Commonwealth Honors College World Film Series: "The Magdalene Sisters"
November 25, 2013
Commonwealth Honors College Building
The Magdalene Asylums (also known as 'Magdalene Laundries') were homes maintained by individual religious orders in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. The Magdalene Laundries were institutions sponsored and maintained by the Catholic Church in Ireland for the incarceration of young women thought to be a moral danger to themselves and others - unmarried mothers or simply girls who were considered hussies and whores, no better than they should be. With the legal consent of their fathers, they were imprisoned and made to work for no pay in imitation of Mary Magdalene in laundries, always exploited and in many cases sexually abused. Peter Mullan's emotionally wrenching film tells the story of three Dublin women in 1964, fictional composites of what appear to be real cases. While The Magdalene Sisters (2002) is a work of fiction, the abuses it depicts are allegedly based on credible survivor accounts of life in the Magdalene institutions, which are said to have taken in as many as 30,000 women between their inception in the 1880s and their final closing in 1996.