First MMM Christmas in Africa – Part One

First MMM Christmas in Africa – Part One

by one of the founding MMM Sisters              Ireland/Nigeria              17.12.2023                                           

Editor’s Note: This is an extract from a larger article, written in Nigeria in 1940.

It was Christmas Eve 1937 – not in London, but in Nigeria.  There were just the two of us.  There wasn’t a bit of a Christmas feeling about.  It was like a midsummer’s day in Ireland, with no snow, no holly and ivy and little signs of a turkey.

We were very happy however, and too busy to feel lonely.  We were knee deep in getting our little Convent in order, having only returned from the Convent of The Holy Child Jesus at Ifuho, 30 miles away, where we had spent our novitiate and where we had made religious profession of vows a few days before.  With the happy thoughts of these days fresh in our minds, and with feelings of deepest gratitude to these nuns who had made a home for us, we were now preparing to begin our hospital work – the real work we had come to do.

Our spare boxes, as they were being unpacked, were being turned to every conceivable purpose as our furniture was of a negative quantity, save for a few borrowed chairs and tables from the Mission House.  In unpacking a tea chest of some odds and ends I turned out some lovely straw.  “What a pity,” I thought.  “We could not even have a little crib to remind us of Christmas.”  Just then, who walked in but our Novice Mistress on her way to Calabar.  She said, “The Holy Child has sent you something.”  It was a complete set of figures for our crib.

A corner of what we planned to be our community room, which just contained a bookcase made from boxes, a table and two chairs, was selected for our cave.  A manger was made and soon all was complete to a star, and we had our Christmas crib after all.