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The other history of abuse in Catholic Ireland

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Many NCR readers may remember the 2002 film The Magdalene Sisters, which tells the largely unknown story of Irish women who were forced to labor in laundries for breaking Catholic Ireland's strict sexual codes. In most cases, these women were caught giving birth out of wedlock.

It is estimated that more than 30,000 women were sentenced to work in these laundries, which were run by orders of women religious. The conditions were harsh, and many survivors recount stories of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Though the Irish government denies having a role in these private run laundries, there is evidence that state officials routinely sentenced women offenders to the laundries. Records also indicate that the nuns were given lucrative government contracts to support these programs.

For two years, the advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes has lobbied the Irish government to investigate the laundries, but to no avail.

On this day: St. Philip Neri

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Philip Neri, Apostle of Rome, Founder of the Oratory.

Philip Neri was born in Florence in 1515. At the age of 17, unable to endure life under the Medici, he left the city.

"It is no accident that Philip left Florence at this time, never to return. . . . The experience of a republic under the rule of Christ, the preference for a community with a democratic order; these were later to be fundamental in the Oratory".

On this day: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

"Sophie was living in Paris when the Revolutionary period gave way to the rise of Napoleon and the establishment of the Empire. At this time many women all over France, in a bid to restore the primacy of religion and the place of the church, initiated small communities focused on social work, mostly in education and health."

"Sophie Barat's chosen area was the education of young women of the aristocracy and upper middle-classes and the education of the poor. To this purpose, she established boarding schools and poor schools, usually on the same property."

Morning Briefing

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Florida state panel: diocese likely discriminated against Hispanic employees

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What makes this story especially newsworthy is that parishes and dioceses around the country, like the Diocese of St. Augustine, Fla., are also downsizing whether due to a lack of priests or a lack of money and need to be cognizant of discrimination issues. The leadership in the Diocese of St. Augustine most likely did not intend to discriminate against Hispanic employees, but the impact of their decisions had the likely affect of discrimination, according to the Florida Commission on Human Rights. Of course, the diocese disputes the claim.

According to the Gainesville Sun:

The Diocese of St. Augustine likely discriminated against Hispanic employees in Gainesville who bore the brunt of last year's restructuring as a result of a budget shortfall, a state commission determined.

How you can help victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado

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From ABC News:

Rescue efforts are under way as residents of Joplin, Mo., try to pick up the pieces of their lives after a devastating tornado hit the city of about 50,000 and severe storms ravaged the Midwest this weekend.

At least 116 people have been reported dead in Joplin. Authorities say 25 percent to 30 percent of the city has been damaged by the tornado, which was reportedly one mile wide, with winds of nearly 200 mph.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Sunday evening and activated the National Guard.

Find out how to help this city, 160 miles south of Kansas City.

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