Drama. By Anne V. McGravie.
Cast: 1m., 5w. Young, impetuous, 16-year-old Rosemarie Healey has been on a collision course with her strict father for a year. At her 16th birthday party, things come to a head. Her father makes good on his threat to send her away but assures her she is going to a "strict" convent school to finish her high-school education. He does not tell her or his wife and younger daughter, Chrissie, that he is abandoning her to the Magdalene Sisters. Rosemarie is devastated to find herself working in a laundry under the brutal control of Brogie, an inmate who has impressed the nuns with her ability to keep the girls in line with the stick she uses liberally on them for the slightest infraction, including speaking, which is forbidden. When Rosemarie stands up to Brogie, she is punished by having to sleep in the cellar with the rats. When she finally persuades another inmate, Cath, with whom she has become friends, to risk escaping with her, the outcome is tragic. In a conspiracy of silence even today, the Catholic Church refuses to admit that for the greater part of the 20th century the Magdalene Sisters, an order of nuns in Ireland, misused and abused young women in their laundries. Many of the young women were brought to the convents by their fathers because of misbehaviors the fathers viewed as endangering their families' good name. Once there, the girls were overworked, beaten, ill-fed, ill-clad and ill-housed. They were kept as prisoners, some for many years, abandoned by their families and forgotten by society, until a real estate deal brought to exposure the unmarked graves, and public outcry forced the closing of the convents and their highly lucrative laundries. Unit set. Approximate running time: 1 hour.