revised and whitewashed. Marygmu (talk) 17:08, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, all articles on Wikipedia need to be written from a neutral point of view. You can find more information about this at Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, and at Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion. Ruby Murray 17:14, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"It's offensive and irresponsible." -- No, it's Wikipedia policy (which this charge violates). You should become familiar with those policies before editing or commenting. -- (talk) 12:29, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would agree with the questions about the Neutrality of the POV. Given recent news, I think the hits on this page will go up making that a problem209.194.41.25 (talk) 19:01, 6 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There are also some serious problems with recently-added references. In addition to the Parrot & Cummings reference, for which I've made a best guess as noted above, there are cites to "Lyall" and "Luddy", with no page number or book name from which to verify the references. I'm guessing that "Luddy" is the "Maria Luddy" referred to in the text, but which work of hers is being cited? What page? And who is this "Lyall"? Ruby Murray 17:44, 5 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Luddy 112 is likely a reference to this source about convent archives, though it may be to ISBN 9780521709057, Prostitution and Irish society, 1800-1940. I haven't seen these, so I can't be sure, but that's where I'd look first.LeadSongDog come howl! 23:15, 5 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. Two weeks have gone by with no reply from the busy student who added them, so I've removed the unusably vague reference to the unknown works by Luddy and whomever Lyall might be, along with the contentious assertions that they were supporting. Ruby Murray 13:10, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I couldn't isolate the Lyall reference, and the "permeated almost every aspect of life" quote is almost a cliche, so search engines have not been helpful. Still I don't think that particular statement is very controversial. It would be difficult to find a wp:RS that opposed the idea that the influence of the Roman Catholic Church was (and still largely is) pervasive throughout Irish life. Is someone actually challenging that idea? LeadSongDog come howl! 17:38, 20 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The McAleese Report 2013 is available on-line ( (talk) 03:39, 29 April 2014 (UTC) ssReply[reply]

Irish English[edit]

This article's spelling should, as in Irish English, use BrEng spelling, not AmEng.LeadSongDog come howl! 14:32, 10 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

UK & London[edit]

The introduction section says that the London Magdalene Asylum was active until 1966. This is not quite true as the name, function and location seems to have changed over the years. Rather than being a convent, it was founded under some enlightenment principles, encouraged by Thomas Coram's Foundling Hospital. Basically, someone said, "it's lovely that we've got this nice home for these poor abandoned children, but what about their mothers?"

The original title was "Magdalene Hospital for the Reception of Penitent Prostitutes", to 'provide for women and girls on the streets a safe, desirable, and happy retreat from their wretched and distressful circumstances'. At one period it was apparently a bit of a dubious tourist attraction. By 1934 it was recognised as an approved school, with only a minority of the 75 places being reserved for girls sent by voluntary societies. In 1944 it became a school where the Juvenile Courts sent girls for assessment before deciding on what to do with them. - Some great links here to books on the Magdalene Hospital and Georgian/Victorian philanthropy. A 1917 history of the hospital.

It may be that the reality was not as enlightened as the historians make out, but the history of the Hospital is well documented and may cause confusion with the Magdalene Asylums and Laundries of Ireland. I'd suggest having a section for UK. It may also be that this was the first one, used the template for the Magdalene Asylums in Ireland.

Might even be worth an article on its own, but I'll leave those links here for discussion. --Davoloid (talk) 10:16, 5 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Having a UK subsection to this article seems a very good idea, particularly if the London Magdalene Asylum had a history quite distinct from the Irish laundries. Might you create such as section, Davoloid? Alfietucker (talk) 11:57, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Happy to knock the above into a more structured format. Seems to have been quite a fashionable thing, according to the 1917 History which I neglected to link before:
Incidentally there was an article yesterday about another London penitentiary in Highgate, a "House of Mercy" for underage prostitutes:
This article highlights the difference: there was still an emphasis on "salvation", but through "spiritual guidance and vocational training as opposed to punishment or reproach". "After their two-year reformation period girls were returned to their parents or went into service, while others married and lead respectable lives. Others opted to become lay sisters at the penitentiary, helping other girls but some went back to their past ways." I'm sure there are other sides to these Penitentiaries that are out there.
--Davoloid (talk) 15:53, 10 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Repeated, confusing abuse of WP:COPYVIO[edit]

FYI. This article contains, at a glance, many glaring instances of sentences copied directly from references, and, strangely, inserted apparently at random. The resulting incomprehensible structure obscures whatever bias there no doubt is. zzz (talk) 01:55, 25 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feel free to make edits for clarifictaion, please. Taram (talk) 02:08, 25 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

new section title[edit]

Many visitors to this page will be looking for information about the much-publicised discovery of the mass grave, as I was. Therefore, I have changed the title of the section from "Publicity and documentaries" to "Discovery of a mass grave", as it was extremely difficult to find any mention of it before. It is the appropriate title, since that is what the "publicity and documentary" were actually about. The previous title only served to hide the information.

In addition, I have expanded the section slightly so as to adequately describe the events. zzz (talk) 07:15, 25 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good job. Thank you. (talk) 21:49, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Catholic perspective[edit]

This is an important aspect that should certainly be examined. I have summarised the position of the Catholic League. Statements from other Catholic organisations or officials would also be useful, to give a broader perspective. I have not been able to find any, as yet.

I also incorporated the (very small) section entitled "International law" into the following section, "2013 publication of inquiry report", in order to minimise the profusion of sections. zzz (talk) 15:34, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There must surely be some official pronouncement of some sort from the Catholic hierarchy. However, I don't know exactly how to go about searching for this. zzz (talk) 15:45, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you zzz (talk). You might want to think about re-titling your new section. I am not insulting you when I say that, but calling it the "Catholic" perspective is misleading. I don't want the casual reader who comes to the page to summarily dismiss and ignore your important notations if that reader only disagrees with the concept. Just think about it. I have no intention of insulting you. No need to insult, here; just collaborate to find better ways of expressing information. Taram (talk) 17:43, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't think of a more apt title. As I understand it, your only objection is that I haven't supplied any other, equally notable, statements by Catholics, to counterbalance the perspective given. There is no reason why any editor could not supply these, I simply haven't managed to so far. I only just added this one! zzz (talk) 17:53, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Keep thinking about it, give it some time, rest, and I am sure you will come up with something better. Good writing takes time (along with all the other processes, of course). You are on your way and I believe you can do it! Keep up the good work zzz (talk). Taram (talk) 17:59, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Taram, please take note (see top of page): Talk pages are for constructive comments about the article ONLY. Personal abuse, thinly veiled or otherwise is not encouraged. I suggest you try to make good faith edits instead, perhaps on a different article that doesn't stress you out so much? Any further personal attacks could result in you being banned from editing - it is strictly against wikipedia policy, as I understand it, to use talk pages to launch personal vendettas zzz (talk) 18:45, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And the same thing applies to my User Talk page: DO NOT send any further sarcastic posts like this "here is a resource you can use to think about written grammar, in additon (sic) to what is provided by Wikipedia". This sort of thing is not what I edit Wikipedia for. Thanks zzz (talk) 19:11, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NB: While I have accepted the majority of your hasty reversions of my edits, I don't agree with most of them. If you concentrated on improving the article, rather than attacking others who do, it might not be in such poor shape. zzz (talk) 19:50, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems to me that most of the Catholic Perspective section is something of a distraction and quite misleading. The Catholic League is an American anti-defamation organization, and the cited source is an opinion piece that is primarily intended to counterbalance the claimed misrepresentations in the US media. This material doesn't represent the church establishment in Ireland or anywhere else. In addition, the Donahue quote refers to the Ryan Report, which has to do with child abuse, not Magdalene Asylums. When you guys stop bickering, perhaps we can get back to straightening this stuff out. jxm (talk) 23:32, 27 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your comment. I do not "bicker": I have been threatened by user Taram with being "banned by administrators" and repeatedly insulted, both here and on my User Talk page, for absolutely no reason that I am aware of, after I had allowed him to immediately delete half of nmy edit without complaint. I'm kind of depressed about the whole thing, to be honest If you want to suggest that I am at fault here, then please explain that. But anyway.

You need to show convincing evidence to support your opinion that "the material doesn't represent the church establishment". Such as, a bishop publically distancing himself from the Catholic League. That would at least be a start. This guy has been spouting his views everywhere from MSNBC to the New York Times, so it's not like he flies under the radar. Far from it, to judge from his WP page. The CL defends the church; but the church has nothing to do with them? That theory would need evidence. The American church, that is, of course: the Irish church would be a different question. But I'd guess that you won,t find the hierarchy objecting to his opinions anywhere. His is the loudest Catholic voice in North America, so you'd need a lot of good evidence to convince me that he doesn't speak for Catholics in general, or the hierarchy in particular. Otherwise, it's rather like claiming, for the sake of argument, that Sinn Feinn don't represent the views of the IRA - there's no direct proof that they do (or, rather, did, but you get my point), but it's not remotely realistic to claim otherwise - why else would they exist? Besides, his is a very signifivant Catholic voice, independently of what you may or may not suppose other Catholics (privately) think. As I said, the article needs to have a Catholic reponse.

Secondly, as far as the Ryan report goes, I have to agree, that was a poor choice of quote. I'm surprised it was'nt objected to earlier. I've just got rid of it. But I assure you, the Donohue report was primarily about the laundries, so I can't see how it's a distraction. It's the most notable, and the most official Catholic response that I'm aware of. zzz (talk) 02:20, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To reiterate, there should be quotes from other equally notable sources in the Catholic establishment,either in Ireland or elsewhere. These would be welcome. If there are none, then that silence speaks volumes, and does not remotely suggest that the view of other Catholics is, in general, any different to that quoted in the article. zzz (talk) 02:36, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tnx fr making those latest updates to the article. Unfortunately, the SF/IRA analogy doesn't really apply here. As a clandestine org, the IRA had/has limited scope for participation in public debate; hence the representation of SF as its mouthpiece. OTOH, the Catholic Church has ample public relations channels and resources to promulgate its 'official' views at all levels - diocesan, national, and globally. As you say, official silence speaks volumes, if that is indeed the case. Concerns about legal liability is no doubt driving a lot of this stuff, but it's probably worth spending some time ferreting out some appropriate references anyway. For example, this report refers a Vatican comment about the film: In the meantime, with regard to the Donahue material, I'd be inclined to relocate it to the section on media coverage or possibly the US section. Thoughts? jxm (talk) 16:23, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Re analogy, the IRA could not communicate their views directly to the media due to security concerns (eg, jail); the Catholic church can't because it would obviously an immediately court an immense, long-lasting PR catastrophe. I could continue - suffice it to say, the analogy works extremely well and then some. I am somewhat confused: on the one hand you correctly identify possible serious danger in discussing the more or less uniquely apt analogy, yet you demand that I continue it, for the flimsiest of reasons? Could you not have anticipated my (very straightforward) reply? Your continued opposition is entirely predictable, of course (and that's not meant as a criticism of you, or assuming bad faith, it's just a statement of obvious fact that everyone is perfectly aware of; and one can see in your Talk Page that user Taram, see above, has, predictably enough, "passed on the baton"); equally clear to everyone, your POV on this issue is hardly likely to change any time soon. But please limit your obligatory objections to genuine points for debate. Thanks.

By the way, if, on the other hand, their view was as apologetic as you would like to imply, they certainly could say so, with no reservations or concerns of any kind whatsoever. I'm not sure if I had to spell that out, but there it is, anyway.

Your other point is that you have found an (unnamed) journalist in an otherwise unsignificant Vatican newspaper being goaded into criticising a film at the Venice Film Festival, calling it "an angry, rancorous provocation incautiously passed as a work of art", by the comment of the director (courting nationwide coverage) at a Venice press conference comparing Magdalene nuns in the 1960s to Taliban militants. So, you could put this in the appropriate section, if you really think it is worth mentioning at all - but I don't think you or anyone else thinks it is. So, again I am confused: what was the point in mentioning this?

You do agree, you state, that "official silence speaks volumes". But you have not raised any disagreements of substance. Is that a fair assessment? zzz (talk) 18:13, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@jxm PS Oh. Your concern was not for my legal liability, but for the Vatican's. As in, they can't afford to pay anything to 600 or so old women. Really? Would that make a dent in their astronomical sex-abuse fund? I don't think that is a realistic theory, and in any case it's purely conjectural on your part. Although, the legendary cynicism of the Vatican is a point we can agree on, if that is what you base your unlikely conjecture on.

In any case, my reply (above) fully addresses everything you mentioned. Thanks zzz (talk) 19:21, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry, one more point about your legal liability theory. In order for this to work, there would have to be an official instruction from the pope down, to all bishops, etc, etc, in Europe and North America (at least), which would have to never get leaked to the press at any point. So, the theory is marginally more likely than the Moon landing conspiracy theories (at best - see above). Thanks zzz (talk) 19:40, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@jxm Look, the CL is VERY notable, it's Catholic, and it's released a detailed report into the subject of this article, which is, therefore, a very notable "Catholic perspective". zzz (talk) 21:41, 28 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for yr latest edits. I think my main concern about including the CL quotations is the assertion that no-one was imprisoned, etc. These specific comments are in complete disagreement with the findings in chapters 9 and 10 of the McAleese report, which in turn raises questions about how much we should depend upon this material as a reliable source for an 'official' church position. jxm (talk) 00:52, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're welcome. The CL rejected the findings of the report, pretty much. Like the nuns on the radio. They're entitled to their opinion, I guess. The Vatican rejects the findings of the WHO on the transmission of Aids. Each to his own. zzz (talk) 01:46, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's all about interpretation: what is the definition of imprisonment, etc. zzz (talk) 01:52, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If the Vatican, or the Irish church, conducted an enquiry, I'd expect the same interpretation. But, I don't know how reliable the McAleese report is , either. Could just be pandering to its target audience. Needs some scrutiny, really. zzz (talk) 02:22, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

jxm. I should have given you a better reply earlier. Here's the reason, then, copied from above, why the CL report is one of the perspectives in the article:

The CL is VERY notable, it's Catholic, and it's released a detailed report into the subject of this article, which is, therefore, a very notable "Catholic perspective".

Also, note that your opinion of the merit of the report is completely irrelevant. zzz (talk) 06:25, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I apologise for being rude. Tiredness. Idon't want to sacrifice this bit, because it is entertaining, in my book, and it does add notable wacky information: Americans take this stuff seriously (possibly?). I don't know, I'd never heard of them, myself. It is incredible that the CL exists, or that anyone pays any attention. Boss is a horrendous guy. Which makes it more entertaining. It's just words, no? zzz (talk) 07:59, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And anyhow, Istand by my opinions, as stated, it's a bigger issue than what users might want. zzz (talk) 08:38, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, no prob. I think that putting the CL quotations in the context of the nuns' responses helps set the right tone here. I believe that we can put the matter to rest if we simply change the first sentence to read.... "In a detailed commentary by bill Donahue, the President of the Catholic League (an American anti-defamation organization), ...." Yes/no/maybe? :-) jxm (talk) 14:59, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that is fine. Something like that, definitely an improvement, to at least suggest how bizarre/Fox News/etc it is. Go ahead: whatever you can come up with! Cheers zzz (talk) 15:38, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
jxm, how about (an American media campaign group), maybe? zzz (talk) 16:09, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or, "(a U.S. media advocacy group)" zzz (talk) 20:11, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Legal note: I withdraw the unintended implication that Fox News, a quality broadcaster, would ever have that guy on.) zzz (talk) 21:12, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

historical perspective[edit]

I've added a bit about the visit of the English author in 1955. It demonstrates that the Catholic hierarchy, at least locally, were well aware that something was going on which they did not want the world to find out about. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Signedzzz (talkcontribs) 18:45, 31 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neutrality tags[edit]

Ther are no ongoing disputes as to neutrality that I am aware of. No issues have been raised by whoever placed the tag, or anyone else.

Since no one has suggested which of Wikipedia's neutrality guidelines is being broken, I will remove the section tag, and the one at the top if there are no objections. zzz (talk) 19:56, 2 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There has been a concern raised that indeed there is a neutrality concern, the discussion will occur here and I will attempt to do the best that I can in assisting concerns with this article/section. Jab843 (talk) 05:39, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I repeat: I have had no concern raised to me. What is your concern exactly? It is not sufficient to merely put a neutrality tag on a section without specifying why you think it is not neutral. Since you are have not done so, (obviously, since it is clearly completely neutral) I will remove the tag, as placing it for no good reason is vandalism. zzz (talk) 10:36, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was relaying the concern of other editors. But my own concern with the section is that it seems heavily slanted in attacking the Catholic establishment. If we want to even keep the section titled Catholic perspective, it needs a fair amount of rewriting. In its current state, the more appropriate section title would be "Censorship by the Catholic establishment." As in its current form, it doesn't state any views by the catholic church, it is merely a laundry list of times that members of the church have rejected requests for information. Jab843 (talk) 20:49, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other editors should have the ability to voice their own concerns, but if you have somehow read their minds, that's fine. You claim the section is "slanted in attacking the Catholic establishment": but you offer no explanation. Which is not at all surprising, since it is a completely false assertion.

Then you state the section should be called "Censorship by the Catholic establishment", again, with no explanation. One paragraph out of four concerns censorship.

And, finally, you mention "a laundry list of times that members of the church have rejected requests for information" - again, referring to the same paragraph. Ie, not a "list" in any (normal or rational) sense.

Since you, and those who, as you claim, speak through you, have no genuine (ie, rational) concerns, the tag should be removed forthwith. From Wikipedia:NPOV dispute: "Drive-by tagging is discouraged. The editor who adds the tag should address the issues on the talk page, pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies" (emphasis in original).

Also, "If your sole contribution to an article is to repeatedly add or remove the tag, chances are high that you are abusing your "right" to use the tag." zzz (talk) 21:58, 10 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia:NPOV dispute is only an essay, not a policy or a guideline. Wikipedia:Edit warring, on the other hand, is a policy. You guys need to quit edit warring over tags and discuss and resolve whatever issues there are with the article. If you continue edit warring over tags, the page may be protected from editing and you may be blocked. If you need outside help or opinions, please pursue options available via dispute resolution. Sarah 01:21, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Sarah. Since you appear to be accusing me of "Wikilawyering", and refusing to "resolve issues", I am forced to respond. Please familiarise yourself with the dispute before unhelpfully making wild threats and accusations. If you glance at the edit history of the article, you will see that the "essay" you refer to was offered in the edit summary by Jab843 as the sole justification for inserting a warning tag in the article. I was quite simply pointing out, above, that it does no such thing - having first carefully addressed the fact of no genuine concerns regarding neutrality having been raised.

Please be aware that up until I edited this article on the 25th July [[8]], as opposed to [[9]], there was no mention whatsoever of a mass grave being discovered in the grounds of a convent - despite this being the exact thing that most visitors to this page would be most interested in. This is far and away the most blatant example of censorship that I have ever discovered on WP, and it is no doubt the reason why Jab843 has now begun canvassing for like-minded and ill-informed people to come here and attack me.

You appear to be threatening that I could be blocked simply for protecting the article from unjustifed, malicious tagging by IPs and other self-appointed censors who refuse to justify their actions. This could not, in fact, happen: if it could, I wouldn't bother using or editing the website. This is an encyclopedia, not a Catholic advocacy group. I would therefore ask you to withdraw your comment. zzz (talk) 06:43, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The way I see it, there are two issues here: one is a content dispute and the other is a behavioral issue. I am not sure why you feel it is appropriate to be so aggressive and abrasive. Wikipedia is a project that works through collaboration. You cannot simply take control of an article and chase everyone else away. If you want to contribute to Wikipedia, you need to be willing to collaborate with other editors and reach an agreement (often a compromise) about the content. If you are suggesting that I was canvassed to come here, you would be mistaken. I have this article on my watchlist because I edited it eight or nine years ago and I noticed your edit warring over tags on my watchlist. I then came here to this page and saw for myself your aggressive behavior towards other editors. Sorry but I am not withdrawing my comment and I am quite prepared to block editors or protect the article if edit warring resumes. I do not believe the other users refused to explain their tagging; rather, you refused to accept their explanations and instead decided to force your own way against policy. If you are going to continue editing this page, you need to collaborate with the other editors. Sarah 01:31, 14 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Sarah: Your accusations are, of course, baseless (read through this section and find me one "explanation for tagging"). The way I see it, there is just one issue here: users attempting to censor this article. Since you have, you claim, apparently been watching this article for "eight or nine years", I find it peculiar that the total lack of information regarding the mass grave (international) news story did not trouble you at any point! From the start, editors (now including you) have been attempting to scare me off with carefully worded, patronising, personal abuse, and entirely unconvincing threats (thus increasing my "abrasiveness"); also by canvassing against me on all the wikiprojects listed above, and elsewhwere. As a self-professed "Awesome Wikipedian", it is a shame that you chose to support those who are opposed to my improvements of this article (but refuse to explain why), regardless of your own personal prejudices. Therefore, you should retract your comment - but it's entirely up to you.zzz (talk) 21:07, 26 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ps, I use the word "editors" loosely, since no one other than myself ever actually adds any new material to this article! zzz (talk) 21:19, 26 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let us please refocus this discussion on content, rather than the contributors and behavior. This talk page is here to facilitate building an article. I have made a couple improvements to it now. I think there is no glaring neutrality problem right now, but there is perhaps some subtle language that could be better. For example, the USA section does its best to portray the asylums as failures at best and malicious at worst. I think that we should apply a little bit of WP:AGF here to the founders and caretakers of these instutitions. Wikipedia demands neutrality, so we cannot paint a negative picture unless that is the unanimous view of all sources, which I doubt. I am sure that there is a lot of bad press for the asylums in the modern media. Things like the mass grave are black marks on their record, but I do not think that omission of a mention was malicious censorship. We need to dispassionately report what the reliable secondary sources say in all cases. Elizium23 (talk) 21:26, 26 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. I just want to stress that adding material from about an international news story is not "aggressively following my own agenda" (re: canvassing, above) - personal attacks should be directed at me, not canvassed around willy-nilly.zzz (talk) 21:42, 26 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This page is listed as important to and supported by four Wikiprojects: WikiProject Christianity / Catholicism (specifically WikiProject Catholicism), WikiProject Correction and Detention Facilities, WikiProject Ireland, and WikiProject Women's History. Each Wikiproject has a scale to determine both importance and quality based on determinations made by Members of each project. One project may find the quality and/or importance of an article to be greater or of less importance than another. The assessment scale of each project helps Members make that determination. Within the category of Catholicism articles by importance, Top-class articles refer to "Key" articles, considered indispensable to understanding the tenets of Roman Catholicism such as "Pope, Roman Catholic Church, etc." High-class articles are High-priority topics and needed subtopics of "key" articles, often with a broad scope; needed to complement any general understanding of the field. These include topics such as "Thomas Aquinas, College of Cardinals, etc." Neither the Magdalene laundries nor the Magdalene asylums fit in to definitions of Top or High classifications within WikiProject Christianity / Catholicism (specifically WikiProject Catholicism). So for the Members of Wikiproject Catholicism, as it regards Catholicism (not the value of discussing the unfortunate and controversial issues surrounding the Irish Mother-Baby homes) the Magdalene Laundries/Magdalene asylum page is either a Mid class article or a Low class article. Within the Membership of the Wikiproject Catholicism group, a mid-class importance rating indicates Mid-priority articles on more specialized (sub-)topics; possibly more detailed coverage of topics summarized in "key" articles, and as such their omission would not significantly impair general understanding. These include: "Filioque clause, Knights of Columbus, etc." The low-classification of the importance of articles supported by Wikiproject Catholicism include articles that while still notable, are highly-specialized or even obscure, not essential for understanding the wider picture ("nice to have" articles). These include topics such as "Quaesitum est, Suburbicarian diocese." In the opinion of this Member of Wikiproject Catholicism, the level of importance to the Members of WikiProject Christianity / Catholicism (specifically WikiProject Catholicism), this article on the Magdalene Laundries-Magdalene asylums fits in the Mid-classification of importance on the scale as described by the Membership of the Wikiproject. This does not mean that the article is not important, it just identifies where the article fits in the hundreds of other articles supported by Wikiproject Catholicism. When a Member of Wikiproject Catholicism marks this Magdalene Laundries-Magdalene asylums page as of mid importance to the project, other editors of the page who are not Members of the project should try not to be upset by that classification. That is because the mid-level classification of importance does not mean that the article and subject matter are not important, it identifies where the article fits in the particular Wikiproject system. Members of the other Wikiprojects supporting this article will identify where identify the importance level of the article based on their own classification systems.Taram (talk) 16:04, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uninvolved members of the project should, and already have, made the determination. zzz (talk) 16:24, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi zzz (talk), Are you a Member of the Wikiproject Catholicism? If not, would you be so kind as to look into the history and find which Member made that determination? I work during the day and do not have the time spend time on the computer doing that. Thanks for your help.Taram (talk) 16:29, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you continue your vandalism of this article, I will report you to administrators. zzz (talk) 16:33, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Check Wikipedia's definition of vandalism: "a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia...Even if misguided, willfully against consensus, or disruptive, any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia is not vandalism." Correcting incorrect project ratings is not vandalism. Sarah 02:18, 14 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just checking on my way out the door. You can find who rated it by going through the hostory section. Then if you give me the name , I can cross checkit with the membershiip past and present. Thanks!Taram (talk) 16:58, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
zzz , checking in for a minute: did you find any name on the subject, yet? Back later. Taram (talk) 00:34, 12 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The project ratings were originally done by an ip. They are obviously incorrect. There is no way this article should be rated as "high" or "top" level importance for any of those projects. Sarah 02:18, 14 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seems like that incorrect project rating happened during a 16-hour copy-editing marathon, involving about 300 edits that were mostly focused on Irish sports people and politicians. The IP address appears to be in Ireland; it would have been an all-night session if the user(s) was actually located there. jxm (talk) 14:54, 14 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just saw your posts, Sarah and jxm (talk). Thank you for checking into that! Taram (talk) 09:19, 24 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mass Grave Importance[edit]

Since the new material, 2 users have attempted to lower the "importance" level of the article. Reason given in edit summary:

"Mid-priority article with specialised (sub-)topics; omission would not significantly impair general understanding of Christianity or Catholicism"

The mass grave ("specialised sub-topic") doesn't make the subject less important. If it was high importance before, with the info omitted, it must surely be more important now, if anything, not less. zzz (talk) 08:10, 12 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Omission" refers to the overall article; dropping it entirely "would not significantly impair...." etc. jxm (talk) 14:16, 12 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Magdalene laundries in Ireland now split out[edit]

I have now split out Magdalene laundries in Ireland:

  • I removed "Magdalene institutions" from the lede. It is not in common usage
  • I have created the England and Ireland sections
  • Not sure what to do with the media representation section (apart from The Magdealene Sisters film). It is listcruft. Notable publications could be put in Further reading.
-- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 23:30, 23 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looks good and is much easier to read! Thank you, Alan (talk) Taram (talk) 09:59, 24 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just a heads up that here I've noted the lack of a wikilink from Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. -84user (talk) 09:28, 23 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Placed previous Australia section here in case someone wants to work on it, as it is copied verbatim from Chenoweth. (Note, link to "Forgotten Australians" appears to be no longer active.)

There are no precise figures for the number of girls who worked in the eight Magdalene laundries, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, in twentieth-century Australia because Good Shepherd has not released their records. As a result of the 2004 Senate report "Forgotten Australians"[1] it is known that the Good Shepherd laundries in Australia acted as prisons for the girls who were forced to labor in workhouses laundering linen for local hospitals or commercial premises. The report also described the conditions as characterized by inedible food, unhygienic living conditions and little or no education. In 2008, Senator Andrew Murray likened the Convent of the Good Shepherd 'The Pines', Adelaide to a prisoner-of-war camp.[2] Mannanan51 (talk) 20:58, 22 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Organizational Description[edit]

I think this article needs content describing Magdalene asylums generally, or in other words--a description of the institution describing the cause or conditions that can foster this abuse.

Gratitude girls[edit]

I heard the women who worked in a magdalene laundry referred to as "gratitude girls" on Australian TV (on a show set in the 1920s). Is this an Australian euphemism or a general term? -- Beland (talk) 23:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Never heard it used in relation to the Irish laundries, Beland, so may be just an Australian thing? BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 22:07, 31 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Were these institutions primarily a Roman Catholic phenomenon? Did it vary by country? The talk page suggests so, but the article is unclear. --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 22:34, 25 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reorganize chronologically[edit]

The article suggests the first 18th-century institutions were started by what sound like Anglican (Protestant) institutions in England, Wales and Ireland (Church of Ireland is Anglican, not Catholic.) I had thought the laundries were based in Catholic institutions, because they had more of them. This should be organized historically first, then by country. It is clear that Great Britain led the establishment of such institutions, although the movement to help fallen women, at a time of social change with industrialization and urbanization, spread to other English-speaking countries. Thus it does not make sense to discuss Australia before UK. Catholic orders operated many of the laundries in Ireland and the US, which seemed to persist longer than Protestant ones. Parkwells (talk) 19:35, 29 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki washing[edit]

This article has been completely white washed of negative coverage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:36, 11 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Catholic perspective - again[edit]

There used to be a section on "Catholic perspective", as a sub-section of the "Ireland" section. But when the main body of the "Ireland" section was moved to its own page, the necessary and useful section on Catholic perspective was eliminated. I've restored a limited version of it, as a stub. But this section really deserves to be much longer, because as it stands the article's predominant tone is very polemical. -Wwallacee (talk) 15:07, 24 April 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seeing as much of what is written about in the Ireland section is known to have happened and has had independent investigations confirming same, the Irish government have acknowledged same, and are currently in the process of compensating survivors based on the findings of independent investigations, I must assume that the U.S. lay Catholic organisation defending the laundries is speaking only to the history of laundries in the U.S., and I've accordingly moved it to a subsection of the U.S. section. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 16:25, 24 April 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Controversially the men in society were never victimised for committing the same crime"[edit]

Was it controversial at the time, or only from a modern perspective? This should be clarified. Equinox 14:39, 13 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notable “alumni”[edit]

Apart from Sinead O Connor (as is referenced in her own wiki article)— are there any another notable people who once spent time in this ‘system’? Genetikbliss (talk) 21:21, 17 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article should include this NYT summary paragraph[edit]

Orders of Roman Catholic nuns ran the laundries for profit, and women and girls were put to work there, supposedly as a form of penance. The laundries were filled not only with “fallen women” — prostitutes, women who became pregnant out of marriage or as a result of sexual abuse and those who simply failed to conform — but also orphans and deserted or abused children.]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ajaxocdncntx (talkcontribs) 22:13, 3 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Education assignment: The History of Sexuality[edit]

This article is currently the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 28 August 2023 and 8 December 2023. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Studentinhistoryofsexuilty (article contribs).

— Assignment last updated by Studentinhistoryofsexuilty (talk) 00:29, 20 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]