The Magdalene Memoirs

Welcome, but beware as some of the content in my Blog may be off the Catholic Wall!

However, please feel comfortable to post and write freely on this blog. I hope it will swell to embody many stories from women who have experienced life under the hand of Catholicism and her Nuns within the Magdalene Laundry or, "The Pines" as it was called in Adelaide, Australia.

The Good Shepherd Convent, or Magdalen Assylum, first opened in Cork Ireland on the 29th July 1872. It was the site of an orphanage and a Magdalene laundry until the late 1970s.

The shocking imprisonment of young girls for 'subjective dishonor' seems inhumane for the 20th century, yet, it happened! and continues to in sheep's clothing or cloaked habit forms.

In saying this, there are positive stories to be shared here too, I certainly have some myself - full of humor and gutzo intertwined with the fear and sorrow of that 13 yr. old little girl. I personally gained from the whole experience in ways that may seem surreal to some. Yet, an ache deep within my soul remains to this day.

Please write, write and write openly and freely from your heart and allow your story to flow, be it good, bad or ugly!!! and, Welcome.

Magdalene Sister,

A Magdalene

The Convent of The Good Shepherd; "The Pines"

My photo
Mother Earth, United States
I was an incarcerated Magdalene Laundress for 8 months in 1969 -it seemed like a life time to a teenage girl- "The Pines" or, Good Shepherd Convent was situated on 19 acres of sprawling lavish Catholic real estate at 336 Marion Road, Plympton, South Australia HOWEVER, we only saw half and acre of barbwire en-caged concrete slab, the Convent was operated from 1942-1974 by the Catholic Church under the control of the Children’s Welfare and Public Relief Board and its successors.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wendy's Poetry from the Tormented Days

I Think

An English Manor, oh so Grand,
            with an attic,
she used to frequent the attic,
            from dawn till dusk,
draw she did.
            A big woman, grey hair in a bun
not tight.
            Pale skin, not a blemish.
Beautiful teeth,
            Straight and just off white.
She smells of English rose perfume,
            a gentle subtle fragrance.
She’s dead now, My Grandmother.
            I never knew her,
I never met her, not once.
                                                                                                                                                                  WJS. Darwin 1986

My Brother. .

I share the beauty of the rain with the birds. I love it so. The rain falls and replenishes the thirsty earth.

The birds suddenly go wild, dashing from one auspicious mango tree to another, in pairs or alone rejoicing in the tropical rain. . . . or, with it . . . the clean, refreshing rain drizzles down so carelessly, yet gently, as though to compromise with the steamy humidity to subside for a time, and a soft breeze brushes past my face, with a gentleness that forces me to close my eyes and enjoy being alive, and, sharing just a bit of the pleasure that my feathered friends relish in. A tiny thought dwindles in my mind, that the rain evokes an extraordinary behavior from the birds; is it because they fear for the next rain? And therefore, they grasp all that they can from it.

I say not  . . . . .  I wish not . . . . Their melody is so sweet, they sound so wonderfully happy and I can not help but listen and watch with so much appreciation.  Chirps of what I’m sure could only be of an untamed excitement, and the joy they portray to me relishing in this their special time. Chirps and squeals from such tiny, fragile beaks penetrate the air as they become louder and louder as if they have to tell the world  . . . .  and, they do.

But I ponder; how many people take a minute out of their lives to listen to the beauty of this orchestral masterpiece? I relish with them in their short lived rhapsody, and the ultimate beauty is, that I know I will have this experience again and again. I love the rain.
                                                                                                          WJS  Darwin 1986

All my senses are alerted
By such a ballistic, turbulent chaos, so unsettling, and almost agonizing,
And yet so mysterious and alluring

But, without falter she continues to savage relentlessly to the end,
Only to slow such chaos for the ultimate caress of which still remains undivided. Joyous and so faithful and a never ending reliability that the very same secret devotion in which the sun rises and sets . . . . it is from the very depths of the  ocean’s savagery that such delicate waves indubitably encounter the shore, with a gentle kiss.

This gives me so much strength, to know that no matter what the oceans wildest storm, the turbulence, the pain, the horror nor tragedy,

Ignites every Universal sense, She blesses and transforms me with such courage and endurance, that through my own turbulence, I too will surely come to shore each and every time with a refreshed breathe of life, caressing the very existence of my horizons . . . . .

                                                                                    WJS,  NYC Monday 4th 2002

The One

You have awakened my soul
And heightened my feelings
That which I thought had gone
When we meet you hold time
And fill my passion with closeness and depth
And I enter a space,
Where just you and I enter
And it seems to shrouds us from the outside
And brings the feeling of oneness.

When you hold me we seem to complete
With the world at our feet
Your femininity is strong from within
and it surrounds you in a glow.
When you are silent,
it welds a closeness that I have not felt before
and as your strength of woman abounds
the breath of our world
I feel the softness of a young girl
Experiencing her first emotion of love
And it expounds the power of touch,
Like the feel of a rose petal
Which reflects the colour within
Like the softness of you and only you.

Your individuality abounds with greatness
that stirs my feelings of music
which I thought had been lost
and knowing that you can feel what I feel
brings back the strength of music,
and when we touch our hands
it is enough to ensure your presence just once more
and time will never part.
In you I believe again
Of the worth and gentleness of love.

Time is the link of when we meet again.
With sleep I dream of you
and our times together are bought closer.
And when I awake I  feel the depth of falling into the pond of love
and my thoughts are always of you
your presence
your strength
your greatness of woman
your femininity
and your very being,
for you I exist my love
and for you
I give of myself.

You have changed my life
from sadness to happiness,
your warmth protects me,
like a force field of future times,
and when I look into your eyes,
the depth of inner self
strikes me with passion
and I know you are the one.

                                                                          Written for WJS by ‘ Perfect’. 1995                                                                                                        Adelaide South Australia



Not One word need be spoken
As Love is Exquisitely Attuned
When . . . .
Lovers find the depth and beauty in each others Eyes . . .

                                                                                WJS 1988 Darwin Australia


Hate is an ugly,

It does not appease!
       It gradually eats away at its victim

It gorges relentlessly into their being
       Like maggots,

Have you seen?

       A slow, painful destination

Desensitization – Decomposition

       What an uncouth vision of the living Dead!

But, please wait!
       Hate only breeds where it is allowed to reside.
WJS 1988

The Garden

The sun will always shine
because it is so pleased to rise every morning

The sun has an undying commitment to its Earth

The Moon too
It is romantic and mystical

And, it too will never fail its Earth
The rain replenishes the Earth devoutly

And waters the Garden, the Garden that you so proudly made for me


                                                                        WJS 1988 Nov.

Appreciation of Innocence

Your delicate innocence is unscathed

Your being has not experienced the

abrasions of adversity

Yet you are a rare gem
but only in your adolescence, as experiences in Life have not taken you beyond that point

But I love your being
Your gentle manner and tenderness, the way you cup my face with your hands, brush my hair, touch my body, make Love with me, gaze at me, and sit up nights watching me write and make me cups of tea .

Yet, your sweet words of Infinite love
Filled with promises of Forever
All, my Darling, characteristics
of Innocence
Your disappointment in growing beyond that innocence conveys,
a naive hurt that simply reminds me of your delicateness

When you are Man
call on me again
say hallo


This piece reflects my non-acceptance, I would not ‘accept’ his love, and, instead I found fault with his tenderness by calling it adolescence, where-as his devotion was unyielding. 

                                                                                WJS 1988

Peace of Mind

I believe,
That we have the ability to recognize our true nature and follow it intuitively . . .

Then, we have reached the very depths of our soul

                                                                            WJS Darwin 1992

Watching with Intensity

It is watching the intensity of it all pass by me,
The escalation of the era, the history of which I dance within,
the dance that goes on,
the history changes day by day, to my titillation . . .
I smile with a passion quenched with adoration,
it has now come before me -in a manner of which- holds a glimpse of what is mere fetal,
thus, a touch of agony,
and yet,
an abandon creativity that sets me free to infiltrate, ready to explode

the particles of which fall, with a gentle cascade, softly, slowly,
oh the beauty
feel the sensation, become a part of the Universal force
only to succeed another existence,


for some


Stuck in a Void

Are we stuck in a void, toiling with the end and the beginning?
escape then is inevitable
Or, is it a wanderlust for new experiences?

Western Culture suffocates & retards my senses and the very essence of who I am
Where do I go?
Is it deaths door of which I am finally arriving at, no satisfaction with this existence, no joy in sharing my “true” life.

                                                                                   WJS  Feb. 2nd 1995 Australia

I imagine faintly, almost with a caution, your air,
an existence I no longer wish to deny,
with each breath

It is a collusion I have with myself; I want your presence,
it is like the restless ocean,
which speaks through its multifaceted ness,
the perfect sunset which keeps my spirit alive.
You flow within me,
Always there
Reminding me of this illusion called love.

Your sacred caress born into me, never to be deprived never wanting to, resonates from the skylight of your soul.
Your hands, which engulf me, spoke to me with their tender grasp.
The arousal of which every woman quenches for with a lustful thirst,
never ceasing,
The pure pleasure you would power to soak and,
like a sponge I would devour all your gifts,
Only to know with an eroticism, that you would die for reciprocal pleasures.
You hungered for me, I starved you, and you still called me 

                                                                WJS Feb. 17th 1995

Words are clouded by mystic; focus is out of reach . . . . .  again!
Words become so hard to unearth, so hard to utter, so rigid!

Then, there is a wisp of a breeze that brushes by my cheek, which alerts me - this time- I stop to listen.

The breeze once again reveals itself
This time as a turbulent storm,
violently pushing through the heavens,
with such an estranged beauteousness about it
but I listen.
The deluge projectiles from these gloomy storm clouds yet they proudly
roar with the elegance of a colossal mythical fairy
Platonic dualities synchronizing with harmony,
The force, the power, the fiery intensity comes 
through the softness of the storm clouds with illumination and precision,
the end result is never-the-less the same

The storm clouds of dualism rage within me,
within us all?

I want the storm, I hunger for it with a passion,
It is the karmic cure that heals my spirit, the resolution
Only to begin yet another storm within

My thoughts are not clouded,
they are manifested within my very essence,
an essence that nurses my soul, spirit, and intuitively I gain the calm, intuitively I find the words which push through my thoughts like the climb to the top of the Mona Kao Summit,
the joy of the experience
achievement once again. 

Intuition takes me back, to the reservoir of my essence
it is the pain which deters me, why?
because it was like -wild out of control stallions driven by pain- that stampeded my very pleasure.

Pain only exists where we allow it to.
Pain thwarts our conscious evolution.                                                                            

                                                                             WJS March 3rd 1995


Athena has gone, Aphrodite is here, Venus. . . .
In my silence I find the feminine power, I find myself
The Silence I so feared
it was to render me numb
it was to retard my intellectual ability,
it was the dreaded pain of not being heard.
Yet silence causes me no such burdens, silence gives and gives
I hear myself, the perfectly guided voice of intuition
The gentle voice of my spirit, like
nurturing Mother, unconditional love.

In my Silence I feel my Beauty, such a soft seduction,
in my Silence I feel my tears, the cold moistness in my eyes  . . .
their genesis revealed to me  . . . no need for rhetoric any more
This is the precious eloquent Gift of Silence

In the Silence melds my Beauty of Female, where She sits with an air of
A gentleness so powerful
She resonates as Gift

It is like the most beautiful white cloud, just carefully breathe her
into your
As such a serene pleasure may only pass your way once


                                                          WJS 1995?  Hutt St. Adelaide Australia



It is a masterpiece of Nature
The perfect cup in which the rose bud is embedded, so striking and yet so
seemingly fragile, 
but held sturdy via the gallantry of her thorny stem
Two polarities set to deter anything that would destroy the unfolding exquisiteness of the Rose,
such protection,,,,,, not even expected,
it just is.


                                                                                                          WJS 1997

The Snail

So slowly and awfully cautious he goes as he carries his heavy load on his back
to watch his pace is sad, as his burden is cruel
he tries continuously to lighten his load
so cramped, so small, and in times of danger he climbs inside his shell

Oh why does he punish himself so?
He knows no better
“I will lighten it some more” he says
But never does he rid himself of it
To shed his shell is an obvious pain – to those who can really see
as his hard solid load portrays his nature,
lost in his world of emotional overgrowth
his behavior –if you really watch-
demonstrates an odd delight of such a burden on his back

“ Oh just make it lighter”

Painfully he sheds weight, year by year
with a false confidant he plods on
never really seeing his plight
He smiles jest fully with such commitment, with a false security,
as he shows off his big shell and tells wondrous stories and adventures of where it has faithfully taken him

Those who are delighted at the snail’s quest are unaware of its inherent burden
the true pain he suffers lugging this around, maintaining it

But, to the young and innocent
it is too an adventure
and those he can fool

But to the snails who have shed their burdens
he will never fool

One day he may shed his difficulties
and build, as he did for me,
a beautiful garden to live in,

May your journey be safe and kind
may your burden –one day- be gone
Then when it is shed then you only have you to get to know


                                                                WJS Oct. 1990 Darwin Oz.

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