Do Penance or Perish: Magdalen Asylums in Ireland

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9780195174601: Do Penance or Perish: Magdalen Asylums in Ireland

Frances Finnegan traces the development of Ireland's Magdalen Asylums--homes that were founded in the mid-nineteenth century for the detention of prostitutes undergoing reform. The inmates of these asylums were discouraged-and many forcibly prevented-from leaving and sometimes were detained for life. Put to work without pay in adjoining laundries, these women were subject to penance, harsh discipline, enforced silence, and prayer. Their hair was cropped, and they were made to wear drab and shapeless clothing. Forbidden to mention their past lives, their children taken away, the inmates themselves were referred to as children and forced to address the nuns as "Mother." As the numbers of prostitutes began to dwindle, the church looked elsewhere for this free labor, targeting other "fallen" women such as unwed mothers and wayward or abused girls. Some were incarcerated simply for being "too beautiful," and therefore in danger of sin. Others were mentally retarded. Most of them were brought to the asylums by their families or priests. Unbelievably, the last of these asylums was closed only in 1996. Drawing on previously unpublished material, Finnegan presents case histories of individual women and their experiences in Magdalen homes, which claimed some 30,000 women in all. She looks at the social consequences of such a system, and ponders how it was able to survive into the late twentieth century, right through the feminist campaign for women's rights. Do Penance or Perish is the first study of this shameful episode in Irish history.

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About the Author:

Frances Finnegan is at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Review:


"She provides valuable information about the nature of Magdalen asylum system in Ireland." --History: Review of Books


"The definitive account of the Magdalen Asylums..." --The Guardian


"Frances Finnegan's pioneering works on poverty and prostitution in Victorian Britain are classics, and so is this beautifully-produced book, the eagerly-awaited fruit of two decades' research. This is what social history should be... This excellent book represents a coming of age for Irish women's history... This is 'nasty' women's history; as feminist historians we will have to find a way of understanding (without excusing) women who perpetrated and perpetuated cruelty and inhumanity." --Women's Studies


"There is much fascinating detail, prompting questions about class, power, and religion... Frances Finnegan, provocatively sympathetic to her subject, has written a book that ascribes significance to lives that were carefully hidden" --Saothar, the Journal of the Irish Labour History Society


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Finnegan, Frances.
Verlag: Oxford and others, Oxford University Press. (2004)
ISBN 10: 0195174607 ISBN 13: 9780195174601
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Buchbeschreibung Oxford and others, Oxford University Press., 2004. 23.3cm x 15.5cm. xii, 256 pages. Original Softcover. Very good condition with only minor signs of wear. Includes for Example: The story of Ireland's Good Shepherd Magdalen Asylums/ Founded in the mid-nineteenth century for the detention of prostitutes undergoing reform/ Inmates of these asylums were discouraged and forcibly prevented from leaving, and were sometimes detained for life/ These women were subject to penance, harsh discipline, enforced silence, and prayer/ Their hair was cropped, they were made to wear drab and shapeless clothing/ Their children were taken away and they were forbidden to discuss their lives prior to their entry into the asylums/ As numbers of prostitutes began to dwindle, the church looked elsewhere for this free labor, targeting other "fallen" women such as unwed mothers and wayward or abused girls/ Some were incarcerated simply for being "too beautiful" and therefore in danger of sin/ Others were "simple minded"/ Most were brought to asylums by their families or priests/ Women were still being admitted to these institutions in the 1980s/ The last of these asylums was closed only in 1996/ Finnegan traces the development of the Magdalen Asylums/ Case histories of individual women and their experiences in the homes, which claimed some 30,000 women in all/ The social consequences of such an asylum/ How was it able to survive into the late twentieth century, right through the feminist campaign for women's rights and the trade union movement. Dr. Frances Finnigan is Lecturer in Social History at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland/ She has written three books on nineteenth-century poverty, including "Poverty and Prostitution: A Study of Victorian Prostitutes in York" (1979). Artikel-Nr. 40415AB

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