At 14, her father left her at the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in New Ross, Co Wexford. Barely a teenager, she worked for nearly five years cleaning society’s dirty laundry. She was denied her right to an education. She was punished for insolence and her hair forcibly cut.
She was sent at 19 to work in a Dublin hospital, also run by nuns. She fled to England. But London was not far enough away. She travelled to Boston, where she worked for most of her life. She never married.
Having rekindled her faith in the Catholic Church, she still demurred when the Good Shepherd congregation offered to meet her in 2010. She keenly felt the stigma attached to her past. She protected her family’s reputation at all cost.
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