The Magdalene Poetry Project

Marcella's recently completed book,The Sin Ladder, is a full-length collection of poems based on the Magdalene laundries of Ireland, and their ongoing aftermath. The laundries were institutions run by four Catholic orders of sisters, where "wayward" or "fallen" girls and women were incarcerated and forced into unpaid labor. The last laundry didn't close until 1996, after over a century of operation.


The poems in The Sin Ladder give voice to the Magdalenes, the girls and women confined in the laundries, to the sisters who ran the laundries and, in some cases, worked alongside the Magdalenes, to people in the communities served by the ten laundries, and to the poet, attempting to absorb and process the tragedy. The manuscript is currently seeking a publishing home.

Marcella spent the summer of 2019 in Ireland, visiting the sites of former laundries, visiting with people touched by the laundries in some way, and blogging daily. You can read her thoughts and impressions while on the trip here:

You can find out more about the Magdalene laundries and efforts to honor and ensure justice for Magdalenes, both the survivors and the dead, here: