Do Penance or Perish: A Study of Magdalen Asylums in Ireland

By Knirck, Jason | The Catholic Historical Review, April 2005 | Go to article overview

Do Penance or Perish: A Study of Magdalen Asylums in Ireland


Knirck, Jason, The Catholic Historical Review


Do Penance or Perish: A Study of Magdalen Asylums in Ireland. By Frances Finnegan. (New York: Oxford University Press. 2004. Pp. xii, 258. $19.95.)

Frances Finnegan's Do Penance or Perish (originally published in Ireland in 2001) reveals decades of questionable practices at Ireland's Magdalen Asylums, specifically those in Limerick, Waterford, New Ross, and Cork. The book does an excellent job in calling attention to some of the institutionalized abusive practices at these facilities. Its strongest point concerns the hollowness of the Asylums' stated goal to reform "fallen women" and return them to productive society. Instead, Dr. Finnegan conclusively shows that the nuns' focus -was heavily geared toward individual moral reform, with release never being an important goal (pp. 35,72). This was variously attributed to the relatively small market for domestic servants in Ireland, the nuns' lack of contacts in commerce and business, and concerns with the profitability of the attached laundry services (pp. 71-72). The book also illustrates that most of the -women detained in the asylums were not actually "fallen women" in the traditional sense of the term, but were often placed there for perceived mental or moral deficiencies (p. 17).

However, these points could have had more impact if the book had been structured differently. The author -wants to "return to narrative history in the hope of bringing individuals and their experience to life" (p. xi). That goal is defensible, but the asylum-by-asylum focus leads to a fair amount of repetition and wasted space. While the asylums did have their differences-such as the low population at New Ross, or the connection of the Cork facility to the Contagious Diseases Acts-the differences were not significant enough to justify the book's organization. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Do Penance or Perish: A Study of Magdalen Asylums in Ireland
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.