According to Biography, Sinéad O’Connor was born in 1966 in Dublin, Ireland. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she chose to live with her father. By the age of 15, she began shoplifting and was sent to one of Ireland’s so-called “Magdalene Laundries,” sometimes called “Magdalene Asylums.” Most often, young women were sent to these institutions because they were pregnant, or engaged in what were perceived to be some other kind of anti-social behaviors, via The Washington Post.
In many respects, Sinéad O’Connor did well in the roughly year-and-a-half she spent in one of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, run by the Roman Catholic Church. In this time, she received her first guitar from a nun, as O’Connor herself wrote in The Washington Post. But she also witnessed many instances of abuse at the hands of priests, although how much of this behavior was targeted at O’Connor remains unclear. Nevertheless, exposing abuse in the Roman Catholic Church became one of the singer’s overwhelming missions in life, a theme recurring frequently after becoming an established musician.
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