Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Penance Industry

Magdalen Laundry, early twentieth century

The Magdalene laundries were notorious institutions run by Catholic religious orders in Ireland from the 18th to the late 20th centuries. They housed single mothers and wayward women who laboured in exchange for food and shelter, most living and dying in abject poverty.

In the 1980s most households had washing machines and no longer required laundry services. The Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford entered into an agreement with Hasbro, a global games industry. Residents packaged board games for pocket money instead of wages. The work continued over three decades, for a global toy market.

Read the story: Little Atoms

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