Childhood Interruptedby Kathleen O'Malley
In 1950, Kathleen O'Malley and her two sisters were legally abducted from their mother and placed in an industrial school ran by the Sisters of Mercy order of nuns, who also ran the notorious Magdalene Homes. The rape of eight-year-old Kathleen by a neighbour had triggered their removal - the Irish authorities ruling that her mother must have been negligent. They… See more details below
In 1950, Kathleen O'Malley and her two sisters were legally abducted from their mother and placed in an industrial school ran by the Sisters of Mercy order of nuns, who also ran the notorious Magdalene Homes. The rape of eight-year-old Kathleen by a neighbour had triggered their removal - the Irish authorities ruling that her mother must have been negligent. They were only allowed a strictly supervised visit once a year, until they were permitted to leave the harsh and cruel regime of the institution at the age of sixteen.
But Kate survived her traumatic childhood and escaped her past by leaving for England and then Australia when the British government offered a scheme to encourage settlement there. Fleeing her past again, Kate worked as a governess in Paris and then returned to England where she trained as a beautician at Elizabeth Arden. She married and had a son.
A turning point in Kate's life came when she applied to become a magistrate and realised that she had to confront her hidden personal history and make it public. This is her inspiring story.
- Virago UK
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Meet the Author
Kathleen O'Malley is a magistrate in Middlesex. She is married and has a son.
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I'm so proud of this author for being able to write this book... I think I would still be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if what happened to her at the tender age of eight and thereafter, had happened to me. This history is so important, that one must get past the writer's lack of development in some places and focus on experiencing things through her eyes and imagine what it would have been like to be in her horrible situation, then you won't be able to put it down. I liked both this book a little better than The Magdalen on a similar topic. The movie about three DIFFERENT girls, The Magdalene Sisters, but I wish someone like Stephen Spielberg would do a movie to tell this tale in the manner it deserves to be told. The Sisters of Mercy were the OPPOSITE of merciful! They've been in the news in recent months: In 2013, the Irish government released a report on this scandal--a damning 1,000-plus page report on Feb. 5, 2013 detailed the way women and girls were forced into slavery for the nun-controlled laundries, which the movie, The Magdalene Sisters, and books such as this exposes: U.N. HAD TO GET INVOLVED: The inquiry into the Magdalene scandal was prompted by a report from the UN Committee Against Torture in June 2011. It called for prosecutions where necessary and compensation to surviving women. IRELAND CLOSED VATICAN EMBASSY IN 2012: To watch a scathing T.V. news report from Dublin on the astonishing closing of the Vatican's embassy in 2012, Google "Ireland in Row over Catholic Church." The report's findings follow investigations where priests were found to have beaten and raped children in Catholic-run institutions, and the church helped cover-up for the rapes--priests were simply transferred to serve elsewhere; over 50 were sent to churches in the USA! That, and now the slavery of women have shattered the authority of the church in Ireland and rocked the Catholic Church's reputation worldwide. 988 GRAVES FOUND ON CHURCH GROUNDS OF WOMEN and GIRLS WHO DID NOT SURVIVE IT: At least 988 of the women who were buried in laundry grounds are thought to have spent most of their lives inside the institutions. The youngest death (on record) was 15, and the oldest 95, the report found. YOUNG GIRLS IN ADDITION TO WOMEN: The youngest slave (on record) was a 9 year-old girl. There were many slaves around 12 years-old. Half of the girls enslaved in these Catholic Church prisons were under the age of 23, when the church turned them into slaves. But older women were there, too; which scared the young ones who feared they would spend the rest of their lives in that horror... and nobody reassured them otherwise. Even today, survivors suffer from psychological trauma inflicted upon them. WHAT WERE THE SLAVES TOLD: They were not informed WHY they were there, they had no information on WHEN they could leave and were denied contact with the outside world," said the Feb. 5, 2013 report. LIKE MOST SLAVES, COULDN'T EVEN KEEP THEIR NAMES: Labelled the "Maggies", the women and girls were stripped of their names and dumped in Irish Catholic church-run laundries where nuns treated them as slaves. HOW DID THE SLAVES END UP THERE: Simply because they were unmarried mothers, orphans or regarded as somehow morally wayward--in the movie, when an orphan objects that she's never even been with a boy and was a good girl, the nun explains she was there because she was a "temptress". Some were enslaved for "crimes" as small as not paying a train ticket! HOW LONG DID THE SLAVERY GO ON: Although the movie starts out in 1964, for over 74 years, 10,000 women were forced to be slaves in de facto detention, mostly in laundries run by nuns at the nunnery the official report investigated. (But, there are similar Catholic Church-run institutions who used slavery in Ireland not yet investigated.) The last Magdalene Laundry the government is aware of closed in 1996. WHY DIDN'T THEY ESCAPE: For many, the only escape was death. Doors and gates were locked. Nuns acted as guards. Punishment was severe for any who attempted to escape. If they were able to make it to the outside world, the nuns simply called the Irish police force, who dutifully believed anything the nuns told them, and captured the escapees and returned the slaves to the nuns. 15 percent spent more than five years in the laundries while the average stay was calculated at seven months, according to one report. But some victims say they spent most of their adult lives as slaves for the Catholic Church. WHOSE LAUNDRY WAS IT: The Catholic Church made money off their slaves' labor, forcing them to launder for private firms, individuals, and even the state. STATE GUILTY, AS WELL AS CATHOLIC CHURCH: The state gave lucrative laundry contracts to the Catholic Church's nunnery-run laundry institutions, without either the Church or the State bothering to comply with Fair Wage Clauses and in the absence of any compliance with Social Insurance obligations. HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH EXCUSED IT: Surprise, surprise, the Catholic Church blew the women off: Cardinal Sean Brady, the most senior Catholic cleric in Ireland, met with Justice for Magdalenes in 2010. He said "by today's standards much of what happened at that time is difficult to comprehend" but that it was a matter for the religious orders who ran the laundries to deal with. The religious orders have declined to meet the women. (It's not the Catholic Church's fault... where have we heard THAT before? Just whose fault IS it, then?) Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. God will repay. Until then, I pray for the victims, both dead and alive.WARNING: You will cry when you read this book. Just knowing that it is true, was enough to tear my heart out. I repeat, the Catholic Church had slaves as late as 1996!!!
This book is one to read for sure! This family captured my heart more and more as I read. I was emotionally caught up in this book. There is still controversy going on about these industrial schools.