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PostPosted: 09 Nov 2009, 10:25 
Grand Poobah
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Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
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I recently learned that not everyone knows about the Magdalene Laundry women and girls.

I think it's important, especially since this continued to the 1990's.

In a similar vein, few people have heard of the The Duplessis Orphans, another Catholic Church and State scandal.

So, for our edification, is a little about both. If you have little known scandals close to your heart, please share them.

Knowledge is power.

The Duplessis Orphans:

Fifty years ago in Quebec the care of children living in Roman Catholic run orphanages was paid by the provincial government, but those in mental institutions were financed by the Canadian government. In the 1940's and 50's, Quebec Minister Maurice Duplesiss entered into a scheme with the Catholic Church to defraud the government by relabeling children left in orphanages by unwed mothers as psychotic or mentally deficient to gain greater funding. The Church and the Quebec provincial government also relabeled orphanages as mental institutions as part of the plan.

When the mental institutions were closed in the 1990's, the profit scheme came to light and a scandal erupted. The survivors now adults began to tell about the horrors of the stories of being imprisoned in insane asylums from childhood---the profound abuse, treatment as slave labor, electro-shock treatments, sexual abuse, physical tortures, straitjackets, and medical experiments.

Confronted with the evidence the government chose to trivialize the impact and refused to punish the clergy responsible. Eventually in 2001 in an attempt to stop further inquiry into the scandal, the government offered $15,000 per orphan in damages. This settlement outraged the victims and they pressed for more damages, further investigation, and justice. How much did the Church benefit from the relabeling of orphans?

from: (has narration!)

Magdalene laundry girls:

It is the story of thousands of Ireland's women...judged "sinners" by the cruel Church-driven society of the 1800's through present day. Their crime? Bearing children out of wedlock...leaving abusive husbands or home situations. The punishment? A lifetime of "penitence" spent in the service of the Sisters of Charity, Mercy, Good Shepherd or other orders, performing domestic chores...harsh, thankless chores such as laundering prison uniforms, cooking, cleaning and caring for elderly nuns or their aging peers, still trapped behind the walls of Ireland's numerous convent laundries, industrial schools and the like.

They are "The Magdalenes," ironically called after Mary the Magdalene, who served her Jesus loyally and was rewarded with his forgiveness and love. No such rewards exist for these "penitents." They were told to forever hide their shame inside these walls, work under harsh, spartan conditions, driven unmercifully by the sisters and often abused by them as well. It is a story Ireland has every right to be ashamed of, which is perhaps why it has only come to light recently.

In 1993, church property held by the Sisters of Charity in Dublin which once served as a convent laundry was to be sold back to the Republic for public use. It was discovered at that time that some 133 graves existed, unmarked, in a cemetery on the convent grounds. The graves belonged to women who had worked in the service of the convent all their lives, buried without notification to possible family...unmarked, unremembered. When the discovery was made, a cry arose in the streets of Dublin...families came forth to identify and claim some of the women as their long-lost daughters, mothers, grandmothers, and sisters. Yet many remained unidentified. At the time of the 1993 discovery, a memorial was established and the remaining, unclaimed bodies were to be cremated and reinterred in the Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin. But a problem arose: an initial exhumation order was given for 133 bodies, yet at time of exhumation, another 22 bodies were discovered. No additional exhumation order was obtained or given, and the 155 bodies were cremated and moved with little fanfare.

The Magdalen laundries were excluded from the Residential Institutions Redress legislation. They were deemed private, charitable institutions. Women, the state asserted, voluntarily committed themselves seeking asylum. The four religious congregations involved in operating Ireland's laundries—the Good Shepherds, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge, Mercy Sisters—all gave testimony before the Commission's confidential committee. But, they only addressed their management of industrial and reformatory schools.

Magdalen survivors were not invited to appear before the confidential committee. The Commission, of course, was charged with inquiring into child abuse. Magdalens were, in the main, women not children. And, age continues to inform the state's rationale for disqualifying survivors' claims for redress. So too, however, does the question of liability. Unlike the industrial and reformatory schools system, the government disclaims any function in licensing or inspecting the laundries. It purports never to have funded them directly.

Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!

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