Appeal to support ‘fallen women’ of Cork

Appeal to support ‘fallen women’ of Cork
Illustration from the novel ‘Her Evil Behaviour’ by Kate Fanny Thompson, published in 1890Photo: The British Library

Cork, 28 February 1916 – A Cork priest has appealed to the people of Cork City to support ‘women who traffic in vice and trade in sin’.

Speaking in Cork Cathedral during noon mass, Fr Matthew told the congregation that such women were to be ‘more pitied than blamed. They have no home but the home of sin and shame.’ Fr Matthew said that 100 such women were currently receiving mercy in the Magdalen Asylum run by the Sisters of Charity: ‘these poor things…have been received to penitence.’

He asked where would such women – women who had been ‘enfolded in the arms of mercy, to pity, and to pardon’ – be were it not for the Asylum: ‘They may be rotting in some filthy home or filthy slum, or in the bed of the river weary of life and gone to death.’ Every effort is made to make the Asylum self-supporting, but it still requires the generous support of the people and Fr Matthew urged that such support be given.

[Editor’s note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

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