Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Light in the Window ~ June Goulding

When i took Serpent in the Garden back to the library at the Community Centre last week, i saw this book had been left on the table. Being a nosey parker i had to have a look and see what had made someone leave it out. When i read the back i just knew i would have to read this one ....

"I promised that I would one day write a book and tell the world about the home for unmarried mothers. I have at last kept my promise." In Ireland, 1951, the young June Goulding took up a position as midwife in a home for unmarried mothers run by the Sacred Heart nuns. What she witnessed there was to haunt her for the next fifty years. It was a place of secrets, lies and cruelty. A place where women picked grass by hand and tarred roads whilst heavily pregnant. Where they were denied any contact with the outside world; denied basic medical treatment and abused for their 'sins'; where, after the birth, they were forced into hard labour in the convent for three years. But worst of all was that the young women were expected to raise their babies during these three years so that they could then be sold - given up for adoption in exchange for a donation to the nuns. Shocked by the nuns' inhumane treatment of the frightened young women, June risked her job to bring some light into their dark lives. June's memoir tells the story of twelve women's experiences in this home and of the hardships they endured, but also the kindness she offered them, and the hope she was able to bring.

This truly was an insight into what not only young girls but ladies in their 30's and 40's had to endure when they became pregnant out of wedlock and were sent to the convent to be 'cared for' in Ireland and what a humiliating and sad time they had. It was a very moving read. I do admire June Goulding for telling this true story and bringing the facts out into the open for all.

I will return this to the library tomorrow.


Karan said...

It sounds harrowing Julie & I know I couldn't read it without getting upset. There was a film on TV about the same place, telling the sotires of 3/4 young girls who had been sent there - I had to turn it off because I got so wound up about the disgusting treatment they got.
Sounds like the midwife was the only beacon of hope there.