Case Magdalene

Le Case Magdalene sorsero in Inghilterra e in Irlanda nel XIX secolo con lo scopo di riabilitare le prostitute.

In Irlanda presero il nome da Maria Maddalena, che secondo la tradizione cattolica, si pentì dei suoi peccati e divenne una fedele seguace di Gesù.
La maggior parte di questi istituti fu gestito, per conto della Chiesa cattolica, da suore che appartenevano ai vari ordini.

Ben presto, questi ricoveri, furono trasformati in istituti femminili che accoglievano ragazze orfane o donne ritenute immorali a causa della loro condotta in netto contrasto con i pregiudizi della società.

Concepiti come ricoveri di breve durata, in seguito si trasformarono in istituzioni a lungo termine.

Nella maggior parte delle Case Magdalene, le donne spesso erano trattenute contro la loro volontà. Ciò grazie alla complicità dei familiari delle ragazze, preoccupati di mantenere integro l’onore e la reputazione della loro famiglia.

Così, per evitare uno scandalo pubblico, le giovani erano condotte in questi conventi con l’intenzione di far espiare loro quelli che erano comunemente considerati gravi peccati:

essere madre nubile, troppo avvenente o troppo brutta, o vittima di uno stupro.

Una volta accolte, le ragazze erano impegnate quotidianamente in estenuanti lavori, come lavare il bucato a mano. Il duro lavoro, le privazioni e la preghiera erano la condotta che bisognava tenere e che costituiva il cammino verso la redenzione dei peccati del passato.

Nel 1993, quando un ordine di suore a Dublino vendette parte del convento a un imprenditore immobiliare, furono trovati i resti delle centocinquantacinque pazienti, tumulati in tombe anonime all’interno della proprietà.

Le salme furono esumate e, fatta eccezione per un corpo, cremate e seppellite in una tomba comune nel cimitero di Glasnevin.

Ciò scatenò uno scandalo pubblico.

Nel 1999 Mary Norris, Josephine McCarthy e Mary-Jo McDonagh fecero un resoconto del trattamento ricevuto nella Casa. Nel documentario “Sex in a Cold Climate” del 1998 furono intervistate ex detenute delle Case Magdalene. Queste donne riferirono di aver subito abusi sessuali, psicologici e fisici continuati sia dalle suore sia dai preti e di essere state completamente isolate dal mondo esterno durante il periodo di detenzione.

Circa 30.000 donne furono ospitate nel corso dei 150 anni della storia di queste istituzioni.

L’ultima Casa Magdalene in Irlanda è stata chiusa il 25 settembre del 1996. A tutt’oggi non esiste una statistica esatta di quante donne siano state ospitate complessivamente.

Magdalene – Il film

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