Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Magdelen Asylum

Architect - Francis William Petre, 1847 - 1918.
A drawing of the building photographed by E. Wheeler and Son, Christchurch.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

The Magdelen Asylum.
Among the numerous institutions which have been founded in modern times for the uplifting of fallen humanity and the purification of society, few if any have stronger claims for support than that which is known as the Order of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, which received the formal recognition of the Holy See about sixty years ago, and now has over 170 houses in various parts of the world. Mount Magdala, the branch of the Order in Christchurch, was rounded in 1886 by the Very Rev. Father Ginaty, who was, at that time, Missionary Rector in the city. The foundation stone was laid by His Eminence Cardinal Moran, on the 18th of February, in the same year, and the institution was formally opened by the Right Rev. Dr Grimes on the 22nd of July, 1888. Ever since that date the noble women who have voluntarily relinquished the pleasures and the allurements of society, in order to devote their lives to the reclamation of their fallen sisters, have laboured assiduously in that cause. Mount Magdala is situated about five miles outside the city in a westerly direction and just off the Lincoln Road. The number of inmates varies considerably, for many of those who are taken into the asylum soon tire of its routine and restraint, and consequently leave it after a short time, not infrequently, however, to come back again and promise to forsake the haunts of vice for ever. The Sisters do all in their power to make the institution self-supporting and independent of outside assistance. Their principal source of income is their laundry work, at which they are exceptionally expert. On two or three occasions the Government has given a small grant to the institution to enable the Sisters to increase its usefulness and carry on its work more successfully.

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