February 18, 2013

The body that represents Ireland's religious congregations has said the issue of the Magdalen laundries must not be "presented as a matter only for religious."

A report released Feb. 5 found "significant" state involvement in the religious-run institutions where young women, many placed by the state, worked in laundries without pay.

Many former residents reported feeling stigmatized as a result of spending time in the institutions.

The Conference of Religious of Ireland welcomed the publication of the report, expressing the hope that it can "lead to reconciliation and healing for all involved in this very complex matter.

It is important that we, as religious, acknowledge the part we played in the entire issue, and it is also important that a system which had the support of many sectors of our society is not now presented as a matter only for religious – if the necessary healing and reconciliation is to be found," the conference said in a statement.