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Magdalene Sisters


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I know this is only supposed to be a thread for book discussions, but perhaps it should be expanded to include films as well...

 

I just saw "The Magdalene Sisters" on DVD. It is a very tragic tale of this very repressive order of nuns in Ireland where girls who got into any sort of trouble or even suspected trouble were sent away to this order, where they basically were imprisoned and subjected to harsh labor and abuse at the hands of the nuns and priest.

 

In the film, we follow the stories of three girls- one who was raped by her cousin, another who just talked to boys, and another who had a child out of wedlock. They were all shipped away to this work camp, basically disowned by their families and shamed and abused by these nuns.

 

Supposedly the story is true, but I can't imagine the level of viciousness portrayed in this film actually being perpetrated... it is shocking...

 

Has anyone else seen this film?

 

If so, what did you think about it?

 

Peace,

 

John

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I saw it a while ago at the cinema. It was a pretty harrowing watch ... fairly relentless misery from what I remember. What shocked me most was not simply that it was supposedly true, but that it also said at the end that the last of the Magdalene Sisters institutions closed down quite recently ..... I don't remember the date, but I think it was 1960s.

 

Presumably they thought they were doing it "for the girl's own good" which makes it even more frightening.

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I saw it a while ago at the cinema.  It was a pretty harrowing watch ... fairly relentless misery from what I remember.  What shocked me most was not simply that it was supposedly true, but that it also said at the end that the last of the Magdalene Sisters institutions closed down quite recently ..... I don't remember the date, but I think it was 1960s.

 

Presumably they thought they were doing it "for the girl's own good" which makes it even more frightening.

 

Believe it or not, if I remember correctly, the last Magdalene institution in Ireland apparently closed as recently as the early 1990's...

 

That was shocking to me. But then again, Ireland has long been one of the most morally conservative countries in the western world.

 

I am sure variations of the abuse depicted in the film all happened in one way or another at some point, I would certainly hope that they were not nearly as vicious as what was depicted.

 

A few of the more disturbing scenes:

 

-when the nuns line up the girls and demean them for their physical features in front of all the other girls...

 

-the nuns viciously cutting all the hair off one of the girls for trying to escape...

 

-the priest sexually abusing one of the girls (although he apparently later received his comeupance via a strange incident involving poison ivy)...

 

-the attempted suicide of one of the girls...

 

Also, the general mood of the film shows these girls facing unrelentingly cruel abuse at a place where they were supposed to find help and be reformed...

 

I also questioned whether, in part, the author and directors' motivations were in any way anti-Catholic.

 

It is definitely worth seeing for the powerful human drama and richly developed characters, but don't watch it if you are feeling low, or have a weak stomach.

 

Peace,

 

John

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