Everything is Not What it Seems

Everything is Not What it Seems

by Nadia Ramoutar     MMM Communications Coordinator          Ireland         20.11.2022

Sometimes I have ideas that seem good at the time, but as they progress the complexity makes me question my judgment.

As the Communications Coordinator, I thought it would be a “good idea” for our MMM Sisters in Drogheda to create crafts and have a Christmas Craft Fair.  I felt it was something that the MMM Sisters used to do in the past and would be a positive step for us after the isolation of Covid 19.  I am fortunate to work with a wonderfully collaborative team who, at their own peril, humour me too often.

So, on Saturday, 26 November 2022, we will host our MMM Christmas Craft Fair in Drogheda in the Auditorium.  I have a long history of creating community fundraising events so I know it comes with a long list of things to do.  Things going on the list, things being crossed off the list and something coming back onto the list when you thought they were done.  I am experienced enough to know what we need so the day will be a memorable one for the right reasons!

It occurred to me that it would be a “good idea” to host a few craft-making afternoons in the run up to the craft fair so MMM Sisters in the convent could be involved.  This was a decision made in good faith and the date scheduled and sign up sheets went up.  To our delight, 22 MMM Sisters signed up to come.

“I hope you have something for them all to do,” my colleague, Sr Sheila Campbell said, part in jest and part as a wakeup call.  (In all teams you need a realist to ground you!)  She was right.  I did need a plan.  I met with the Crochet teacher at the convent who was quick to come up with brilliant craft ideas for the Sisters and I had a few myself.  I have heard it said that the “Road to Hell is paved with good intentions…”  So as I scrambled to different locations to buy all the supplies we needed; I was in my own personal hell.

I preserved telling myself that if the MMM Sisters could give their lives to traveling to new countries and working in challenging conditions I could survive craft preparation tasks.  The night before I was cutting our felt Christmas Trees, snowmen and circles.  I felt like Santa’s bad elf who had left things to the last minute and was now hustling to catch up.  I would like to tell you this is unusual for me but truthfully, it is not.

On the day of the craft making, the Sisters came into the room and quickly identified the craft or card-making they were willing to try.   As I sat at the craft table with the felt, some Sisters were asking for assistance while some were quick to tell me “I can do that myself.”  As we chatted it was so lovely to hear the Sisters talk about the past and just get to know them better.  It turned out that two of the Sisters next to me had been surgeons in Africa – and I was going to help them sew!  Silly me.  I was so moved to hear stories of becoming a surgeon or doctor when very few women were doing that kind of work in the world.

It hit me that often times, things are not what they seem.  So often people are quick to judge or quick to gauge a situation and we have it all wrong.  You cannot judge a book by its cover is so true, but it’s so worth opening that book and learning the precious stories within it.

I was so uplifted by the Sisters’ stories and the methodical way they approached their crafts with the serious view to do something exceptional.  Jolene, my other colleague, was delighted by her experience at the Craft card-making table and enjoyed herself fully.  Some of the candles came out so well the Sisters wanted to buy them. I  had to say “wait till the Craft Fair or we will have no merchandise!”

I was so glad that I had taken the steps to put the craft afternoon together.  The time seemed to fly by and my only regret was that it was over so soon.

If you live in Ireland, please consider visiting us at the Convent Auditorium for the Craft Fair so you see what we created!  Thank you to all the Sisters who joined us and created crafts or donated items for the Craft Fair.  We deeply appreciate your efforts.