TWO OF the religious congregations which ran Magdalene laundries in the State set up and continue to run the Dublin-based Ruhama agency, which is funded by the State and works “with women affected by prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation”.
According to its website, the agency receives funding from the Department of Health and the Department of Justice.
Ruhama, which means “renewed life” in Hebrew, is described as “a joint initiative of the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, both of which had a long history of involvement with marginalised women, including those involved in prostitution”.
Uh oh. You would think the Irish state would get around to not giving money to church projects any more, given the history. Yes, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity do have a long history of involvement with marginalised women, and a very bad sinister cruel history it is. Choose someone else to help marginalized women, if women involved in prostitution even want that kind of help, which they probably don’t now that churchy morality doesn’t keep them marginalized in quite the way it used to.
Both congregations refused to meet Justice for Magdalenes, a support group for women who had been in the laundries, including those run by the Good Shepherd Sisters at Limerick, Cork, Waterford and New Ross, and those run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity at High Park in Drumcondra and Seán MacDermott Street in Dublin.
That’s not nice. It’s not kind or generous or helpful or merciful or remorseful. It’s just ordinary-human – selfish, indifferent, hard of heart.
Ireland really needs to learn the value of the separation of church and state.