"Rescue of fallen women. Magdalen asylum. I am the secretary..."


Magdalen asylums, named for Mary Magdalene, the Biblical prostitute who repented and became one of Jesus' closest followers, were homes for 'fallen women.' Magdalen asylums grew out of the 'rescue movement' in Britain and Ireland in the 19c. which had as its formal goal the rehabilitation of prostitutes. In Ireland, the movement was quickly appropriated by the Church, and most asylums were operated by various orders of the Roman Catholic Church. It is estimated that 30,000 women were admitted during the 150-year history of these institutions. The last Magdalen asylum in Ireland closed on September 25th 1996.