THE HIGH WALLS | institutions The Good Shepherd

The buildings are dingy and dark, the walls icy and glistening with cld humidity. The dorms were made of large rooms filled with dozens of beds. There was no heat and only cold water to wash. Upon arriving, each new resident had to endure a search, a gynecological examination, the removal of any personal item and was given three dresses (one for prayer, one for housework, and the third for outings). The breasts were binded and the head covered with a scarf. Hygiene is a luxury, the constraints are many and varied. The daily regime imposed is very strict. Contacts with the family are in a grid parlor, conversations are heard, correspondence is read before being sent. And then there are the sanctions, the bullying and the physical violence, the use of drugs to calm the more recalcitrant inmates.
This is the story of Sylvie, Marie, Michelle, Rose Marie ... Starting with the testimonies of these women who report their broken childhood where time does not exist except in prayers and work, and my various research, I looked for these anachronic isolated places hidden behind impenetrable walls. Architectural traces are fading, disappearing with time. The images are rare, but the silence is always present.

"While it is important to come to terms with one’s past, it is equally important to report what took place behind these high walls to prevent it from happening again in other forms (...) We were not there to be punished, but to be protected, "said Marie Michelle Bodin-Bougelot.
In France, between 1950-1960, the state turned to religious institutions for the care of adolescents it did not know what to do with. The girls were trapped under the “right of paternal punishment” (which any father was entitled to by law until 1935) because they were runaways, or committed petty theft, or were allegedly with the wrong crowd, rebels, or those were raped which was as good as being guilty. But also, children of divorced parents, unwanted children, children war collaborators ... hundred religious institutions closed in the 1970s.
Références :
« Enfances volées – Le Bon Pasteur- Nous y étions » Michelle Marie Bodin-Bougelot,
« Filles de Justice- Du Bon Pasteur à l’éducation surveillée (XIXème -XXème siècle) » Françoise Tétard et Claire Dumas, éditions Beauchesne, 2009
« Les enfants du bagne » Marie Rouanet.