Paige Brettingen

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Survivors of Magdalene Laundries Still Waiting for an Apology

by Paige Brettingen 05-01-2013

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — When the Republic of Ireland apologized to the wayward girls who were sent to the Magdalene laundries for hard work and no pay, Teresa Bell felt encouraged. Surely, she thought, the government of Northern Ireland would do the same.

Nearly three months later, she’s still waiting.

Bell was one of thousands of young girls who were sent to the Magdalene workhouses run by Roman Catholic nuns when she got pregnant at age 16. She worked long hours washing clothes with no pay and little rest; after giving birth, her daughter was put in an orphanage.

Bell never recovered from the shame.

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